History of Tennis at Royal Sydney
No precise date can be fixed for the start of tennis at Rose Bay, but the Committee minutes of 1905 refer to a wire netting fence to be erected around "the court". In 1907, the Club set aside 97 pounds to develop a new tennis and croquet area and at least three courts were established between 1907 and 1909. At this time, the Australian Davis Cup team were enjoying considerable success, winning the Davis Cup in 1907, 1908, 1909, 1911, 1914 and 1919. Two Royal Sydney members contributing to this success had much to do with the foundation of tennis at the Club. Sir Norman Brookes played in ten Challenges, and Gerald Patterson, MC in six, between 1919 and 1928.
Brookes was the first man from overseas, the first left-hander and the first Australian to win the Wimbledon Singles crown, in 1907. He won again in 1914; he also achieved two Wimbledon Doubles titles. Patterson won the Wimbledon Singles at his first attempt, beating Brookes en route to that title in 1919 and he won again in 1922.
As the popularity of tennis grew, the demand for more courts was enormous and by 1913, another nine courts were laid. By 1920 there were twenty-five courts in play, most on the New South Head Road frontage. By 1926 there were at least 200 members playing tennis regularly. Even with twenty-four courts there was constant pressure for playing time. Over the years the grass courts were supplemented by various surfaces, from the ant-bed (en tous cas) courts, to the current mixture of court surfaces, taking into account their relative durability, playability and popularity.
Royal Sydney members have also been much associated with tennis administration. The Club played a major role in the creation of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia. The Club's archives retain the original copy of the 1915 constitution and the rules of the LTAA.
In July 2003, The Royal Sydney Golf Club was chosen as a venue to host a ladies Federation Cup tie. When Australia defeated Austria in Adelaide earlier in the year, Tennis Australia was faced with a dilemma in finding top quality lawn tennis courts in winter to play the next round against Switzerland. Royal Sydney was approached owing to the quality of the lawn courts and the facilities available. In the tie, Australia comfortably defeated the Swiss 4/1.
Currently, Royal Sydney has seventeen tennis courts in total: ten lawn tennis courts, four with Wintergreen Couch and seven with Santa Ana Couch. There are seven synthetic grass tennis courts. The tennis courts are available for play by members all year round.