In that Boston University video, Collins tells of how his Boston Herald editors sent him to cover the sport because nobody else would, not knowing his passion for tennis, that turned into a more than half-century career in the press box, which now bears his name at Flushing Meadows, home of the U.S. Open. Mr. Collins spent 35 years on NBC’s Wimbledon coverage before being dropped by the network in 2007.
The Boston Globe ran a tribute to Collins on Friday that included an excerpt from his first prominent appearance in the paper, a December 1963 article from Adelaide, Australia, where he was on assignment covering the Davis Cup. He was known for wearing colorful clothing during “Breakfast at Wimbledon” telecasts. “In more than three decades with NBC Sports, he was a beloved colleague and friend”.
“Either the ball goes over the net or it doesn’t”, Collins wrote in the opening sentence of “Bud Collins’ Modern Encyclopedia of Tennis”.
‘Few people have had the historical significance, the lasting impact, and the unqualified love for tennis as Bud Collins, ‘ Billie Jean King tweeted.
Enberg reflected on his friend before broadcasting a San Diego Padres spring training baseball game Friday night, hours after learning of Collins’ death.
Collins, who had the media center at the U.S. Open named in his honor last September, had been in failing health for several years, the newspaper reported. But those who knew him best will remember that no one had a better friend than Bud Collins. “Bud was larger than life, and his countless contributions to the sport helped to make it the global success that it is today”.
He had suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia, his wife, Anita Ruthling Klaussen, said. “In doing so he elevated tennis to a previously unimaginable plane of awareness and enjoyment for fans the world over”.
Collins was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1994. Writing in Sports Illustrated in February 1968 as the Open era dawned, Collins described the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association as “an organization that, in terms of efficiency and coordination, rivals that of the New York Mets”.
Collins also covered numerous other sports and non-sports topics, including travel and the Vietnam War, but he will forever be linked with the tennis beat.