Nandu Natekar — the sorcerer who used the racket like a magic wand-Sports News , Novi Reporter

Nandu Natekar — the sorcerer who used the racket like a magic wand-Sports activities Information , Novi Reporter

Nandu Natekar’s matches via the Nineteen Fifties on the CCI and Bombay Gymkhana had salivating spectators queuing up for tickets in a single day, with a number of having to be turned away as a result of there was simply no extra space within the taking part in corridor.

Editor’s Notice: Nandu Natekar handed away this morning, aged 88. This piece has been republished in his remembrance. It was first printed on 31 March, 2020.

Probably the most pleasurable discussions that Indian badminton lovers can take pleasure in is to find out who’s the best badminton participant that this nation has produced. Opinion would possible swing between Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand, the one two Indians to win the distinguished All-England Championships — in 1980 and 2001, respectively.

For the older era who’ve witnessed top-quality badminton within the Nineteen Fifties and Nineteen Sixties, there can be a 3rd contender whom they’d stoutly take into account a shade above Prakash and Gopichand. For individuals who have been privileged to observe Nandu Natekar (at this time, simply six weeks shy of his 87th birthday) throughout his heyday, there can by no means once more be a participant who created a lot magic with a racket and a shuttlecock.

Nandu Natekar  the sorcerer who used the racket like a magic wand

Nandu Natekar

There was sorcery in Natekar’s wrists, and spectators marvelled on the pedigree of his strokes, the deception and accuracy which got here naturally to him. There was nary a hint of the brute pressure employed by the Europeans and Individuals; he was extra just like the Ranjitsinhji of cricket. A flick of the wrist was akin to the waving of a magician’s wand; and yet one more opponent can be jerked across the courtroom like a puppet on a string.

What a large repertoire of strokes he had, and what beautiful management over them! With the heavy Maxply Dunlop wooden-framed racket that he used throughout his heyday, in sharp contra-distinction to the ultra-light, hi-tech metal-alloy frames of at this time, he might ship the shuttle to the precise spot he needed.

“There’s something particular about sure delicate strokes in badminton,” Natekar says. “As soon as the shuttle comes up within the air from a serve, it may be hit again in so many alternative methods and in so many alternative instructions. Every part depends upon the ability of the participant, and his method of execution. In tennis, there will be solely two or three various returns towards service, however in badminton, the spots the place a return will be hit, and the methods of hitting it, are way more.”

And but, badminton nearly misplaced Natekar to tennis, a recreation which he claims to have all the time loved greater than the shuttle sport. Had it not been for the truth that he misplaced the 1951-52 Nationwide junior ultimate to none apart from Ramanathan Krishnan, India may not have had two consummate artists in as many sports activities. The frustration of dropping that nationwide ultimate made him flip extra to badminton.

Nandu Natekar  the sorcerer who used the racket like a magic wand

Nandu Natekar

Nandu Natekar  the sorcerer who used the racket like a magic wand

Ramanathan Krishnan with Nandu Natekar

Natekar’s was such a cool and swish fashion! It began with the service itself — a clear, lovely swing that despatched the hen hovering to the again of the alternative courtroom, to come back down nearly vertically on a spot a few inches from the baseline. In doubles play, it was an equally clear, simple motion that propelled the shuttle barely an inch over the online and made it very laborious to `faucet’.

See also  Sanjeet fetches lone gold among men as Amit Panghal, Shiva Thapa end with silver-Sports News , Novi Reporter

The person’s smash by no means had a lot energy, however was completely directed to the opponent’s waist or the armpit of the taking part in hand. Those that have performed the sport nicely will perceive the worth of this system. Even a half-smash to the center physique of the opponent could be very tough to get again. Natekar made the very best of gamers look silly as they tried to twist away from the shuttle that appeared, by some Oriental legerdemain, to be aimed toward their midriffs!

And his personal defence was so organised that the hen went again with minimal fuss — even when it was hit by the likes of Hammergaard Hansen, a Danish participant reputed to have the toughest smash of his time; it was recognized worldwide as `Hansen’s Hammer’ and the Dane might break the shuttle along with his uncooked energy.

