Adrian Quist was born in Medindie, South Australia. His father was Karl Quist, who had been a noted interstate cricketer, and owned a sporting goods store at the time of his son's birth. The tennis legend grew up in Adelaide and once played Harry Hopman, but lost, having given Hopman a head start. He was a three-time Australian Championships men's singles champion but is primarily remembered today as a great doubles player. He won the Australian doubles title 10 years in a row, the last eight together with John Bromwich and he was also one of the winners of a "Career Doubles Slam". Quist was ranked World No. 3 in 1939 and World No. 4 in 1936.
In his 1979 autobiography tennis great Jack Kramer writes that in doubles "Quist played the backhand court. He had a dink backhand that was better for doubles than singles, and a classic forehand drive with a natural sink. He was also fine at the net, volley and forehand."