Meet Rita Müller-Davar, first Indian to reach a Grand Slam singles finals

In 1952, 17 y/o Rita Davar became the first ever Indian tennis player to make it to the finals of a grand slam in the singles category. The Wimbledon draw of ladies junior singles category witnessed 12 players in the main draw with India’s Rita Davar being the only non European player to feature in the draw.

Rita was up a set and had a couple of match points in the finals but her dutch opponent stood strong and emerged victorious.

The next few years saw Rita at her prime form as she became India’s No 1 female tennis player. Davar won the Indian Nationals and the All India Hard Court Championships in 1953 & 1954.

In 1955, Rita Davar partnered with Ramanathan Krishnan in the Mixed Doubles event of the Wimbledon Championships and the pair reached the 3rd round where they went down to the eventual finalists and 2nd seeds.

The 1956 edition of Wimbledon was the final tournament of Rita Davar’s career and her presence on the tennis courts was not known since. She was last reported to be living in Germany in 2001.

“..about a dozen women players took part in the National championship then and about six in the South India championship. “To make up for the draw, the entries will be filled with dummy names like `Bat, ball, volley and smash.’ The first girl to break the tradition was a Panjabi girl from Calcutta, Rita Davar. She reached the junior final at Wimbledon in 1952 and was on match point. I was a witness to that. Later she married a German and I have not heard about her since.”

– Ramanathan Krishnan

Bustee Welfare Center (BWC) – The vision and humanity of Shiela Davar (Mother of Rita Davar)

In late 1960s, Shiela Davar decided to do something about the unspeakable plight of Kolkata’s street children, especially since there were hardly any aid organizations at the time. She recognized that the only sustainable help for these children is to provide them with an education. From these humble but dedicated beginnings, the Bustee Welfare Center eventually grew.

BWC founder Shiela Davar

Shiela Davar died in 1997, but her strength and optimism are still alive at BWC today. Her daughter Rita Müller-Davar, founder of Children’s Aid India eV , succeeded her and did a lot for the fruitful cooperation between Germany and India.

Children’s Aid India eV

Children’s Aid India eV was founded by Rita Müller-Davar in the early 1970s in Baden-Baden – at that time still called “Aktion Indien”. She came to Germany through her marriage to the composer Rolf Müller. In order to support the Bustee Welfare Center founded by her mother, Rita Müller-Davar began to recruit people for donations and sponsorships. She also ran a shop selling handicrafts and products from her homeland – the profits went straight to Calcutta. Her strong personal commitment bore fruit, thanks to many donations from Germany, a plot of land on Love Lock Street could be purchased, on which the main building has stood since 1985. 

Rita Muller-Davar

Many members of Kinderhilfe Indien eV support one or more sponsored children and thus make a very personal contribution to making a better future possible for the children from the bustees and their families.

PS : Credit to and The Bridge for the information

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