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The Trivandrum Tennis Club – A Brief History

The game of Tennis was not a very popular sport in the erstwhile Travancore State. It was in 1937 that the idea of starting a Tennis Club in Trivandrum dawned upon Lt Col Goda Varma Raja (Lt Col GV Raja, popularly known as Thirumeni), Prince Consort of Her Highness Karthika Thirunal Thampuratty, sister of His Highness Sree Chitra Thirunal, then Maharaja of Travancore.

The first General Body meeting of the proposed Club (to be called The trivandrum Tennis Club) was held on 11 November 1937. The Office of the Club was located in Radhapurakkunnu at Sasthamangalam Junction, Trivandrum.

Lt Col GV Raja gave a major boost to the game in the City by managing to bring Bill Tilden and his team to visit Trivandrum and play an exhibition match on January 30, 1938 at a specially constructed court in the Travancore University Stadium. The distinguished patronage and august presence of HH Sri Chitra Thirunal and the Royal Family of Travancore made the event all the more memorable.

The Trivandrum Tennis Club was formally inaugurated on 1st February1938 at Sasthamangalam, with Lt Col GV Raja as President. The Club premise with a three-room building was taken on lease from Captain V. P. Thampi on a lease rent of Rs.5/- per month. Two tennis courts were laid out and a cement wall at one end of the Club premises made provision for wall practice.

There were eleven members on the day of the inauguration.
Captain Goda Varma Raja (President)
Mr T. P. K. Nayar (Secretary & Treasurer)
Mrs D.H. Watts
Mr C. V. Chandrasekharan
Mr A. N. Thampi
Mr M. K. Govinda Pillai
Dr K. L. Moudgill
Mr T. K. Gopalan Nayar
Mr S. N. Ure
Lt. Col. H. L. Watkis
Mr C. R. Pattabhiraman

During1938-39 nine more members joined the Club. The Yuvaraja of Pithapuram,President of the All India Lawn Tennis Association, was inducted as Honorary member of the Club during the same year. His Highness late Sree ChitraThirunal, Maharaja of Travancore, graciously consented to be the Patron-in-chief of the Club. His Highness the Elayaraja and Her Excellency the first Princess of Travancore agreed to be Patrons. Later, Princess Gouri ParvathyBayi and Princess Gouri Laxmi Bayi also became Patrons of the Club.

Tennis coaching to youngsters was the top priority of the Club from Day one. Mr. Ranbir Singh, All India Lawn Twnnis Association official coach, stayed at Trivandrum for coaching in 1940. After Mr. Singh's departure Mr.T.K. Neelakanta Iyer was appointed as Coach. The All India Lawn Tennis Association Coach Mr. Noor Mohammed was resident here during 1955-56for a few months to give intensive coaching to the boys and girls at TTC tennis courts. A regional coaching center sanctioned by the Kerala Sports Council started functioning at the Club during 1977. Sri. N. Krishnaswamy (NIS coach)and Gopakumar were also sent to Delhi for advanced coaching under DougMaccurdy of USA. Several trainers of national and international standing have donned the role of coaches at……

1950-51 was a year of signal importance to the Club. In 1950 the Club was invited by the Government to occupy land at Kowdiar on a free lease for 25years (subsequently extended in 1975 for a further 50 years) for setting up tennis courts and promote the game of tennis. The force behind this gesture was the late K.G.Menon, then Chief Secretary of Travancore-Cochin State. The construction of the Club building was also begun that year. The entire construction cost of the building was borne by Life Member subscription and donations. Subscription for Life Membership then was Rs. 1000. By the end of 1951 the construction was completed for a total cost of Rs. 1,07,457 and the building was formally inaugurated on 9th January 1952.

The Trivandrum Tennis Club was registered as a Charitable Society in 1983. The following were the members of the first Executive Committee who were signatories to the Memorandum of Association.

Dr P. P. Paulose (President)
C. Narayana Menon (Vice-President)
P. Sreekumar (Hon. Secretary)
B. Govind Krishna Kumar (Hon. Treasurer)
N. T. Menon (Member)
K. K. Kamath (Member)
N. Gopinathan (Member)
P. A. Goda Varma Raja (Member)
S. V. Pandit (Member)
V. Ramkumar (Member)
N. Gopalakrishnan Nair (Member)

The Trivandrum Tennis Club, over the years, developed into one of the premier tennis institutions in the country and today has an enviable infrastructure consisting of 9 tennis courts, a Club house for various indoor games and gymnasium, and guest rooms and dining facilities that have enabled it to obtain affiliations with similar sports clubs and associations on a global level.

The Club celebrates 75 years of existence in its Platinum Year 2012-13.