Lorne Main

Lorne Main (July 9, 1930 – October 14, 2019) was a Canadian-American world-class amateur tennis player who competed in 11 Grand Slam tournaments in singles. He won the singles title of the prestigious Monte Carlo tennis championship in 1954 and was an integral Canada Davis Cup team member during the early 1950s. Still competing competitively into his 80s, Main was highly ranked within ITF Veterans, Seniors (Masters), and Super Seniors player during the 1990s and 2000s.

Tennis careerEdit

Main reached the round of 32 in singles five times in a major - at the 1951, '53, and '54 U.S. National, as well as the 1954 French Championships and Wimbledon. At Roland Garros, Main defeated his first two opponents, Frenchmen, handily to set up a third round encounter with No. 7 seed Mervyn Rose. Rose won the first and third sets with Main drawing level twice, taking the second and fourth sets, before Rose prevailed in the fifth, 6–3. Similarly at Wimbledon, Main breezed through his first round opposition and handily won his second match before falling in five sets to his third round foe, American Gilbert Shea. At the U.S. Nationals, as a result of his very solid year to that point, Main was seeded No. 18. Despite being seeded however, Main faced No. 1 seed Tony Trabert in the third round. Lorne played the World No. 1 tight in the first two sets, falling 9–11 and 6–8, before running out of steam and losing the third, 2–6.[citation needed]

Main was runner-up at the 1949 Canadian National, losing the final to compatriot Henri Rochon in four sets. His 1954 title win at Monte Carlo is the only one ever in singles by a Canadian of a major tennis tournament (Grand Slam or Masters Series) aside from the Canadian championship.[1]

Further singles titles that Main won include 1949 Vancouver City, 1950 British Columbia for both lawn and clay courts, 1950 Western Canada lawn, 1951 Quebec indoor and Ontario, 1953 Quebec, and 1954 Ontario, Quebec, St. Petersburg, Florida, and Belgium. In doubles, he won, in 1954, Orlando with Gilbert Shea, Jamaica with Harold Burrows, and Ireland with Shea. He was ranked No. 1 in B.C. in 1949, No. 1 in Canada in 1951, 53 and 54, and No. 2 in 1952. In the Davis Cup, Main compiled a win-lose record of 14 and 14. Canada did not progress beyond the America Zone Final stage during Main's time, losing either to the United States or Australia in that round. Main failed to defeat an American or Australian opponent in eleven rubbers.[2]

Main was inducted into the British Columbia Sport Hall of Fame in 1975 and the Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame in 1991. He was ranked World No. 3 by the ITF in the over-80 category, and No. 40 in the over-75 bracket.[3] In 2000, he was World No. 1 in the over-70 category. In October 2010, Main captured the 80 and over world singles championship, his 12th overall.[4] He also took the doubles title, partnering longtime super seniors partner Ken Sinclair.[citation needed]

Main was credited by tennis historian Bud Collins as the first player to use two hands on both forehand and backhand.[5] In his senior tennis career, he switched to one hand for both forehand and backhand.

Such was Main’s on-court prowess, he is one of only four recipients of the prestigious ITF Outstanding Achievement Award in Seniors Tennis. Indeed, he was the first, with his accomplishments honoured in 2012.


Main was a keen squash player and became a four-time consecutive Canadian doubles champion in the early 1960s, partnering David Pemberton-Smith.[1]


Main was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in July 1930. He was a resident of King City, Ontario but spent winters in Florida. He attended UC Berkeley on a tennis scholarship but stayed only two semesters before dropping out. Main married his late wife Ivy in 1951 at the age of 21. He was a recovered alcoholic, having also lost his wife to health problems attributed to her own alcoholism.[1] He worked in newspaper and magazine advertising after leaving the amateur tour in the mid-1950s.[citation needed]

In 2016, Main married Adrienne Avis, an Australian tennis player he met at the World Championships in Austria in 2010[6].

Main died in Vancouver in October 2019 at the age of 89.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Profile Archived 2010-05-07 at the Wayback Machine, canada.com; accessed September 23, 2014.
  2. ^ Profile, daviscup.com; accessed September 23, 2014.
  3. ^ Profile, itftennis.com; accessed September 23, 2014.
  4. ^ Profile Archived 2011-01-03 at the Wayback Machine, lovemeansnothing.ca; accessed September 23, 2014.
  5. ^ Profile, sun-sentinel.com; accessed September 6, 2015.
  6. ^ "Canadian National Post". National Post. 29 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Obituary: Lorne Main". ITFTennis.com. October 16, 2019. Retrieved November 2, 2019.

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