Longtime tennis commentator Bud Collins died Friday at the age of 86.

Since he was a young boy, Collins wanted to be a part of the sports world. He started as a reporter for the Boston Herald while attending Boston University and was soon swept up by the Boston Globe.

Collins traveled with boxer Muhammad Ali for a year and then one day got assigned to a tennis match, with all due apologies from his editor. But to the editor’s surprise, Collins fell in love with the game.

He was among the first print sports reporters to transition to television—making his debut with WGBH Sports in the '60s where he covered live tennis matches at the Longwood Cricket Club in Brookline. Soon he caught the attention of the networks where he was a commentator for decades, most notably hosting Breakfast at Wimbledon for NBC.

Last summer, Collins was able to attend the unveiling of the Bud Collins U.S. Open Media Center at Forest Hills where the center was dedicated to him.

Collins described himself as a hacker, but in truth he was an accomplished player himself, once winning a U.S. Indoor Mixed Doubles championship with Janet Hopps in 1961. He was often seen playing barefoot on the grass courts at Longwood, and he had his favorite court—way up in the corner—away from all the fray. Collins was dedicated to making the sport accessible to everyone, and backed the idea of the Dorchester Sportsmen's Tennis Club before the first brick was laid. He was also instrumental in bringing the 100th Davis Cup finals to Boston and Longwood in 1999.

He is survived by his wife Anita Ruthling Klaussen, an accomplished photographer, and several children and grandchildren.