In Memoriam: David Mercer 1966 – 1967

Sadly, on 26/08/2020 David Mercer passed away suddenly, on a family holiday in Cornwall, aged 70.

David attended Dynevor in 1966 and 1967, having come from Brecon College to join our 6th form.  He immersed himself in many school activities including the Debating Society, the Cricket team and was Captain of the Badminton team.  He then went to Nottingham University to study Law in 1967, and in 1968 was a winner of the Welsh Junior Tennis Doubles title and captained his university Tennis team.  He took up tennis umpiring when he acknowledged that “he was not going to make it to the top as a player“ !!! 

David started his career as a solicitor in his father’s practice (Douglas, Jones and Mercer) in Swansea in 1973.  At the same time he embarked on a political career, standing as a Conservative candidate for Swansea East in 1974 and coming a close second in Swansea West in 1979.  He used to recall that he had received no formal training for his tennis umpiring career and was thrown in at the deep end with his first match at Wimbledon when he umpired a Men’s singles match and on his second day was a linesman on Centre Court.  His broadcasting career began in 1979 when he won a competition organised by BBC Wales.  He then went full-time in London in 1984 and became the BBC’s Tennis correspondent in 1990.  He commentated on tennis for 35 years, being the only person to have umpired a Wimbledon Men’s singles Final (McEnroe v Connors in 1984) and also to have commentated on them for both radio and television.  David also commentated on Rugby, the Boat Race and Badminton at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games among other sports.  The Lawn Tennis Association said that “ it was saddened to hear of the passing of one of our sport’s most iconic and distinguished voices“.  He became Chairman of the Lawn Tennis Writers’ Association, also wrote for various national newspapers and magazines and gave lectures on cruise ships. 

When I was President of the ODA in 2014, David graciously agreed to give our ODA annual lecture on his life time in tennis, which was extremely entertaining and very well received.  In his spare time he loved golf and was a past-captain of Ashridge Golf Club in Herts. near to where he lived.  He is survived by his wife Sue, who he married in 1999, a daughter Caroline and 2 step-children.

Supplied by Dudley Sinnett, Dynevor 1960-1967.