Sydney Lawn Tennis Club

Sydney Lawn Tennis Club is amongst the most prestigious tennis clubs in the nation. It is Australia's oldest grass tennis club, with a history that dates back to 1880. It is located adjacent to the Fitness Centre at Allianz Stadium and has access to tennis courts for Club play on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Since its foundation, the Club has been an integral part of the Sydney Cricket Ground, which has provided tennis courts for members since as early as 1878. Tennis was introduced to the colony in the late 1870's and the Sydney Lawn Tennis Club was a driving force in the destiny of the new sport. Tennis court surfaces at the SCG were grass until the mid 1980's when the Sydney Football Stadium was built – hence the name "The Sydney Lawn Tennis Club". When the Sydney Football Stadium was constructed, the tennis courts were relocated and surfaced with synthetic grass. The original name of the Club has been retained.

The Club is honoured to have as Patrons of the Club His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley Governor of NSW and Mrs Linda Hurley.

The Club provides for both competition and social tennis. Membership of the Club is open to the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust's Platinum Members and Gold Members.

All enquiries should be addressed to the Venue Services Office at venueservices@scgt.nsw.gov.au

Competition Tennis

The Club has entered one team in the 2014 Premier League Competition. The Club has won the competition on 46 occasions.

2016 Results

2017 Results

Club Championships

Club Championships take place annually. The results of the Open Singles Champion ( called "Club Captaincy") and the Open Doubles are recorded on the Honour Boards dating from the first inclusion in 1884.

Special mention should be made of J.B.May who, in the period following World War II, won the singles ("Club Captaincy") 13 times and the Doubles 11 times.

Mark Edmondson who is the last Australian to win the Australian Singles Championship in 1976 won the "Club Captaincy" Title on five occasions (1989-1993).

Current Title Holders 2011

Club Captaincy (Open Singles): Nick Truklja
Open Doubles:  Nick Truklja,  Paul McNamara
Presidents Doubles: Ron Langley, Phillip DuBoisee

History of the Sydney Lawn Tennis Club

The Sydney Lawn Tennis Club is generally accepted as the oldest tennis club in Australia and has been situated at the Sydney Cricket Ground since somewhere between 1878 and 1880 when the recreation area at Moore Park was controlled by the NSW Cricket Association and known as "The Association Ground" with the tennis section being referred to as "The Association Lawn Tennis Club". Then in 1887 the name was changed to its present title because it was wrongly being looked upon, in many quarters, as the "The Lawn Tennis Association of Australia" rather than a private tennis club whose members had taken the initiative to organise tournaments and develop this new sport. The NSW Tennis Association was not formed until 1890 but did not own any courts until it purchased property at Double Bay in 1906. As a result in the early years the Sydney Lawn Tennis Club controlled tennis in NSW and ran the NSW Championships from inception in 1885 until authority was handed over to the NSW Tennis Association in 1908.

There is any amount of reference material from these early days confirming the above facts, for example, "The Sydney Morning Herald" Centenary issue of 1888 stated that the Sydney Lawn Tennis Club had been in existence since 1880 whereas "The Illustrated Sydney News" of the 2nd May 1889 in an article titled 'Lawn Tennis in Australia' stated that the club was founded about the year 1878 and at the time of the publication the President was E C Merewether, the Club Captain (or club's singles champion) was A D Webb (was club singles champion from 1888 to 1893) and the Hon Secretary was C W Cropper. This article also stated in the club's beginning it only had two courts but as the game grew in popularity the number of courts increased to four grass and two asphalt courts with the latter not being used much except in winter.

The history of the club would not be complete unless recognition is given to the club's first Hon Secretary, Charles William Cropper, and the major role he played in the heritage of the club and Australian tennis.

Some of his achievements are as follows:

  • He was instrumental in arranging and running the first New South Wales tennis championship and the first Inter-colonial match between NSW and Victoria, both being played in May 1885 at the SCG on the club courts and extra courts marked out on the cricket oval in front of the original Members' and Ladies' stands. Both these events continued to be played at the SCG under the influence of the Sydney Lawn Tennis Club until they were taken over by the NSW Tennis Association in 1908.
  • Charles Cropper won the inaugural Sydney Club Singles Championship in 1884 and this event is recognised by Tennis NSW as being the first tennis tournament played in this State. He was also part of the original 1885 NSW Inter-colonial team and continued to be part of this team until the 1890s.
    He won the 1886 NSW Singles and Doubles Championships and the Singles again in 1887. The program printed for the 1888 NSW Championships showed Charles Cropper as being the Hon Secretary for the tournament as well as the defending champion and also the referee.
  • The administration and tennis ability of Charles Cropper is undoubted and besides the influence he had on the development of tennis, it is not hard to see how he attracted the top tennis players at that time to the Sydney Lawn Tennis Club making it the dominant tennis club in NSW. This trend continued for decades after he left the club when he moved to Western Australia in 1894.
  • Charles Cropper returned to Sydney in 1910 when he was appointed Secretary of The Australian Jockey Club, a position he held for 22 years until his death in 1932. The excellent improvements he initiated for the racing fraternity were acknowledged by the AJC with a race called 'The CW Cropper Handicap' being named in his honour.

