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David Mercer: Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships commentator dies aged 70

Web report/Dubai
Filed on August 27, 2020
david mercer, dies, aged, 70, dubai duty free tennis championships commentator
David Mercer at the draw for the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in 2017.

(KT file photo)

He was also a former tennis umpire and officiated at the 1984 Wimbledon final between McEnroe and Connors.

Renowned tennis commentator and former umpire David Mercer has died at the age of 70.

Mercer commentated on the first Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in 1993 - from Paris for Eurosport - and then was a regular commentator at the tournament throughout the years.

Mercer, who umpired the 1984 Wimbledon final between John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, was part of the BBC's commentary team for the grass-court Grand Slam for the past 35 years.

In a 2017 interview with Khaleej Times, Mercer recalled his memories of the DDF tournament, praising its 'tremendous atmosphere' and said it was 'a major stopping point' in the tennis calendar.

According to BBC Sport on Thursday, he began his sports broadcasting career in 1979 after winning a BBC Wales competition, and then became a full-time broadcaster five years later.

He then became the BBC's tennis correspondent in 1990.

Mercer was born in Swansea, Wales, in 1950, and won a Welsh junior doubles title in 1968.

He is the only person to have umpired a Wimbledon men's singles final and also commentated on them for both radio and television. Mercer umpired at Wimbledon between 1973 and 1984.

Renowned for his mellifluous voice, Mercer also commentated on badminton at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, as well as on the Boat Race between Oxford University and Cambridge University.

BBC director of sport Barbara Slater said of the death of Mercer, who was also a qualified solicitor and a former parliamentary candidate: "We are saddened and shocked by this unexpected news.

"David Mercer has been one of the great voices of British broadcasting with his distinguished career stretching over 40 years, working on the BBC's Wimbledon coverage for 35 of those years as well as umpiring at the highest level.

"He was also a highly valued member of the BBC's Olympic commentary team. He will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with his colleagues, family and friends."

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