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Former weekly sports editor who became ‘voice of tennis’ dies aged 86

Gerald WilliamsA former weekly sports editor who went on to become “the voice of tennis” in the 1980s has died aged 86.

Tributes have been paid to Gerald Williams, pictured left, who worked for the BBC as a television and radio commentator was part of its Wimbledon coverage alongside Des Lynam.

Prior to taking up broadcasting, Gerald had served as sports editor of the Croydon Advertiser, the newspaper where he began his career.

He also worked at the Daily Mail, where he served as a sub-editor and later football writer.

Gerald was born in Wales and following a parental split he divided his time between Carmarthenshire and Croydon as a teenager.

When he completed his studies at Carmarthen Grammar School he took an unpaid month-long work experience position at the Advertiser.

After going full-time became the paper’s sports editor within a couple of years and first took on the task of covering Wimbledon.

Boxing commentator Harry Carpenter, who Gerald had befriended, recommended him to the Daily Mail, where he initially worked as a sub-editor

Following the death of the Mail’s Manchester football correspondent Eric Thompson in the 1958 Munich air disaster, Harry took on that role and began reporting on tennis during the off-season.

It was then he was asked by Cliff Morgan to commentate on the radio for the BBC.

Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: “Gerry was one of the finest tennis commentators of our time.

“His famous Wimbledon commentary and his on-screen partnership with Des Lynam will be remembered with fondness by everyone at BBC Sport. He was a man of great talent and will be sadly missed.”

Des himself said: “He was very reverent about the tennis, but we never took the programme seriously. “We always did silly things. I remember once leaving him up in a hoist at the end of the show.

“The Beeb bosses were very suspicious at first. Then the chairman of Wimbledon told someone high up at the corporation that he really enjoyed it. Suddenly we were considered this huge hit.”

And BBC Sport presenter Sue Barker added: “I always admired his style and humour and was thrilled when he asked me to be his co-commentator many times.”

“He was always so helpful and encouraging and I knew I was learning from the very best.”


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  • January 27, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Have you got your Harry’s & Gerry’s mixed up in the middle of this piece?

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  • January 27, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    a very distinctive voice and extremely knowledgeable.

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