Obituary: Gerald Battrick

ONE OF the best tennis players to come from Wales, Gerald Battrick never quite achieved the promise he showed as a schoolboy when his talents won him a scholarship to Millfield and also a place in the Welsh senior team at the age of 14.

Although he reached No 3 in the British rankings, he was kept down by his two contemporaries Mark Cox and Roger Taylor who dominated that era. Nevertheless he could be proud of his achievement of winning the Junior titles of Great Britain, Belgium and France.

He went on to represent Britain in the Davis Cup, but perhaps his best achievement was to win the British Hard Court Championship in 1971. He was one of only five home players to win in the post-war period.

Battrick was born in 1947 in Bridgend, Glamorgan, where his father was the Medical Officer, and his mother played a big part in Welsh tennis as a member of the Welsh Council. A local rival of the early days as junior champion was the great J.P.R. Williams, who followed Battrick as British junior champion in 1966. I remember saying to Battrick at that time how remarkable that Bridgend should turn out two champions only to receive the reply, "There is only room for one of us."

There was a bitter rivalry, but Williams turned his main attention to rugby, where he was acclaimed by the whole of Wales and became a national hero.

Improving his play with the facilities at Millfield, Battrick went on to the international scene. He was picked for the Davis Cup team in 1968, after winning the British Under 21 championship, but he was left on the side line for the match with France. His debut came the following year against Austria. In his build-up to this status he claimed many notable scalps in the various tournaments around the world. Among them were Mark Cox, Owen Davidson of Australia, Tom Okker, the Flying Dutchman, and Arthur Ashe, and Stan Smith before they became Wimbledon champions.

Battrick was making a name for himself but he was caught up in the controversy of "amateurism". In 1972 he turned professional, joining World Championship Tennis under the wing of Lamar Hunt, the Texan millionaire who played a big part in helping bring about "Open" tennis. Although tennis was declared open in 1968, those players on expenses were barred from Wimbledon, and it was not until the players' boycott of 1972, and with Herman David, the Chairman of Wimbledon, eventually being successful in his efforts, that Battrick, along with the other rebels, was allowed back.

By now the pressure of the world scene was making itself felt. He decided on a new future and went to Hamburg, playing in the German Bundesligo and coaching. He still however continued to play in the over 45s competition at Wimbledon, having meanwhile returned to Wales to set up his own coaching academy and spread the game to others.

Gerald Battrick's love of tennis was shared by his wife, the former Carolyn Camp, who had been a Surrey county player.

Gerald Battrick, tennis player and coach: born Bridgend, Glamorgan 27 May 1947; married Carolyn Camp (one son, one daughter); died 26 November 1998.

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

Arts and Entertainment
The Baker (James Corden) struggles with Lilla Crawford’s Little Red Riding Hood

film...all the better to bamboozle us
Arts and Entertainment
English: Romantic Landscape

art
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick