ITWA Offers Support to Peng Shuai

The International Tennis Writers Association (ITWA) has added its support to the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and other bodies and players calling on the Chinese authorities to give meaningful reassurances about the welfare and safety of the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, and for her allegations of sexual assault against a senior Chinese official to be properly investigated, without censorship.

The board that runs ITWA, the association representing the world’s leading specialist tennis journalists, issued a statement saying:

“Peng Shuai’s allegations are very serious, and she is very brave to have made them.

“We fully support the efforts of the WTA and other tennis bodies in calling for meaningful assurances that Peng Shuai is safe, and for the allegations she has made to be properly investigated, without censorship.

“In the meantime, we wish Peng Shuai and her family and friends all the strength they need to get through this very stressful time.”

In Memory of Tom Perrotta

It is with incredible sadness that we report the death of Tom Perrotta, a long-standing and much-loved member of ITWA, who passed away at home on January 6, 2021, at the age of 44, after a long battle with a brain tumour.

Many of you will have been lucky enough to have known Tom from the tennis circuit. For those who knew him well, Tom was a brilliant writer, someone who had a rare eye for a story. As a journalist, he worked hard and guarded his stories as closely as anyone, but with a softness and kindness that made him hugely popular not just with colleagues on the tennis circuit but also the players, coaches and administrators he spoke to often. As Alix Ramsay put it: “Tom could write like an angel but could hunt for a story like a grizzly bear in search of prey. He was a true gentleman and a true professional.” 

CLICK HERE for the complete tribute written by Co-President Simon Cambers.

David Mercer, 1950-2020

Originally a lawyer by training, David played tennis to a high standard in his native Wales, but then devoted himself to umpiring. He umpired the 1984 Wimbledon final between John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, and would have become one of the first touring professional umpires had he stayed in officiating, as the first two professional umpires were appointed in 1985.

One of ITWA’s founder members David Mercer has died suddenly at the age of 70.

But by the time he umpired McEnroe’s crushing victory over Connors, he had already signed up to join BBC Radio as a sports reporter. He later became the BBC’s tennis correspondent, before moving mainly into television. He is thought to be the only person to have both umpired a Wimbledon singles final and led the commentary on a Wimbledon singles final.

He was also involved in politics, and came within 401 votes of being elected to the British parliament in 1979.

His lawyer’s background meant he was of immense help to ITWA over questions of a legal nature, and he was always willing to offer the benefit of his experience. ITWA sends its best wishes to his wife Sue, and his daughter Caroline.