At 29, Prakash Amritraj walked away from the game ‘a skinny guy’ with shoulder issues. Seven years later, he is the main tennis presenter, ‘higher actor’ than father Vijay and follower of workout regimens of ‘The Rock.’
Across the arena, on the opposite end of the phone, Prakash Amritraj talks with labored breath. Each sentence is broken up by way of an audible and desperate gulp of air, and it doesn’t take long for him to recognize this. “Sorry,” he apologizes earnestly. “Bear with me right here. I’m within the center of my first training session. I get more than one work-outs accomplished earlier than I get into my day.” He’s at a health club in Indian Wells, California, going through the first checkbox in his cautiously designed morning habitual. First on a listing is an exercise he’s taken up lately – fasted cardio – one which changed into inspired with the aid of a sure Dwayne Johnson – higher referred to as ‘The Rock.’ “I’m doing plenty of aerobic workout routines before eating anything,” he explains. “Then I devour my breakfast. Blueberries, oats… the good things.”
The 35-12 months-antique has been on this adventure to super-health considering that 2013. Armed with unwavering willpower, he’s visible his once skinny frame rework right into a specimen that might rival the most avid of frame-developers. Every pound of weight lifted at the gym is with cause, and every morsel of food he eats is measured.
This has been the way he’s lived his existence each day for the reason that he left the day job that he becomes widely recognized for tennis. After going via a reconstructive shoulder surgery six years ago, Amritraj, who became once India’s highest ranked singles player, has moved on from his days of playing tennis professionally to make inroads into the world of film production, performing, and his present-day adventure: sports activities imparting.
The closing endeavor took him to Acapulco, Mexico final week, in which he watched the ATP 500 event from the sidelines and interviewed players after their fits. After one unique sport, Rafael Nadal dutifully walked over to Amritraj who became waiting on the edge of the courtroom. The Spaniard, the Hulk of the tennis global, became outsized via his interviewer. Amritraj had on a white polo t-shirt with sleeves stretched to the max that could barely cross over his biceps (“I have a splendid tailor,” he says gently).
“All of the players who see me now,” he says, “are surprised. They used to recognize me as the thin man at the excursion. As for Rafa, my biceps are virtually bigger than his. Let’s get that clear proper now.” The remaining time Amritraj performed a competitive tennis suit was in July 2013, when he changed into nevertheless just 29. At the time, the former international no 154 required reconstructive shoulder surgical procedure, but it caused the selection from him to no longer get lower back to the excursion. “When you’re younger, and also you don’t have a good deal attitude, your thoughts are closed,” he says. “I used to assume that tennis is existence and lifestyles is tennis, and that became it. You quickly comprehend that you don’t assume past your tennis existence while you’re younger, and while you’re completed, you suddenly think, ‘oh wait, there are another 70 years left in lifestyles.’”
“When you’re schooling 8 hours a day to your complete life, a number of your day is based around that,” he explains. “So a lot of my lifestyles become based totally on physical ache and physical schooling. Everybody knows me for my work ethic and subject. So for me to just shut that down someday, I would lose my thoughts. A lot of people do it with golf after tennis; some do it with poker to position that competitive pressure into something else. I could in no way carry weights when I turned into gambling tennis, but I usually enjoyed it. So I commenced entering into that.” There’s a set of images Amritraj has on his cellphone, all split-monitors of the before-and-after kind. On one aspect, he poses topless with a hint of put up-surgical procedure weight around the midriff in a picture dated September 2013. On the proper, he’s flexing his muscle mass as a body-builder could. A layer of sweat brings out a glow because the camera captures the bulging biceps, the chiseled torso, and those difficult-earned six-percent abs. The ‘after’ image changed into taken in September 2018. The paintings ethic with which he performed his chip-and-price game did now not allow him to enter a health club and play the function of an instructor’s puppet. Just lifting weights to fill the void tennis had left was now not going to be enough for him. He went out of the way to find out about vitamins, and what all it takes to earn the body he now has, even training under the tutelage of renowned Hollywood instructor Corey Calliet – whom Sylvester Stallone once called ‘the Picasso of the frame.’ “He weighs his food within the morning,” says his father Vijay Amritraj, a former international no 18 and the maximum decorated Indian singles participant within the Open Era. “He chefs his food, so he is aware of what’s getting in. He takes these types of meals to the numerous meetings that he goes to. Who does that? People who see him need to do it, but they don’t.” So full-size is Amritraj junior’s information of nutrition that he asserts some modern tour players have approached him for recommendations on their diet. At the equal time, Prakash has also helped out some friends of sixty five-year-vintage Vijay. “I can write a book on nutrition now,” Prakash says. “I simplest desire I knew all this once I was playing. But it’s crazy that I’m eating six food an afternoon now, which doesn’t sense sufficient, and once I turned into gambling, I ate three food a day and changed into full.” The fitness regimen he has set up for himself leaves him no time for distractions, or excuses for that depend. He recollects a time closing yr while his presenting and statement paintings wished him to cover a tour event in Beijing from the studio inside the United States. “My name time changed into 4:30 within the morning due to the time distinction. So I became at the gymnasium at 1:00 am regular.” A cellphone name from India at some stage in a grinding fasted exercise is less complicated. In 2010, Amritraj, still 27 at the time, found that his love for the game had started to dwindle. That harm took him off the excursion didn’t assist both. But it turned into then that he first delved into the different passion he had recognized since he was an infant, the artwork of movie. He auditioned at a Los Angeles studio run by way of famed performing educate Jocelyn Jones to study the change better. “That converted my craft as an actor due to the fact you’re training with individuals who’ve carried out so much in performing,” Amritraj says. “It spread out my eyes and my angle.” He did return to the excursion even though, for one final fling two years later in August 2012. But that lasted only until July the subsequent year when he ultimately referred to as it quits at the age of 29. “I had beaten so many gamers who are sitting inside the pinnacle 20-30 right now and that they’re all playing nicely into their 30s,” he says. “I may want to have; I should have saved going, genuinely. But after I had the reconstructive shoulder surgical operation, I had an unusual perspective approximately everything. I thought about all of the things I desired to do in life. I become starting from scratch in one’s careers. It became the right time to head beforehand and chase all of that instead of chase all of that when I was 35-forty.” Till date, Amritraj has labored as co-manufacturer and govt manufacturer in Escape Plan: The Extractors and Untogether respectively – he even had a performing function inside the latter. As such, he’s observed in his father’s footsteps. Back in 1983, the senior Amritraj had played a cameo in the James Bond film Octopussy, and later had a function in the Star Trek series before entering into manufacturing and tennis commentary. It’s also led to three comparisons in the own family. “From the paintings and education I’ve achieved, dad says I’m a better actor,” Amritraj says. “But listen, he becomes in a James Bond movie. You can’t argue with that.” Father Vijay concurs: “Like his tennis, he’s worked very difficulty at his appearing. His performing is lots of extra-scientific and expert and by way of the book. I become precisely the other.” Of late though, the younger Amritraj has been preserving busy visiting the arena along with his new role as tennis presenter. It’s given him the risk to go to tournaments he never was given to play in, and at the same time, gave him time to excursion the metropolis. In Acapulco remaining week – where he by no means played all through his time on an excursion – he managed to slot a few ‘adventures’ into his agenda. “As a participant, it was simply courts and hotels, courts and accommodations. Now I’m honestly looking to soak up everything around the globe,” he says. “We were staying at the beach, so I did jet-snowboarding, ATV-using after which, I become about 2 miles within the sky, zip-lined all the manner across the land and the ocean. It became outstanding.” Shortly after Indian Wells and the Miami Masters, he’ll journey to Europe for the clay season. And he’s already were given some matters coated up on his schedule. “In Rome, I virtually need to visit the Colosseum, and Monte Carlo is right there by the water…” These days his baggage throughout travel consists of a pleasing crisp in shape and “anything (he desires) for the gym.” Amritraj is not any stranger to traveling – he’s been at it considering that he changed into a toddler when he used to accompany his father all through