GB Olympic Champions 1896-2014 - Lawn Tennis
Return to SPORTS index | Go to CONTENTS page

Roper Barrett
John Boland
Dorothy Lambert-Chambers
Charlotte Cooper
Charles Dixon
Laurie Doherty
Reggie Doherty
Gladys Eastlake-Smith
Arthur Wentworth Gore
Edith Hannam
George Hillyard
Kitty McKane-Godfree
Winifred McNair
Andy Murray
Josiah Ritchie
Noel Turnbull
Max Woosnam

The above totals do not include the gold medal won by John Boland and the bronze won by George Robertson in the men's doubles in 1896 as the medals are both credited to Mixed Teams as their partners were from other countries. The same applies to the medals won by Harold Mahoney, Archie Warden and Laurie Doherty in the mixed doubles in 1900.

Great Britain is the most successful nation with 44 medals (17 gold. 15 silver and 12 bronze) while the United States has won the most golds - 20.

Britain's Kitty McKane holds the record for winning the most tennis medals, with one gold, two silver and two bronze medals. The Williams sisters, Serena and Venus have each won a record four gold medals.

Dick Williams (USA) is the only survivor of the Titanic sinking in 1912 to win an Olympic gold medal when he partnered Hazel Wightman (of Wightman Cup fame) to win the mixed doubles in 1924.




LAWN TENNIS was part of the original Modern Olympics programme in 1896 and appeared at every subsequent Games until 1924, with women participating for the first time in 1900.

It returned as a demonstration sport in 1968 and again in 1984 and it then regained full Olympic status in 1988 when Steffi Graf (Germany) completed a unique Golden Slam of winning all four Grand Slam singles titles AND the Olympic title all in the same year. Serena Williams (USA), Andre Agassi (USA) and Rafael Nadal (Spain) are the only three other players to have won all five titles, but not in the same year.

Britain's Gold Medallist:

BARRETT, Herbert Roper
Born: 24 November 1873, West Ham, Essex, England
Died: 27 July 1843, Horsham, West Sussex, England
Olympics competed in: 2 (1908, 1912)
Olympic medals:
1908 Gold - Lawn tennis (Indoor men's doubles)
1912 Silver - Lawn tennis (Indoor mixed doubles)

Roper Barrett's Olympic gold medal came in the indoor doubles with Spencer Gore in 1908 when they beat fellow Britons George Simond and George Caridia in four sets.

The Barrett/Gore partnership was one of the best of the day and the following year they won the Wimbledon title. Barrett won it again in 1912 and 1913 but with Chares Dixon as his partner.

Having competed at Wimbledon since 1898, Barrett came close to winning the singles title in 1908 when he pulled back from two sets down against his doubles partner Gore, but lost the deciding set 6-4. He had another chance of winning the singles title in 1911 when he was up against the defending champion Anthony Wilding of New Zealand. Unfortunately for Barrett, he was forced to retire with the match finely balanced at two sets all. And gone was Barrett's last chance of winning the singles title.

A second Olympics final followed in 1912 when he teamed up with Helen Aitchinson and reached the final of the mixed doubles before losing to the British pair of Edith Hannam and the man who would be Barrett's new men's doubles partner after the Olympics, Charles Dixon. Barrett was also deprived of a bronze medal by Dixon in the men's doubles in 1912 when he and partner Alfred Beamish beat Barrett and Gore in five sets in the bronze medal play-off match.

But it is not only as a doubles player that Roper Barrett is remembered because as a singles player he won the Belgian title in five consecutive years, was the Austrian champion in 1904, the North London singles champion eight times, was 11 times the Essex champion and he won the Suffolk title 17 times.

Barrett played for the British Isles in the first Davis Cup match in 1900 and he was selected six times between then and 1919. He was never on a Cup-winning side although he appeared in the final on two occasions, in 1907 and 1913. However, in 1933 he rectified that as he was he was the non-playing captain of the side that beat the French 3-2 to win the trophy for the first time in 21 years.

A former Chairman of the Lawn Tennis Association Barrett was, like his father before him, a solicitor and was, following his father's retirement, the sole partner of Joseph Barrett & Son, a large practice in London. He was also one of His Majesty's Lieutenants for the City of London and in 1910 was made a Freedom of the City.

Top of the page

BOLAND, John Mary Pius                                                       
Born: 16 September 1870, Dublin, Ireland
Died: 17 March 1958, Westminster, London

Olympics competed in: 1 (1896)

Olympic medals:

1896 Gold - Lawn Tennis (Singles)

1896 Gold - Lawn Tennis (Doubles)

Born in Dublin in 1870 and an orphan at the age of 12, John Boland went on to become the first British athlete to win two Olympic gold medals

He was a student at Oxford University at the time of the 1896 Games and after hearing about the impending Olympics, he invited a Greek friend, Konstantinos Manaos to talk about the Games at the Oxford Union. In return, Manaos invited Boland to Athens as his guest. By the time the Olympics started Manaos was part of the organizing committee and invited Boland to take part in the tennis event, as there was a shortage of entrants. He went on to win both the singles and doubles events, even though he only went to Athens as a spectator.

When the Union Flag was being raised to indicate Boland's share of the first place in the doubles event he protested claiming he was Irish and that Ireland had its own flag and the organizers hastily found one to accommodate his request.

Boland became a Barrister in later life, and was also the Westminster MP for South Kerry for 18 years, and was a staunch supporter of the Irish Independence movement. He once gave a speech in Parliament in Irish. In 1950 he received a Papal knighthood, becoming a Knight of St Gregory in recognition of his work in Education.

Perhaps appropriately, Boland died on St.Patrick's Day 1958 aged 88.

