Former Jamaica tennis star Lance Lumsden is dead at 71
Lance Lumsden, one of the best tennis players produced by Jamaica, passed away last Saturday at Andrews Memorial Hospital, St Andrew.
According to his nephew Richard Lumsden, the former Davis Cup player had been undergoing treatment for cancer when he died at the age of 71.
Born in Buff Bay, Portland, on October 30, 1939, Lumsden began his tennis career in high school at Kingston College in the late 1950s. He continued at Southern Illinois University in the early 1960s, where he was the top-ranked tennis player for his college. He was one of the first Jamaicans to play tennis on the international circuit in the modern era, and toured along with Kingston College schoolmate, Richard Russell, for many years during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1968, the first year of the era of Open tennis, he played the world number one, Australia's Rod Laver, in the first round of the French Open in Paris.
Lumsden represented Jamaica in the Brandon Trophy on several occasions and also competed under the flag of the Commonwealth Caribbean in the Davis Cup. In 1966, the Davis Cup team of Lance Lumsden and Richard Russell defeated Venezuela by 3-2, the first time that the Commonwealth Caribbean had won a Davis Cup tie. In the following Davis Cup tie against the United States at the St Andrew Club in Kingston, Lance Lumsden and Richard Russell scored a famous victory on May 21, 1966, when they won the doubles match against the top-ranked American duo of Arthur Ashe and Charlie Pasarell, winning in five sets 6-4, 7-9, 14-12, 4-6, 6-4. This was the first time that the Commonwealth Caribbean had won a Davis Cup match against the United States. Although the United States won the tie by 4-1, this doubles victory by Lumsden and Russell in May 1966 is still regarded as one of the finest hours in the history of tennis in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
After retiring from tennis, Lance settled in Vienna, Austria, where he married and raised a family. He leaves sons Joris, Marco and Robin (Robin Lumsden, current honorary consul of Jamaica to Austria). A service of thanksgiving for the life of Lance Lumsden will be held on Friday, July 15, at the St Andrew Parish Church at 1 p.m.