Obituaries



Pablo Llorens

The ITF is sad to learn of the death of Pablo Llorens, former President of the Spanish Tennis Federation, on 18 November.

An Honorary ITF Life Vice President, Llorens served as the Chairman of the ITF Olympic Tennis Committee and was instrumental, alongside former ITF President Philippe Chatrier, in re-establishing tennis as an Olympic Sport in Seoul in 1988.

A member of the Spanish Olympic Committee since 1971, he was President of RFET for 15 years and in 1975 founded the European Tennis Association together with Federation Presidents of France, Switzerland, Germany and Great Britain.

Llorens was awared the ITF/International Tennis Hall of Fame Golden Achiement Award in 2001.

Arturo Grimaldi


Arturo Grimaldi, President of the Argentine Tennis Association, died on 26 October aged 63 following a battle with cancer.

Grimaldi, a lawyer, was one of the finest junior players in Argentina during the 1960s – he was ranked No. 1 junior in the under 14 category in 1963 and Argentine junior No. 7 in the under 18 age group in 1967. 

He became a board member of the Argentine Tennis Association (AAT) in 1996, having previously been President of the Tenis Club Argentino, and became AAT President in 2009 after a spell as Vice President during Enrique Morea’s presidency. 

He was also President of the South American Tennis Confederation (COSAT) between 2011 and 2013.

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: "All of us at the ITF were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Arturo Grimaldi over the weekend. Arturo made huge contributions to tennis, both as President of the Argentine Tennis Association and through his work as President of COSAT.

"We at the ITF worked closely with Arturo and his team on successful Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties over many years and we thought of him as both friend and colleague. He will be missed by all of us in the tennis family and we send our condolences to his family and his friends around the world."

Manuel Carrera del Rio

The ITF was saddened to learn of the passing of Manuel Carrera del Rio on 13 October.

Carrera del Rio was President of the Ecuador Tennis Federation from 2002 to 2010 and served on the ITF Women's Circuit Committee from 2006 to 2011.

"Manuel served for many years in Ecuador as well as within the ITF family. He was a man of immense presence and I am sure he will be missed by many who came into contact with him over the years," said ITF president Francesco Ricci Bitti.

Vic Braden

Renowned tennis coach Vic Braden died from a heart attack on 6 October aged 85. 

After a brief 3-year professional playing career, Braden devoted his life to teaching tennis with a style that made learning fun. He studied all aspects of tennis and created a tennis college and research centre in Coto De Caza in 1980. He also had tennis colleges in St. George, Utah and Kissimmee, FL and wrote seven books.

Jacinta Beros

The ITF extends its sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Jacinta Beros who passed away on 22 September in Perth, Australia. Jacinta was a long-time employee of the Hopman Cup, holding several positions, and was well known and liked by the tennis community.

Eduardo Moliné O'Connor

Argentina’s Eduardo Moliné O’Connor, former ITF board member and ITF Honorary Life Counsellor, passed away on 21 August 2014 in Buenos Aires at the age of 76.

A nationally-ranked junior tennis player, Moliné O’Connor was influential in tennis administration. He was a board member of the Argentine Tennis Association from 1982 to 2005, becoming Vice President of the South American Tennis Confederation (COSAT) from 1986 to 1990. Moliné O’Connor also served as Vice President and board member of the ITF (1987-2005) and member and Director of the Hall of Fame (1993-2003). His role as ITF Olympic Committee member (1987-2005) saw him working on the creation of the rules and regulations for the tennis events for the Olympic Games of Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney and Athens.

As President of the ITF Development Committee, he was one of the promoters of the “Play and Stay” programme. He also helped in the development of the International Tennis Number, an international number that represents a player’s general level of play. 

In Argentina, he promoted the translation of tennis rules from English and French to Spanish, the validation of umpires’ courses in the country and the creation of the under 14 and under 16 international tournaments on the COSAT circuit.

He was a member of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) from 1998 to 2006.

When he retired, Moliné O’Connor received an award in recognition of ‘long and distinguished services to the game of tennis’ for his 16 years’ service to the ITF Board and several ITF Commissions.

Eberhard Wensky

Eberhard Wensky died unexpectedly during the night of the 4th to the 5th of July. For many years he was tournament and club director of the LTTC “Rot-Weiss”.

He was a prominent member of the club since 1949, a Berlin Champion in junior and men’s tennis and won the German Championship as member of the men’s Rot-Weiss team in 1967. After taking over various volunteer positions in the club, he became the club’s director in 1969, having been nominated by Gottfried von Cramm, the club’s president at the time. Under his management the club became one of the leading tennis clubs in Germany again. 

Shirley Woodhead

The first-ever employee of the International Tennis Federation, Shirley Woodhead, died on 10 June.

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: "Shirley Woodhead played a very important role in the history of the ITF as its first employee, playing a variety of roles that included General Secretary and Executive Director of Administration.  

"I knew her quite well when I served on the Committee of Management and various ITF committees and had high regard for her."

Roberto Nappo

Long-time tennis journalist and broadcaster Roberto Nappo passed away on 9 June in Buenos Aires.

