- Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 May 2018 15:05
- Hong Kong Lawn Tennis Association (HKLTA) founded.
- League Tennis started with A Division.
- Hong Kong National Grasscourt Championships, first results on record
- Mixed Doubles League started
- Start of the National Hardcourt Championships
- HKLTA had 25 member clubs and 72 courts available on HK Island and over 80 courts in Kowloon the majority of which were grass. There were no public courts in those days.
- Ladies League commenced.
- Ip Koon Hung, Yeung Wai Bun, Tsui Wai Pui and Tsui Yun Pui won the China National Games Men’s Singles, Ladies’ Singles and Doubles.
- Chinese Recreation Club Open Hardcourt Championships were inaugurated.
- Ip Koon Hung reached the Finals of the Wimbledon plate.
- South China Athletic Association organised the SCAA HK Tennis Invitational.
- Tsui Yuen Yuen won the silver medal in doubles at the 4th Asian Games.
- Kenneth Tsui and Winston Wai won the doubles at the 2nd Asian Junior Tennis Championships in Kuala Lumpur.
- Hong Kong entered the Davis Cup.
- First professional tennis MIPTC Tournament in Hong Kong (Viceroy Classic)
- Hong Kong hosted the first ITF Junior Event
- Hong Kong hosted first WTA (Tier IV Event)
- Hong Kong entered the Federation Cup for the first time.
- Victoria Park Tennis Stadium was built.
- Patricia Hy (then playing for HK) was runner up in Junior Wimbledon Singles, and won the Junior Wimbledon Doubles title playing with Patty Fendick (USA)
- Hong Kong secured its first ever Davis Cup tie win, a victory over Taiwan.
- HKLTA dropped the lawn from the name and became HKTA. Dr. Philip Kwok was the first HKTA President.
- HKTA moved to the Jubilee Sports Centre (later renamed the Hong Kong Sports Institute, HKSI) in Shatin.
- Girl’s under 16 team of Paulette Moreno, Lisa Kwok and Christine Kwok reached inaugural World Youth Cup World Finals (Predecessor of Junior Fed Cup) and came 6th.
- Paulette Moreno (HKG) reached Junior Wimbledon Finals playing with Kim Il Soon (KOR).
- Hong Kong team that consisted of Patricia Hy, Paulette Moreno and Lisa Kwok reached the Fed Cup World Group consolation Finals.
- Hong Kong Tennis Foundation (HKTF) was formed and started to support many HKTA programmes.
- Professional non-MIPTC event, Marlborough Championships, started.
- Dr. Hu Fa-Kuang received the ITF Award for Services to the Game
- Salem Open ATP Tour event commenced.
- Hong Kong was promoted to Davis Cup Asian Zone Group I.
- First year of the Michael Chang Tennis Stars of the Future programme.
- HKTA moved to the Hong Kong Sports House (now Olympic House).
- HKTA hosted the ITF AGM and Dr. Stanley Ho and Dr. Henry Fok received Awards for Services to the Game from the ITF.
- Boys' under-14 team of Jason Sankey, Wayne Wong, and Desmond Chen qualified for NTT World Junior Tennis (now WJT)
Finals in Japan for the very first time and came 13th.
- Dr. Philip Kwok received the ITF Award for Services to the Game.
- Watson’s Water Challenge replaced Marlboro Classic.
- John Hui and Melvin Tong won a bronze medal in Men's Doubles at the 9th All China Games.
- Hong Kong finished 5th in the Men’s team event at the All China Games.
- Boys' under-16 team of Jack Hui, Brian Hung, and Christian Frick qualified for World Youth Cup (now Junior Davis Cup) Finals in Chile and came 10th.
- Boys' under-14 team of Martin Sayer, Michael Lai, and Ronald Chow qualified for World Junior Tennis Finals in Czech Republic and came 16th.
- Mr. Kenneth Tsui became the second HKTA President.
- Brian Hung won the gold medal of Boys' Singles event in the 5th National Intercity Games in Changsha, Hunan.
- HKTA inaugurated the HKTA Hall of Fame.
- The Chinese Tennis Champions HK Tour was played at Victoria Park with top ladies’ players from China including
Olympic Gold Medalists Sun Tian Tian and Li Ting.
- Girls' under-16 team of Zhang Ling, Venise Chan, and Tsang Pui Yee qualified for Junior Fed Cup Finals in Spain and came 11th.