One of Boland's five daughters, Bridget, wrote the book The Prisoner that was made into a film starring Alex Guinness and Jack Hawkins, and was also one of the writers of the movie Anne of the Thousand Days.

Top of the page

CHAMBERS, Dorothea Katherine (née Douglass)
Born: 3 September 1878, Ealing, London, England

Died: 7 January 1960, Kensington, London, England
Olympics competed in: 1 (1900)
Olympic medals: 1908 Gold - Lawn tennis (Outdoor women's singles)

The daughter of an Ealing vicar, Chambers was born Dorothea Katherine Douglass but was known as Dorothy or 'Dotty'. In 1907 she married Robert Lambert Chambers, a Welsh-born foreign goods importer, and she subsequently played under the name Dorothy Lambert Chambers.

Dotty learned to play tennis on the Vicarage lawn in Ealing, which was the birthplace of the 1900 Olympic singles champion Charlotte Cooper. And eight years later, Dotty would bring the title back to the Borough.

Dorothy joined the Ealing Common Lawn Tennis club as a youngster and at the age of 11 she won the club handicap singles competition, a title she retained in the following two years.

Chambers went to the 1908 Olympics on home soil having appeared in five consecutive Wimbledon singles finals 1903-07, winning three.

As the favourite, she won the Olympic singles title and reached the final having won three matches without dropping a set. Bizarrely, her opponent in the final, Dora Boothby reached the final without playing a match, she received three byes to the final. But it mattered little to Chambers as she won 6-1, 6-5.

Boothby won Wimbledon in 1909 and the following year Chambers beat her in the final in straight sets and in 1911 Boothby had the unwanted distinction of losing again to Chambers but this time 6-0, 6-0 and Boothby remains (as at 2013) the only person to lose a Wimbledon singles final without winning a game.

Dorothy won the Wimbledon singles title seven times between 1903 to 1914 a record that was not beaten until Helen Wills-Moody won her eighth title in 1938. She also reached four other finals, the last being in 1920 at the age of 41. Had the war years not intervened, she would surely have won more titles.

When Wimbledon returned in 1919 after the war, Chambers engaged in one of the greatest women's finals when she played the new 'Queen' of tennis, Suzanne Lenglen of France.

Chambers was twice the age of her opponent but despite losing the first set 10-8, Chambers won the second 6-4 and was the fitter of the two players going into the final set. Her French opponent was so exhausted in the third set that she had to be revived with brandy!

Despite the age difference, Chambers had the title in her grasp at 6-5 and 40-15. But she lost two Championship points, the first to a lucky volley off the wood of Lenglen's racket. Lenglen saved the points and went on to win the final set 9-7.

In December 1922 she became the first woman to be elected a councilor of the Lawn Tennis Association, and in 1925 she was invited to captain the British Wightman Cup team against America at Forest Hills, New York.

She bowed out from playing at the 1927 Wimbledon Championships, after being knocked out of the doubles with her South African partner Billie Tapscott. She had played a total of 161 matches at Wimbledon. After retiring, she turned to coaching.

Her sporting prowess was not restricted to lawn tennis as she also won the all-England badminton women's doubles title in 1903 and he mixed doubles title in 1904. She also played hockey for Middlesex.

Dorothea Lambert Chambers was indicted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981.

Top of the page

COOPER, Charlotte
Born: 22 September 1870, Ealing, London, England

Died: 10 October 1966, Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, Scotland
Olympics competed in: 1 (1900)
Olympic medals:
1900 Gold - Lawn tennis (Women's singles)
1900 Gold - Lawn tennis (Mixed doubles)

Britain's Charlotte Cooper holds the distinction of being the first British woman to compete in the Olympics and also the first to win an gold medal in any sport when she beat the French girl Hélène Prévost in straight sets in 1900 lawn tennis singles final. She completed her Olympic double by winning the mixed doubles with fellow Briton Reginald Doherty, who also won two golds at the Paris Games. Charlotte never dropped a set in the five games she played in Paris.

Charlotte Cooper, nicknamed 'Chatty' won the Wimbledon singles title five times, and when she won at the age of 37 in 1908 she was the oldest winner of the ladies title.

Charlotte came from a sporting family: her husband Alfred Sterry became President of the Lawn Tennis Association, their daughter Gwen represented Great Britain in the Wightman Cup and Gwen's husband Max Simmers played rugby for Scotland 28 times between 1926-32, scoring six tries. His son Brian also played for Scotland, winning seven caps between 1967-71.

Prior to Charlotte's death in 1966, at the age of 96, she was the oldest living British Olympic champion and also the oldest Wimbledon champion.

Top of the page

DIXON, Charles Percy
Born: 7 February 1873, Grantham, Lincolnshire, England
Died: 29 April, 1939, West Norwood, London, England
Olympics competed in: 2 (1908, 1912)
Olympic medals:
1908 Bronze - Lawn tennis (Outdoor men's doubles)

1912 Gold - Lawn tennis (Indoor mixed doubles)
1912 Silver - Lawn tennis (
Indoor men's singles)
1912 Bronze - Lawn tennis (
Indoor men's doubles)

Charles Dixon appeared in his first Olympic games on home soil in 1908. He entered the men's outdoor singles event, and was beaten in the quarter-final but he fared better in the doubles winning the bronze medal with partner Clement Cazalet. He was aged 35 at the time and must have thought his chance of Olympic gold had gone, but four years later he was not only to return from Stockholm with a gold medal, but with a complete set of gold, silver and bronze medals. His four Olympic medals makes him the most decorated Olympic tennis player along with fellow Briton Reggie Doherty and Sweden's Gunnar Setterwall.

The gold medal came in the mixed doubles when he paired up with Edith Hannam and they beat fellow Britons Helen Aitchison and Roper Barrett in three sets in the final.

