Vishnu Vardhan and N Sriram Balaji on Wednesday qualified for the Wimbledon main draw after a 6-3, 6-4 win over Denys Molchanov and Igor Zelenay.
What makes this win special is that Balaji quietly created history by being the first player from the Indian Army to reach the main draw of the prestigious tennis event. 26-year old Sriram is a Junior Commissioned Officer at the Madras Engineering Group (MEG), Bengaluru.
Qualifying for the prestigious tournament in the Men’s Doubles category, the duo will be the only Indian pair to feature in this year’s Wimbledon. It will also be the maiden Grand Slam appearance for both players.
Coimbatore-born Sriram began his career in 2000, at the age of 10 and was ranked first in the Under-12 category in India, in 2002.
He has gone from the PERKS Tennis Academy in Coimbatore, to the Schuttler-Waske Tennis University in Germany. He has a unique and powerful serve and volley style, that holds him in good stead during his matches.
In 2017, he joined the Madras Sappers (MEG), and since then has won five ATP Challenger Cups. The Madras Sappers have a rich sporting heritage, with the regiment having produced many Olympians as well.
In fact, in May 2018, Sriram and Vardhan won the Doubles title in the ATP Challenger Tournament held at Samarkand in Uzbekistan. And in 2017, Sriram won a Davis Cup match in the doubles category, against Uzbekistan.
Currently standing at a Doubles world ranking of 117, the talented Sriram considers Roger Federer, his favourite tennis player. We wish him full success for his Wimbledon journey!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)