One can only assume the Club missed its involvement in running the New South Wales tennis championships because in 1912 it commenced a new tournament which was called the "City of Sydney Championship". This event ran for 29 years at the SCG under Vice Regal patronage and it appears as though it ceased in 1940 because of the intervention of World War II. All leading men and women players participated including members of the Australian Davis Cup team. The last men's singles title in 1940 was won by that great player, John Bromwich, and framed copies of the Draw and Results of both the first and last tournament are on display in our clubroom.

The Club is honoured to have been under Vice Regal Patronage for most of its existence with the past Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency The Honourable Professor Marie Bashir AC, carrying on that tradition (2001-2014). The new Governor of NSW His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret'd) and Mrs Linda Hurley have granted patronage to the Club in 2015. It is believed the Sydney Lawn Tennis Club would be the only tennis club in Australia under such patronage.

There are many other facts that involve the achievement and contribution of members both on and off the courts which form an important part of the club's history and these can be summarised as follows:

  • Davis Cup: The Club over the years has had many members who have represented Australia in Davis Cup and these are:J O Anderson, J Clemenger, J Crawford, M Edmondson, H Hopman, A B Jones, N Peach, L Poidevin, A K Quist, A Roche, K Rosewall, C E Sproule, F Stolle and J Willard.
  • Australian Titles: Horace Rice, who was an outstanding player in his era, won our Club Singles in 1899 and 1900 and then went on to be the first Club member to win Australian Titles. He won the Men's' Singles in 1907 as well as being runner-up in 1910, 1911 and 1915. He also won the Men's' Doubles in 1910 and 1915 and the Mixed Doubles in 1923.
    Other Club members such as J Crawford, C Donohoe, R Dunlop, A Quist, K Rosewall, F Stolle, T Roche and M Edmondson won a further 12 Men's' Singles and 30 Men's' Doubles titles between them, however some of these players became members after their titles had been won. (Ken Rosewall still retains his membership).
  • NSW Titles: The winners of our Club Singles Championship won eight of the first ten NSW Singles titles with J B Salmon winning the inaugural title in 1885. Over the years members of our Club have won in total 32 NSW men's singles titles and 48 men's doubles titles with the large majority being prior to 1940.
    Of course, the introduction of professional tennis in the early 1960s completely negated the availability of top players to club and local competitions so the overall tennis strength of our club was reduced accordingly with there now being very little chance of a club player winning State titles.
  • Badge Competition: The club has always been a powerful force in NSW tennis and up until the 1940s dominated the top division of the Badge competition. It won 24 of the first 38 premierships it contested including 5 successive wins up to 1921, when the interclub system was replaced by a district system. Then on the reintroduction of the interclub system in 1926 it won the No 1 division for 10 successive years and was undefeated during the last 4, a performance probably without parallel in the history of competition tennis. In post war years the club has won the top grade on 10 occasions, firstly in 1963 followed by wins for 5 years in succession from 1977 to 1981 and again in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009. Over the years the club has also won many premierships in lower grades so its record in the Metropolitan Grass Court Clubs competition is extremely good and would be the envy of most other clubs.
  • Cricketers: Because of its location, the Club has attracted many outstanding cricketers with tennis ability and membership lists over the years include such identities as test players Jack Gregory (Life Member), Arthur Morris, Ian Craig (Life Member), Brian Booth, Alan Davidson and Frank Misson as well as many Sheffield Shield and Grade players.
  • Administration: The Club has provided 8 of the last 11 Presidents of Tennis NSW with the last being John Whittaker who retired in 2007 after holding the position from 1991. Also Geoff Pollard who was a member of our winning No 1 Badge team between 1977 and 1981 is the current President of Tennis Australia. In addition, a considerable number of our members have served as trustees of The Sydney Cricket Ground Trust. This says a great deal about the calibre of our club members and there is no other tennis club in Australia that can boast this proud record.

It is obvious from its history The Sydney Lawn Tennis Club had a significant influence on the introduction and development of tennis as a popular and successful sport in Australia. In addition to its own heritage the Club's 130 year existence at the Moore Park Recreation area also makes it an integral part of the heritage of both the SCG and the State of New South Wales. Therefore current and future members should appreciate why it is so very important to preserve the continual existence of our great Club.