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Former Wimbledon tournament referee Alan Mills dies aged 88

Former Wimbledon tournament referee Alan Mills dies aged 88

Long-time Wimbledon tournament referee Alan Mills has died at the age of 88, the ATP Tour has announced.

Mills was the All-England Club’s referee from 1983 to 2005, earning the nickname of ‘Rain Man’ for ordering the covers on when rain stopped play.

He was awarded an OBE in 1996 and a CBE in 2006.

In a statement confirming Mills died on Thursday, the ATP described him as having “an impeccable character and integrity”.

Another former Wimbledon referee, Gerry Armstrong, said: “Alan was a great influence on myself and many officials around the world.

“He was always helpful and encouraging during the years we worked together at Wimbledon and on the ATP Tour. It was a great honour to work alongside him in professional tennis for many decades.”

Mills, who continued to act as referee at some ATP, WTA and ATP Champions Tour events until 2015, was well known for his clashes with John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors.

The Lancastrian also disqualified Tim Henman from Wimbledon in 1995 after the Briton smashed a ball in frustration at the head of a ball girl.

Prior to his off-court role, Mills had been a player and coach himself, reaching the Wimbledon men’s doubles semi-finals in 1966, while he also made the third round of the French Open twice.

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