Tahir Ali: The Man Who Coached Aamir Khan Completes 50 Years In The Profession

Tahir Ali: The Man Who Coached Aamir Khan Completes 50 Years In The Profession

The 73-year-old Ali has coached some prominent Indian Davis Cuppers like Gaurav Natekar, Asif Ismail and Mark Ferreira

Haridev PushparajUpdated: Friday, February 23, 2024, 10:55 PM IST
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It is no mean feat to complete 50 years as a coach in any sport and the veteran tennis coach Tahir Ali has accomplished exactly that.

The 73-year-old coach from Mumbai who has been at the forefront of tennis coaching in the city at some of the most prestigious clubs including Bandra Gymkhana, MSLTA, CCI and PJ Hindu Gymkhana, where he is currently a mentor and coach, feels a sense of nostalgia reminiscing about the bygone years.

"I feel great at having completed 50 years. It's an amazing feeling to be doing what I love for so long and it's probably the first time such a thing is happening,'' Ali said.

Ali started his career at the Bandra Gymkhana where he started coaching in 1974 soon after his stint with a one-year diploma course from the National Insititute of Sport (NIS), Patiala.

The coach, who is the cousin brother of former Davis Cupper Akhtar Ali and uncle of Zeeshan Ali, produced several State-level and National-level players.

Among the most prominent ones who were his wards are Davis Cuppers Gaurav Natekar, Asif Ismail and Mark Ferreira, who represented India in the late 80s and the 90s.

Ali also counts Bollywood's Mr Perfect Aamir Khan as one of his students during his coaching stint at Bandra Gymkhana and has fond memories of a young Aamir.

"He was very talented and was just 14 when he was under me at Bandra Gymkhana. I used to take him to various tournaments including Pune Open. When I completed 25 years of coaching at CCI he came as the chief guest. He is a great human being,'' the 73-year-old coach revealed.

Asked to mention the finest moments of his career and Ali counts two occasions as the best of all.

"When I was bestowed the All India Tennis Association (AITA) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 and when I received the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, these were my best moments I feel,'' he added.

The coach who has changed the lives of innumerable young tennis players says he had only one inspiration: the legendary Ramanathan Krishnan.

Krishnan had reached a career high ranking of World No 2 in men's singles and had famously reached the Wimbledon men's singles semifinals in 1960 and 1961.

"He was someone I grew up watching from close and that inspired me immensely,'' he added.

Looking at the progress Indian tennis has made over the years with the rise of the likes of Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, Ali feels Indian tennis is moving in the right direction.

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