Dan Maskell Tennis Trust
Serving Tennis to Disabled People

Tributes, Messages & How the Trust Has Helped Me

John Barrett
John Barrett, first President of the Trust and friend and colleague of Dan’s, relates one of his many stories.

We were doing a match on centre court involving Slobodan Zivojinovic and he was a Yugoslavian of great power, and Dan tried on two or three occasions to get his tongue around it, Slobodan Zivojinovic and he stumbled two or three times so in the end he referred to him all the time as ‘and what a wonderful backhand pass from our Yugoslav friend.’

Virginia Wade
Virginia Wade – a Vice-President of the Trust recounts a memory of Dan.

Dan was one of a kind, he was lovely. The reason he managed to keep going for so long was he was just so enthusiastic, he just loved tennis. He loved watching all the new players, he loved observing the new trends in the game and he also, of course being a man of few words on the air,  did teach us all great discipline.

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19 Responses

  1. I remember in 1976, I had just left school and as a treat my Dad took me to Wimbledon for the first time. I was mesmerised by the place from that very first visit. We managed to get onto Number 1 Court and managed to see the great Bjorn Borg in the quarter final, right at the end of the day as my Dad was trying to grab me away from the place who walked past us leaving the Club for the evening but Dan Maskell, to me he was the voice of Wimbledon even then and to see him a few feet away, proudly sporting his Wimbledon Members Badge absolutely made my day. I was only 16 that summer and now at the ripe old age of 62, I always remember that moment and wish we could hear his lovely voice on Centre Court again……oh I say….

  2. Dan Maskell was a lovely man and the voice of Wimbledon. Back in 2001 I had a stroke which left me in a wheelchair for over 4 yrs. I used to play tennis from school age and still used to play with friends. After spending 6 long months in hospital I was climbing the walls. My speech therapist recommended that I did wheelchair tennis. I absolutely loved it and it played a huge part in my recovery. I’m now back on my feet with just one sided weakness. A massive thank you to the Dan Maskell Trust. I will continue to support. XXX

  3. Massive thank you to DMTT for all your help with funding my coaching sessions and tennis rackets to continue my dream to get better with my tennis. I am progressing really well with my tennis and the help with the funding for coaching has really helped with this !!

  4. I remember that Dan Maskell had had a long association with the Slazenger company, for whom I worked from 1970 -1985. In 1981, Slazenger held its Centenary Conference at Ferndown, attended by some sixty delegates. Dan was invited as one of our two Guests of Honour as the Voice of Tennis and I remember him giving an excellent after dinner speech to our many guests from the tennis and golf world. The other Guest of Honour that evening was the golfer Bobby Locke, three times Open champion.

  5. From novice tennis player to national champion, The Dan Maskell trust has always been there to support me with my tennis development. Without them, I wouldn´t be the player I am today. Thank you for continuing to help create future champions whilst promoting accessibility and inclusivity at the forefront of our sport.

    Ivan Rodriguez-deb

  6. The DMTT’s help and support of my Wheelchair Tennis has been unbelievable and I can’t thank them enough. Their help and support gets me loads of time on court with my coach and spending time away at Tournament’s with some amazing people I can now call friends. The Dan Maskell funding has helped change my life, I’m so happy with all the support I receive.

    Zak Corbishley

  7. I am incredibly grateful to the DMTT for all their support. My grant enabled me to have an individual lesson for the first time, helping me gain confidence and to have vital technical lessons, which was integral to my progress in my tennis journey. The trust helps so many players and I am proud to be an ambassador and to help give back to the trust who gave me so much.

    Abbie Breakwell

  8. The Dan Maskell Tennis Trust helped me at a vital stage in my tennis career to enable me to dive into my training and commit fully to the sport. It was instrumental in leading me to some of my biggest successes in deaf tennis, including national and international medals. The trust has been a great help in allowing disabled tennis players in the UK enjoy this sport to its fullest.

    Esah Hyatt

  9. The Dan Maskell Tennis Trust helped fund tennis courts and coaching costs for South Yorkshire Visually Impaired Tennis Club (SYVITC). The funding has allowed Ben and Janiece to concentrate on delivering sessions in a tennis environment that is ideal for VI tennis and of course, allows the players to be brought together for that all important networking afterwards.

    SYVITC

  10. My name is Lily Mills and I am a Tennis player. I have a learning disability.
    The Dan Maskell Trust helped me with funding to get to the Special Olympics 2019 in Abu Dhabi where I won two gold medals for GB. One for women’s singles and one for mixed doubles.

    Lilly Mills

  11. The Dan Maskell tennis trust’s support has been life changing for me. Because of their support, I’ve received coaching grants and funding towards my tennis chair. This means I’m able to play a sport that I love, improve my game and achieve so many things which wouldn’t be possible without their input. I owe a lot to this amazing charity and couldn’t be more grateful!

    Alice Dyer

  12. Early in my career the DMTT gave me funding towards a new tennis wheelchair which really helped me to improve my tennis. I’ll always be grateful to them for their support and think it’s fantastic that they continue to help other players reach for their dreams.

    Dermot Bailey

  13. It is an honour to be part of a trust that helped me in the past during the younger years of my tennis career. They continue to help support young deaf tennis players that I play with and coach today. To be a role model for the younger generation is a privilege

    Lewis Fletcher

  14. Dan Maskell is a legend in British Tennis, and for decades he was undoubtedly regarded as Mr Tennis in the UK.

    His mellifluous tones were central to TV and radio commentating on national and international tennis. He was a very good professional tennis player, and professional tennis coach; and many of our players at every level (including Fred Perry) benefited from his expertise and encouragement.