- President of the ITF, Mr. Francesco Ricci Bitti visited HKTA.
- HKSI moved to Wu Kai Sha to enable the facilities at HKSI to be utilised for the Equestrian Olympics.
Girls' under-16 team of Jessica Yang, Geraldine Leung, and Sher Chun Wing qualified for Junior Fed Cup Finals in Spain and came 16th.
- HKTA successfully tendered for the Kowloon Tsai tennis courts.
- JB˙Group Classic replaced Watsons’ Water Challenge.
- HKTA moved some of their operations to the HKTA Tennis Centre at Kowloon Tsai.
- HKTA has a new office at renovated Victoria Park Centre Court.
- Zhang Ling played in the JB˙Group Classic as one of the Stars of Tomorrow.
- East Asian Games will be played in Hong Kong in December.
- HKTA took part in the 1st Inter-city Tennis Association Tournament together with Jiangmen Tennis Association and Macau Tennis Association.
- Brian Yeung won a Silver Medal in Men's Singles at the 7th Inter-city Games of China.
- Boys' under-16 team of Brian Yeung, Kevin Wong, and Jon Cho qualified for Junior Davis Cup Finals in Mexico and came 10th.
- The inaugural Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open, WTA International Series event, commenced
- Boys' under-16 team of Jack Wong, Jackie Tang, and Lam Ching qualified for Junior Davis Cup Finals in Mexico and came 11th.
- Prudential Hong Kong becomes Lead Partner of HKTA
- Boys' under-16 team of Lam Ching, Alan Sou, and Tiger Cheung qualified for Junior Davis Cup Finals in Spain and came 16th.
- The Girl's team of Cody Wong, Jenny Wong and Lin Wing Ka won the WJT Asian/Oceania Qualifying event, to reach the WJT World Finals in Czech Republic and came 6th.
- ITF President visit Hong Kong
- The doubles team of Kevin Wong and Brian Yeung won a bronze medal at the World University Games held in Taipei.
- Mr Herman HU received the ITF Award for Services to the Game.
History of Hong Kong Tennis
The Early Days
Before 1900 tennis was played as a leisure activity by a few Europeans belonging to the great trading houses. The desire for competitive tennis did not emerge until the early years of the 20th century, and it was only in 1909 that the Hong Kong Lawn Tennis Association was formed when representatives from several recreation clubs met at the Hong Kong Cricket Club in Chater Road to discuss the beginning of a Tennis League.
The earliest recorded results were of matches played at clubs like the Hong Kong Cricket Club in a league, which also included Craigengower Tennis Club, the Taikoo Club, Y.M.C.A. (both European and Chinese Departments), the Lusitano Club, the Wigwam Tennis Club, the Civil Service, the Navy Yard and the Kowloon Club. The first League ran from May to July 1909.
In 1911, the first National Grass Court Men's Singles Championship, won by H.A. Nisbet, was played at the Hong Kong Cricket Club at Chater Road in Central. 1918 heralded the first victory for a Chinese player, Ng Sze-Kwong, who then went on to win six successive titles. The first Ladies' Singles National Championship was held in 1920 on grass at the United Services Recreation Club in Kowloon and was won by Mrs Armstrong. Ladies Doubles and Mixed Doubles National Championships were also held at the USRC until wartime, after which these competitions were moved to the Ladies Recreation Club.
By 1938, the Hong Kong LTA had 25 clubs, with 72 courts on the island of Hong Kong and over 80 in Kowloon, nearly all of which were grass. Public courts did not exist and the playing of tennis remained a privilege available only to a wealthy minority. For much of its early life, the HKLTA League was dominated by the Chinese Recreation Club but after the Second World War other clubs, including the South China Athletic Association, were able to provide real competition.
Tennis dominated by a Talented Few
National titles were shared by a small number of very talented players. The Rumjahn cousins dominated men's tennis for many years from the mid-1920s onwards. S.A Rumjahn won 5 National Singles titles between 1925 and 1940, and captured 13 doubles titles with his cousin, H.D. Rumjahn, eleven of them consecutively from 1925 to 1935.
