Reflected Andy Roddick about Barnes, "We all remember the people who taught us the ropes when first on tour. We didn't always agree when arguing about whatever dumb thing I had done on court, but I always trusted his opinion."

When it comes tennis officiating, the name Tom Barnes is an institution.

For more than three decades, Barnes was at the forefront of elevating officiating standards across tennis. A Vietnam vet, the man lovingly known as “Baaaaarnes” and “Barnesy” served as US Open referee before moving into a role as full-time supervisor for the ATP Tour in 1994. Though he retired in 2021 from his position as the ATP's Director of Officiating Development, the American continued to mentor the generations behind him.

On Wednesday, Barnes passed away at the age of 82 doing what he was passionate about: making his sport better. Survived by his wife Debbie, son and two grandchildren, the legacy Barnes leaves behind is one that isn’t lost on anyone who had the privilege of crossing paths with the game-changer holding a beautiful ”heart of gold.”


One theme that was evident throughout tributes that poured in online: any person could look Barnes in the eye and never lose an ounce of trustworthiness from a man with remarkable character.

Said Andy Murray, “Such sad news. He was such a solid guy. Extremely fair in how he dealt with any issues that came up on court and he’d let you know if you were being a prat! Genuinely cared about all the players and officials on tour.”

James Blake echoed the Brit’s sentiment, stating, “RIP to a wonderful man. He was fair, honest and caring. I can’t think of many that were ever more respected in his role. Prayers for the Barnes family.”


Shared Steve Johnson, “RIP Barnsey! A great person and a straight shooter. He will be sorely missed around the tour. Thank you for all you did for the players and the game of tennis!!”

Wrote Paul Annacone, “Heartbreaking , what you see is what you get Tom Barnes was a man of integrity & honesty and with a heart of gold - thank you TB.”

Added Mark Petchey, “He was simply the best and more than that, the most humble human being ever. He will be missed but never forgotten.”

Declared Darren Cahill, “The ATP Tour found gold in Tom Barnes. A voice of reason, of authority and of friendship. An honor to know and work with Tom for over 30 years. RIP mate. One of the great guys of tennis and we will all miss him.”