Old Boy tennis champions including Roy Emerson '53, Geoff Masters '67 and the Fancutt family have been recognised by the School in a special naming ceremony at the BGS Tennis Centre on Saturday 25 May.
The Tennis Centre, opened by Masters in 2017, has given BGS Tennis a permanent home with 10 courts and an impressive club house. Of the courts, six have been named in honour of Old Boys and coaches who have made a significant contribution to tennis at the School. The remaining four are reserved for the names of future tennis champions.
Headmaster Anthony Micallef welcomed the tennis community to the centre's newly named Roy Emerson Room for the Saturday morning ceremony. Emerson is one of the greatest tennis players of all time, a former world number one who is still the only male player to have completed a Career Grand Slam – winning all four Grand Slam events – in both singles and doubles. He's a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
In a neat coincidence, the naming ceremony was held during the GPS round against The Southport School. BGS Old Boy Jack Radcliffe (1910) was Headmaster of TSS from 1941-50 and is remembered through the JN Radcliffe trophy, awarded to the GPS Tennis premiership team each year. Court 4 is now the Jack Radcliffe Court.
In his speech, Mr Micallef spoke of the School's long tennis history, which began when Headmaster Reginald Roe introduced an early form of the game. An annual School tournament began in 1885, and by the early 1900s, one in three students competed in the popular sport.
Thanks to some stellar individual players, such as Harold Wilson (1919), tennis has been one of the School's most successful sports in GPS premierships. Court 5 is named after Harold, who led a premiership winning First IV, was School Tennis Champion five years in a row, and won the Australian Schools Tennis Championship in 1918.
The Fancutt family Trevor and Daphne, and sons Charlie '76, Michael '77 and Chris '83 had incredible success at BGS through from the 1960s to the mid-1980s. As a coach, Trevor led the BGS First IV to 19 premiership victories; his sons have combined to win or coach 25 premierships between them. The only family to have all five members play in the main draw at Wimbledon, the Fancutts are honoured by having Court 1 named the Fancutt Family Court.
BGS has a storied history of success in tennis coaching. Perhaps better known for his rugby coaching talents, Alan Jones AO had even more success coaching tennis at the School. During the 1960s, BGS Tennis managed an unbeaten run of 57 successive victories in interschool competition, translating to seven straight GPS titles under the guidance of Jones.
A second generational family is honoured in Court 6 being named the James Love Court. James Love attended the School from 1876-1881, and was a student when Roe introduced tennis to Queensland. He went on to be President of the Queensland Lawn Tennis Association and established the Russell Love Memorial Racquet for the School's singles Tennis Champion, after his son Russell was killed in WWI. James' great nephew (also named James) is the father of David '93 and Peter '96 who was School Captain. David's sons Ethan and Jack Love are currently at BGS in Year 8.
Old Boy Edgar 'Gar' Moon (1920) lends his name to Court 3. Described as a 'dark horse' of BGS Sport, Gar was never a School Tennis Champion; in fact, he never made the school team. But he went on to win the Australian singles championship in 1928 and a further 115 singles titles. He returned to BGS as a coach in the 1940s and coached Roy Emerson in the early 1950s.
The remaining court, Court 2, has been named after Masters – a multiple Grand Slam doubles winner.