Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova were some of many paying tribute to the 41st President. (Getty)

Likely the president in United States history with the greatest affinity for tennis, George H.W. Bush passed away on Friday after a prolonged struggle with a form of Parkinson's disease. The illness had rendered him wheelchair-bound in his last few years of life, a difficult physical fact to accept for the former captain of baseball and soccer teams. He was 94.

Tennis players, many of whom interacted with President Bush over time, published their condolences. Among them were Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, stalwarts in documenting remembrances on the occasion of a public figure's passing:

Others, including Pam Shriver, a distant relative of Maria Shriver, a former First Lady of California, shared a variety of posts.

Many other observers, including media members, shared thoughts on the passing of the country's 41st president, dubbed "41" by the country upon his election and "Poppy" by his mother at a young age. It was H.W. Bush's parents who also instilled a love for tennis – and a proper way about things – in him.

Bush 41 was a tennis enthusiast, to say the least. He played the sport frequently as he rose through the ranks of business and politics, moving from the oil industry to public servanthood and inhabiting (among others) the roles of directors of the Central Intelligence Agency, vice president and – in 1988 – president.

He even attended the 1995 International Tennis Hall of Fame induction of Evert, a friend and sometimes doubles partner over the years.

Tennis was, at times, a gateway for the future president to make inroads with people socially and even network to staff his future administration. His lifelong friend and adviser James Baker first struck up a friendship with him by striking tennis balls on court together, as seen in an image shared by the New York Times via the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

The last American president of the World War II era, George H.W. Bush leaves behind a legacy of public service, political prowess, foreign policy expertise and a strong affection for competition in sport. May he rest as gracefully as he played the game.

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