tournaments. “Prakash had a second passport while he turned into two,” Vijay recollects. “But he nicely behaved for the duration of the journey. He slept at the plane if the food became past due it didn’t matter. The simplest time he’d cry become while he had to get a shot due to the fact he becomes afraid of the needle. Interestingly, if you have to attract blood these days for a blood test, he needs you employing his aspect. I guess the early idea manner hardly ever leaves you completely.” There had been some occasions though while the then child Prakash could make his presence felt from the stands. During an exhibition healthy in Hong Kong while Prakash became just over a yr vintage, he cried to see his father gambling on the court docket. “That became in opposition to John McEnroe, and he said ‘close up’ to the stands, and I jumped again at him announcing, ‘hey, that’s my youngster you’re speaking to,’ and all people had an excellent snicker,” Vijay remembers. He describes another incident: “In Tokyo within the quarterfinals of the Japan Open (1984), my wife Shyamala become sitting courtside with him. She grew to become to speak to someone, and Prakash walked off to the middle of the court docket calling me in front of eight,000 Japanese and Ivan Lendl on the alternative aspect of the court. So I picked him up and pretended I changed into playing with him in my hands. I’ve in no way visible 8000 Japanese revels in something a lot. And surprisingly sufficient, that’s the first time I saw Lendl smile on court.” By the time Amritraj senior retired in January 1993, he had won sixteen Tour titles – nonetheless the record for an Asian player. He had set the bar high for any Indian singles participant that followed, let alone his very own son. In hindsight, Prakash asserts that there perhaps changed into some strain because of his father’s legacy. “I didn’t feel it at the time but looking returned, yeah. The minute I was born, it changed into announced on every piece of media you can locate in the global,” Prakash says. “Anytime I did whatever; the papers have been throughout me in a manner that never would be finished if I wasn’t his son.” Vijay recollects a Davis Cup tie in 1985 held in Bangalore against Sweden. Then much less than, Prakash had an ‘infant racquet’ and changed into hitting a ball along the floor to his father who would hit it lower back. This becomes moments earlier than Vijay become to play Mats Wilander. “Someone took a photograph and ran it in the paper next day with the caption: ‘Will Prakash ever play Davis Cup for India?’” Amritraj senior says. “20 years later India turned into playing Sweden in Delhi, Wilander became the captain, and I changed into helping Prakash. They took a photo of me with Prakash at the baseline and ran a complete-page of both images aspect-by means of-facet. The caption said, ‘Amritraj Act 2.’” Both father and son recall that photo and count number it as certainly one of their preferred moments no matter how the one’s Davis Cup ties ended. Prakash’s career in assessment to his fathers became much shorter, lasting best ten years, and didn’t have any of the glittering titles Vijay captured – though he did attain the final of the ATP in Newport in 2008. But it’s inside the few moments in his career that he finds a sense of belonging, a feeling of fulfillment. He recites a reminiscence of looking his father trailing -sets down and dealing with strong points in opposition to former global no 10 Martin Jaite in a 1987 World Group Davis Cup tie towards Argentina in New Delhi. Vijay got here returned to win that in shape in 5 sets. “When we had been playing Japan in 2008, I was playing Go Soeda, changed into trailing by using sets and dealing with strong points, on the same courtroom. And then I got here lower back to win eight-6 within the 5th set,” Prakash says. “Those type of moments make you experience such as you’re a part of something.” Prakash has managed to trap his breath now, as he starts offevolved making ready his breakfast. He’s learned to multi-assignment now – it’s a device that ensures not anything distracts him from his workout routines. Hours later he’s anticipated to get to the Indian Wells courts for his imparting work. Vijay laughs when requested what he thinks about his son’s transformation. Then he offers: “It’s likely the primary time in which the interviewer is asking better than the interviewee. All folks cowl ourselves with a coat and tie and I think all of us appearance pretty exact in that. But there aren’t many human beings which could put on what he wears and escape with it.” It’s a one of a kind line of labor that Prakash follows now as compared to what changed into was hoping and anticipated of him while performed on tour. But there are no regrets. “I sense that what I’m doing proper now,” he says, “I feel that that is definitely what I’m supposed to do.”