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Tennis Legend Barry MacKay Passes Away

Barry MacKay

MacKay© ATP

Former player, tournament director, promoter and commentator Barry MacKay has passed away in San Francisco aged 76. Nicknamed ‘The Bear’ for his stature and ebullient personality, MacKay was one of the friendliest and most-liked members of the tennis family. As a commentator, MacKay was known for his catch phrase "And there it is" on match point.

As news of his passing trended on Twitter Friday night, colleagues were quick to pay tribute to MacKay on the micro-blogging site. Among those paying their respects was former player and coach Brad Gilbert, who won the San Francisco title in 1989 when MacKay was tournament director. "Just heard the sad news: Barry MacKay, one of the greats & without question one of the real good guys in tennis, just passed away."

Legendary tennis journalist Bud Collins: "I am stunned to hear that my pal, "The Ohio Bear," (Barry MacKay) is gone. I will miss his warmth and goodness.”

Nick Bollettieiri: “Devastated to hear that Barry MacKay has died today. Great tennis player and a great friend. He will be missed.”

Tommy Haas, who Saturday plays in the semi-finals of the Gerry Weber Open, tweeted: “RIP Barry MacKay, thanks for all the great things you have done in our sport."

ATP CEO Americas, Mark Young, told, “Barry was a warm and gregarious man. He was a very friendly ‘Bear’. All of his friends in the tennis family will miss him dearly.”

MacKay was the long-time tournament director of the Pacific Coast Championships (Now SAP Open) in three different locations: Berkeley, San Francisco and San Jose. He also promoted two Davis Cup finals in the U.S. Since the 1970s MacKay has been one of the most popular TV commentators, most recently calling for Tennis Channel and Fox Sports Network

As a player, MacKay won the NCAA singles title in 1957 while playing for the University of Michigan. He reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 1959, losing a dramatic five-setter to Rod Laver 11-13, 11-9, 10-8, 7-9, 6-3.

In 1960 he won the Italian Championships and was the top seed at the French Championships. He won back-to-back Pacific Coast Championships in 1959-60 and also in 1960 won 11 tournaments to earn the No. 1 ranking in the U.S and be awarded the Bob Hope Award for amateur athlete of the year. He played on five U.S. Davis Cup teams, including the 1958 squad that defeated Australia. MacKay began a three-year career with the Jack Kramer Professional Tennis Tour in 1961, when he turned pro.

- Background information partly sourced from Wikipedia

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