Indian tennis legend Akhtar Ali passed away in Kolkata on Sunday at the age of 81.
A member of India’s Davis Cup teams from the late 1950s to the mid 1960s, Ali holds a 9-2 win-loss record in the tournament. He was proficient in both singles and doubles and played alongside Ramanathan Krishnan, Naresh Kumar, Premjit Lall and Jaidip Mukerjea.
In 1955, Ali won the junior national championship and made it to the semifinals of junior Wimbledon.
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After retirement, he played a key role in guiding Ramesh Krishnan, Vijay Amritraj, Leander Paes among others. He even guided Sania Mirza in her formative years. His son Zeeshan Ali is a former national champion and the erstwhile coach of Indian Davis Cup team.
“RIP Akhtar Ali Sir! Thank you for your great service to Indian tennis and for also always sharing your knowledge with so many generations of tennis players. @Zeeshantennis my heartfelt condolences to you and the family. May his soul rest in peace,” tweeted former India Davis Cup player Vishal Uppal.
“One of the first times I threw up during practice was with Akhtar sir at the South club in the summer of 1999. He aways gave it his best and taught us to do the same. RIP Akhtar Ali, legend of Indian tennis,” tweeted Somdev Devvarman