26-year-old Sriram is a Junior Commissioned Officer at the Madras Engineering Group in Bengaluru.

Sriram Balaji becomes first Indian army man to qualify for Wimbledon
Sports Tennis Friday, June 29, 2018 - 09:43

N Sriram Balaji created history on Wednesday when he became the first player from the Indian army to reach the main draw of Wimbledon. 

26-year-old Sriram is a Junior Commissioned Officer at the Madras Engineering Group (MEG) in Bengaluru.

He qualified for the prestigious tournament in the Men's Doubles category after he and his partner Vishnu Vardhan defeated Denys Molchanov and Igor Zelenay 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of qualifiers. 

With that, the duo of Sriram and Vishnu will be the only Indian pair to feature in this year's edition and it will also be the maiden Grand Slam appearance for both players.

The Indian Army celebrated Sriram’s achievement through a tweet. 

Sriram, who hails from Coimbatore, started his career in 2000 at the age of 10 and was ranked first in the Under-12 category in the country in 2002. He joined the MEG or 'Madras Sappers' in 2017 and has won five ATP Challenger Cups.

In May, the same pair won the Doubles title in the ATP Challenger tournament held at Samarkand in Uzbekistan. 

A year ago, Sriram won a Davis Cup match in the doubles category against Uzbekistan. He currently has a Doubles world ranking of 117. 

Another player from Tamil Nadu, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, doubled the joy for Indian fans by qualifying for Wimbledon along with his partner Austin Krajicek from USA. This will be the second time Jeevan is playing at SW19 having featured in the tournament in 2017.  

Meanwhile, Ankita Raina, who was bidding to become the first Indian woman to feature in the Women's singles category of a Grand Slam since Sania Mirza at the Australian Open in 2012, lost in the qualifiers. She was beaten 2-6, 7-5, 4-6 by Russia's world number 132 Vitalia Diatchenko. 

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