Kolkata: Akhtar Ali, father of India’s current Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali, breathed his last in Kolkata due to multiple health issues, including recently detected prostate cancer. He was 83.
Akhtar, whose coaching style emphasised on playing aggresive serve and volley game, shaped many careers, including that of the legendary Leander Paes apart from his own son Zeeshan.
His coaching also influenced Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan. Akhatar played eight Davis Cup ties between 1958 and 1964 and also captained and coached the Indian team.
According to the family sources, he was taken to a city hospital two weeks ago, where doctors noticed a lump in his chest and also prostate cancer. He was already suffering from Dementia and parkinson’s diasease.
Doctors also advised against any cancer therapies because of his frail condition.
Zeeshan, conducting a junior national camp at the DLTA here, had returned to the national capital on Monday after spending some time with his father but has headed back to Kolkata after hearing the news of his demise.
“Akhtar Ali was terrefic 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 a great service to Indian Tennis. RIP dear Akhtar,” the legendary Vijay Amritraj tweeted.
“One of the first times I threw up during practice was with him at South Club in the summer of 1999. He always gave it his best and taught us to do the same. RIP sir,” Somdev Devvarman tweeted.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took to Twitter to express grief over the demise of legendary Indian tennis player Akhtar Ali.
“Saddened to hear about the passing of Akhtar Ali, a true tennis legend. He coached many of many of India’s tennis Champions. We conferred Bengal’s highest sporting award on him in 2015. Iwas fortunate to always receive his warm affection. conlences to his family and admirers,” she tweeted.