British Tennis Writer Parsons Dies at 66

posted 2004-04-28 14:49:19 by stevemay

LONDON (AP) -- British tennis writer John Parsons, who covered 44 Wimbledon tournaments, died of kidney failure. He was 66.

Parsons died Monday at Mercy Hospital in Miami. He was covering the Nasdaq-100 Open in Key Biscayne when he was hospitalized last month.

Parsons, who received a kidney transplant in 1982, was the tennis correspondent for The Daily Telegraph for 23 years.

``In my time here as sports editor I have never known a correspondent more conscientious, nor more knowledgeable than John Parsons,'' Telegraph sports editor David Welch said.

``His thorough understanding of the tennis world contributed hugely to the sporting reputation of this newspaper and replacing him will be far from easy.''

Tim Phillips, chairman of the All England Tennis Club, held a minute's silence for Parsons on Tuesday during a news conference to announce the prize money for this summer's tournament.

``He's made an enormous contribution to our sport, nationally and internationally,'' Phillips said.

The Lawn Tennis Association's chief executive, John Crowther, called Parsons ``Mr. Tennis.''

``Tennis has lost a wonderful gentleman and one of its most astute observers,'' Associated Press columnist Steve Wilstein said. ``A lot of writers watch the matches and keep notes of sorts. John kept track of every shot in the rallies and the expressions on the players' faces.''

Parsons was born in Oxford, and joined the Oxford Mail newspaper in 1956. He moved in 1964 to the Daily Mail in London, where he remained until 1981.

The author of numerous books about tennis and Wimbledon, Parsons was awarded his second Ron Bookman Media Excellence trophy by the ATP Tour in March. He also won the award in 1998 and was the WTA Tour's media person of the year in 1990.

Parsons was a fixture at tennis tournaments around the world.

Parsons' favorite Wimbledon final was the 2001 match in which Goran Ivanisevic beat Patrick Rafter 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7.

``Certainly it was the most thrilling, in all aspects of the day, I can recall in 42 years of reporting the Championships,'' Parsons wrote.