Tennis ace Premjit Lal dead

December 31st, 2008 - 11:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 31 (IANS) Former Davis Cupper Premjit Lal died at his residence here Wednesday following prolonged illness. He was 68.A widower, he is survived by two sons and a daughter. Lal, a regular member of the Indian Davis Cup team from 1959 to 1973, had been confined to a wheelchair since a failed suicide bid in 1992.

An Arjuna Awardee, Lal gave ample indication of his talent by reaching the junior final at the 1958 Wimbledon championships, and reached the pre-quarter final stage in the 1962 Australian Open - his best Grand Slam singles performance.

He also produced his best doubles showing in the same edition of the tournament, by making it to the last eight partnering Jaidip Mukerjea.

Eleven years later, the Lal-Mukherjea duo also reached the Wimbledon quarters.

Lal, along with Mukherjea, S.P. Misra and Ramanathan Krishnan formed one of India’s all-time great Davis Cup quartets in the 1960s.

Condoling Lal’s demise, former Indian Davis cup coach Akhtar Ali said: “It’s very sad. He was like a brother. We played several years together in the Indian team from 1959.”

Ali said Lal had the distinction of being the only Indian player to go up two sets against Aussie legend Rod Laver.

“He also played out the longest tie-break against Bjorn Borg,” he added.

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