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Peter Jackson

tennis player
Full name: Peter H. Jackson
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Bio A former Ulster and Ireland No.1, Jackson initially played for the Cavehill club but also joined Windsor at a time when they made up a large part of the Irish Davis Cup team with players like Vivian Gotto, Tommy Crooks and Derek Arthurs. From north Belfast and a former pupil of Belfast Royal Academy, Peter played at a high level during the amateur era of tennis, working initially in the linen trade before becoming a Dunlop sports equipment representative, later opening his own sports shop. In a career which spanned over 20 years, he won numerous tournaments throughout Ulster and Ireland including the Ulster hardcourt championships as well as the Co Antrim, Co Armagh and North Down tournaments. For nine successive years he was Irish No.1 and was also one of the few Ulster players to have played at Wimbledon and in the US Open. But it was in the Davis Cup where he excelled, playing for Ireland in a then record 19 matches, often alongside his fiery fellow Ulsterman Arthurs, who later emigrated to Australia and passed away in 2008. For all his victories, however, it was a defeat he remembered most of all, a match in which he lost a marathon five-setter to Yugoslavia's Zeljko Franulovic, who was ranked in the world's top 10 at the time. He also had a memorable battle in the Ulster grasscourt championships at the Boat Club with rising Dutch star Tom Okker who went on to become the World No.3. However his career ended in acrimony when he was ordered to play in a trial match for his Davis Cup place in 1973. He was injured at the time and asked for dispensation which was refused. He decided to retire and never played competitive tennis again. Although Peter had little contact with Ulster tennis in the years before his death, just two weeks ago he attended the 100th anniversary of the Fitzwilliam Irish junior open, a tournament in which he reached the final in the early 1950s.

He grew up on Belfast’s Antrim Road and attended Belfast Royal Academy.
He failed to shine academically and instead he threw himself into sports including rugby, running and tennis. After school he took a clerical job in the linen trade for around five years, while continuing to play tennis. He began to earn a name for himself in the sport, which helped him secure a management post with Dunlop Sports Equipment.
Although he went on to compete in Wimbledon the US Open and the Davis Cup, it was in an era of almost wholly amateur sportsmanship, and he stayed in his day job throughout. He played at the US Open and at Wimbledon. But arguably the pinnacle of his career was a match he played against Yugoslavian competitor Zeljko Franulovic in the Davis Cup. He ultimately lost, but he gave his competitor – who was in the global Top 10 – a tough five-set match.“In Peter’s own mind, that was probably his greatest ever performance,” said brother-in-law Lyn Jamison.
He retired from the sport in 1973, after he was asked to play trial matches to secure his Davis Cup place – matches Lyn said he was easily capable of winning.
He was injured at the time and asked for a short spell to recover, but this was refused.
Rather than continue in the face of this refusal, he opted to leave competitive tennis.
After redundancy struck in 1980, he opened a clothes shop on the Saintfield Road, but it did not perform too well. He then went to work for men’s suit shops, retiring soon afterwards.
His health began to fail during his latter years.
He died in his sleep on October 10, 2014 after picking up an infection.
“He was liked by everybody; he always had a fund of stories,” said Lyn.
“He probably could have gone on the after-dinner speaking circuit if someone had asked him.”
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