Close up of a tennis ball on a tennis court.

Tennis in Australia

Australian tennis history and golden age champions

Anyone for tennis?
 Adam Blackshaw
& Chris Arneil

The NFSA has published a curated collection of clips featuring some of Australia's greatest tennis stars.

Our first champion

This Bicentennial Minutes (1988) clip features Norman Brookes, the first Australian (and first non-British) player to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon in 1907. He also won the doubles title with partner Anthony Wilding:

Bicentennial Minutes, 1988. Courtesy: Peter Luck Productions. NFSA title: 43477

Wearing a cloth cap and sipping champagne between games, Brookes won the deciding rubber in the Davis Cup for Australasia against Britain in 1907. Later wins at Wimbledon and the US National Championships arguably make him Australia's first tennis champion.

The golden age

Australians dominated world tennis between 1950 and 1976, and players from this era featured in the curated collection include Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, John Newcombe and Ken Rosewall.

In 1968, a year before the first Australian Open, a featured Australian Diary film questioned whether the Australian interest in tennis was dwindling, stating that ‘attendances aren’t up to what they used to be … Will open tennis change the scene?’.

The collection also includes footage of Pat Cash, Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt, who have won major events in the years since.

Relive the history of Australian tennis greats in our curated collection.

Also, you can purchase from our online shop The Fifth Set, which explores the history of Australia and the Davis Cup, one of the world's greatest tennis competitions.