It was the tight defence of Natekar and Manohar Bopardikar that took them to the Nationwide title in 1958, whereas the Natekar-Chandrakant Deoras mix took the nationwide crown thrice out of 4 years between 1960 and ’63, primarily as a result of they may get so many shuttles again.

Natekar’s management on the web was legendary, each from close to the online and from the backcourt. On the web, there was the tight dribble that had the shuttle, as a rule, just like the pet canine, “rolling over and taking part in lifeless”. From the backcourt, the drops and slices dipped sharply, falling nicely throughout the service line and dragging an opponent all the best way as much as the online.

The backhand was thought of the very best on this planet within the Nineteen Fifties. Each worldwide participant price his salt had a wholesome respect for the range that Natekar might produce from that flank. Not so a speedy, bouncy little Malayan by the identify of Eddie Choong, who had come to Bombay along with his brother David to take part in a match on the Bombay Gymkhana.

Nandu Natekar  the sorcerer who used the racket like a magic wand

Nandu Natekar with Pandit Bhimsen Joshi

Eddie, an All-England champion in his time, had a restricted array of strokes, however exercised nice management over them. He nearly all the time managed to take the overhead shot instead of the backhand. His ploy was to delay the rallies and let his personal prodigious stamina weigh within the stability.

On the eve of his assembly with Natekar, his brother and doubles companion David requested a bevy of Natekar admirers, with rhetoric in his tone, “Your Natekar has good backhand, sure? You need to see Natekar backhand tomorrow, and what Eddie does to it!”

And, positive sufficient, the following day, Eddie directed each shuttle deep to the Natekar deep backhand nook. Bouncing all around the courtroom like a soccer, he retrieved each considered one of Natekar’s delectable backhand photographs, sending the hen hovering again to the self-same nook. The thought was to show Natekar’s power right into a weak spot.

See also  What are 'fan tokens’, the cryptocurrency in Lionel Messi’s PSG package?-Sports News , Novi Reporter

It appeared initially as if Eddie was taking part in into Natekar’s fingers when the Indian garnered a number of factors with wristy deception, even making Eddie stumble and fall within the course of. However slowly and absolutely, the Malayan turned the tide. The spectators might see that the steam going out of the Indian’s strokes and noticed him pant with exertion.

Because the rallies obtained progressively longer, and the shuttle saved going excruciatingly again to that deep backhand nook, the sport started turning. Eddie extinguished the lead that Natekar had constructed up, solid forward and gained the sport narrowly. The second recreation, nevertheless, was a formality, as Natekar might barely increase his exhausted arm.

It was an essential lesson for the nice Natekar, and supplied the one purpose why he by no means obtained larger than No.4 on this planet in his prime. Certainly, inside India, he feared nobody apart from the ‘returning machine’, Dinesh Khanna, who repeatedly out-rallied him, and beat him on the power of far superior endurance.

Nandu Natekar  the sorcerer who used the racket like a magic wand

Nandu Natekar with Dinesh Khanna

By no means a stickler for reaching peak bodily health, Natekar misplaced some key matches at worldwide stage as a result of he was just too drained in the direction of the center of a protracted encounter to make the most of his rival’s weak photographs. No much less a shuttling legend than Wong Peng Quickly of Malaya stated of Nandu that, had he improved his health, there would have been no participant on this planet to the touch him.

When one seems on the method gamers nowadays are so uptight about their gear, worrying in regards to the appropriate stability and grip dimension on their rackets, it seems laughable to notice that Natekar not often performed along with his personal racket. He would request somebody sitting at courtside to lend him a racket, heft and check it for `really feel’, hit a number of photographs with it; and, if he preferred it, would keep on taking part in with it as if it had been his favorite racket for a while.