Dixon won his silver medal in the indoor singles event. He went into the final full of confidence after beating the reigning Wimbledon champion Tony Wilding of New Zealand in four sets. But he could not maintain that fine form and lost in three sets to the Frenchman André Gobert.

To complete the set of medals, Dixon won bronze in the men's doubles when he teamed up with Alfred Beamish and beat the strong British pair of Spencer Gore and Roper Barrett in the bronze medal match.

Dixon continued a memorable year in 1912 by winning his first Wimbledon title just a couple of months after the Olympic triumph when, at the age of 39, he won the doubles with Roper Barrett. He also won the doubles at the Australian Open with James Parke and then captained the winning British Davis Cup team.

He retained his Wimbledon doubles title with Barrett in 1913.

After his playing days, Dixon continued his association with the All-England Club as an umpire and later became the President of the Umpire's Association.

Dixon qualified from Cambridge as a solicitor and was called to the Bar in 1898. Whilst at University he was a blue at Rugby and went on to captain the Middlesex XV. He was also a good golfer, billiards player and was a member of the British international fencing team.

His younger brother John played cricket for Nottinghamshire for 23 years and was captain from 1889 to 1900. He was also a footballer with Notts County and Corinthians, and won one full England cap, in a 1-1 draw against Wales at Blackburn in March 1885.

Top of the page

DOHERTY, Hugh Lawrence
Born: 8 October 1875, Wimbledon, London, England
Died: 21 August 1919, Broadstairs, Kent, England
Olympics competed in: 1 (1900)
Olympic medals:
1900 Gold - Lawn tennis (Men's singles)
1900 Gold - Lawn tennis (Men's doubles)
1900 Bronze - Lawn tennis (Mixed doubles)

Laurie Doherty, and his older brother Reggie, dominated men's tennis in the early part of the 20th century, winning the Wimbledon singles title nine times between them, with Laurie winning five, all consecutive. They also won a record eight Wimbledon doubles titles and were the world's best doubles players at the time. When he won the 1903 US Open Laurie became the first person to win a Grand Slam event outside his own country. In four Davis Cup appearances Laurie never lost a match.

In the 1900 Olympic singles final, Laurie beat the 1896 Wimbledon champion Harold Mahony in straight sets. Reggie withdrew from his semi-final match against Mahony as the brothers agreed that they would not play against each other.

Laurie and Reggie teamed up to win the doubles in straight sets against Décugis and de Garmendia, a French-American pairing.

In the mixed doubles, Laurie won a third medal when he took bronze with his American partner Marion Jones after losing to his brother and Charlotte Cooper in the semi-final.

Laurie retired from major tennis shortly after winning his fifth Wimbledon title in 1906 and took up golf where he became a low handicap player at Royal St George's. He played in the Amateur Championship on several occasions.

Like his brother, Laurie died at an early age and was only 43 when he passed away after a long illness in 1919.

The Doherty Memorial Gates at the Church Road entrance of the All-England Club at Wimbledon are named in the brothers' honour, and were donated to the club in 1931 by 'Big Do' and 'Little Do's' brother, Rev. William Doherty.

Top of the page

DOHERTY, Reginald Frank
Born: 14 October 1872, Wimbledon, London, England
Died: 29 December 1910, Kensington, London, England
Olympics competed in: 2 (1900, 1908)
Olympic medals:
1900 Gold - Lawn tennis (Men's doubles)
1900 Gold - Lawn tennis (Mixed doubles)
1900 Bronze - Lawn tennis (Men's singles)
1908 Gold - Lawn tennis (Outdoor men's doubles)

The oldest of the two famous Doherty brother, 'Big Do', emulated his brother Laurie's feat by winning three medals at the 1900 Paris Olympics, including two golds.

Being the dominant doubles partnership of the era meant it was no surprise that Reggie and Laurie won the men's doubles. And when Reggie teamed up with the ladies singles champion Charlotte Cooper they impressed in winning the mixed doubles title without dropping a set, just as Reggie and Laurie had done in the men's event.

Reggie won a record fourth medal, and third gold, in 1908 when he won the men's outdoor doubles with George Hillyard.

Four times a Wimbledon singles champion, Reggie beat his brother in five sets in 1898, the only time they played each other at Wimbledon. The pair also won eight Wimbledon doubles titles.

With both brothers suffering from ill health they both quit major tennis in 1906, although Reggie played in selected events and teamed up with George Hillyard for the 1908 London Olympics and won his second Olympic men's doubles title when the beat Josiah Ritchie and James Parke in straight sets 9-7, 7-5, 9-7, but only after coming from two sets down in their semi-final against another British pair of Cazalet and Dixon, including a 17-15 fourth set.

Reggie was only 38 when he died in 1910 shortly after returning from a sanatorium in Switzerland. Both he and Laurie had suffered from breathing problems from childhood.

Top of the page

EASTLAKE-SMITH, Gladys Shirley
Born: 14 August 1883, Lewisham, Kent, England

Died: 18 September 1941, Middleham, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
Olympics competed in: 1 (1908)
Olympic medals: 1908 Gold - Lawn tennis (Indoor women's singles)

Gladys Eastlake-Smith won the indoor singles title at the 1908 London Olympics, beating her fellow Briton Alice Greene in three sets in the final. Both finalists had beaten little known Swedish players in the semi-finals.

She had established herself as a competent doubles and singles player by the time the Olympics came around. Despite never winning a Wimbledon title, she won the Monte Carlo tournaments three years in succession, and in 1906 and 1907 she won the London covered ladies singles title. She won the all-England covered mixed doubles in consecutive years with Wimbledon champions Tony Wilding and Reggie Doherty.

