(REUTERS) – Hall of Fame tennis writer and TV commentator Bud Collins, who helped popularise the sport during his decades-long career, died at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts yesterday after a long illness. He was 86.Collins, an enthusiastic chronicler of tennis who brightened the scene with his trademark bow-ties and colourful trousers, began his career at the Boston Globe in 1963 and became one of the sport’s preeminent and foremost authorities.
He later moved into television commentary at the sport’s biggest events and treated tennis fans to his colourful prose by authoring three novels.
Collins was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1994.
“RIP Bud, such a passionate guy about our sport of tennis, he will be truly missed; hope they have big matches upstairs,” Brad Gilbert, tennis player-turned-broadcaster, tweeted.
Last year, the United States Tennis Association named the media centre at the U.S. Open site in Flushing Meadows in his honour. The inscription on the plaque reads: “Journalist, Commentator, Historian.”
The Boston Globe ran a tribute to Collins yesterday that included an excerpt from his first prominent appearance in the paper, a December 1963 article from Adelaide, Australia, where he was on assignment covering the Davis Cup.
“This is another world,” Collins wrote, “where Christmas comes in the Summertime, the Davis Cup matches come the day after Christmas, and both events have achieved such spectacular acceptance that they are regarded almost as seriously as beer drinking.”
Beyond his tennis and travel columns for the Globe, and countless network television hours covering the sport, Collins also wrote a reference tome entitled, ‘The Bud Collins History of Tennis’.
An accomplished player in his own right, Collins won the U.S. Indoor mixed doubles championship with Janet Hopps in 1961, and was a finalist in the French Senior doubles with Jack Crawford in 1975.
He also served for five years as a tennis coach at Brandeis University.
He is survived by his wife, photographer Anita Ruthling Klaussen, who illustrated many of his travel columns.