‘A giant in the tennis world’ - tributes to one of Britain's most influential coaches

To many tennis players across the world, Alan wasn't just a coach, he was a mentor, a father-figure and a friend

One of Britain’s most celebrated and longest-serving tennis coaches, Alan Jones has died after a short illness aged 76. 

Former world number 5 and Wimbledon winner Jo Durie announced his death on X saying: “Utterly devastated to announce that Alan Jones, my longtime coach, mentor & friend has passed away after a short illness.

Alan Jones and Jo Durie

“Alan coached generations of players & influenced the lives of so many.

“A giant in the tennis world. I was so lucky to call him my friend.”

He had been coaching performance tennis for over 53 years and in that time had taught 33 British players who later went on to play at Wimbledon. 

He played a huge role in shaping the future of tennis in Great Britain. 

His list of students includes Jo Durie, who reached a high of No.5 in the world, Elena Baltacha (49), Laura Robson (27), Jeremy Bates (54), and Anne Keothavong, who got as high at Number 48.

Alan’s sudden death has brought the tennis world to join hands and pay their condolences to his family. 

To many tennis players across the world, Alan wasn't just a coach, he was a mentor, a father-figure and a friend.

But, aside from tennis coaching, Alan was a husband to Vicky, a dad to his two children - Ryan and Laura, a grandfather of four and a best friend to Durie.

American tennis legend, Billie Jean King also penned down a heartfelt note on her X account:

Former junior Wimbledon winner Laura Robson told ITV News: "Alan was one of my first coaches, he taught me so much, but most importantly he taught me how fun working hard and committing to something can be.

"He had such an infectious energy and passion for the game.

"You could hear his voice from several courts away, encouraging players from the first to the last session.

"I spent plenty of time on court with Alan, but also off court with his lovely family and much beloved huskies.

"Most of all thinking of them during this difficult time and hope they know how missed he will be."

It wasn't just players that Alan impacted, it was fellow tennis coaches too. Sutton Coldfield tennis coach Chris Johnson told ITV News: "Alan said to me on a number of occasions, 'how lucky was I to meet Jo Durie'.

"Well I can say, how lucky was I not only to have met Alan, but for him to take me under his wing for the past 26 years.

"Alan not only helped me understand performance tennis, but also how to help someone grow as a person.

"Alan had an infectious energy and enthusiasm for people who wanted to improve as tennis players and this is something I always try to live up too.

"British tennis has lost the most influential coach for the past 53 years.

"I will be forever grateful to Alan and his wisdom that he was always happy to share with me."

Alan originally started his career in tennis as a player at Vicars Moor tennis club and went on to coach at Hazelwood tennis club in Potters Bar for over 50 years.

Alan's son Ryan Jones is a tennis coach too and will be looking to carry on the baton of his father.

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