RUSSIAN tennis hero Alexander Volkov has died aged 52.
The former world No 14 helped his country to the Davis Cup final in 1994 and 1995, also winning three ATP tournaments.
Russian Tennis Federation Yevgeny Kafelnikov announced Volkov’s death on Twitter, saying: It’s impossible to believe!
“I will always remember your cheerful smile and our matches for the national team in the Davis Cup. Rest in peace, my friend.
All-time great Russian player Marat Safin, the two-time Grand Slam winner who Volkov coached, told RBC: “This is a whole era.
“The man who did a lot for tennis helped me a lot.
EPIC CUP RUNS
“Thanks to him, I became the first [world no1] so this is a person who is very close to me in heart, in spirit. Unfortunately, this happens in life.
Volkov lost to Pete Sampras in the 1983 US Open final, whilst he reached the Wimbledon last-16 four times.
But he is best remembered in his home country for his Davis Cup displays.
Volkov beat Australia’s former US Open winner Pat Rafter and German Wimbledon winner Michael Stich on the way to the 1994 final, where Sweden won 4-1.
Russia then battled to the 1995 showpiece, although Volkov was left out of that 3-2 defeat against the USA.
Volkov retired in 1998, having won 2.6million.