New Delhi, Sep 14 (IANS) Former Indian tennis player and Davis Cup captain Naresh Kumar, who was a mentor to Olympic medallist Leander Paes, passed away in Kolkata on Wednesday.
He was 93. He is survived by his wife Sunita, son Arjun, and two daughters — Gita and Preah.
All India Tennis Association (AITA) condoled the demise of Indian tennis legend, calling it an irreparable loss
“We have come to know about the sad demise of Indian Tennis Legend and former Davis Cup Captain Naresh Kumar. It’s an irreparable loss to Indian Tennis. We pray for his eternal peace and our deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans around the world,” said AITA in a tweet.
Kumar rose to prominence in 1949, making the latter stages of the Indian International championships and Northern Championships. He made his debut for India in the Davis Cup in 1952 and was a mainstay of the team.
Playing in the days before the Open Era, where only amateurs were allowed, Naresh’s best performance at Wimbledon came in 1955 when he made the fourth round in the men’s singles. In the men’s doubles, Naresh Kumar thrice made the quarter-finals – in 1953 with Narendra Nath and in 1955 and 1958 with Ramanathan Krishnan.
Kumar retired in 1969 with five titles to his name and later turned his attention to coaching and non-playing roles in tennis, such as writing and commentary. He was the non-playing captain of the Indian Davis Cup team in 1990, when Leander Paes made his debut in the tournament.
The legendary player was conferred with the Dronacharya Lifetime Achievement award by the Indian government in 2020, becoming the first tennis coach to receive the honour.