Meet Indian women’s tennis pioneer – Nirupama Mankad

Nirupama is the daughter of G. Vasant, a leading tennis player in India in his time. She was born on 17th January 1947 in Karachi (now in Pakistan). Her husband, the late Ashok Mankad (eldest son of Vinoo Mankad) was a former Indian test cricketer. Their son Harsh Mankad played Davis Cup for India between 2001-2010.

Nirupama Mankad with her husband Ashok Mankad

Nirupama is the first Indian woman in the modern era to play at a main draw of a Grand Slam. She played Wimbledon Junior event in 1965 and partnered Anand Amritraj in the mixed doubles event in 1971, reaching the second round.

Nirupama at the Wimbledon court

She was India’s top ranked player between 1965 and1978. Nirupama won the Asian women’s tennis championship in 1965 at the age of 17. She also won the National championship 7 times during this period.

Article on Nirupama from 1986

Her main competition through most of her career was with Kiran Bedi and Susan Das, but they were second to Mankad on the court. A two time Asian champion and Fed Cup player Nirupama was honoured with Arjuna Award in 1980.

Nirupama receiving the award

In those days, it was difficult for Indian women to venture overseas and play regularly on the pro tour. But Nirupama managed to win 9 singles ITF titles including one in Nairobi, Kenya. She also has more than 10 doubles titles on the ITF circuit.

In a family where sport runs in the blood, Nirupama Mankad introduced tennis to India way before it was mainstream. We as Indian tennis fans are thankful for her contribution to the sport.

source : Wikipedia, Mankad wordpress & PKB Sir

1 Comment

  1. Arjuna Awards in India are introduced for recognising the exceptional accomplishments of the players in National sports. Arjuna Awards were introduced by the Government of India in the year 1961. Arjuna Award includes a bronze statue of Arjuna, a scroll and a cash reward of Rs. 5, 00, 000. The Government of India has recently revised the scheme for the Arjuna Award. According to the guidelines, to be eligible for the Award, a sportsperson should not only have had good performance consistently for the previous four years at the international level with excellence for the year for which the Award is recommended, but should also have shown qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline.

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