Former Davis Cup captain Naresh Kumar dies aged 93

Naresh Kumar. File photo: PTI

Xtra Time Web Desk: Former Davis Cup captain Naresh Kumar passed away in Kolkata on Wednesday. He was 93 years old. He is survived by his wife Sunita. Naresh Kumar was born in Lahore in 1928. He first got a chance in Indian Davis Cup team in 1952. He went on to represent the country for 8 years. With the passing away of Naresh Kumar, it also brings an end to an era.

Naresh Kumar made headlines when he reached the Wimbledon singles fourth round in 1955, losing to top seed and eventual champion Tony Trabert of the United States. He’s also a three-time men’s doubles, and 1957 mixed doubles quarterfinalist at Wimbledon. Kumar played his last competitive match in the first round at Wimbledon in 1963.

In Davis Cup, Naresh Kumar played 17 ties for India across eight years, and later became the non-playing captain. Under his captaincy 16-year-old Leander Paes made his debut in Davis Cup in April 1990 against Japan. Naresh Kumar is credited for grooming Leander at an young age at the South Club in Kolkata.

Naresh Kumar is the only tennis coach to have been awarded the Dronacharya Award, when he won the accolade for lifetime achievement in 2020. He was also the second lawn tennis player, after Ramanathan Krishnan, to win the Arjuna Award, in 1962.