Kolkata, Jan 26: Abhishek Mukherjee can be called the only representation in Grand Slam tennis championship singles matches from India and Bengal for the last 11 years. He is the only international tennis umpire from Bengal and he is the 3rd man in his business from the country.
The 38-year-old umpire was a player himself. He was the 5th ranked player in the state. He went to Cuttack to participate in a national championship. But the number of umpires, assigned to officiate matches in that national championship was not adequate. So, he was all of a sudden asked to officiate one of the matches, standing from the line. That was the beginning.
Abhishek is getting a special award from the organising committee of Australian Open this season. This reward is the recognition of him officiating matches for consecutive 10 years in Australian Open.
He has been the first man to receive this recognition. Abhishek who left for Taiwan to officiate matches in the WTA women's Grand Prix on Wednesday (January 25), said, "I get surprised sometimes to see my journey. I sometimes recall the nostalgic memory thinking that how much lucky I have been. Being a line umpire I had opportunities to see the world's greatest tennis players from such a close distance. Even I had opportunities to talk or to shake hands with some of them."
In last 11 years of his umpiring career, Abhishek has officiated in 32 Grand Slams.
Now, he has been promoted to more responsible job. He is now in-charge of Hawk-Eye department. In the ongoing Australian Open he was also in-charge of Hawk-Eye, till the quarter-finals.
Abhishek does not seem to be ecstatic with the reward he is receiving from Australian Open. He has dreams of becoming Grand Slam supervisor. He also wants to conduct at least one match as chair umpire in a Grand Slam.
What was his gain in the ongoing Australian Open? Special award? Abhishek said, "I am extremely happy to have been informed about the special award I will receive being the first Indian tennis umpire. But if you ask me about the gain I must say watching magnificent Roger Federer once again after a span of eight years."