Tennis arrived in Australia in the 1870’s and soon became a popular social game. Courts began springing up across the country from the big cities to the countryside.
Originally partaken by women in Europe it was immediately popular with both sexes in Australia. And since 1900 Australian players have been ranked as some of the best on the world scene.
The first champion of Australia was Norm Brookes who won the Wimbledon Singles title in 1907. He was also the first player outside the UK and USA to win in the doubles of the Davis Cup.
Across the Grand Slam events there have been five Australian winners. Ken McGregor, Frank Sedgman, Rod Laver (1962 & 1969) and Margaret Court.
From the early days tennis was instantly popular with women although there was no financial support to help with overseas travel to attend tournaments.
However, with the aid of fundraising, Daphne Akhurst made the finals of Wimbledon in 1928. Ten years later, Nancy Bolton was the first Australian woman to play in a USA Championship final. In 1963 and 1964, Lesley Bowery won the French Open Singles titles being the first Australian woman to do so. And in 1961 and 1967 she also won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon.
The take off of tennis throughout the world became so massive in the 1920’s that the Australian equipment industry began exporting tennis rackets, balls and various other tennis equipment to the UK and the USA. The images of well-known Australian players were featured on exported rackets being displayed all over the world’s tournaments.
Australian players went on to dominate the world amateur tournaments until the 1960’s when some professional players were allowed to compete also.
Around this time Australia’s dominance of the world tennis scene was broken as stronger opposition came from abroad. It still remains a highly popular sport with players and spectators alike. It is a fact that Australian tennis crowds hold world records for attending Singles Tournament games.
POST WAR TENNIS
Australia was quite unique in its founding years by having champion players coming from all over the country.
From 1951 till 1959 there were a string of Grand Slam titles won by male players; Frank Sedgman, Lew Hoad, Ashley Cooper and Malcolm Anderson. Hoad and Cooper ranked as world number one players in 1956 and 1957 respectively.
Since 1905 the Australian Open has been held if five Australian and two New Zealand cities. Melbourne is the current home of the Australian Open.
The history of Australian tennis is varied and lengthy and in the early years it was a major world force that helped contribute so much to what the game is today.
It is still as popular today as it was a hundred years ago and is participated throughout the length and breadth of the country.
If you fancy the idea about adding to Australia’s rich tennis history then why not book a session with one of professional coaches.