She married her husband, Wharram Henry Lamplough, a Yorkshire-born physician and surgeon immediately after her Olympic triumph and prior to the birth of her first child in 1910 she twice reached the Wimbledon singles semi-final and in 1910 won the singles title at the Queen's club. She won the Married Doubles Championship with her husband in 1913 and in 1921, at the age of 37 she appeared in her last Wimbledon.

Gladys' father Charles was an insurance clerk who played football for Crystal Palace and Wanderers. He was born Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and played one full international for England in a 3-0 defeat by Scotland at Glasgow in March 1876. His cousin was Gilbert Smith who scored 11 goals for England in 20 appearances between 1893-1901

Top of the page

GORE, Arthur William Charles "Wentworth"
Born: 2 January 1868, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, England

Died: 1 December 1928, Knightsbridge, London, England
Olympics competed in: 2 (1908, 1912)
Olympic medals:
1908 Gold - Lawn tennis (Indoor men's singles)
1908 Gold - Lawn tennis (Indoor men's doubles)

Arthur Gore is as known as much for his tennis longevity records as for the titles he won.

Admittedly he won three Wimbledon singles title, one doubles title and two Olympic gold medals, but he played at Wimbledon for 39 years between making his debut in the singles as a 20-year-old in 1888, when he lost his first round match in five sets to fellow Englishman William Taylor, and 1927 when he bowed out after losing in the first round of the doubles with partner Roper Barrett. He was 59 at the time.

No relation to the first Wimbledon champion Spencer Gore, Arthur Gore won his first singles title in 1901 when he beat Reggie Doherty. He regained his title in 1908 by beating Roper Barrett, his doubles partner two months earlier on the covered courts at Queen's Club when the pair won the Olympic indoor doubles title. And just over 10 days after his Wimbledon triumph, Gore made it a double Olympic gold celebration when he beat fellow Briton George Caridia to win the indoor singles title.

Gore won his third Wimbledon title in 1909 by beating Josiah Ritchie and at the age of 41 years and 182 days he became, and remains, the oldest man to win the Wimbledon singles title. And when he lost to Tony Wilding in four sets in 1912 he became the oldest ever finalist, at 44 years and 187 days.

In addition to his three singles wins, he was beaten in five singles finals and appeared in three consecutive doubles finals with Roper Barrett 1908-10, winning in 1909.

Gore appeared in a second Olympics in 1912 but failed to win a medal in either the singles or doubles.

He played in, and captained the side, in the inaugural Davis Cup final in 1900, and in 1907, against Australasia, he pulled the British Isles back from 2-0 down to level it at 2-2 after winning his doubles with Roper Barrett and then beating the future Wimbledon Champion Tony Wilding of New Zealand in the fourth rubber. Sadly Roper Barrett lost the deciding singles to Australia's Norman Brookes and the Australians won 3-2.

Gore was educated in France and learned his tennis at the Le Tennis Club de Dinard and it was here that he won his first tournaments, winning the singles title of the club three times.

He probably also attained his love of fine wine in France because when he returned to England he worked for a wine merchant.

Gore was President of the All-England Club in 1911 and in 2006 he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

On his death in 1928 he left a sizeable estate, worth around £2.5 million in 2013.

Top of the page

HANNAM, Edith Margaret (née Boucher)
Born: 28 November 1878, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England

Died: 16 January 1951, Kensington, London
Olympics competed in: 1 (1912)
Olympic medals:
1912 Gold - Lawn tennis (Indoor women's singles)
1912 Gold - Lawn tennis (Indoor mixed doubles)

Edith Margaret Boucher was the daughter of a Bristol pharmacist. Her four brothers were all good sportsmen and three of them, Charles, Frank and George all played rugby for Clifton. Frank also played for Gloucestershire.

Edith married timber merchant Francis Hannam in 1909. He sadly lost his life while on active service in France in 1916 as a Captain with the 4th Batallion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. Hannam was well known locally as a fine cricketer and like Edith's brothers he played for, and captained, the Clifton Rugby XV. His rugby career ended following an injury received playing for Gloucestershire.

Shortly after her marriage Edith moved to Canada for a brief while and in 1909 played in, and won a tournament in Cincinnati, US, beating local favourite Martha Kinsey in the final.

Upon her return to the UK she won ten Welsh titles and in 1912 she won the indoor singles gold medal at the Stockholm Olympics with victory over Sophie Castenschiold of Norway and in the mixed doubles Hannam and partner Charles Dixon beat the British pairing of Helen Aitchinson and Roper Barrett by two sets to one after losing the first set 6-4.

Hannam's best performance at Wimbledon was in 1911 when she reached the all-comers final, losing to Dora Boothby, who then lost to Dorothea Lambert Chambers in the Challenge Round.

Hannam reached the doubles final in 1914 with Ethel Larcombe but lost to the strong pairing of Elizabeth Ryan and Agnes Morton who won in straight sets. It would be the first of nine wins for Ryan over the next ten Championships. It would also be the last Wimbledon appearance for Edith Hannam.

Top of the page

HILLYARD, George Whiteside
Born: 8 February 1864, Hanwell, Middlesex, England

Died: 24 March 1943, Pulborough, Sussex, England
Olympics competed in: 1 (1908)
Olympic medals: 1908 Gold - Lawn tennis (Outdoor men's doubles)

George Hillyard was one of the leading male players at the turn of the 19th century. He never won Wimbledon, in fact his best performance was in reaching the quarter-final on three occasions, including 1901 when he beat Reggie Doherty in the third round and then came within a point of beating Arthur Wentworth Gore, who went on to win the title. But his contribution to the sport went way beyond his ability with a racket as he was one of the most influential men in lawn tennis.

