Brookes was a world No. 1 ranked player and later president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia. During his career he won three Grand Slam singles titles, Wimbledon in 1907 and 1914 and the Australasian Championships in 1911. Brookes was part of the Australasian Davis Cup team that won the title on six occasions. The Australian Open men's singles trophy, the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, is named in his honour.
Brookes was born in Melbourne, to a father, William Brookes, who had become rich from gold mining in the Bendigo area. He received a private education at Melbourne Grammar School. On leaving school, he went to work as a clerk at the Australian Paper Mills Co. Ltd where his father was managing director, and was on the board himself within eight years.
Brookes married 20-year-old Mabel Balcombe Emmerton, the daughter of Harry Emmerton, a solicitor, on 19 April 1911 at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne. They had three daughters.
During World War I he served as commissioner of the Australian branch of the British Red Cross in Egypt.
As a youth Brookes played regularly on the court of the family mansion in Queens Road, Melbourne and nearby, at the Lorne St courts, he studied the strokes and tactics of leading players and was coached by Wilberforce Eaves.
Brookes was the first non-British player and the first left-hander to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon. He won the men's singles twice, first in 1907 and again in 1914. He also won the doubles in each of those years with New Zealander Anthony Wilding, whom he beat in the 1914 singles final. He was a major figure in establishing the Australian Open (known as the Australasian Championship until 1927), which he won in 1911. Brookes is considered to have been a World No. 1 player in the 1900s.
Brookes played 39 Davis Cup matches for Australia/New Zealand and the Australian Davis Cup Team between 1905 and 1920.
In May 1914 he won the singles title at the Surrey Lawn Championships in Surbiton, defeating Gordon Lowe in the final in five sets.
Brookes was instrumental in the development of Kooyong as a tennis centre. In 1926 he became the first president of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia, a post he held for the next 29 years until his retirement in June 1955.
Norman Brookes was knighted "in recognition of service to public service" in 1939. His wife, Mabel, Lady Brookes (CBE in 1933) became Dame Mabel Brookes (DBE) in 1955 for her work in charities and social causes.
The trophy for men's singles at the Australian Open, the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, is named in his honour.
He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1977.
In 1981 he was honoured on a postage stamp issued by Australia Post depicting a cartoon image by Tony Rafty.
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