Samir Banerjee, an Indian-American tennis player, on July 11 bagged the junior Wimbledon boy’s title defeating compatriot Victor Lilov at Number one court. The 17-year-old wrapped up the two sets 7-5 and 6-3 within one hour and twenty-two minutes.
“It’s going to be amazing; this trophy is going to be my centrepiece; I’m going to look at this and be inspired to keep playing and hopefully become a pro,” Banerjee was quoted as stating by the Wimbledon website.
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However, according to Banerjee, the win came unexpectedly. “I just wanted to win a round; I didn’t expect this, he added. “This was way beyond my wildest dreams,”
The last Indian who won the junior singles title at the Australian Open in 2009 was Yuki Bhambri. Before him, Leander Paes in 1990 (Wimbledon) and 1991 (US Open), Ramesh Krishnan in 1979 (French Open and Wimbledon) and Ramanathan Krishnan in 1954 (Wimbledon) won junior singles Majors.
There was an all-American conclusion to the boy’s singles event for the first time in six years after 1977 as Banerjee comes from New Jersey and Lilov is from North Carolina.
The Indian-origin boy started his professional tennis career last year. With five titles on the ITF tour, he ranked 19 in the world at the junior French Open. Banerjee has also reached the final of 10 of the 17th tournaments he has featured in.
After beating Sascha Gueymard Wayenburg from France in the semi-finals, Samir has been unstoppable during the final matches at Wimbledon.
Despite such a win, Banerjee may not continue the tour as he is expected to pursue a degree in economics or political science at Columbia University.
Although Banerjee was born in American, he has Indian roots. His father, Kunal, is from Assam and his mother, Usha, hails from Hyderabad; and they migrated to the United States in the mid-1980s and got married there.