Hillyard was secretary of the All-England club from 1907 until quitting his post in 1925 and he was the man who 'moved Wimbledon' as he was responsible for moving the club from the old Worple Road grounds to the current Church Road site in 1922.

An all-round sportsman he played first class cricket for Middlesex and Leicestershire and also played for the Gentlemen against the Players at The Oval and twice toured with the United States with Lord Hawke's XI.

Hillyard also excelled at clay pigeon shooting, billiards, swimming and golf. And at Cannes in 1903, in a match between the local club and Hoylake, Hillyard played and beat Harold Hilton, the two times winner of the British Open, and four times amateur Champion. In a re-match two years later it is reported that the two men tied their match.

But even that sporting achievement was overshadowed in 1908 when, at the age of 44, he teamed up with Reggie Doherty to win the outdoor men's doubles title at the London Olympics, by beating fellow Britons Josiah Ritchie and James Parke in straight sets. A couple of months earlier Hillyard had competed in the Olympic indoor doubles competition with Wilberforce Eaves but they were beaten in the first round.

Having earlier served in the Navy, Hillyard rejoined in 1914 at the start of the War and by 1917 he had risen to the rank of Commander.

He married Blanche Bingley in 1887. She was one of the pioneers of the ladies' game and won the Wimbledon singles title six times between 1886 and 1900. She appeared in seven more finals.

Top of the page

McKANE, Kathleen "Kitty" (Later Kitty Godfree)
Born: 7 May 1896, Bayswater, London, England
Died: 19 June 1992, East Sheen, Richmond-upon-Thames, Surrey, England
Olympics competed in: 2 (1920, 1924)
Olympic medals:
1920 Gold - Lawn tennis (Women's doubles)
1920 Silver - Lawn tennis (Mixed doubles)
1920 Bronze - Lawn tennis (Women's singles)
1924 Silver - Lawn tennis (Women's doubles)
1924 Bronze - Lawn tennis (Women's singles)

Kitty McKane is the most celebrated Olympic tennis player of all time with five official medals. France's Max Décugis won six medals, but three of them were at the unofficial Intercalated Games of 1906.

McKane won the first of her five medals in 1920 when she won the gold medal in the doubles with Winifred McNair, beating another British pair, Geraldine Beamish and Dorothy Holman in the final. She also won a silver medal in the mixed doubles with Max Woosnam, but were no match for the strong French pairing of Suzanne Lenglen and Max Decugis, losing in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. McKane also won a bronze medal in the singles when, following her withdrawal from her semi-final against Dorothy Holman, so as to be at her best for the doubles final, she then beat Sigfrid Fick of Sweden in the bronze medal match. Holman got beat by Lenglen 6-3, 6-0 in the final - it was the heaviest defeat in an Olympic final until 2012 when Serena Williams (USA) beat Maria Sharapova (Russia) 6-0, 6-1.

In 1924, Kitty won bronze in the singles again. After losing in three sets to the French girl Pénélope Vlasto in the semi-final she won the bronze medal by beating Germaine Golding, another French girl, in the bronze medal match, also in three sets.

She did better in the doubles when, with fellow Briton Phyllis Covell, they pushed the strong pair of Helen Wills Moody and Hazel Wightman before losing 7-5, 8-6.

It was in the period between 1923 and 1926 that Kitty McKane was at her peak and won the French Open in 1923 and 1925, Wimbledon in 1924 and 1926 and the US Open, also in 1925. She was probably the third best player in the world behind Suzanne Lenglen and Helen Wills Moody, which for a girl who did not start playing serious tennis until the age of 22 because of the war years, was quite and achievement.

Her first Wimbledon final in 1923 saw her defeated in straight sets by Lenglen but the following year she enjoyed a memorable three sets win over Wills Moody, despite losing the first set. It was Moody's only defeat at Wimbledon and she would go on and win the singles title eight times between 1927 and 1938.

Kitty made history in 1922 when she reached the ladies doubles final with her sister Margaret Stocks. They lost to Lenglen and Elizabeth Ryan (USA), but they were the only sisters to reach the final until equalled by the Williams sisters in 2000. She further made history in 1926 when she won the mixed doubles with her husband of just five months, Leslie Godfree. They remain the only married couple to win the title. Kitty had previously won the mixed doubles in 1924 when, with her partner John Gilbert, they won the final 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 against Dorothy Barron and ... Leslie Godfree!

Kitty Godfree made her last Wimbledon appearance in 1934 but for more than fifty years after her departure from the playing arena she would still grace the Centre Court at where she would take a keen interest in the new breed of tennis players who all succeeded her as the ladies singles champion. she maintained that one of her greatest honours was in presenting Martina Navratilova with the winner's plate in 1986. Martina reckons that receiving it from Kitty was one of the greatest honours of her career. It was Kitty's 90th year and as the oldest living Wimbledon champion the honour was bestowed upon her.

But Kitty McKane was not just a world class tennis player, she was also an excellent badminton player and won eight All-England titles between 1920-25, four of them at singles. She won her two women's doubles titles with her sister Margaret. Kitty uniquely held the All-England Badminton and Wimbledon title at the same time in 1924.

Kitty was also a fine cricketer, figure skater and lacrosse player and in 1918 was selected at the latter to play for England against Scotland, only to find the match was cancelled due to the war.

Just before her death at the age of 96 she recalled her many great battles with Suzanne Lenglen but said: "I played her many times, but I don't think I ever beat her, I thought I might at times but she was just too good."

Kitty was indicted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978.

