I’m an ex-US Open star who swapped tennis career to feature in James Bond movie and become Miss Universe judge

VIJAY AMRITRAJ swapped serves for spies in a dramatic career change that saw him feature in a James Bond movie. The Indian ace, now 69, is one of three brothers to have become international tennis players. GettyVijay Amritraj enjoyed a superb tennis career including 15 singles titles[/caption] He beat both Bjorn Borg, left, and Rod Laver, right, at the US OpenInstagram @vijayamritraj007 Amritraj made his acting debut in the James Bond film OctopussyInstagram @vijayamritraj007 But Anand and Ashok do not have the claim to fame of being Bond or Star Trek actors – unlike their iconic sibling. Vijay enjoyed a successful tennis career across 23 years on the professional tour, reaching a high of No18 in the rankings. His major breakthrough came in 1973 when he got to the Wimbledon quarter-finals then backed it up by beating the legendary Rod Laver on his way to the last eight at the US Open. Amritraj reached the quarters at Flushing Meadows again in 1974, this time seeing off Bjorn Borg before losing to Ken Rosewall – just as he had a year earlier. His fourth and final Grand Slam quarter-final came at Wimbledon in 1981 where he led Jimmy Connors by two sets, only to lose in five. Amritraj also secured a famous victory over John McEnroe at the 1984 Cincinnati Masters. Incredibly, that came a year after his breakthrough acting moment – landing a gig in the superb Octopussy James Bond film. The 6ft 4ins tennis star made his debut on the big screen as he played an MI6 intelligence operative conveniently named Vijay. His character met 007, played by Roger Moore, in India and even used a tennis racket as a weapon before eventually being killed by assassins. Amritraj was the first actor to be cast in the hit film after meeting producer Albert R Broccoli while playing at Wimbledon. He appeared in Nine Deaths of the Ninja and then had a brief cameo as a Starfleet officer in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. However, the Madras-born ace was not done with tennis just yet and reached his second Davis Cup final with India in 1987 as they were thrashed by Sweden. Amritraj eventually retired from the sport in 1993 with 16 singles titles to his name and $1.3million in career prize money. But he remained in the public spotlight in TV shows The Last Precinct and What A Country – and even featured on the judging panel of the Miss Universe pageant. The star hosted a CNN TV talk show and was appointed as an ambassador for peace by the United Nations in 2001. He has used that role – and his own foundation launched five years later – to raise awareness on the impact of drugs as well as fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS. The tennis Hall of Famer is married to wife Shymala. They live in California and have two sons – Prakash and Vikram – with the older one following in his dad’s footsteps as a pro tennis player, playing in the US Open in 2002. That was Amritraj Jr’s s solo singles Grand Slam appearance, although he did reach the third round of Wimbledon doubles in 2009. Instagram @vijayamritraj007He also beat John McEnroe during his career[/caption] Instagram @vijayamritraj007Amritraj poses for a selfie with Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon[/caption] Instagram @rbonneynolaAmritraj was on the judging panel for a Miss Universe pageant[/caption] Instagram @vijayamritraj007Amritraj also appeared in Star Trek IV[/caption] Instagram @vijayamritraj007He is now an ambassador for peace with the UN[/caption] GettyAmritraj proved he could have landed the 007 gig by rocking this tux[/caption] Instagram @vijayamritraj007Amritraj remains involved in tennis after his four Grand Slam quarter-finals[/caption]

I’m an ex-US Open star who swapped tennis career to feature in James Bond movie and become Miss Universe judge

VIJAY AMRITRAJ swapped serves for spies in a dramatic career change that saw him feature in a James Bond movie.

The Indian ace, now 69, is one of three brothers to have become international tennis players.

Getty
Vijay Amritraj enjoyed a superb tennis career including 15 singles titles[/caption]
He beat both Bjorn Borg, left, and Rod Laver, right, at the US Open
Instagram @vijayamritraj007
Amritraj made his acting debut in the James Bond film Octopussy
Instagram @vijayamritraj007

But Anand and Ashok do not have the claim to fame of being Bond or Star Trek actors – unlike their iconic sibling.

Vijay enjoyed a successful tennis career across 23 years on the professional tour, reaching a high of No18 in the rankings.

His major breakthrough came in 1973 when he got to the Wimbledon quarter-finals then backed it up by beating the legendary Rod Laver on his way to the last eight at the US Open.

Amritraj reached the quarters at Flushing Meadows again in 1974, this time seeing off Bjorn Borg before losing to Ken Rosewall – just as he had a year earlier.

His fourth and final Grand Slam quarter-final came at Wimbledon in 1981 where he led Jimmy Connors by two sets, only to lose in five.

Amritraj also secured a famous victory over John McEnroe at the 1984 Cincinnati Masters.

Incredibly, that came a year after his breakthrough acting moment – landing a gig in the superb Octopussy James Bond film.

The 6ft 4ins tennis star made his debut on the big screen as he played an MI6 intelligence operative conveniently named Vijay.

His character met 007, played by Roger Moore, in India and even used a tennis racket as a weapon before eventually being killed by assassins.

Amritraj was the first actor to be cast in the hit film after meeting producer Albert R Broccoli while playing at Wimbledon.

He appeared in Nine Deaths of the Ninja and then had a brief cameo as a Starfleet officer in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

However, the Madras-born ace was not done with tennis just yet and reached his second Davis Cup final with India in 1987 as they were thrashed by Sweden.

Amritraj eventually retired from the sport in 1993 with 16 singles titles to his name and $1.3million in career prize money.

But he remained in the public spotlight in TV shows The Last Precinct and What A Country – and even featured on the judging panel of the Miss Universe pageant.

The star hosted a CNN TV talk show and was appointed as an ambassador for peace by the United Nations in 2001.

He has used that role – and his own foundation launched five years later – to raise awareness on the impact of drugs as well as fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The tennis Hall of Famer is married to wife Shymala.

They live in California and have two sons – Prakash and Vikram – with the older one following in his dad’s footsteps as a pro tennis player, playing in the US Open in 2002.

That was Amritraj Jr’s s solo singles Grand Slam appearance, although he did reach the third round of Wimbledon doubles in 2009.

Instagram @vijayamritraj007
He also beat John McEnroe during his career[/caption]
Instagram @vijayamritraj007
Amritraj poses for a selfie with Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon[/caption]
Instagram @rbonneynola
Amritraj was on the judging panel for a Miss Universe pageant[/caption]
Instagram @vijayamritraj007
Amritraj also appeared in Star Trek IV[/caption]
Instagram @vijayamritraj007
He is now an ambassador for peace with the UN[/caption]
Getty
Amritraj proved he could have landed the 007 gig by rocking this tux[/caption]
Instagram @vijayamritraj007
Amritraj remains involved in tennis after his four Grand Slam quarter-finals[/caption]