Marcel Rainville was ranked No. 1 in Canada in 1932 and 1934 and No. 2 in 1930, 1931 and 1933. He won the Canadian Open mens singles in 1934 defeating American H. Surface in the final. He captured two Canadian Championships doubles titles with Jack Wright in 1931 and with a top American George Lott in 1932. He was also a member of the Canadian Davis Cup team from 1929-1934. In 1931 he scored one of the most amazing upsets in Canadian tennis when he defeated the American Sydney Wood on a wet clay court 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Wood was the 1931 Wimbledon champion.
When I think of Canadian tennis, my mind scurries back, as it often does, to Wimbledon and the hallowed grass courts of the All England Club. I remember, for instance, at the Wimbledon of my early schooldays a Canadian gentleman named Rainville: Marcel Rainville. He was very much in evidence, at least during the early rounds. I seem to remember him as someone who played with a rakish cap on his head and who threw up the service ball at such a contorted angle that he fell forward in its pursuit, hitting it when he himself was at an angle approaching ninety degrees to the ground,? (Peter Ustinov, Advantage Canada).
Even though Marcel Rainville never attained the later rounds, let alone the final of Wimbledon, his was a stylish presence. He miraculously never committed a foot fault, although most of his body hung in the air well over the service line before the lacerating blow was delivered,? (Peter Ustinov, Advantage Canada).
Marcel Rainville occupies my memories of Canadian tennis in the later 1930s and early 1940s, (Peter Ustinov, Advantage Canada).
As a child, Marcel Rainville was quite a frail boy, so took up lawn tennis to help improve his health. In later life he became a lawyer and also wrote on lawn tennis in English and French, thereby helping to improve the popularity of the sport in Canada.
At the age of 45, Marcel Rainville committed suicide by drowning himself in the Saint Laurent River in Montréal. The coroner judged that he had taken his life during ‘a temporary fit of madness’.
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