India, Born 1953
Legendary Indian tennis champion Vijay Amritraj continues to hit new heights in diverse fields by calling on the discipline and “desire to achieve success” he developed as a sportsman in the 1970s and 1980s.
A sickly child, Amritraj credits his mother — herself a tennis player — with encouraging him to “accept challenges head on”, and perfecting his tennis.He was ranked No. 1 in Asia for 14 years and holds the record for the longest run in Davis Cup play, leading the Indian team as captain to two finals (1974 and 1987). In 1988, he carried the Olympic torch at the Seoul Games. Over the years, he beat most of the world’s best players, including Björn Borg and John McEnroe, before embarking on a career as a television sports commentator and businessman. Amritraj’s charisma and talent won him supporting roles in the James Bond film Octopussy and Star Trek IV.In 2001, he was appointed the eighth United Nations messenger of peace. After completing this assignment six years later, he founded the Vijay Amritraj Foundation, an international charity serving India’s destitute. For Amritraj, it is important to leave a mark outside sport. “You need to be an example to the next generation that comes along,” he says.
Published in 2010