New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) Tennis great Vijay Amritraj was among those from the sport who paid tribute to late former player and coach Akhtar Ali, who died on Sunday aged 81. Ali coached Amritraj, along with the likes of Leander Paes, Ramesh Krishnan and his son and India’s Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali among others.
“Aktar 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,” said Amritraj in his tweet.
Former singles player Somdev Devvarman said that Akhtar Ali always taught his wards to give it their best. “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,” said Devvarman.
“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 Davis Cup player and current captain of the Indian Fed Cup team Vishal Uppal.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also paid tribute to the tennis great. “Saddened to hear about the passing of Akhtar Ali, a true tennis legend. ‘Akhtar Sir’ coached many of India’s tennis champions. We conferred Bengal’s highest sporting award on him in 2015. I was fortunate to always receive his warm affection. Condolences to his family and admirers,” tweeted Banerjee.
“He was a fantastic coach; he was a good player also. But his coaching achievements are much better. He has coached top players like Ramanathan Krishnan, Ramesh Krishnan, myself, Vijay Amritraj, and Leander Paes, all of them,” Jaidip Mukherjea, his Davis Cup doubles partner and former national champion, earlier told IANS.