Britain’s longest-serving Davis Cup captain Paul Hutchins has died aged 73.

Hutchins, who had motor neurone disease, directed the Davis Cup team for 13 decades and had been in charge when britain reached the 1978 final, where they were beaten by the USA.

As a player, he also reached the third round of their French Open and US Open in 1968, his best Grand Slam singles outcomes.

“It’s with dreadful despair that we leave behind him,” said that his family in a statement on Thursday.

They said Hutchins had”passed off peacefully in the presence of his family” in Wednesday.

Hutchins had four kids – son Ross is a former doubles pro who murdered in 2014 and is now primary player officer to the ATP Tour.

“Paul passionately dedicated his entire life to his loved ones and to an extraordinary career in tennis,” said the Hutchins family.

“It had been his wish for people to thank the very many that were part of this. He’ll be very dearly missed”

Hutchins, a regular BBC TV commentator in the 1980s and’90s, was britain Davis Cup captain to get a listing 31 suits in 1975 to 1987.

Hutchins was also tennis group leader for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics and worked like a tournament manager for the Nottingham Open along with Road to Wimbledon.

“On behalf of everyone else at the LTA we have been profoundly saddened by the news of Paul Hutchins’ passing,” said LTA leader Scott Lloyd.

“He had been a real fanatic of tennis Britain, first as a player, then as a coach, captain, commentator and secretary, devoting over 50 decades of loyal service.

“Anybody who came into contact with him may not have failed to be touched by his own passion for the activity, his passion for his his real, genuine interest in people.

“While we think upon his memory, his lasting legacy to tennis will endure for quite a long time in the future.

“Our thoughts go out to his loved ones and all those who were blessed enough to know Paul.”

Former British number one Laura Robson said:”Saddest news. Paul has been probably the most genuinely lovely person and will be deeply missed.”