Norman Brookes

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Norman Brookes
Full nameNorman Everard Brookes
Country (sports) Australia
Born(1877-11-14)14 November 1877
St Kilda, Victoria, Australia
Died28 September 1968(1968-09-28) (aged 90)
South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Height1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
PlaysLeft-handed (one-handed backhand)[1]
Int. Tennis HoF1977 (member page)
Career record225–52 (81.2%)[2]
Career titles19[2]
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1907, ITHF)[3]
Grand Slam singles results
Australian OpenW (1911)
French Open2R (1928)
WimbledonW (1907, 1914)
US OpenQF (1919)
Grand Slam doubles results
Australian OpenW (1924)
WimbledonW (1907, 1914)
US OpenW (1919)
Team competitions
Davis CupW (1907, 1908, 1909, 1914, 1919)
Brookes and his wife, Mabel, in 1914
Norman Brookes

Sir Norman Everard Brookes (14 November 1877 – 28 September 1968) was an Australian tennis player. During his career he won three Grand Slam singles titles; Wimbledon in 1907 and 1914 (the first non-British individual to do so) and the Australasian Championships in 1911. Brookes was part of the Australasian Davis Cup team that won the title on five occasions. The Australian Open men's singles trophy, the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, is named in his honour. After his active playing career Brookes became president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia.

Early life[edit]

Brookes was born in the St Kilda suburb of Melbourne as the youngest son to Catherine Margaret (née Robinson) and William Brookes.[4] His father, an English immigrant who emigrated to Australia in 1852 had become rich from gold mining in the Bendigo area.[4] His older brothers, Herbert and Harold, were prominent businessmen. Brookes received a private education at Melbourne Grammar School where he matriculated in 1895.[5] As a schoolboy he excelled in cricket, Australian football and tennis.[6] On leaving school, he went to work as a clerk at Australian Paper Mills, where his father was managing director, and was on the board himself within eight years.[5]

As a youth Brookes played regularly on the court of the family mansion in Queens Road, Melbourne and nearby, at the Lorne St courts, he studied the strokes and tactics of leading players and was coached by Wilberforce Eaves.[7][8] In 1896 he became a regular player at the Royal South Yarra Tennis Club.[9]

During World War I he served as commissioner of the Australian Red Cross in Egypt.

Tennis career[edit]

In 1907 Brookes became the first non-British player and the first left-hander to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon after a straight sets victory in the final against 39-year old Arthur Gore.[10] Brookes intended to defend his Wimbledon title as late as February 1908 but in April cancelled his plans to travel to England due to the ill health of his father (who died in 1910) which meant that Brookes had to spend more time at his father's company Australian Paper Mills.[11] He gave priority to his business endeavors during this time and would not return to Wimbledon until 1914 when he again won the singles title, this time against the title holder Anthony Wilding with whom he also won the Wimbledon doubles title in 1907 and 1914. During these years he also skipped most Australasian Championships with the exception of the 1911 edition which was held in his hometown Melbourne and which he won in the final against Horace Rice. When he did play tennis he focused on the locally held Victorian Championships and the Davis Cup.

Brookes played 39 Davis Cup matches for Australia/New Zealand and the Australian Davis Cup team between 1905 and 1920 and was a member of the winning team in 1907, 1908, 1909, 1914, 1919.

In May 1914 he won the singles title at the Surrey Lawn Championships in Surbiton, defeating Gordon Lowe in the final in five sets.[12]

Brookes was instrumental in the development of Kooyong as a tennis centre. In 1926 he became the first president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia, a post he held for the next 29 years until his retirement in June 1955.[13]

Australian rules football career[edit]

Brookes was also an Australian rules footballer in his youth, particularly for Melbourne Grammar School.[14] Until 2016 it was believed that he had played two VFL games for St Kilda in 1898; it was actually his brother Harold who had done so.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Brookes married 20-year-old Mabel Balcombe Emmerton, the daughter of Harry Emmerton, a solicitor, on 19 April 1911 at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne. They had three daughters.

He died in South Yarra, Victoria, in 1968.


Norman Brookes was created a Knight Bachelor "for public services in the Commonwealth of Australia" in the 1939 Birthday Honours.[16][17] His wife, Mabel, Lady Brookes was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1955 for "charitable and social welfare services."[18]

The trophy for men's singles at the Australian Open, the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, is named in his honour.[19]

He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1977.

