Alan Chalmers pictured at his tennis club.

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In the letter notifying Chalmers of his award, USCTA’s awards committee chair, James Zug, said: “For nearly forty years, The Tennis Bookshop has been at the core of preserving the history of court tennis.

“You created a market for books and memorabilia that didn’t exist and then sustained that market, helping dozens of people around the world create collections. You uncovered rare items that otherwise would have disappeared.”

The award is given out for literary and artistic excellence in the game of court tennis, created in memory of sports writer George Plimpton following his death in 2003.

Chalmers said it was an “unexpected award for an 80 year old!”. He worked on Wimbledon’s Centre Court for many years, first overseeing the seating arrangements for corporate hospitality and media and then for the competitors’ families, friends and guests.