Nappo had worked for the BBC since 1979, covering his first Wimbledon in 1985 and the rest of the Grand Slams since 1994. He wrote for the Buenos Aires Herald and collaborated with Argentine newspapers La Nacion, El Cronista Comercial and Tiempo Argentino. He also worked as a columnist for tennis magazines Swing, Grip and Set by Set and was a member of the International Tennis Writers Association. In 2008, he published the book “Faltó la Reina Madre” - a collection of interviews he carried out during his career.

He was a radio reporter for Contacto Directo (Del Plata Radio) and Enhorabuena (Radio Argentina), also contributing to radios Del Plata, America and Splendid, all based in Buenos Aires. On TV, he worked for Channel 11 and co-hosted sport programme MachOnce for the same network. 

Erik Keller

Longtime Vice President of Swiss Tennis Erik Keller passed away on 17 May.

Keller also served as chairman of the Swiss Davis Cup and Fed Cup teams and served on the Professional Committee of Tennis Europe as well as being a longtime delegate at the ITF and Tennis Europe.

Swiss Tennis said it was "full of gratitude toward his achievements".

ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti said: "The strength of our sport is people like Erik Keller. Erik worked tirelessly on behalf of tennis both in Switzerland and for Tennis Europe and we will miss his intelligence and enthusiasm.

"He was especially passionate about Davis Cup and Fed Cup and it was my pleasure to see him for the last time when Switzerland defeated Kazakhstan to reach the semifinals for the first time in many years."

Elena Baltacha

Former world No. 49 and British No. 1 Elena Baltacha passed away on 4 May at her home after a four-month battle with liver cancer. She was 30.

Baltacha led the Great Britain Fed Cup team for many years and had an  excellent record, playing 39 ties for Great Britain and compiling an impressive 33-16 win-loss record, regularly playing both singles and doubles.

Elena's commitment to and involvement in the game was not restricted to her time on court. She also set up the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis, which helps children from all backgrounds to learn and play the sport.

ITF President, Francesco Ricci Bitti said, "On behalf of the ITF, I would like to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Elena Baltacha. Her  career was characterised by the passion that she put into it and her pride in  playing for Great Britain in Fed Cup and as an Olympian. She will be missed and will be remembered by all of us in tennis."

Ross Sceats

Ross Sceats, a Gold Badge Chief Umpire and Silver Badge Referee, passed away on 7 April at his home in Sant Pol, Barcelona, Spain. He was 35.

Sceats fought a brain tumour for nearly 10 years but continued working at many ITF Pro Circuit and other tennis events during this time.

Enric Molina, Head of Officiating said: "It is with great sadness that we received the news this morning about our dear friend Ross. Those who met him knew what a true gentleman he was and what an example of courage, dignity and sportsmanship he set for all of us."

Mohammed M’Jid

Former president of the Moroccan Tennis Federation Mohammed M’Jid passed away on 20 March aged 97.

M’Jid was a leading figure in the development of tennis in Africa for over half a century before stepping down as president of the Moroccan Tennis Federation in 2010 after 53 years in the position.

M’Jid is credited for his role in creating the Grand Prix Hassan II men's professional tournament, which began in 1986 and is to date the only ATP event on the African continent. He was honoured with an ITF Award for services to the game in 1993 and remained heavily involved in the latter portion of his presidency, hosting the ITF Annual General Meeting when it was held in Marrakech in 2002.

Louise Brough Clapp

Former world No. 1 Louise Brough Clapp passed away after a brief illness on 3 February. Brough Clapp was one of the most dominant female tennis players of the 1940s and 50s. To this day she is remembered for being one of the greatest volleyers in the history of the sport.

Brough Clapp won a total of 35 Grand Slam titles - six in singles, 21 in doubles, and eight in mixed doubles. She and her contemporary Doris Hart are tied at fifth on the all-time list for winning the most major titles, behind only Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, and Margaret Osborne duPont.

In all, Brough Clapp won 13 titles at Wimbledon, 17 titles at the US Championships, three titles at the French Championships and two titles at the Australian Championships.

She was ranked in the world’s Top 10 from 1946 through to 1957 reaching a career high of world No. 1 in 1955.

Henry Talbert

Henry Talbert, who had a 39-year career with the USTA, passed away on 12 January.

Talbert joined the USTA in its New York City office in 1974 as Tennis Programming Director, before moving in 1990 to the Princeton office where he focused on Recreation Programming and Research, and then on to the White Plains office in 1993 where he supervised the USTA National Recreation Program staff.

He returned home to California in 1997 to become Executive Director of the Southern California Tennis Association and remained in that position for 16 years until he retired in 2013.

Talbert received the prestigious Gussy Moran Humanitarian Award in 2013 for his achievements and contributions to tennis in the United States.

Ian Wells

Ian Wells, head of New Zealand Tennis, chairman of Cricket Wellington and a former general manager of The Dominion Post, was 76 when he died peacefully on Saturday 4 January.

His involvement with New Zealand Tennis started in the 1970s and he served as chairman of the national body for 20 years. He was awarded the ITF Award for services to the game in 1985.



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