So acute was his notion of the strengths and weaknesses of his opponents that, even with a rival he was encountering for the primary time, he would hit a number of tosses, a number of drops, a number of half-paced smashes to the traces, then to the physique — and he was prepared to take advantage of the particular person’s weaknesses to the hilt. It was uncanny how he managed to do it each time.

“I gained the Gwalior Nationals in 1953, taking part in with Davinder Mohan’s racket,” recounts Natekar. “It was a Maxply Dunlop, which a variety of the highest gamers utilized in these days, but it surely had `Girls’ mannequin’ written on the shaft. Maybe it was marginally lighter than their gents’ mannequin, however I actually preferred its really feel, and requested Davinder to let me play all the match with it.”

On the courtroom, he was an intensive gentleman, by no means throwing a tantrum or questioning a linesman’s or umpire’s choice. His deportment and manners on courtroom have been all the time impeccable; and more often than not, he would let his racket do all of the speaking.

See also  England vs New Zealand: Trent Boult hopes playing second Test will help his 'game fitness' ahead of WTC final

Natekar performed the sport in the very best spirit — and the badminton-loving public beloved him. They might not get sufficient of the 1933-born lad who got here to Mumbai in 1949 as a 16-year-old from the small inside Maharashtra city of Sangli, particularly to additional his badminton profession.

On the PJ Hindu Gymkhana in 1954, spectators watching him win one of many umpteen titles he bagged at what had develop into his residence courtroom spontaneously carried out an impromptu assortment, which was named the `Natekar Fund’, to collect ample funds to ship him to the All-England Championships that yr.

The 21-year-old Natekar wouldn’t have been flattered had he challenged severely for the world’s most coveted title, however he was stopped on the quarter-final stage by the Danish power-hitter Hansen, recognized higher for his fearsome doubles mixture with Finn Kobbero. The chilly of London in February-March and lack of acclimatisation labored towards the Indian, and he was nowhere close to his greatest throughout that encounter.

Nevertheless, his clashes via the Nineteen Fifties on the CCI and Bombay Gymkhana with the likes of Kobbero, Eddie, Erland Kops, et al had salivating spectators queuing up for tickets in a single day, with a number of having to be turned away as a result of there was simply no extra space within the taking part in corridor. These type of crowds are merely to not be seen nowadays at even worldwide competitions held in any a part of India.

Natekar’s greatest yr within the Nationals got here at Amritsar in 1961 when he took residence all three titles at stake — the singles on the expense of Indonesian Nona (six Indonesians participated within the Indian Nationals that yr), the lads’s doubles in tandem with Chandrakant Deoras and the combined with Manda Kelkar.

His all-round abilities have been put to best use within the Thomas Cup matches, wherein he represented India for over a decade. Nandu was the bulwark round which the Indian staff’s efficiency revolved as he invariably performed 4 of the 5 matches in every tie.

There’s extra to Natekar’s persona than simply badminton. An amazing lover of music, he counts vocalists Lata Mangeshkar and the late Pandit Bhimsen Joshi amongst his associates. After the enforced finish of his 60-year love affair with badminton and tennis, due to rickety knees, he began swinging a imply membership on the golf course, and labored for some time in the direction of bringing his handicap right down to single digits. Poor well being over the previous couple of years has severely restricted his {golfing} outings.

Nandu Natekar  the sorcerer who used the racket like a magic wand

Nandu Natekar with Lata Mangeshkar

The Natekar household is without doubt one of the few to have given to Indian sport a father-and-son mixture that has performed at worldwide stage in two completely different sports activities. Like Leander Paes went into tennis whilst father Vece had excelled in hockey, Gaurav Natekar has finished Davis Cup tennis obligation for India which father Nandu so almost ended up doing. Tennis’ loss, within the latter occasion, was badminton’s achieve.

The author is a former veterans’ world champion (50+ age group males’s doubles, Kuala Lumpur 2004), an eight-time Nationwide champion, and a 13-time Maharashtra state veterans’ doubles title holder.

#Nandu #Natekar #sorcerer #racket #magic #wandSports #Information #Novi Reporter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *