Sydney Jacob thread

All posts regarding past greats should be made under this heading.

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
Posts: 36569
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 6:04 pm
Please enter the middle number: 1
Location: New Delhi / Kolkata

Sydney Jacob thread

Post by PKBasu »

RajitGhosh has pointed out in another thread that SM Jacob was the first Indian to make the SF of a Slam -- the French Open in 1925. He was then 46 years old -- and this was truly a remarkable achievement.

But it appears that Sydney M Jacob was a Britisher who played Davis Cup for India -- having been born in Kasauli in 1879. I am not entirely sure that we could (or should) claim him as an Indian, as he was representing British India, and chose to live in Britain after our Independence (and died in Surrey in 1977, at the ripe old age of 98).

He made the QF in singles at Wimbledon in 1925, after also making the Olympic singles QF in 1924. Here is his Wimbledon file, which includes a doubles SF (and singles R4) in 1921: ... index.html

The Wikipedia entry for the 1925 French Open (the first time non-French players were allowed to participate) has Sydney Jacob shown as a Britisher, losing to Lacoste (yes, he of the crocodile-branded T-shirts...) in the singles SF (with one of the Fyzee brothers making the PQF that year too): ... 6bih%3D838

(There was also a "Y. Das De Kapurthala" representing Britain: Y probably stands for Yuvaraj...or the prince of Kapurthala in Punjab; the Indian princes preferred to think of themselves as British -- as, for instance, Ranjitsinhji, who expressly forbade his nephew Duleep to play for India -- insisting that he should continue to play cricket for England instead).

Posts: 1194
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:04 am
Antispam: No
Please enter the middle number: 5

Re: Sydney Jacob thread

Post by rajitghosh »

His case is a bit like that of Norman Pritchard who won 2 silvers at the 1900 Olympics.

But this brings out another interesting topic of Indians not allowing people of other countries who either became Indian citizens or are PIOs to represent India. Even today, the English cricket team is more of a Commonwealth team. The French football team had utilized services of people from outside. India rather banned it. As a result, PIOs like Prakash Amritraj and Sunitha Rao had to stop playing for India. It may have helped Indian sports in a big way. I remember the footballer Michael Chopra, who played in the EPL wanting to play for India. On the other hand we had footballers like Cheema Okerie who could have become Indian citizens given the amount of time they spent here (he even had an Indian wife) and played for India.
At least SM Jacob did well for India in the Davis Cup and Olympics.