Long-time sportswriter Tom Perrotta, who was particularly known for his coverage of tennis for The Wall Street Journal, has passed away at 44. Perrotta had been battling a brain tumor for the last four years. Many sportswriters paid tribute to him Wednesday:
I know there is a lot going on today, a lot to be sad about, but I am overcome with emotion over the death of my friend Tom Perrotta, a great dad and husband and friend and journalist. I love you Tom. pic.twitter.com/8FvSSrvrcQ
— Matt Futterman (@MattFutterman) January 6, 2021
Incredibly sad news. My friend @TomPerrotta lost his battle against a brain tumour today, at the age of 44. A great journalist, great writer and a real friend on an off the tennis tour. All the love in the world to his family. RIP Tom
— Simon Cambers (@scambers73) January 6, 2021
I adored @TomPerrotta. I sat with him at several tennis majors, and I will never forget a long dinner after a day at the French Open, when two hours into a meal with @BenRothenberg and @dougrobson, Tom and I realized we went to college together. Rest in peace, friend. https://t.co/mes7bHLkuG
— Naila-Jean Meyers (@NailaJeanMeyers) January 6, 2021
This. Rare breed on the job, rare genuinely good human being, rare kind heart, loving father and husband. https://t.co/4v8wzMidc6
— Stephanie Myles (@OpenCourt) January 6, 2021
— Bonnie D. Ford (@Bonnie_D_Ford) January 6, 2021
It would have been hard to lose @TomPerrotta at any age. He was a generous colleague, a driven & gifted sportswriter, a proud family man and, in a tough business, a friend. But for all of us to lose him so soon, at just 44, is a roundhouse punch to the gut & the collective soul..
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) January 6, 2021
— Douglas Robson (@dougrobson) January 6, 2021
Oh man 🙁
Tom was an amazing colleague and friend for years on the tennis reporting beat, and his courage and poise in the face of his devastating illness will stay with me for a long, long time. https://t.co/ovaWUZFHxA
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 6, 2021
— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) January 6, 2021
Tom Perrotta was the best kind of colleague. Skilled, imaginative and exceedingly generous.
He wrote in November of the silver lining of the pandemic: It let him spend more time with family. https://t.co/r9s2TVAVGz
— Rachel Bachman (@Bachscore) January 6, 2021
That piece that Wertheim and Bachman shared is an excellent read, with Perrotta discussing his battle with the tumor and how he was enjoying the time he had left. Here’s a selection from that:
I’m grateful because, for me, this slowing down is an opportunity I would have never otherwise had. For many years, I have been a sportswriter, specializing in tennis, contributing regularly to The Journal from events like Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. I loved quirky stories, like a former World No. 1 making house calls in a Winnebago to give tennis lessons, or the frustrated towel police at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. But it was not uncommon for me to be away from my wife and children for weeks, covering tournaments as far away as Australia. It was a dream job, but I missed my family.
Then my life changed. Not long after my 40th birthday, I was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a brain tumor which required emergency surgery. Since then I have endured chemotherapy, radiation, experimental treatments and devices. But I also made it back to a bunch of tournaments, and I’m very proud of that.
…It is a tough hand, and as I continue to battle this, I am seized by moments of anger and depression. And yet my frustration is balanced by this odd fortune of quarantine, or semi-quarantine, or whatever you want to call how it is we live today.
…I call it my unexpected blessing. I’m trying to savor every minute of it: every interaction, every game of Uno, every book, every homework problem. Even the boys’ fights feel like a gift. I’ve spent so much more time with them in the past eight months than I would have. My sons know what’s happening with their father, but they might not fully grasp why this is so powerful to me. It’s my everything.
Our thoughts go out to Perrotta’s family and friends.
[The Wall Street Journal; photo of Perrotta on courts near Roland Garros in 2015 by Carl Bialik]