Naib Subedar N Sriram Balaji shot into prominence as he became the first player in the history of the Indian Army to qualify for the Wimbledon main draw. The Indian Army took to their Twitter to appreciate him for his success. In what was truly an incredible experience, he partnered with friend Vishnu Vardhan for their maiden Grand Slam appearance.
When the Coimbatore boy was 10 years old, he was ranked first in India in the Under-12 tennis category, carving out a reputation for himself as a successful tennis player at a young age itself. Then 16 years later, the 26-year-old Sriram has become the first man from the Indian Army to qualify for the Wimbledon. What an achievement! Simply superb!
A proud cadet at Bengaluru’s historic Madras Engineering Regiment, Sriram has won five ATP Challenger Cups, since 2017, the year he joined Madras Sappers. Currently, he is appointed as a Junior Commissioned Officer, he qualified for the iconic tournament in the men’s doubles category after he and his friend, Vishnu Vardhan, comprehensively trounced Denys Molchanov and Igor Zelenay 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of qualifiers to script history.
Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan will be the only Indian pair to have spiced it up in this year’s edition, and this was the maiden Grand Slam appearance for both professionals, according to The News Minute. Interestingly, in May this year, the duo clinched the doubles title in the ATP Challenger tourney held at Samarkand in Uzbekistan.
Sriram also won a Davis Cup match in the doubles category against Uzbekistan in 2017. His rank is 117 worldwide. In a candid chat with The Scroll after coming through flying colours the ATP Challenger circuit, Sriram said, “It’s definitely another step forward in our career. We believe we can go deeper in the tournament. We are playing good and we are confident. But we would like to take it a step a time.”