Bud Collins, the legendary tennis broadcaster and writer, died Friday at his home in Brookline, MA at the age of 86.

Collins, who was literally Mr. Tennis, was known for his passionate coverage of the sport he covered for almost 50 years.

“Bud made such a huge impact on our sport because he was one of the most knowledgeable people in tennis and he was so committed to always learning more about the sport and its characters.” said Tennis Hall of Fame President and Hall of Famer Stan Smith, “By combining his knowledge with his one-of-a-kind color, he really made the game fun and interesting for the fans and the players. He was responsible for growing interest in our sport tremendously.”

“On a personal level, Bud was partially responsible for launching my career and my partner Bob Lutz’s career. One of our first big wins was in Boston and Bud never let me forget how much he talked us up on the air and how much great promotion he gave us. And every time he reminded me, I was grateful to have been part of Bud’s memories. He was probably one of the most giving people that I met. He would do anything for people around the game, and he will be sorely missed.”

Mr. Collins provided the sport with its most authoritative voice, and wrote the tennis encyclopedia and a history of the game.

“Bud will be greatly missed, but his impact on the game will never be lost. He documented and commented on our sport’s great moments and history every day, and in doing so – he made history himself. As a player, one could count on Bud to be fair, easy to speak with, and able to see past the surface on any subject,” said Todd Martin, International Tennis Hall of Fame CEO. “His heart and passion for the sport were just as great as his pants were bold. He drew fans into our sport and he kept every one of us in the industry engaged in the news.

“While we are saddened today, it is impossible to think of Bud and not smile. He will be greatly missed, but always remembered with happiness and admiration.”

“Few people have had the historical significance, the lasting impact, and the unqualified love for tennis as Bud Collins,” tennis legend Billie Jean King tweeted. “He was an outstanding journalist, an entertaining broadcaster, and as our historian he never let us forget or take for granted the rich history of our sport.’’

Bud Collins was a giant in the tennis world who will never be replaced.