THE father of three tennis stars has died at the age of 94.

Dennis Lloyd, father of tennis stars David, John and Tony Lloyd, passed away peacefully at home at the age of 94 on Tuesday.

A familiar figure on the Essex and national tennis scene, Mr Lloyd was a former local champion himself.

Born in Woodford, he attended Royal Liberty School in Romford, and during his time there was selected to play for Essex Grammar Schools at football and cricket.

After leaving school, he devoted his energy to playing tennis, and despite being self-taught, reached county standard.

He became a formidable opponent, with an unorthodox style, but he never quite made it to Wimbledon, though he had the satisfaction of watching his sons David, John and Tony all play in the men’s singles.

During the Second World War he volunteered for the Territorial Army as a teenager. He was called up in 1939 and served throughout the war, initially as a signaller with the Royal Artillery, and later working in the maintenance of early radar equipment with the Royal Engineers.

Mr Lloyd settled in Woodfield Road, Leigh, with his wife Doris, after demob from the Army in 1946. With Doris and baby Anne in tow, Dennis joined the Westcliff Hardcourt Lawn Tennis Club.

A natural showman, Dennis led the club’s annual pantomime productions as he was captaining the men’s teams.

Oldest son David was born in 1948 and went on to become a leading British Davis Cup player and captain, and an outstanding sporting entrepreneur.

John followed in David’s footsteps, becoming British number one and winning the Wimbledon Mixed Doubles title twice. He is now well respected as one of the BBC’s tennis analysts.

Youngest son Tony was hampered by back problems, but still became an England international player, and is recognised as an outstanding coach.

After giving up his business, Dennis became manager of the HW Stone’s Sports shop in Leigh where he was a welcoming and knowledgeable figure.

Dennis found his true vocation as a tennis coach. His enthusiasm and experience helped generations of young players make the most of their talent.

Despite undergoing a double knee replacement, Mr Lloyd was able to coach club players until the age of 88.

He leaves behind four children, thirteen grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.