David Mercer, left, with Colm McLoughlin Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free and Salah Tahlak, tournament director Dubai Tennis Championships Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The tennis fraternity from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships has joined the sporting world in mourning the death of David Mercer, one of tennis’s most iconic and distinguished voices.

Mercer, a regular at the Dubai tournament since its inaugural edition in 1993, passed away at the age of 70 while on holiday on Wednesday.


“This is such a sad day for us all, not just for our tournament, but also for the entire tennis community spread around the world. Not only was he a commentator for our tournament from the start, but he was so much of a father figure especially to me,” Tournament Director Salah Tahlak told Gulf News.

“He had such a warm and sensitive nature, and no one must have realised that he would be commentating on his last tournament here in Dubai earlier this year. So when we look back, I feel that his completion of 25 years of commentating in Dubai last year is going to be an even bigger memory for the tournament fans here.”

Starting in 1993 when the inaugural edition of the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open was held in a hastily assembled structure at the same site in Al Garhoud, Mercer has been a regular along with his wife Sue at times.

The first person to both officiate and commentate on a Wimbledon men’s single final, Mercer was known for his sweet and caring style with everyone he dealt with. As an umpire, he was in the chair for the 1984 Wimbledon final meeting between John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. He would then embark on a commentating career that spanned more than 35 years with BBC alone.

“My condolences to his wife Sue and to the other members of his family. It’s a tough time for them all and we can only join in prayer with the hope that his soul rests in peace,” Tahlak said.

“Both David and Sue had made many friends here over the years, and I am sure there will be many who will miss David returning to Dubai for next year’s tournament. The players will miss him and so will the fans as they had grown familiar with his soothing and unique voice on centre court.

“We will miss David big time as he added a lot of value to our event each year. The entire tennis fraternity will miss him and at this sad time, our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with the family as they try to cope with this huge loss in their lives.”