Where: Melbourne, Australia
February 1, 2009 : Yuki Bhambhri beat Alexandros-Ferdinandos Georgoudas of Germany 6-3, 6-1 in the junior boys final of the Australian Open Tennis championships in Melbourne. He is the first Indian to win this title. India’s tennis legend Ramanathan Krishnan, his son Ramesh, and later Leander Paes have all won the junior singles title at Wimbledon. Ramesh repeated the feat at the French Open, and Leander at the U.S.Open. Yuki, aged sixteen, entered the tournament ranked Numer One, as he had reached the semi-finals last year. He was given a hero’s welcome when he landed on home soil in Delhi.
Sania Mirza of Hyderabad has been a youth icon since she won the junior girls doubles at Wimbledon in 2003. India’s most successful woman tennis player, Sania was out of the international circuit for most of 2008, recovering from a wrist injury. She and Mahesh Bhupathi played mixed doubles at last year’s Australian Open, but lost. This year they beat Nathalie Dechy of France and Israel’s Andy Ram 6-3, 6-1. Sania called it a dream come true. Mahesh and partner Mark Knowles of the Bahamas finished runners-up in the men’s doubles category.
*A tennis ‘Grand Slam’ is said to be won when one player wins all four major tournaments in world tennis. These are the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Each of these championships is also called a ‘Grand Slam Event’.