Two years after his last visit, Australian tennis legend Tony Roche will return to the city to be part of an invitation tournament in memory of the late Premjit Lall, being organised by the Jaidip Mukerjea Tennis Academy from December 8-11, it was announced at a media conference here on Monday. Roche, 71, will be here on December 7, said Mukerjea.
Ramkumar Ramanathan, Sanam Singh, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, Vishnu Vardhan, S Balaji, V Ranjeet, N Prasanth and Kaza Vinayak have confirmed for the event, to be held at the academy’s courts in Salt Lake in Kolkata. The total prize money is R 8.75 lakh with the singles winner taking home R 2 lakh. The doubles winners will get R 1 lakh.
Roche, 71, is a former French Open winner (1966) and a five-time runner-up at Grand Slam singles competitions. He also won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles and was part of the Davis Cup team that won the title four times. Roche played as an amateur from 1963 and turned professional in 1968. He coached Ivan Lendl, Patrick Rafter, Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Leander Paes and Jelena Dokic.
He will be here to pay tribute to his friendship with Lall, who played tennis for 15 years and along with Mukerjea and Ramnathan Krishnan formed a trio that represented India. With Mukerjea, Lall reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in 1962 and 1966 and the Wimbledon in 1973. Confined to a wheelchair after an accident in 1992, Lall died in Kolkata on December 31, 2008. He was 68.