New Delhi: Indian tennis fraternity on Sunday paid an emotional tribute to Sumant Misra, describing him as one of the finest players the country has produced and a dynamic administrator of his times.

Misra, the first national champion and fondly called as 'tiny' due to his huge six feet two inch frame, died yesterday at the age of 88.

He represented India in the Davis Cup for nine years between 1947-56 and also captained the team in 1952 and 1953.

He reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon Men's Doubles Championship along with Jimmy Mehta in 1947 and 1948. He became India's first national champion in 1946-47 following a win over Man Mohan Lal at Calcutta South Club.

Misra, along with his son Gaurav, had the distinction of being the first father-son duo to win the National Championships. Gaurav won the National Championship in 1972 after defeating Ramanathan Krishnan.

India's Davis Cup captain S P Misra said Sumant Misra's contribution to Indian tennis was immense.

"He was one of the finest players of the country and a very able administrator. He as Secretary General of AITA brought people such as Roy Emerson to Indian circuit and gave the players of the country to rub shoulders with some great athletes of the game," Misra said.

Jaideep Mukherjea, former Davis Cup captain, said Sumant Misra would often go out of the way to help players.

"It's sad to hear about his death. He was a big hearted man. I owe my success to him. He helped me a lot in my junior days.

"I remember that he would come and play with us juniors. A player of his stature didn't need to play with us but he would go out of his way to help budding players. He once said to young players during practice that 'come and watch how to serve'. We will miss him," Mukherjea said.

S P Misra narrated another incident. "When the first national junior camp was organised in 1955, he drove all the way from Calcutta to Trivandrum to see and help the players. I was a trainee in that camp and was also adjudged best trainee along with Jaideep Mukherjea," Misra recalled.

Anil Khanna, Secretary General of AITA, also paid tribute to Misra.

"He was a legendary figure. A great guy and an integral part of the AITA. Till last minute he was with us. He had inaugurated the re-furbished DLTA facility for Commonwealth Games last year," Khanna said.

(Agencies)