Collins, know for his encyclopedic knowledge of the game as well as his uber-colorful wardrobe, died in his Brookline, Mass., home, the Boston Globe reported.
In September, the USTA named the press center Bud Collins U.S. Open Media Center in his honor. The inscription on the plaque reads: “Journalist, Commentator, Historian, Mentor, Friend”.
Collins, who started writing columns for the Globe in 1963, was beloved by his fans, including many in sports journalism. On the Move (with Evonne Goolagong Cawley, 1974), and a memoir, My Life With the Pros (1989).
“No media figure in history in my mind has ever been as important to one sport as BUD COLLINS was to the sport of tennis”, said NEW YORK DAILY NEWS writer and ESPN personality MIKE LUPICA.
He is survived by wife Anita Ruthling Klaussen, a photographer. No one wanted to cover tennis, and an editor sent him to cover the state women’s championships at LONGWOOD.
Details on a memorial service for Collins will be announced soon.
Collins was much the showman. He was also known for his style – from loud slacks and bright bow ties to witty prose. Yellow, violet and burgundy were among his favorites, and strawberry embellishments were added for Wimbledon. He often quoted his imaginary Uncle Studley’s reflections on tennis. Steffi Graf was “Fraulein Forehand”, Bjorn Borg was “the Angelic Assassin”, and hard-serving Venus and Serena Williams were “Sisters Sledgehammer”. He considered himself the representative of the everyday player, or the hacker, as he put it.
“Few people have had the historical significance, the lasting impact and the unqualified love for tennis as Bud Collins“, said tennis champ Billie Jean King. He was enshrined in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1994 and was a past victor of the nation’s highest sports writing honour, the Red Smith Award.
Collins worked mostly for NBC Sports before moving onto ESPN in the latter stage of his career, consistently giving some of the best analysis in the world on his sport.
Another tennis great, Chris Evert, tweeted “Integrity, passion, intelligence, wit, compassion….”