In recognition of his tremendous impact on the sport of tennis as a player, promoter and humanitarian, Vijay Amritraj of India has been named the winner of the 2021 Golden Achievement Award.
The Golden Achievement Award is given annually by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Tennis Federation to a person who has made significant international contributions to tennis in the areas of administration, promotion or education and has devoted a long service to extraordinary sports. The award was presented Friday at a special celebration organized in honor of Amritraj in London.
“I am humbled to receive this extraordinary award from the International Tennis Hall and the International Tennis Federation for the journey of my life into a sport that I have loved all my life,” said Amritraj. “This honor is truly something I am taking on behalf of every Indian who has supported me over the years. I have had the privilege of representing India on the world stage in our sport. “I hope it inspires more players from India to come and go on the international stage.”
“For five decades, Vijay Amritraj has competed bravely, opened doors and spread goodwill through tennis,” said Todd Martin, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. “We are honored to join the International Tennis Federation in recognizing its outstanding contribution worldwide. As a player, humanitarian and ambassador, Vijay has put into action his passion for tennis and people to make a difference in the growth of the sport and to help those in need. He is a deeply deserving recipient of the Golden Achievement Award. ”
David Haggerty, president of the International Tennis Federation, commented: “Both on and off the court, Vijay Amritraj has illustrated the spirit of the Golden Achievement Award with his many contributions to international tennis through the promotion of tennis and education wherever he went. In cooperation with the International Hall of Fame, we celebrate Vijay’s many achievements by awarding this prize. ”
A globally recognized and respected tennis icon as well as a national hero in his native India, Amritraj was the first Indian player to become a professional on the ATP Tour. During his extensive career as a Top 20 player in the 1970s and 1980s, he broke down barriers and popularized tennis to more than half the world’s population across the Asian continent. Amritraj remains the highest ranked ATP singles player from India in the history of Pepperstone ATP Ranking (No. 18), and he grabbed the most titles from a single Asian player (15) during his career. From 1989-93, Amritraj was elected by his peers as President of the ATP Players’ Council and served as a Board Member of the ATP from 1991-97.
During his career, Amritraj was instrumental in founding the Britannia Amritraj Tennis Academy, which focuses on the development of youth tennis in India. The academy has produced several successful tennis players, including the main doubles champion and legend Leander Paes.
Following his retirement, Amritraj has remained committed to humanitarian efforts through his role as United Nations Messenger of Peace (2001-06) and through the Vijay Amritraj Foundation. Founded in 2006, the foundation’s mission is to bring hope, help and healing to the vulnerable and innocent victims of disease, tragedy and circumstance in India.
A television face known to millions of Asian tennis fans, Amritraj remains active as a commentator, actor / producer and tennis promoter. He represents India as an unofficial ambassador and statesman, often speaking to world leaders and governments.
The Golden Achievement Award is selected from a group of nominations submitted by tennis federations and individuals from around the world. The annual nominee is elected by the Gold Achievement Award Committee, which consists of tennis administrators. Amritraj is the top recipient from India and he joins an acclaimed list of tennis leaders who have received the honor, including Brian Tobin from Australia, Eiichi Kawatei from Japan and Peachy Kellmeyer from the United States. Learn more at tennisfame.com.
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