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January 17, 2024

Daily Mail tennis correspondent Mike Dickson dies while covering Australian Open

The Mail described "Dicko" as "talented, kind and knowledgeable".

By Charlotte Tobitt

Daily Mail tennis correspondent Mike Dickson has died aged 59 after collapsing in Melbourne where he was covering the Australian Open.

His final dispatch from the tournament, published on Wednesday, included analysis of a big day for British tennis stars and interviews with Emma Raducanu and Jack Draper.

His wife and children announced his death on Wednesday lunchtime, writing on X/Twitter: “We are devastated to announce that our wonderful husband and Dad, Mike, has collapsed and died while in Melbourne for the Aus Open.

“For 38 years he lived his dream covering sport all over the world. He was a truly great man and we will miss him terribly. Lucy, Sam, Ruby and Joe.”

Dickson, known colloquially as Dicko, had worked at the Mail for 33 years, with the title saying he had covered 30 different sports in almost 50 countries during his career.

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Before taking on the tennis job, he was the Mail’s cricket correspondent for eight-and-a-half years until 2007.

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Lee Clayton, the Mail’s global publisher for sport, paid tribute, saying: “Dicko was everything you want a correspondent to be – a brilliant news hound, a terrific writer and a friend to so many in his sport. The world of tennis will join us in mourning. He was a giant of a journalist.

“It will be an impossibly difficult time for us all as we digest this huge loss. Dicko was a magnificent tennis correspondent, but he would also turn his hand to any sport, especially cricket, golf and football, and support colleagues across our team in any challenge, always in such a generous manner. 

“He was just a brilliant bloke, a class act. It was a privilege to work alongside him and to know him.”

Longtime Mail sports journalist Jeff Powell said: “Too talented, too dedicated, too kind, too generous, too good a man, too respected, too fine a colleague, too good a friend, too supreme a tennis writer, too strong an all round sports reporter and most importantly of all too young to leave his wife, his children and his second family at this newspaper.

“A tragic loss. The only consolation is that he died doing what he loved. Being a major player of his craft at a Grand Slam.”

Dickson grew up in the Wirral and started his 38-year career by getting his NCTJ qualification at the former South Glamorgan Institute before learning the trade at Chester Chronicle, Wembley Observer and 2CR Radio in Bournemouth ahead of joining the Daily Mail.

He lived in Wimbledon with his family and followed Tranmere Rovers and Everton football clubs. He was just days away from celebrating his 60th birthday, on 27 January.

Tributes paid to Mail’s Mike Dickson

Journalists and sports stars alike shared their shock at his death.

Times tennis correspondent Stuart Fraser, who is currently in Melbourne, said it was an “extremely sad day” there: “Those of us here are in complete shock. Mike was a tremendous colleague and friend on the road. The tennis press room will never quite be the same again.”

The Australian Open said in a statement: “We are shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Mike, our long-standing colleague and friend. Our thoughts and condolences go out to his family.”

The Sports Journalists Association sent its “deepest sympathies” and said Dickson was “much loved and respected in the industry”.

The Mail Sport team described him as “a magnificent tennis correspondent and an outstanding colleague: talented, kind and knowledgeable. Much more than that, he was a brilliant bloke, a class act. It was a privilege to work alongside him and to know him.”

Mail Sport football editor Ian Ladyman said: “A first class journalist and colleague but above all one of the very best blokes. Lovely to me, lovely to everyone. Admired him, learned from him, wanted to be like him. Thanks Dicko. We will never forget you.”

Mail Sport commissioning editor George Bond said: “Dicko was the journalist people dream about becoming – whether on tennis or anything else he turned his hand to – a perceptive guide, invaluable help to young colleagues and above all else a great, great man. This is extremely sad news.”

Daily Mail racing correspondent Dominic King said: “If you were blessed to know Mike, you will know he epitomised everything a gentleman should be. A class act, an inspiration to all of us who were privileged to work with him. He loved all sports, he adored Everton. This is dreadful, our deepest sympathies to his loving family.”

The Sun’s cricket correspondent John Etheridge said: “This is truly shattering news. Mike was one of my best friends, a funny, caring and wise man and, of course, a brilliant and dedicated journalist. We learned so much from him. He’ll be missed by everyone.”

BBC Sport news correspondent Laura Scott said: “This is absolutely heartbreaking news. Mike was the most generous colleague and the kindest man. I’ll miss seeing him in tennis press rooms enormously.”

The i’s sports news correspondent James Gray said: “There was no better reporter, deskmate, sommelier, pack leader or friend. In tennis, Dicko knew everyone and everyone knew Dicko.”

British tennis player Liam Broady said: “Don’t know what to say. A strong, good and fair man. Cared about me when I was at my lowest ebb. Rest well Mike.”

Countless more tributes were being shared online on Wednesday afternoon.

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