Mr. Naresh Kumar

Born in 1928 in Lahore (Pre-Partition India), Mr. Naresh Kumar, grew up in Kolkata and studied at St.Xavier School. He loved sports and started playing tennis at an early age. Moving back to Lahore to graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Government College, Lahore, he continued to play tennis, which became his passion.

He was Indian National Junior Champion in 1946 and in 1949 he played his first Wimbledon. His Wimbledon record of playing 101 matches between 1949 to 1969 is rare. He was twice the finalist of the Plate in 1952 and 1961. In 1955 he got to the last 16 in singles, losing to Tony Trabert that years’ winner. In 1955 in doubles, playing with R. Krishnan, he reached the semi-finals defeating the reigning champions. In 1962 he played the opening match at Wimbledon Centre Court against Rod Laver. He also played the French Open 1958 (doubles quarter finalist) and the US Open 1949. He won the Irish Championships thrice in 1951, 1952 and 1953. He won the Welsh Championships thrice in 1951, 1952 and 1953. He won the Indian Nationals Doubles six times with R. Krishnan. He won the Indian Nationals Mixed Doubles six times with Mrs. K. Singh.

He represented India in the Davis Cup as player, playing Captain and non-playing Captain. He was deeply involved in many of India’s Davis Cup achievements. As playing Captain 1955-1960 the team reached the last 4. As non-playing Captain 1989-1993 he lead the team to the semi-finals.

For his achievements in tennis he was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1962. In 2020 he was the first person ever to be conferred the Dronacharya Award for coaching in tennis.

Attached to tennis for his entire life, over the years he coached and sponsored many young players. He also commentated for Indian Radio from Wimbledon for many years, was a TV anchor and regularly wrote articles for newspapers and magazines over the years.

Even during the peak of his tennis career Mr. Naresh Kumar was fully involved in the family coal business. His father, Mr. G. D.Kumar had a small stake in a coal services company, Sikri Brothers Coal Services. As Naresh started to develop this business, he requested a larger share which was refused. He then decided to break away and set up Naresh Kumar & Co. a partnership concern which began the journey of establishing the company as we are today. With his efforts, soon virtually all blue chip companies in India, requiring coal, were our clients. He had spent a long time studying Indian coals and travelling in the coal belt and had become an expert in the field. In 1996 Mr. Naresh Kumar was able to envision the requirement of washing Indian coal and using technology from the UK, the group setup 3 coal washeries. In 1992 his son Mr. Arjun Kumar joined him in business. Post 2010, although taking a less active role, he continued to give invaluable guidance and advice for the benefit of the company.

In one lifetime, to have been a highly successful sportsman, which led him to excel in radio commentating, sports journalism, and coaching, and also to have been a successful businessman, setting up a service oriented business employing over 2000 people and now established for over half a century, is demonstrative of the talent and abilities of Mr. Naresh Kumar. These significant achievements enveloped in his kind, soft, and gentlemanly manner, will be fondly remembered by the many lives he touched.