John James OBE, one of the great tennis administrators of his time, died suddenly on the 13h June aged 86 following a recent stroke.
He was one of those men who kept the game on track during an important period of growth not only nationally, but internationally whilst remaining very much in the background.
A charismatic, warm, and friendly man who loved the sport of tennis and basically dedicated his life to the game.
Born in 1937 in Llanelli, Wales, James’ route through the ranks climb up the hierarchy of tennis began when he was voted a council member of the Welsh LTA in 1963 and became heavily involved in junior tennis, becoming an umpire and officiating at The Championships, Wimbledon.
He was elected in 1972 to the LTA’s Council as the Welsh representative and was appointed LTA Assistant Secretary the following year responsible for organising the Davis Cup and Wightman Cup events when played in Britain.
He became LTA Secretary in 1983 and two decades later became LTA Vice President, a role he held between 2003 and 2007 when he became an Honorary Vice President of the national governing body.
James also served on a host of other committees across the game at domestic level including the Anti-Doping Review Board (1997-2002), Officiating Committee (1997-1998), Rules (2004), Wimbledon Museum (2000-2008) and the Commonwealth Games Council for England (2003-2006).
In addition, he was Middlesex County LTA President from 2003 and acting Chairman of the Board in 2021-2022 and was named an Honorary Life President of the British Olympic Association in 2017 after 34 years’ service to the National Olympic Committee and was awarded an OBE in the 2003 New Year’s Honours list.
He also managed to act as President of Tennis Europe between 2003 and 2009, do committee work at various International Tennis Federation committees including the ITF’s Olympic Committee from 1991 to 2009. Mark Bullock, Middlesex Tennis’ Diversity and Inclusion Lead reflected in the County’s obituary: “John was a giant in the sport of tennis and his contribution to the sport at all levels immeasurable. His support and passion for disability tennis meant that he had a huge influence on my career at various stages whilst I was at Nottingham Tennis Centre, the Welsh National Tennis Centre, the ITF and most recently at Middlesex Tennis”.