Top of the page

McNAIR, Winifred Margaret (née Slocock)
Born: 9 August 1877, Donnington, Berkshire, England
Died: 28 March 1954, Kensington, London, England
Olympics competed in: 1 (1920)
Olympic medals: 1920 Gold - Lawn tennis (Women's doubles)

The daughter of a wealthy banker and local Justice of the Peace who played cricket for Berkshire, Winifred McNair won the 1920 women's doubles with Kitty McKane, beating their fellow Britons Geraldine Beamish and Dorothy Holman 8-6, 6-4.

She also took part in the mixed doubles but was eliminated in the first round (with Noel Turnbull) losing to Geraldine Beamish and her husband Alfred. Winifred also reached the last 16 of the singles but was beaten heavily by Suzanne Lenglen of France 6-0, 6-0.

McNair's only Grand Slam singles final was at Wimbledon in 1913 when she lost to Dorothy Lambert Chambers in straight sets, 6-0. 6-2 in the all-comers' final. Lambert Chambers was scheduled to play the defending champion Ethel Larcombe in the final, but Larcombe withdrew and Lambert Chambers won the title on a walkover.

However, at the same championship, McNair won the inaugural Wimbledon women's doubles title when she and partner Dora Boothby beat another all-British pairing of Charlotte Cooper Sterry and Dorothy Lambert Chambers. However, it was a shallow victory because their opponents were forced to retire after Charlotte Sterry sustained a tendon injury while leading 6-4, 4-2.

She made her final appearance at Wimbledon in 1924, eighteen years after making her debut.

Winifred was also an excellent golfer and when her tennis career was coming to an end she embarked on her next sporting career. She regularly played for Middlesex and represented England in the 1921 International Tournament at Turnberry, helping them to victory over Wales, Scotland and Ireland. She also competed in the England Ladies' Championship several times in the 1920s and in 1925 reached the semi-final before losing to Doris Fowler.

Winifred's husband Roderick, who she married in 1908, was a member of the Stock Exchange and also an official of both the Lawn Tennis Association, International Lawn Tennis Federation and was a member of the British Olympic Association.

Top of the page

MURRAY, Andrew Barron
Born: 15 May 1987, Glasgow, Scotland
Olympics competed in: 2 (2008, 2012)
Olympic medals:
2012 Gold - Lawn tennis (Men's singles)
2012 Silver - Lawn tennis (Mixed doubles)

Andy Murray and his brother Jaime were brought up in Dunblane, Scotland and were pupils at the Dunblane Primary School on that dreadful day in March 1996 when Thomas Hamilton murdered 16 innocent schoolchildren (all aged five or six) and their teacher at the school. Andy was just short if his ninth birthday at the time and it was an agonising wait before the boys' mother Judy knew her sons were safe. Mercifully they were, and the rest is, as they say, history.

Andy Murray first made lawn tennis headlines in 1994 when, at the age of six he beat 11-year-old Ryan Openshaw in the first round of the 12-and-under singles at the Waverley Junior Open. He became the youngest person ever to win a match in a Scottish ranking tournament. Elena Baltacha played in the same tournament.

Born in Dunblane, Murray's parents William and Judith divorced when Murray and his brother were very young. His mother, as Judith Erskine, was also a tennis player and was a Scottish Champion. Murray's grandfather Roy Erskine played football for Stirling Albion and Cowdenbeath.

As a youth, Andy Murray chose to shun the facilities offered by the Lawn Tennis Association and, as a 15-year-old, chose to train near Barcelona under the watchful eye of the 1988 Olympic doubles silver medallists and Spanish Davis Cup players, Emilio Sánchez and Sergio Casal. Their coaching, together, with the support of Andy's mother Judy, was largely responsible for turning him into the world class player he is today.

He won the junior title at the US Open in 2004 and the following year turned professional, and in 2006 he won his first ATP Tour event, the SAP Open in San Jose.

Andy reached his first Grand Slam final at the 2008 US Open but lost to Roger Federer. He lost the 1910 and 1911 Australian Open final to Federer and Novak Djokovic respectively, and in 2012 it was Federer who beat him at Wimbledon when Andy was beside himself with emotion at the end of the match on 'home' soil.

However, on the same court less than a month later he shed tears of joy after he became the first British Olympic tennis champion for 92 years, and the first winner of the men's singles title since 1908, when he comfortably beat Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. Later the same day he appeared in the mixed doubles, re-appearing for the first time at the Olympics since 1924, with partner Laura Robson, but the pair had to be content with a silver medal, losing to the number one Bulgarian seeds Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka. Murray and Robson lost it 10-8 in the 'Super Tie Break' after both pairs each won one set.

By now it was obvious the magic of new coach Ivan Lendl was working wonders but there was still that elusive Wimbledon title to be won.

Murray started 2013 by losing to Djokovic in the final of the Australian Open again, but the year just got better after that when he eventually became the first Briton since Fred Perry in 1936 to win the Wimbledon men's singles title when he stunned Djokovic with a three set victory.

By far the mot successful British player of the Open era, Murray rose to number two in the world ranking in 2009 and is still hopeful of one day making that number one spot.

Despite commenting on the Sky Sports programme Soccer AM prior to the 2006 FIFA World Cup that: " I'll be supporting anybody but England." Murray chooses to live in London and supports Charlton Athletic FC!

Andy's older brother Jamie is also a tennis player and won a Wimbledon title six years before Andy when he won the mixed doubles with Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in 2007.

Andy was awarded the OBE in the 2012 New Year's Honours list and was the BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner in 2013.

Top of the page

RITCHIE, Major Josiah George
Born: 18 October 1870, Westminster, London, England
Died: 28 February 1955, Laleham-on-Thames, Spelthorne, Surrey, England
Olympics competed in: 1 (1908)
Olympic medals:
1908 Gold - Lawn tennis (Outdoor men's singles)
1908 Silver - Lawn tennis (Outdoor men's doubles)
1908 Bronze - Lawn tennis (Indoor men's singles)

Josiah Ritchie won the outdoor men's singles at the 1908 London Olympics. The next British man to win the same title was Andy Murray at the 2012 London Olympics.

