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Tributes pour in as tennis mourns the death of two-time Wimbledon doubles king McNamara



Sad loss: Peter McNamara had battled prostate cancer

Sad loss: Peter McNamara had battled prostate cancer

Getty Images

Sad loss: Peter McNamara had battled prostate cancer

Former Australian tennis star and Wimbledon doubles champion Peter McNamara has died at the age of 64.

The Melbourne-born player won five singles titles and 19 doubles titles during his career, reaching a high of No.7 in the world in singles in 1983 and No.3 in doubles in 1982.

Forming a successful partnership with fellow Australian Paul McNamee, the pair clinched the Wimbledon doubles trophy in 1980 and 1982, as well as the Australian Open Championship in 1979.

McNamara turned his hand to coaching following his retirement, working with the likes of Mark Philippoussis, Grigor Dimitrov and more recently with rising star Wang Qiang.

According to commentator and friend David Law, McNamara died peacefully at home in Germany after suffering from prostate cancer.

He had continued to play exhibition matches and coach throughout his illness, with few people knowing of his diagnosis, he added.

As news of his death broke, stars of the sport both past and present paid tribute to a man described by Tennis Australia as "a much-loved and respected member of our tennis family".

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Sharing a photograph of the duo together, McNamee wrote on Twitter: "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... a toast to the great times mate".

Former British player and commentator Andrew Castle recalled sharing the court with McNamara on several occasions, adding: "Peter always appreciated how the game had changed his life. I already miss the twinkle in his eye."

Four-time Grand Slam doubles champion and fellow Australian Rennae Stubbs said she was "devastated" by the news and described him as an "amazing player, friend, compatriot, gentleman, coach", while Boris Becker called him "one of the good guys in tennis".

Britain's Naomi Broady also penned a heartfelt tribute, posting on Twitter: "Such sad news to hear of the passing of Peter McNamara. He was always so funny, friendly and best of all, kind. One of my favourite people I've met on tour and will be very much missed by many people. My thoughts are with Petra and the rest of his family."

Several players also spoke of McNamara as having inspired them in their own success, including former Wimbledon winner Pat Cash.

In a lengthy post on Instagram, he said: "As a young guy growing up in Melbourne, you were an inspiration. I ball boyed your Vic hard court win at Grace Park and I followed you as you cracked the top 10 in singles as well as doubles.

"That backhand was one of the greatest tennis has seen. 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. You will be missed."

Todd Woodbridge, one of the most successful doubles players of all time, said he and partner Mark Woodforde had sought to follow in his footsteps.

He wrote: "Grew up watching Peter McNamara win @DavisCup for Australia, when he played with @PaulFMcNamee the Super Macs winning @Wimbledon had a huge influence on the Woodies trying to follow in their footsteps. From player to coach, Macca inspired and motivated. #rip".

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