SPORTING Oz Tennis

Sir Norman Brookes
Australia Crest

Tennis ace born in Melbourne on November 14th, 1877.

His father William had arrived in Melbourne on the Arundel in 1852 and struck lucky at the Bendigo gold strike. He then opened a travelling grocery store, supplying all the outlying mines with provisions.

In 1870 William cleaned up on the Golden Fleece claim and with the proceeds he bought sheep and cattle stations, built railroads, founded the Australian Paper Mills and purchased an engineering company.

With a rich father, young Norman had a private education and it was soon obvious he had an eye for ball games, playing well at golf, cricket, football and tennis.

On leaving school he went to work as a clerk at the paper mill where his father was managing director. Within 8 years Norman was also on the board of directors.

Norman was a left-handed player who played shattering net volleys and devastating spin serves which earned him the nickname The Wizard.

He played Wimbledon for the first time in 1905 but lost to the titleholder and 5 times champion Laurie Doherty 8-6, 6-2, 6-4.

In 1907 he became Wimbledon singles champion and won the doubles title too, partnered by Kiwi Anthony Wilding. The same partnership captured the Davis Cup from Great Britain.

In 1914 Brookes won the singles title again, beating Wilding who had won the title for the previous 4 years.

In World War 1 he served as commissioner of the Australian branch of the British Red Cross in Egypt.

Unfortunately his friend Wilding was killed at the Western Front in 1915.

In 1919 he featured in the first all-Australian Wimbledon singles final when he was beaten by Gerald Patterson.

In all, Brookes won 2 singles and 2 doubles Wimbledon championships and captained the Davis Cup winning Australian side 6 times.

He played his last Wimbledon in 1924, aged 46, and gave a good account of himself.

In 1926 he became the first president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia and ruled the roost for 28 years.

In 1939 he was knighted for his services to sport.

Sir Norman Brookes died at his South Yarra home on September 28th, 1968.


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