Ritchie's full name was Major Josiah George Ritchie, the Major being one of his Christian names, not an army rank. His close friends called him Major Ritchie whilst in the sporting world he was known as Josiah.

His father, also Josiah, was the managing director of the London Royal Aquarium and he made sure his son received private education, although Josiah junior never went on to University. He did, however, attend Brighton College in 1887-88.

Ritchie learned to play tennis on the lawns of the family home in Putney but when he went to Brighton College he turned his attentions to other sports, notably sculling and gymnastics. He didn't take up tennis again seriously until 1892 when he was 21.

He won important local events, including the championships of Surrey and Middlesex, but he also won tournaments abroad. He was the Irish champion in 1907, and between 1900 and 1905 was five times the Austrian champion, He was also five times winner of the German singles championship between 1903-08. He also won the German doubles title twice. He was a great baseline player, and had one of the best forehands of his day.

He never won the Wimbledon singes title but having reached the all-comers' final in 1902, 1903 and 1904 when he failed to progress to the final challenge match, he eventually made it to the final in 1909 but lost to Arthur Gore in five sets and that was after Ritchie won the first two sets. But Josiah Ritchie's enjoyed his greatest tennis moments a year earlier, in 1908.

First of all, he won the bronze medal in the Olympic indoor singles final at his beloved Queen's Club. Less than two months later he won his first Wimbledon title, the men's doubles with New Zealand's Tony Wilding when they beat Arthur Gore and Roper Barrett in five sets, winning 9-7 in the fifth set after going from 2-0 up to 2-2.

Less than 10 days after his doubles triumph at Wimbledon he was back to collect two more Olympic medals - a silver in the outdoor doubles with James Parke, and a gold medal by beating the German Otto Froitzheim 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 in the outdoor singles final. To round off a memorable year, Ritchie was chosen to represent the British Isles in the Davis Cup against the United States at Boston, Massachusetts in September 1908. Sadly, the USA team won 4-1 and then contested the final against Australasia.

Having come close to the Wimbledon singles title in 1909, Ritchie went on to win his second doubles title with Wilding in 1910 when again they beat Gore and Barrett, but this time in three straight sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-2.

Ritchie continued playing beyond the age of 50 and in 1921, aged 50, he won the Easter Open Tournament at Queen's Club. He had been Queen's Club champion four times in the first decade of the 20th century.

When he died in 1955 Josiah Ritchie left over £192,000 which was the equivalent of around £4.5million in 2013 terms. He had inherited the money following his father's death in 1919 and his mother's in 1944.

Ritchie's son Richard Josiah, or Dickie as he was known, was an accomplished player and was appointed the Secretary of Queen's Club in 1939, a post he held for over 35 years. As a player he won the junior mixed doubles at Wimbledon with Joan Ingram in 1927, and as a senior he once beat Fred Perry, but he never had the commitment that his father had. He retired from Queen's in 1975 but was appointed President of the Club from 1981-84.

Top of the page

TURNBULL, Oswald Graham Noel
Born: 20 December 1890, Highgate, London, England
Died: 17 December 1970, Whitby, North Yorkshire, England
Olympics competed in: 1 (1920)
Olympic medals: 1920 Gold - Lawn tennis (Men's doubles)

Son of Reginald March Turnbull, a wealthy ship owner from Whitby, Yorkshire, Noel joined the family business after finishing his education at Charterhouse and in 1913 was made a partner.

During his time at Charterhouse, Noel played many sports including lawn tennis but it was not until after the war that he made his mark as a top player and in 1919 he made his Davis Cup debut when he was on the British side that beat France in the final but was not selected for the Challenge match against Australia.

However, the following year he represented Great Britain at the Antwerp Olympics and competed in all three events.

In the mixed doubles he partnered Winifred McNair but lost in first round to Geraldine and Alfred Beamish. He had a chance of winning a medal in the singles when he lost his semi-final in five sets, after winning the first two, to the eventual gold medallist, Louis Raymond of South Africa. He gave his next opponent, Charles Winslow, another South African, a walkover in the bronze medal match, preferring to save himself for the final of the men's doubles with Max Woosnam. And it worked as the British pair beat the Japanese duo of Iceiya Kumagae and Seiichiro Kashio in four sets.

Turnbull continued playing serious tennis up to his late thirties and made his sixth and last Davis Cup appearance in 1926 and two years later he won the Portuguese Open.

He was by now an excellent golfer and played off scratch. A member of The Berkshire club, which was founded in 1928, he played in the English Amateur Championship in the 1930s.

Turnbull, who was married three times, inherited a fortune on the death of his older brother Sir Reginald March Kesterson Turnbull, who took over the family business following his father's death in 1912. Sir Reginald's estate was worth nearly £500,000 in 1943, the equivalent of around £18 million in 2013.

Top of the page

WOOSNAM, Maxwell
Born: 6 September 1892, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died: 14 July 1965, Westminster, London, England
Olympics competed in: 2 (1920, 1924)
Olympic medals:
1920 Gold - Lawn tennis (Men's doubles)
1920 Silver - Lawn tennis (Mixed doubles)

Ask any knowledgeable British sports fan who was the greatest British all-rounder and it is a good bet they will say C B Fry. Admittedly, Fry has an impressive record: He played 394 first class cricket matches, including 26 for England, six as captain. As a footballer he played for Portsmouth and Southampton, appeared in an FA Cup final and played for England. He played rugby union for Oxford University and Blackheath, was an Oxford athletics blue and was one time the joint holder of the world long jump record. And let's not forget he was good at acrobatics, was a good golfer and was once offered the Kingdom of Albania!

