India tennis legend Akhtar Ali passes away; Vijay Amritraj, Somdev Devvarman pay tribute | Tennis News

India tennis legend and former Davis Cup coach, Akhtar Ali, breathed his last on Sunday. He was 83 years old. As per a report in PTI, the tennis legend died due to multiple health issues, including recently detected prostate cancer. 

The report added that Akhtar visited a hospital in Kolkata around two weeks ago and a lump was detected in his chest. He also was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was already suffering from dementia and parkinson’s disease. However, the doctors had then advised against any cancer therapies because of Akhtar’s frail condition.

Akhtar, whose coaching styple emphasised on strong serve and volley game, has shaped many careers, including Leander Paes and his son Zeeshan Ali, who is also the current Davis Cup coach of India. His coaching also influenced Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan.

Zeeshan, who is conducting a junior national camp at the DLTA in Kolkata, had returned to the national capital on Monday after spending some time with his father but has now headed back to Kolkata after hearing the news of his demise.

“Akhtar Ali was terrific as a coach both when I was a junior as well as coach of our India Davis Cup team. Always pushed hard n kept the team relaxed. He did great service to Indian Tennis. RIP dear Aktar. Sincere condolences to Zeeshan n his lovely family,” the legendary Vijay Amritraj tweeted.

Former Davis Cupper Somdev Devvarman recalled him as a passionate taskmaster. “One of the first times I threw up during practice was with Akhtar sir at the South club in the summer of 1999. He always gave it his best and taught us to do the same. RIP Akhtar Ali, legend of Indian tennis,” he tweeted. 

Akhtar featured in eight Davis Cup ties between 1958 and 1964 and also led and coached the Indian team.

– with PTI inputs

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