Former Davis Cup coach and Indian tennis star Akhtar Ali has died. He was diagnosed with cancer and was afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. He left for Kolkata. He was 81 years old. He was the coach of India in the Davis Cup and is the father of current Indian Davis Cup coach Seeshan Ali.
Akhtar Ali was instrumental in the careers of Indian stars Leander Paes, Vijay Amritraj, Ramesh Krishnan, and Sania Mirza. He played in eight Davis Cups between 1958 and 1964 and captained and coached the Indian team.
Ali had been suffering from different ailments for the last few months. He was hospitalized for a few days before being brought back home recently. He passed away at 2:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Born on July 5, 1939, Ali played in eight Davis Cup ties against Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran, Mexico, Japan, and Monaco between 1958 and 1964. He also captained and coached the Indian side. He also played in the Wimbledon and French Open grand slam events. A fine and soft-spoken person, Ali is well known as a coach, whose coaching influenced well-known players like Vijay Amritraj, Anand Amritraj, Ramesh Krishnan, Leander Paes, and Somdev Devvarman. He was passionately involved in coaching and organizing events for grassroots players throughout his life. Ali has conferred the Arjuna Award in 2000 for his lifetime contribution to tennis.