Brian Fairlie

Brian Fairlie (born 13 June 1948), is a retired tennis player from New Zealand. During his career from 1968 to 1979 he won four titles in doubles, all with the Egyptian player Ismail El Shafei, and ten singles titles in the Open era (and at least two more in 1967).[1][2]

Brian Fairlie
Country (sports) New Zealand
Born (1948-06-13) 13 June 1948 (age 72)
Christchurch, New Zealand
Height1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Turned pro1968 (amateur tour from 1966)
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Career record187–186 (Open era)
Career titles12
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open3R (1976)
French Open4R (1977)
Wimbledon3R (1977, 1978)
US OpenQF (1970)
Career record174–156
Career titles4
Highest rankingNo. 27 (30 August 1977)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenQF (1977Dec, 1978)
French OpenSF (1971)
Wimbledon3R (1969, 1970, 1977)
US Open2R (1972)

Playing careerEdit


Fairlie was the 1967 Boys' Singles champion of the Australian Championships.[3]


The 5' 8" player's best Grand Slam result was reaching the Men's Doubles semi-finals at the French Open in 1971 with partner Frew McMillan. A year earlier, he reached the singles quarter-finals of the U.S. Open before losing to Tony Roche.

Whilst his highest ATP singles ranking was World No. 24 (in September 1973), Fairlie was ranked inside the world's Top 20 in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[1][4]

In 1969, his first full year on the circuit, he upset former Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion John Newcombe in the quarterfinals of the Heineken Open in Auckland. It was the year "Auckland Tennis went 'open',"[5] attracting star players such as Newcombe and his countryman, top-ranked Rod Laver. The tournament's website describes the atmosphere at the event that year: "There was wild excitement in a packed stadium when Kiwi Brian Fairlie pulled off an upset win over Newcombe in five hard-fought sets. When he went on to face Laver, the gates had to be closed against the huge crowds wanting to get in."[5] In both 1975 and 1976 Fairlie reached the finals of that tournament, losing on both occasions to fellow New Zealander and Davis Cup doubles partner Onny Parun.

In 1976 Fairlie played in an Australian Open match notable for having the 13th oldest combined age in Grand Slam history. His age and that of his opponent, Hall of Fame player Frank Sedgman, averaged 37 years, 10 months, and 9 days.[6]

In winning the second of his two singles titles (in Manila, Philippines, in 1976), he lost only one set during the entire tournament.[7]

Davis CupEdit

From 1966 through 1979 he played in 48 Davis Cup matches for New Zealand, winning 13 in singles and 7 in doubles.[8]

Team TennisEdit

In 1974, the inaugural year of World Team Tennis, he became a member of the Philadelphia Freedoms, a team that also included future Tennis Hall of Famers Fred Stolle and Billie Jean King. With King as player-coach, the team posted the new league's best record, 39–5.[9]

ATP Tour singles titles (2)Edit

Year Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1973 London WCT, England Hard (i)   Mark Cox 2–6, 6–2, 6–3, 6–4
1976 Manila, Philippines Hard   Ray Ruffels 7–5, 6–7, 7–6

ATP Tour doubles titles (4)Edit

Year Tournament Surface Partner Opponents in the final Score
1974 St. Louis WCT, U.S. Clay   Ismail El Shafei   Geoff Masters
  Ross Case
7–6, 6–7, 7–6
1976 ATP Sydney Indoor, Australia Hard (i)   Ismail El Shafei   Syd Ball
  Kim Warwick
7–5, 6–7, 7–6
1977 Newport, U.S. Grass   Ismail El Shafei   Tim Gullikson
  Tom Gullikson
6–7, 6–3, 7–6
1978 Cairo, Egypt Clay   Ismail El Shafei   Lito Álvarez
  George Hardie
6–3, 7–5, 6–2


  1. ^ a b "ITF Tennis : Brian Fairlie : Players Details". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  2. ^ Barrett, John. "World of Tennis", Year Books 1968–1972.
  3. ^ "Find and share free documents in - Page 0". 24 July 2015. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Seventies tennis ace Fairlie honoured by club at last - Sport - NZ Herald News". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  5. ^ a b [1] Archived 14 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Age Records of All Slam Matches". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  7. ^ [2][dead link]
  8. ^ "Davis Cup : Brian Fairlie : Results". Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  9. ^ Collins, Bud; Xander Hollander (1980). Bud Collins' Modern Encyclopedia of Tennis. Doubleday & Company, Inc. pp. 164–165. ISBN 0-385-13093-7.

External linksEdit