Inspiration of Roger Taylor dies aged 95

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FORMER Sheffield tennis champion Lilian Taylor, mother and early coach of one of Britain’s greatest ever tennis stars, Roger Taylor, has died aged 95.

Lilian, who didn’t play tennis until she was 33, started Roger playing the game in the parks of Sheffield and he went on to become Britain’s top player, three times a Wimbledon semi-finalist and, a few years ago, Davis Cup captain.

She began playing on courts in Weston Park near her home at Upperthorpe and, despite no tennis background, soon became an established player in the area winning Sheffield Parks titles and the Telegraph Cup amongst other honours.

She introduced Roger to the game when he was young, they played the game all the time, very often in Weston Park on the public courts there. When he was only 10, Roger was runner-up in an Under 15 tournament at Hallamshire.

Through his mother’s encouragement and enthusiasm, Roger blossomed in his teens and, obviously a player of talent and some potential, went down to London when he was 17 to pursue a career in the game and he was to get to the top of it. He lives in Wimbledon.

Lilian, who died in a Dinnington nursing home, was an avid, lifelong Sheffield United fan and a founder member of the Senior Blades Club and a regular attender up to a few years ago.

Her funeral is next Wednesday at City Road Crematorium (2.45).