Walter Melville Martin was the first of the three surviving children born to William Melville Martin (1876-1970) and Violet Florence Martin (née Thompson), both of whom had Scottish ancestors and were born in Ontario, but later lived in Saskatchewan.
William Melville Martin studied law, initially practising as a barrister. He subsequently entered politics, becoming a Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party in 1908 and Premier of the Province of Saskatchewan in 1916, a post he held until 1922. He retired from politics in 1922 and was appointed a judge of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. In 1941, he was appointed Chief Justice of Saskatchewan, a post he held until his retirement in 1961.
Like his father before him, Walter M. Martin studied law, at the University of Toronto, where he also played ‘Varsity tennis. He was subsequently one of Canada’s top-ranking tennis players for almost a decade, won several provincial championships and was notably runner-up in the men’s singles event at the International Canadian Championship in 1933. He won the men’s doubles title at the same tournament in 1937 (with the American David N. Jones).
A lawyer by profession, Walter M. Martin was later made a judge. He died in Toronto in January 1977 at the age of 68.
Walter Martin won his first provincial junior title in 1922 and by 1927 he had won the provincial open singles championship. In the same year he made it to the finals of the National Junior Championships, where he lost to Ellsworth Vines in five sets. He also won three national intercollegiate championships.
Martin was one of the first elite tennis players in the province of Saskatchewan and the best player in the province in his time. Although he began playing on the courts of Saskatchewan, he did most of his playing at the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club. Martin was ranked in the Top 10 in singles play for nine straight years (1927-1935). He achieved the Canadian no. 1 ranking in 1933 and 1935.
At the International Canadian Championships, Martin was a finalist in 1933, losing to the American John Murio in a five-set heartbreaker, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. Partnering Gilbert Nunns, Martin was twice a runner-up in the men’s doubles event at the same tournamet (in 1930 and 1932), but finally took the title in 1937, partnering the American David N. Jones, Jnr. They defeated Laird Watt and Robert Murray in the final in four sets, 8-6, 9-7, 1-6, 6-2.
Walter Martin was a member of the Canadian Davis Cup team in the early 1930s, but only played once, in 1934, against the USA. In 1973, Martin was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the University of Toronto Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *