New Delhi, India, September 15, 2022: Former Indian Davis Cup captain, Naresh Kumar, has passed away. He was 93.
Kumar, who famously mentored a young Leander Paes as India’s Davis Cup captain, is survived by his wife Sunita, son Arjun, and two daughters Gita and Preah.
“He was suffering from age-related issues since last week. I was told that his chance of survival was not very good. I’ve lost a great mentor,” Jaidip Mukerjea, who made his Davis Cup debut under Kumar’s captaincy, told the Press Trust of India news agency.
Born on December 22, 1928 in Lahore in the undivided India, Kumar began his journey with tennis at the Asian Championships in 1949 before ruling Indian tennis along with Ramanathan Krishnan for close to a decade in the 1950s.
His Davis Cup journey started in 1952, and he went on to captain the side. His biggest career high came when he made the fourth round of Wimbledon in 1955 before losing to eventual champion and American No. 1 Tony Trabert.
As an amateur, Naresh Kumar played a record number of 101 Wimbledon matches.
He won five singles titles in his career – Irish Championships (1952 and 1953), Welsh Championships (1952), Essex Championships at Frinton-on-Sea (1957) and Wengen tournament in Switzerland (1958).
He played his final tournament at the Asian Championships in 1969.
In 1990, Kumar as a non-playing Indian captain played a key role in including a 16-year-old Leander Paes in the Davis Cup team against Japan.
A recipient of the Arjuna Award, Kumar became the first tennis coach to receive the Dronacharya Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.