Paul Hutchins: Former British Davis Cup captain dies aged 73

Former British Davis Cup captain Paul Hutchins
Paul Hutchins was tennis team leader at the London 2012 Olympics, where Andy Murray won men's singles gold

Britain's longest-serving Davis Cup captain Paul Hutchins has died aged 73.

Hutchins, who had motor neurone disease, led the Davis Cup team for 13 years and was in charge when Great Britain reached the 1978 final, where they were beaten by the USA.

As a player, he reached the third round of the French Open and US Open in 1968, his best Grand Slam singles results.

"It's with heartbreaking sadness that we say goodbye to him," said his family in a statement on Thursday.

They said Hutchins had "passed away peacefully in the presence of his family" on Wednesday.

Hutchins had four children - son Ross is a former doubles specialist who retired in 2014 and is currently chief player officer for the ATP Tour.

"Paul passionately dedicated his life to his family and to an incredible career in tennis," said the Hutchins family.

"It was his wish for us to thank the very many who have been part of it. He will be very dearly missed."

Hutchins, a regular BBC TV commentator in the 1980s and '90s, was Great Britain Davis Cup captain for a record 31 matches from 1975 to 1987.

He was head of men's tennis at the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) between 2006 and 2008 and was appointed MBE in 2016.

Hutchins was also tennis team leader for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics and worked as a tournament director for the Nottingham Open and Road to Wimbledon.

"On behalf of everyone at the LTA we are deeply saddened by the news of Paul Hutchins' passing," said LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd.

"He was a true hero of tennis in Britain, first as a player, then as a coach, captain, commentator and administrator, dedicating over 50 years of loyal service.

"Anyone who came into contact with him could not have failed to be touched by his passion for the sport, his passion for life and his real, genuine interest in people.

"While we reflect on his memory, his lasting legacy to tennis will endure for a long time to come.

"Our thoughts go out to his family and all those who were fortunate enough to know Paul."

Former British number one Laura Robson said: "Saddest news. Paul was the most genuinely lovely person and will be greatly missed."

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