In 1936 Tsui Wai-pui won the first of his 32 Hong Kong titles, many with his brother Tsui Yun-pui, over a 34-year period, and represented China in the 1937 Davis Cup. The most successful player was Ip Koon-hung, the 1948 China National Games Champion, with 53 grass and hard-court titles (26 singles and 27 doubles) over a 20-year span beginning in 1947. In addition to these three, serious competition was provided by Edwin Tsai, V.T. Wang and K.C. Dao who all gained Singles and Doubles titles in the 1950s. In 1954, Ip and Tsai represented the Colony at Wimbledon and other prominent UK tournaments.
Under the auspices of the HKLTA, frequent exhibition matches were played in the 1950's on the HKCC grass courts. Davis Cup players from Australia (including Lew Hoad and Neale Fraser), India, Pakistan and Sweden (including Lennart Bergelin), and top Americans like Hamilton Richardson and Dorothy Head provided a high class of tennis. Then, in December 1957, as a foretaste of the professional tennis to come, Jack Kramer's "Circus", featuring Pancho Segura, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall and Kramer himself, displayed their skills at Chater Road.
Tennis Expands as the Open Era Arrives
The advent of open tennis in 1968 brought the game more into the public eye and the Hong Kong Lawn Tennis Association soon launched its own development programme. Professional tournaments were first held in 1972 at the then primitive facilities of Victoria Park, which were eventually replaced by a purpose-built 4000-seater stadium in 1982.
The Hong Kong public was treated to the skills of some of the world's top players, including Rod Laver who, in 1973, won a tournament which was part of the Ken Catton-inspired Asian tennis circuit, which also included events in Australia, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines and India. Famous participants in the early days of professional tennis in Hong Kong included Ken Rosewall, Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase and Ivan Lendl.
The State of Hong Kong Tennis in 1974
The HKLTA report for 1974 highlighted the need for further development. Three major tournaments had been held: the Viceroy Tennis Classic, the National Grasscourt Championships and the ILTF Amateur Championships of Asia. But limited revenues and the volume of administrative work served to emphasise the need for a more sound financial footing that a Sports Foundation, funded by the government, could help to provide.
The 1974 National Grasscourt Championships were held for the last time at the HKCC in Chater Road, bringing to an end an era where "the public, enjoying the easy access to the courts during lunch time and after office, would come and go as their time permitted, and the players and officials commingled pleasantly on the club's verandah".
The emergence of talented juniors such as Ling Fong and Kenneth Tsui led to Davis Cup participation in 1970, under the non-playing captaincy of lifelong tennis-servant Cyril Kotewall, though it was not until 1982 that Kelvin Ng recorded Hong Kong's first point, at home to the Philippines. Despite progress in men's tennis however, the 1984 HKLTA report also commented, less optimistically, that in the two sanctioned Open championships, organised by CRC and SCAA, only Men's events were held, and that "more will have to be done to attract young girls in secondary schools to take up the sport."
Support and Sponsorship
The establishment of the Hong Kong Tennis Patrons' Association in 1976 helped to consolidate the calendar of professional events, with consequential financial benefits to junior tennis development via the Hong Kong Tennis Foundation, which was set up in 1988 to obtain corporate sponsorship and donations for tennis programmes.
The Seiko Super tennis event, offering US$200,000 in prize money, was soon followed by the appearance of the world's very best players, in both the annual Marlborough 16-man exhibition event and the ATP Salem Open. Top-class women's tennis arrived more recently, featuring stars such as Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Venus Williams, Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova, and is now a regular feature on the local tennis calendar.
Representing Hong Kong
With Davis Cup competition since 1970, and Ladies' participation in the Fed Cup since 1981, young players like Melvin Tong, Wayne Wong, John Hui, Tong Ka-po and Willy Chan-Lee have frequently flown the Hong Kong flag, after previously working their way through rigorous junior coaching schemes and measuring their progress in worldwide junior international events.
Three Hong Kong-wide open hardcourt tournaments, the Hong Kong National Tennis Championships, the Chinese Recreation Club (CRC) Open Hardcourt Tennis Championships and the South China Athletic Association (SCAA) Open Championships, whose structure and openness have evolved since their inception, provide the basis for players to prove their worth and achieve national rankings.
In the 21st century the playing of tennis is widespread in Hong Kong with leagues and tournaments for all age-groups held throughout the year. With over 40 Affiliated Clubs, 8000 registered players and 600 courts, many open to the public, the sport's growing popularity is ensured.