The former Australian Davis Cup tennis player, Peter McNamara, has died from cancer aged 64.

McNamara, who reached a career-high No 7 in the world in 1983, beat all-time greats Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl to win two of his five singles titles.

But he is perhaps best remembered for his successful doubles partnership with Paul McNamee, the duo twice winning Wimbledon, in 1980 and 1982 as well as the 1979 Australian Open.

Melbourne-born McNamara also reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open singles in 1980, the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 1981 and the French Open last eight in 1982.

“Hard to believe that after 50 years of friendship Macca is gone … you lived life to the full mate and will be missed by your loved ones and many more,” McNamee posted on Twitter.

Other Australian greats took to social media platforms to pay tribute to McNamara, who after retiring in 1987 enjoyed a successful coaching career.

“As a young guy growing up in Melbourne you were an inspiration … That backhand was one of the greatest tennis has seen,” Pat Cash posted on Instagram.

“You were always encouraging to me, a great team mate and always up for a laugh. A true no nonsense Aussie right to the end.”

Todd Woodbridge described McNamara on Twitter as an inspiration, as did Darren Cahill.

“A great player, great coach that improved every player he worked with, and gun of a person,” Cahill tweeted.

Boris Becker said McNamara was “one of the good guys in tennis” – a common theme from those reacting to his death.

After retiring in 1987, McNamara enjoyed a successful coaching career.

He coached Mark Philippoussis, guided Grigor Dimitrov in his formative years and more recently Matt Ebden and Wang Qiang.

McNamara worked with Wang Qiang until February, helping her reach the world’s top 20 during their four-year union.

McNamara died peacefully at his home in Germany on Saturday night.

According to family friend and commentator David Law, McNamara continued to play exhibition matches and coach throughout his illness with few people ever knowing about it.

He is survived by wife Petra, his children and grandchildren.

source: theguardian.com

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