Brian Ivan Cobb Norton (10 October 1899 – 16 July 1956), nicknamed "Babe", was a South African male tennis player. He was born in Cape Province, South Africa, and died in Santa Clara, California, United States. At Wimbledon 1921, Norton beat Frank Hunter and Manuel Alonso Areizaga, before having two championship points in the Challenge Round against Bill Tilden but losing in five sets.[2] Norton is one of only two men to hold championship point in a Grand Slam mens singles final and yet not win a title (the other was Guillermo Coria at the 2004 French Open). Norton won the 1923 U.S. National Championships doubles, alongside Tilden. In the singles that year, Norton beat R. Norris Williams in a five set quarter final before losing to Tilden in the semi finals.[3]

Brian Norton
Brian Norton 1920.jpg
Full nameBrian Ivan Cobb Norton
Country (sports)South Africa South Africa
Born(1899-10-10)10 October 1899
Robben Island, South Africa
Died16 July 1956(1956-07-16) (aged 56)
Santa Clara, CA, USA
Highest rankingNo. 7 (1921, A. Wallis Myers)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
WimbledonF (1921Ch)
US OpenSF (1923)
Other tournaments
WHCC2R (1920, 1923)
Grand Slam Doubles results
WimbledonSF (1921, 1922)
US OpenW (1923)
Mixed doubles
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
WimbledonSF (1920)

After Norton, the next South African citizen to reach the gentlemen's singles final at Wimbledon would be Kevin Anderson 97 years later in 2018. Although another South African-born tennis player, Kevin Curren, had also reached the Wimbledon final in 1985 against Boris Becker (Germany), Curren played as a US (American) citizen.

He competed in the singles and doubles events at the 1920 Summer Olympics.[4] Norton was ranked World No. 7 by A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph in 1921 and 1922.[1][5]

In 1921 he won the singles title at the South of England Championships after a five-set victory in the final against Mohammed Sleem.[6]

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles (1 runner-up)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Loss 1921 Wimbledon Championships Grass   Bill Tilden 6–4, 6–2, 1–6, 0–6, 5–7

Doubles (1 title)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1923 U.S. National Championships Grass   Bill Tilden   Richard Williams
  Watson Washburn
3–6, 6–2, 6–3, 5–7, 6–2


  1. ^ a b "Tilden First on Tennis Star List", The Pittsburgh Press, 4 December 1921.
  2. ^ "Wimbledon player profile – Brian Norton". AELTC.
  3. ^ Collins, Bud (2016). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (3rd ed.). New York: New Chapter Press. p. 486. ISBN 978-1-937559-38-0.
  4. ^ "Olympics – Players – Brian Norton". SportsReference.
  5. ^ "Half World's Best Racqueteers Yankees Says British Expert", The Deseret News, 12 April 1922.
  6. ^ "Curious Lawn Tennis Final". The Express and Telegraph. LVIII (17, 490). South Australia. 17 November 1921. p. 3. Retrieved 24 October 2016 – via National Library of Australia.

External linksEdit