In 1981 he was honoured on a postage stamp issued by Australia Post depicting a cartoon image by Tony Rafty.[20]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles: 5 (3 titles, 2 runners-up)[edit]

Result Ref. Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Loss [21] 1905 Wimbledon Grass United Kingdom Laurence Doherty 6–8, 2–6, 4–6
Win [21] 1907 Wimbledon Grass United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Arthur Gore 6–4, 6–2, 6–2
Win [22] 1911 Australasian Championships Grass Australia Horace Rice 6–1, 6–2, 6–3
Win [21] 1914 Wimbledon Grass New Zealand Anthony Wilding 6–4, 6–4, 7–5
Loss [21] 1919 Wimbledon Grass Australia Gerald Patterson 3–6, 5–7, 2–6

Doubles: 5 (4 titles, 1 runner-up)[edit]

Result Ref. Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win [23] 1907 Wimbledon Grass New Zealand Anthony Wilding United States Karl Behr
United States Beals Wright
6–4, 6–4, 6–2
Loss [24] 1911 Australasian Championships Grass Australia John Addison Australia Rodney Heath
Australia Randolph Lycett
2–6, 5–7, 0–6
Win [23] 1914 Wimbledon Grass New Zealand Anthony Wilding United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Herbert Roper Barrett
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Charles Dixon
6–1, 6–1, 5–7, 8–6
Win [25] 1919 U.S. National Championships Grass Australia Gerald Patterson United States Vincent Richards
United States Bill Tilden
8–6, 6–3, 4–6, 4–6, 6–2
Win [24] 1924 Australasian Championships Grass Australia James Anderson Australia Pat O'Hara Wood
Australia Gerald Patterson
6–2, 6–4, 6–3

Performance timeline[edit]

(W) winner; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (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

1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 SR W–L Win %
Grand Slam tournaments 3 / 8 32–5 86.5
French Only for French club members Not held Only for French club members A A A 2R1 0 / 0 0–0
Wimbledon CR A W A A A A A A WC Not held CR A A A A 4R A A A A 2 / 5 24–3 88.9
U.S. A A A A A A A A A 1R2 A A A A QF A A A A 2R A A A A 0 / 2 4–2 66.7
Australasian A A A A A A W A A A A Not held A A A A A A A A A A 1 / 1 4–0 100
Win–loss 7–1 7–0 4–0 7–0 4–2 3–2 0–0
National representation
Olympics Not held A Not held A Not held A Not held 2R3 Not held 0 / 0 0–0

1,2,3 Brookes did not play. His opponent got a walkover.


  1. ^ Norman Brookes Archived 22 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine at Australian Open Tennis. Quote: "Brookes was the first left-handed player ever to claim the coveted grass court title."
  2. ^ a b "Norman Brookes career match record". The Tennis Base. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  3. ^ International Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee
  4. ^ a b Naughton (2011), p. 15
  5. ^ a b Naughton (2011), p. 19
  6. ^ Naughton (2011), p. 18
  7. ^ W. H. Frederick. Brookes, Sir Norman Everard (1877–1968). Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  8. ^ Naughton (2011), p. 17
  9. ^ Naughton (2011), p. 20
  10. ^ "Sir Norman Brookes". Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
  11. ^ "Weekly jottings". The Australasian. 25 April 1908. p. 24 – via National Library of Australia.
  12. ^ "Surrey County Championships – Brookes Wins Singles". The Age. 25 May 1914. p. 12 – via Google News Archive.
  13. ^ "Sir Norman's Good-bye to Big Tennis". The Sydney Morning Herald. 30 June 1955. p. 2 – via Google News Archive.
  14. ^ "Our First Great Champion at Wimbledon". The Age. 14 October 1959. p. 13 – via Google News Archive.
  15. ^ "Recent additions/changes/corrections". March 2016.
  16. ^ "No. 34633". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 June 1939. p. 3853.
  17. ^ "It's an Honour". Australian Government. Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  18. ^ "No. 40498". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 June 1955. p. 3298.
  19. ^ "Australian Open – Trophy Tour". Tennis Australia.
  20. ^ "Caricature of Sir Norman Brookes, tennis player". Australian Stamp.
  21. ^ a b c d "Wimbledon Rolls of Honour / Gentlemen's Singles". Wimbledon official tournament website. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  22. ^ "Australian Open Results Archive / Men's Singles". Australian Open official website. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  23. ^ a b "Wimbledon Rolls of Honour / Gentlemen's Doubles". Wimbledon official tournament website. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  24. ^ a b "Australian Open Results Archive / Men's Doubles". Australian Open official website. Archived from the original on 21 September 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  25. ^ "US Open Past Champions / Men's Doubles". US Open official website. Archived from the original on 25 October 2007. Retrieved 11 October 2015.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]