All very impressive and impossible to be bettered, you would think. But then there was Max Woosnam - a name to which many sports fans in Britain would say: "Max who?"

Woosnam played football for Corinthians, Chelsea, Manchester City and England; he scored a century at Lords, was a Cambridge Blue in four sports. In addition he won two tennis Olympic medals, won a Wimbledon title and captained the British Davis Cup team. And when injury ended his serious playing days at physical sports he turned to snooker and made a 147 break in a day when 'maximum' breaks were a rarity. Oh yes, he also beat Charlie Chaplin at table tennis using a knife instead of a bat!

Max was the son of a Bombay-born clergyman, Charles Maxwell Woosnam, who was Chaplain to the Mersey Missions to Seamen at the time of Max's birth in 1892. Max was born just behind the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool, and he went to boarding school in Hampshire at an early age and from there he went to Winchester College before going to Trinity College, Cambridge, like his father before him.

Whilst at Winchester, Max represented the Public Schools XI against the MCC at Lord's in 1911, and scored 144 and 33 not out [some sources say he scored 144 not out in the first innings but he was dismissed after being caught by Edward Frederick off the bowling of Arthur Snowden]. Woosnam was 18 at the time. At Cambridge Max played for the cricket first XI but never won a blue - he was 12th man against Oxford in 1912 However, he was a Blue at lawn tennis, real tennis, football and golf.

When he left Cambridge Max played football for Corinthians and Chelsea but the War years then intervened and Max served, firstly, in the Montgomery Yeomanry, of which his father was Chaplain, and later with the Royal Welch Fusiliers and served in the Gallipoli campaign.

Max was in Brazil on tour with the Corinthians when war was declared and they caught the next boat home after just a day in South America.

After the war Max joined Manchester City and spent six years with the club. He was one of the best centre-halves in Britain at the time, even though he was an amateur. At the same time that his football career was taking off at City, so to was his tennis career.

In 1920 he won the Lancashire singles title and that same year he represented Great Britain at the Antwerp Olympics. He won the gold medal in the men's doubles with Noel Turnbull and in the mixed doubles, playing with Kitty McKane, he won a silver medal following defeat by the strong French pair of Suzanne Lenglen and Max Décugis. Both finals were played on the same day.

Woosnam was also selected for the Great Britain football team in Antwerp but as the football tournament started just four days after the tennis finished he felt he would be away for far too long and so pulled out of the squad. Mind you, he could have stayed as Great Britain were dumped by Norway in the first round! He had another chance of Olympic glory at Paris in 1924 but, following a football injury sustained in 1922 he was no longer the athlete he was and he came away empty-handed,

In 1921 Max won the men's doubles at Wimbledon with Randolph Lycett by beating another British pair, Arthur and Gordon Lowe, in three straight sets. He also reached the mixed doubles final with Phillis Howkins but lost to his doubles partner Lycett and his American partner, the great Elizabeth Ryan.

Woosnam also made the first of his Davis Cup appearances in 1921, winning the doubles with Lycett as Britain beat Spain 4-1. He never appeared in a Davis Cup final, although he was honoured with the captaincy against Australia later in 1921. The match took place in the United States and Woosnam was invited to Charlie Chaplin's house where he beat the movie star at lawn tennis and then humiliated him by beating him at table tennis with a knife instead of a bat!

Woosnam made his debut for Manchester City on New Year's Day 1920 against Bradford City and played 93 League and Cup games for City. The pinnacle of Woosnam's football career was in captaining Manchester City to second place in the first division, behind Burnley, in 1920-21. The following season he made his one full England international appearance in the 1-0 against Wales at Anfield. Such was the respect that Woosnam was held in that, as the captain of the England amateur side, he was honoured with the captaincy of the senior team that day at Anfield.

Two months after his senior international debut, his football career was virtually over after he broke a leg whilst playing for against Newcastle United in the last game of the 1921-22 season. It took him a year to return to action with City, and he next played in the opening game of the 1923-24 season against Sheffield United. He was made captain again for the match which was fittingly for the opening of the new Maine Road ground. However, following the broken leg, Max never returned to full fitness and played only one more game that season, and three the following season, bowing out with a goal in the 5-0 win over Liverpool in January 1925. He later played for Northwich Victoria.

It is said that whilst being carried to the ambulance after breaking his leg against Newcastle, he asked the stretcher bearers to stop while he signed an autograph for a young boy.

During his playing days he worked for a Northwich chemical company in the early 1920s. They were absorbed into the chemical giants ICI and he was appointed to the Board in 1940. He retired from ICI in 1954.

Woosnam, in addition to the exploits already mentioned, was a scratch golfer and was captain of the Sandiway Golf Club in Northwich in 1929, and he was an excellent snooker player.

He was later involved in tennis administration and was at one time the vice-president of the International Lawn Tennis Club of Great Britain.

Woosnam was a life-long smoker but he still lived until he was 72.

Max Woosnam was an amateur throughout his entire sporting career and never earned a single penny from sport. Imagine how much more money David Beckham would have earned had he, in addition to his football exploits, scored a century at Lord's, captained a Davis Cup team, won Wimbledon and won two Olympic medals?

Until freelance journalist Mick Collins published a brilliant book, entitled All Round Genius (Aurum Press) in 2006 very few people had heard of Max Woosnam. But thanks to Collins, the vicar's son from Liverpool is now looked upon as Britain's greatest ever all-round sportsman.

Top of the page

Return to SPORTS index | Go to CONTENTS page is the copyright of Ian Morrison © 2013 and permission to use any of the information must first be obtained in writing and this website should also be accredited when using material from it. Webmaster and copyright owner: