From The Times, 5 October 1962
Obituary – Mr Nigel Sharpe – A tennis player of repute
Brigadier Sir John Smyth, V.C., writes:
Nigel Sharpe, Chairman of Queen’s Club and the International Lawn Tennis Club of Great Britain, died on Wednesday at the age of 57, only 48 hours after he had taken the chair at a committee meeting of the International Club in London. He had battled nobly to the last against a grievous illness which only his closest friends knew must prove fatal.
Nigel Sharpe had been a Wimbledon and British Davis Cup player of considerable repute. He was probably seen at his best on the fast covered courts of Queen’s Club, where he won the London Covered Court singles title in 1928, 1934 and 1938.
But the greatest triumph of his career was undoubtedly his amazing victory over the brilliant French player Henri Cochet in the first round of the Wimbledon Championships of 1931. Every year since 1928 Cochet had been ranked as the premier player in the world. He had won the Wimbledon title in 1927 and 1929, and was expected to do so again in 1931. But he was apt to take the earlier rounds a bit casually and had not been in the best of health.
He was relying on playing himself into form as the championships progressed. In this situation he could not have met a more difficult opponent than Nigel Sharpe, with his relentless accuracy and command of length and direction. Cochet only managed to get six game in three sets played. He played brilliantly with “Toto” Brugnon in the doubles, so he had no excuses. This was undoubtedly the biggest upset which has ever happened on the first day of Wimbledon and it left the crowd gasping with amazement.
After his first-class playing days were over, Nigel Sharpe devoted his energies and his enthusiasm for law tennis to the administrative side – particularly to Queen’s Club and the British International Lawn Tennis Club. He was captain of the latter in 1937, and he succeeded that great British player, Lieutenant-Colonel Algernon Kingscote, as chairman in 1960. But for many years before that he had given devoted service to the International Club, which became the chief interest of his life.
Just before he died he had been immersed in the planning of the annual match between the International Lawn Tennis Club of Great Britain and France, which is due to take place at Queen’s Club on the 26th and 27th of this month. Although it will be a sad occasion without Nigel Sharpe, both clubs have agreed that the match should go on, as they feel sure that would be his wish.
Nigel Sharpe’s death will leave a big gap in the lawn tennis world and he will be much missed by a host of friends – particularly in the international clubs of the amateur game to which he has contributed so much.
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