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Major Ritchie

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Major Ritchie
Full nameMajor Josiah George Ritchie
Country (sports) United Kingdom
Born(1870-10-18)18 October 1870
Westminster, England
Died28 February 1955(1955-02-28) (aged 84)
Ashford, Middlesex, England
Turned pro1893 (amateur)
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Career record1274–371 (77.4%)[1]
Career titles131[1]
Grand Slam singles results
WimbledonF (1902AC, 1903AC, 1904AC, 1909Ch)
Other tournaments
WCCCSF (1920)
Grand Slam doubles results
WimbledonW (1908, 1910)
Medal record
Olympic Games – Tennis
Gold medal – first place 1908 London Singles
Silver medal – second place 1908 London Doubles
Bronze medal – third place 1908 London Indoor singles

Major Josiah George Ritchie (18 October 1870 – 28 February 1955) was a tennis player from Great Britain. Major was his first name, not a military title.[2] He was born in Westminster, educated at Brighton College and died in Ashford.[3]



Ritchie was a three-time medalist at the 1908 London Olympics,[4] winning a Gold (Men's Singles), Silver (Men's Doubles) and Bronze (Men's Indoor Singles) medal. He was the last British player to win an Olympic medal in singles until Andy Murray won Gold in the 2012 games, also in London. In 1908 and 1910 he and Anthony Wilding won the doubles in Wimbledon.[5] In 1902 Ritchie reached the all comers final at Wimbledon, beating Sydney Smith before losing to Laurence Doherty.[6] In 1903 and 1904 Ritchie lost in the all comers final to Frank Riseley. In 1909 he reached the Wimbledon Challenge Round, beating Harry Parker, Stanley Doust, Charles P. Dixon and Herbert Roper Barrett before losing in five sets to Arthur Gore.[6] In March 1907 Ritchie caused an upset by defeating Laurence Doherty in the Monte Carlo singles final.[7][8] In June 1907 he won the Irish Championships. Ritchie was a five times winner of the Championships of Germany, played in Hamburg, from 1903 to 1906 and in 1908 (in 1904 and 1906 he also won the doubles title).[a][b] He was also a five-time winner of the singles title at the Austrian Championship (from 1900 to 1903 and 1905). In 1908 he was member of the British Davis Cup team. He won three consecutive titles at the Surrey Championships from 1908 to 1910.[10]

Other career highlights include winning the Riviera Championships at Menton, France four times (1904–1905, 1907–1908), the French Covered Court Championships four times (1899, 1902, 1905, 1908) . In 1911 Ritchie won the Queen's Club Covered Courts Championship, defeating Wilding in five sets. In 1919 he won the Ilkley Open Lawn Tennis Tournament. In 1920, at age 50, he reached the semifinal of the World Covered Court Championships at the Queen's Club in London.[11]

Ritchie was also active in other sports. In 1903 he competed in a regatta in Laleham and won the single sculls and coxless pairs events. In addition, he competed in table tennis and was the secretary of the Table Tennis Association, founded in 1902.[12] That year he co-wrote a book on table tennis titled Table tennis and how to play it, with rules.[13] In 1909 he authored The Text Book of Lawn Tennis.[14]

Grand Slam finals


Singles (1 runner-up)

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Loss 1909 Wimbledon Grass United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Arthur Gore 8–6, 6–1, 2–6, 2–6, 2–6

Doubles (2 titles)

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1908 Wimbledon Grass New Zealand Anthony Wilding United Kingdom Arthur Gore
United Kingdom Herbert Roper Barrett
6–1, 6–2, 1–6, 9–7
Win 1910 Wimbledon Grass New Zealand Anthony Wilding United Kingdom Arthur Gore
United Kingdom Herbert Roper Barrett
6–1, 6–1, 6–2

Performance timeline

(W) winner; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (P#) preliminary round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (Z#) Davis/Fed Cup Zonal Group (with number indication) or (PO) play-off; (G) gold, (S) silver or (B) bronze Olympic/Paralympic medal; (NMS) not a Masters tournament; (NTI) not a Tier I tournament; (P) postponed; (NH) not held; (SR) strike rate (events won / competed); (W–L) win–loss record.

Events with a challenge round: (WC) won; (CR) lost the challenge round; (FA) all comers' finalist

1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 SR W–L Win %
Grand Slam tournaments 0 / 24 62–24 72.1
French Only for French club members Not held Only for French club members A A 0 / 0 0–0
Wimbledon 2R QF 3R 3R 3R FA FA FA SF QF SF SF CR 3R 4R 4R A 3R Not held SF 3R 3R 3R 1R 3R A 1R 0 / 24 62–24 72.1
U.S. A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 0 0–0
Australian Not held A A A A A A A A A A A Not held A A A A A A A A 0 / 0 0–0
Win–loss 0–1 2–1 1–1 1–1 1–1 4–1 4–1 5–1 4–1 3–1 4–1 4–1 7–1 2–1 3–1 3–1 1–1 5–1 2–1 2–1 2–1 0–1 2–1 0–1
National representation
Olympics Not held A Not held A Not held G B Not held A A Not held A Not held A Not held 1 / 2 5–1 83.3


  1. ^ At the time the German Championships used the Challenge Round system. This meant that after winning his first German title in 1903 Ritchie did not have to play through the 1904 tournament but only played against the winner of the All Comers event, Kurt von Wessely. In 1905 and 1906 he defeated Anthony Wilding and Friedrich Wilhelm Rahe respectively in the Challenge Round.
  2. ^ After winning his third German title in 1905 he became the owner of the cup, a general custom at the time. The cup was in all likelihood lost when his house was bombed in World War II.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Josiah (Major) Ritchie: Career match record". thetennisbase.com. The Tennis Base. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  2. ^ Alexandra Willis (14 December 2011). "Ian Ritchie Bids Farewell". Wimbledon. Archived from the original on 11 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Major Ritchie". Olympedia. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Major Ritchie Olympic Results". sports-reference.com. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2014.
  5. ^ "Lawn Tennis – Success of Wilding and Ritchie". Evening Post. 17 August 1910. p. 9.
  6. ^ a b "Wimbledon player profile – Major Ritchie". AELTC.
  7. ^ "Lawn Tennis". The Border Morning Mail and Riverina Times (Albury, NSW : 1903 - 1920). Albury, NSW: National Library of Australia. 19 March 1908. p. 4.
  8. ^ "Ritchie Beats H. Doherty". Taranaki Herald. Vol. LIV, no. 13425. 16 March 1907. p. 5.
  9. ^ Gillmeister, Heiner (1998). Tennis : A Cultural History. Washington Square, N.Y.: New York University Press. p. 409. ISBN 081473121X.
  10. ^ "Lawn Tennis – Surrey Championships". Evening Post. 9 July 1910. p. 14.
  11. ^ "The Late M.J.G. Ritchie". Lawn Tennis and Badminton. XLI (New Series) (6): 121. 15 March 1955.
  12. ^ Gillmeister, Heiner (1998). Tennis : A Cultural History. Washington Square, N.Y.: New York University Press. p. 299. ISBN 081473121X.
  13. ^ M.J.G. Ritchie (1902). Table tennis and how to play it, with rules. London: C. Arthur Pearson. p. 47. OCLC 5651743.
  14. ^ The text book of lawn tennis. Worldcat. OCLC 18138944.