Archived News

Happy 90th Birthday to the International Lawn Tennis Club!

Happy 90th Birthday to the International Lawn Tennis Club!

ICs celebrating around the world. Represented are: the IC Council, the ICs of GB, Mexico, Austria, Netherlands, New Zealand and S Africa, as well as an IC group from the Priory Club Birmingham. Top centre is our founder A. Wallis Myers and below him an image of the first page of the original Minute Book from 1924 showing that the club was formed at The RAC In London in the Great Gallery Restaurant. Bottom right lunch was held on 26th Nov in the actual restaurant where it all started.

In the early 1920s, in the years after the Great War of 1914-18, the age of chivalry was reborn in an almost conscious effort to banish the painful memories of conflict.

One of those anxious to restore faith in the value of international friendship was a respected tennis journalist, A. Wallis Myers. He had been the lawn tennis correspondent of the Daily Telegraph and lawn tennis editor of The Field magazine. He was also a good tennis player who loved to compete with the cream of European society, including King Gustav V of Sweden.

In conversation with Dwight Davis, donor of the Davis Cup, Myers thought there should be a way of nurturing and preserving the camaraderie that existed between the young gladiators of so many countries, including those that had been on opposite sides of the Great War, and who now met in serious, but friendly, rivalry at tennis tournaments around the world each year.

Wallis Myers discussed this with the former British Prime Minister, Lord Balfour, and together they came up with the idea of forming a club with the prime ethos of “sportsmanship and fair-play”.

Balfour persuaded Myers to take action on the idea and on 26th November 1924, exactly 90 years ago today, the International Lawn Tennis Club of Great Britain was founded at an inaugural meeting attended by Lord Balfour, A Wallis Myers, Sir Leonard Lyle and 50 leading British international tennis players. The meeting took place at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, London. Sir Leonard Lyle was elected the first president with Myers as secretary.

Today there are 40 International Clubs (ICs) across the 5 continents of the world, with 4500 members playing matches and events against each other: the spirit of sportsmanship and fair-play lives on.

The International Lawn Tennis Club
"Hands across the net, friendship across the ocean."

Based on an original text by J E Barrett MBE
Previous Article The Wimbledon Experience 2015
Next Article IC Jean Borotra CQS sportsmanship award delivered to the IC of Australia