    In 1954 I had just won the final round of Wimbledon Qualifying.
    Living in Darlington, I had never played at the All England Club, and I had no club or friends in London. As a penniless student, I therefore had to stay in the YMCA in Wimbledon for the few days until the Championships began, and could not arrange any practice at Wimbledon. I walked up to the Ground with my kit on the first Monday to play the opening match on the Centre Court against the Wimbledon Champion, Vic Seixas. I couldn’t get a hit on a grass court, but I managed to hit a few balls by myself on the practice wall on a hard court in Wimbledon Golf Club.
    I had entered the Ground in a bit of a daze. However, Dan Maskell was near the entrance and noticed my bewilderment. He very kindly took me under his wing and guided me to the Men’s changing room, then under Court 2, and gave me a few words of much-needed encouragement.
    I have never forgotten his kindness. It was typical of him.

    Sir Geoffrey Cass

  15. My earliest memories of Dan come from the 1950s, when I was a student at London University.
    His BBC radio commentaries on Wimbledon were consistently vibrant and enthusiastic, so that one could not fail to recognise his passion for the game. He had the ability to convey this infectiously by his agile gift with words and unique voice. His legendary utterances of “Oh My Word!” became a byword on both radio and TV. Listening to Dan’s expressiveness was a really good preparation for those attending the Championships in the late 1950s and ever since. For my generation, he was indeed the unforgettable voice of Wimbledon

    Lady Olwen Cass

  16. ‘Less is more’ is the golden rule of commentary. Dan Maskell is one of the broadcasting titans who shaped that rule.

    The Borg/McEnroe tie break in 1980 was a classic example. A captivating contest between 2 charismatic stars playing at their best. Brash, young and new versus reserved, cool and established.

    McEnroe took the tie break, the crowd were delirious. The players sat down, finally the noise subsided and Dan, who had said nothing at all for minutes, uttered 1 word, just one!

    He said, ‘Well……’

    It was all that was required, it added gently to the glorious scene on Centre Court. It was deft and from the heart.

    If you offered so little in word volume nowadays the match Director and Production gallery would check to see if you were still alive. Yet if you talk too much they are upset. They want less words not more but schedule 3 commentators for the big matches.

    Dan Maskell defined authoritative expertise and knowledge in a pre pre digital age. He was gentle of delivery and loved the game and the characters who played it. His secret was that he knew how to share that love. His commentary wasn’t old fashioned it was timeless. He even had a catchphrase before everyone had to have one. You know what it is don’t you?

    Andrew Castle

  17. ‘OH, I SAY!’

    As a young tennis player during the era of Dan Maskell’s long dominance as perhaps the unchallenged ‘Voice of Wimbledon’, I soon became aware that a few of his reactions to an outstanding shot made when commentating a match for the BBC and Wimbledon, were not just his trademark, but a broadcasting style that defined an era of understatement in British sports coverage, especially tennis.

    The phrase that stands out most to me is ‘Oh, I say’, which underscored some of the most incredible shots achieved by the best players of the 40 or so years he commentated. While Mr. Maskell’s words sounded no more than a decent shot made, the truth was when one was also watching it – you would have actually just seen something truly ‘explosive’, ‘extraordinary’, ‘remarkable’!

    His voice though said it all – while filled with passion he kept the timbre perfect, not too loud, not too soft. Imagine the same shots being executed in today’s modern world of professional tennis – former champions now commentating along with other top – how might they be reacting to those very same shots?

    But with just 3 small words – Mr. Maskell – covered the full spectrum of a player achieving a shot worth being remembered, not just for the ‘moment’, but for the annals of tennis history.

    What more can I say?

    How about…

    ‘Oh, I say!’

    Jeff Wayne

  18. My abiding memory of Dan Maskell was in relation to Wheelchair Tennis. We were lucky enough to have him visit the British Open as a special guest at both Bishop’s Park, London, where the first two were held in 1990 and 1991, and the Graves Centre, Sheffield in 1992, a few months before he died.

    He was an avid spectator and I remember sitting with him watching an exciting Men’s Open doubles match in Sheffield. He was full of praise for the players’ movement and fascinated by the tactics. I sensed he was a little disillusioned by the power serving and short rallies in the men’s professional game at that time and loved the long rallies of wheelchair tennis doubles.

    It was a privilege to be with him and hear his opinions, and it was high praise that someone with a such a vast wealth of tennis knowledge and experience thought so highly of our sport. I’m sure he would be delighted that wheelchair tennis has advanced so much in the thirty years since, and proud that a charity in his name has significantly contributed to that development and helped make Great Britain one of the top-performing nations in the sport.

  19. I grew up listening to Dan’s commentary of Wimbledon on the BBC and to me he was synonymous with tennis. I have been lucky enough to make my career in the world of tennis and this gave me the opportunity to meet Dan when he agreed to be the special guest at the Nestlé Tennis Ladder International Finals. (This competition was the biggest of its kind for juniors under 16 to play in ladder competitions at school or club leading to National Finals in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland culminating in the International Finals featuring the winners). Not only did Dan give a running commentary to the sponsors as he watched the matches, he had a technique tip for each of the 16 players he presented prizes to.

    When I took the role as Executive Director of the Trust named after Dan, I told his daughter Robin that I had the honour of meeting her father – she said how kind to say that and I assured her it was completely true. I also consider myself extremely fortunate to play a part in helping disabled tennis players through the charity in his name.

    Gilly English

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