Veteran Indian tennis player and a legendary coach in India, Akhtar Ali has passed away. He breathed his last on Sunday at around 2.30 a.m. at his residence in Kolkata. He was aged 81.
Ali was a member of the Indian Davis Cup team from 1958 to 1964, along with stalwarts Ramnathan Krishnan, Jaidip Mukherjea, and Premjit Lall. He was the non-playing captain of the Indian team at the Davis Cup in 2008. Ali won the Junior National title at age 16 in 1955. He won the Arjuna Award in 2000.
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.
— Vijay Amritraj (@Vijay_Amritraj) February 7, 2021
“Father had dinner last evening and went to sleep. At around 2 a.m. I went to see him and at 2.30 a.m. he suddenly showed a sign of some breathing problem and we just watched as he passed away. He has a urine infection and we had admitted him in a hospital here in Kolkata. He was discharged from the hospital only yesterday, and he was completely okay. He was also happy that he had returned home,” said his daughter Nilofer.
He worked with three generations of Indian players — from Ramesh Krishnan to Leander Paes. Akhtar featured in eight Davis Cup ties between 1958 and 1964 and also led and coached the Indian team.