British tennis was in mourning on Thursday night after the death of one of its most admired and popular figures. Paul Hutchins, who was Britain’s longest-serving Davis Cup captain, was 73 and had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year.
Hutchins was an influential member of the All England Club as well as an experienced administrator who twice served as head of men’s tennis at the Lawn Tennis Association. He also enjoyed a distinguished playing career, reaching the doubles quarter-finals of the French Open in 1968 before retiring at 25.
Hutchins’s four children all also played tennis but it was the youngest, Ross, who achieved the most on the court, reaching a high point of No. 26 in the world in the ATP doubles rankings. Together, Paul and Ross enjoyed the unusual honour of both representing Great Britain in the Davis Cup. Paul also received the MBE for services to tennis in the New Year’s Honours list two years ago.
“He was a true hero of tennis in Britain,” said LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd. “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.”