Boys singles winner Samir Banerjee brought some kind of joy to desi audiences in London’s SW 19 quarters, after all Indian players had crashed out by mid-second week at the Wimbledon 2021. The Indian-origin, 17-year-old defeated fellow American Victor Lilov in straight sets 7-6, 6-3 to clinch the title.

 

“There were a lot of Indians there, supporting me a lot. I really appreciated that. Some were shouting very loudly, some asked me for photographs afterwards. I’m obviously not from India, I’m American. But having Indian relatives and parents, it makes me appreciate the culture and everything that goes with it,” he told the Indian Express later.

Here’ss what we know about him:

Indian Parents

 

Banerjee’s father was born in Assam, and his mother was brought up in Andhra Pradesh. They both migrated to the USA in the mid-1980s before getting married there. Samir was born in 2004 and lives with his family in New Jersey. He started his pro tennis career as recently as last year.

Strong Start

 

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The teenager has already won five titles, all of them on clay. He has reached the final of 10 of the 17 tournaments he has featured in so far, but crashed out in the first round of his maiden grand slam appearance at the French Open this year.

Wimbledon Underdog

 

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Banerjee, who entered Wimbledon ranked No. 19 in the boys’ rankings, was not among the favourites to lift silverware this week, not even close, and testified by his unseeded status. “He served better, he returned a bit better and he had control of most of the match,” his opponent Lilov said after the match.

Net Advantage

The 6-ft-2 teenager has the tendency of coming up to the net, winning 17 of his 19 approach shots in the final. According to experts, it’s something very unusual for young players, who like to stay at the baseline.

College Calling?

 

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Despite the Wimbledon win, his future remains unclear due to (guess what?) academics. He’s contemplating his decision to enter the US college tennis stream, with Columbia University lined up next year. “I’ll have to make a decision later on because I still have another year before I go to college,” he said in an interview. Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, it seems.

Image credits: Instagram/@SamirBanerjee_, @Wimbledon