Hackney man wins award after umpiring Wimbledon final

Umpire James Keothavong

Umpire James Keothavong - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Hackney’s James Keothavong has capped the finest 12 months of his umpiring career by being named Aegon Official of the Year at the 2014 British Tennis Awards.

The brother of former British No1 Anne umpired the men’s singles final at Wimbledon in June, and September’s US Open semi-final between Roger Federer and Marin Cilic in New York.

Keothavong became the first Grand Slam singles final official to come through the junior player programme – a scheme set up to keep those who have stopped playing to remain in the game – and the 32-year-old was delighted at being recognised for reaching the pinnacle of his umpiring career.

“I’m extremely grateful for the recognition that officiating has received from the LTA and Aegon,” Keothavong said.

“It’s been a productive and exciting year for me personally – umpiring my first Wimbledon men’s singles final and being selected for the Davis Cup final [between Switzerland and France at the end of this month] are a couple of the highlights.

“A lot of hard work, perseverance and sacrifice have got me to where I am today.

“It certainly would not have been possible over the years without the continuous support and belief from my family and close friends, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them.”

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Keothavong also chaired the Davis Cup semi-Final between Switzerland and Italy in September, and Lawn Tennis Association president Cathie Sabin was quick to pass on her congratulations after the announcement.

“Huge congratulations to James and all the winners of the prestigious awards,” she said. “It’s been a tremendous year for tennis in Britain, and people like James, with their passion, hard work and dedication, help continue to propel the sport forward.”

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