Robert Powell (tennis)

Robert Branks 'Bobby' Powell (11 April 1881 – 28 April 1917) was a male tennis player from Canada.

Robert Powell
1913 Canadian Davis Cup Team.jpg
Robert Powell (seated) – playing captain of the 1913 Canadian Davis Cup Team
Full nameRobert Branks Powell
Country (sports)Canada Canada
Born(1881-04-11)11 April 1881
Victoria, BC, Canada
Died28 April 1917(1917-04-28) (aged 36)
Vimy Ridge, France
PlaysLeft-handed (one-handed backhand)
Grand Slam Singles results
WimbledonSF (1908)
Grand Slam Doubles results
WimbledonF (1909)
Team competitions
Davis CupF (1913)

In 1904 Powell was the founder of the North Pacific International Lawn Tennis Association.[1] He won several singles titles including the 1901 Western Canadian and Pacific Northwest in Tacoma, the 1903 British Columbia tournament and the 1904 Oregon State title 1904.[2]

From 1900 to 1904 he was the private secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière.[3]

Powell reached the semifinal of the 1908 Wimbledon Championships in which he lost to the eventual champion Arthur Gore in straight sets.[4] In 1909 he won the All England Plate at Wimbledon, a competition and prize introduced for players who had lost in the first or second round of the singles.[2][5] In July 1908 Powell won the singles and doubles title of the Scottish Championships.[6]

He participated in the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, where he captained Canada's tennis delegation and placed joint-ninth in the singles tournament and, alongside compatriot James Foulkes, joint-seventh in the doubles competition.[7]

At the 1910 Wimbledon Championships he reached the All-Comers final of the men's doubles competition partnering Kenneth Powell. They lost in three straight sets to eventual champions Major Ritchie and Anthony Wilding.[8][9]

In July 1910 Powell competed in the Surrey Championships, reaching the final in which he was defeated in fours sets by Major Ritchie.[10]

In 1913 and 1914 he played in four ties for the Canadian Davis Cup team. The best team result was reaching the Challenge Round in the 1913 against the USA at Wimbledon. To date this is still the best performance of a Canadian Davis Cup team and the team has been inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.[11] Powell had a Davis Cup match record of 4 wins vs. 5 losses.[12][13]

Tennis author and journalist A. Wallis Myers described Powell in his book Twenty Years of Lawn Tennis as "A sound player, using a left arm and a resourceful brain to deceive his opponent, one of the best lobbers I have ever known, an intrepid poacher and a fast sprinter..".[14]

Powell enlisted in the Forty-Eighth Canadian Battalion of the Canadian Infantry in World War I and reached the rank of Lieutenant. He was killed in action in France during the Battle of Vimy Ridge on 28 April 1917.[3][15][16]

In 1993 he was inducted into the Canadian Tennis Hall of fame followed in 2000 by his induction into the USTA Pacific Northwest Hall of Fame.[2] Powell was later inducted into the Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.[17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Pacific Northwest Tennis Association". Irvington Club. Archived from the original on 13 April 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame". Tennis Canada.
  3. ^ a b "Lieut. Powell Killed". Evening Post. 10 May 1917. p. 8.
  4. ^ Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis : an authoritative encyclopedia and record book (2nd ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. p. 417. ISBN 9780942257700.
  5. ^ "Lawn Tennis". Taranaki Herald. 4 September 1909. p. 5.
  6. ^ "When an Olympic Tennis Star Came to Bridge of Allan". Scottish Sport History.
  7. ^ "Olympics Sports – Athletes – Bobby Powell". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Tennis Championships". Poverty Bay Herald. 4 July 1910. p. 7.
  9. ^ Barrett, John (2001). Wimbledon : The Official History of the Championships. London: CollinsWillow. p. 239. ISBN 0007117078.
  10. ^ "Lawn Tennis – Surrey Championships". Evening Post. 9 July 1910. p. 14.
  11. ^ "Inductees – 1913 Davis Cup Team (2008)". Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Davis Cup Players – Robert Powell". ITF.
  13. ^ "American Tennis Team Near Trophy" (PDF). The New York Times. 19 July 1913.
  14. ^ A. Wallis Myers (1921). Twenty Years of Lawn Tennis : Some Personal Memories. London: Methuen & Co., Ltd. p. 89.
  15. ^ "Tennis Star War's Victim" (PDF). The New York Times. 5 May 1917.
  16. ^ "Olympians Who Were Killed or Missing in Action or Died as a Result of War". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  17. ^ "Robert Powell". Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 4 May 2018.

External linksEdit