RIP | SA tennis great Gordon Forbes dies

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Tennis South Africa (TSA) has expressed its condolences following the death of former player, administrator and writer Gordon Forbes on Wednesday.

He was 86.

Forbes was among the best players in the world in the 1950s and 1960s.

FORBES BEAT AUSTRALIAN LEGEND ROD LAVER

In singles, he competed at all four of the Grand Slams, progressing as far as the quarter-finals at the U.S. National Championships (as the US Open was known at the time) in 1962.

He also earned wins over the likes of Australian legend Rod Laver and represented South Africa in the Davis Cup.

As a doubles player, Forbes won the mixed title at Roland Garros in 1955 alongside Darlene Hard.

Forbes also reached the final in Paris in the men’s doubles in 1963 partnered with his compatriot, Abe Segal, where they lost to the Australian-Spanish duo of Roy Emerson and Manuel Santana.

BIGGER LEGACY WAS AS A WRITER

But Forbes’ bigger legacy to tennis might well be as a writer, in particular his 1978 book, A Handful of Summers.

The book primarily covered the decades of Forbes’ playing career in tennis’ bygone amateur era – a time of lively personalities, eclectic facilities, housing at the homes of club members and various forms of hi-jinx.

According to the respected Tennis.com website, if you ask anyone who played during those years, they are likely to tell you that A Handful of Summers is the best book ever written about tennis.

FORBES’ SISTER WAS MARRIED TO CLIFF DRYSDALE

Forbes’ connection to tennis ran deep.

His sister, Jean, was also a world-class player who for a time was married to top tenner and future broadcaster, Cliff Drysdale.

Forbes’ son, Gavin, has also been a longstanding senior executive at the prominent sports marketing firm, International Management Group, representing dozens of top players, sponsors and events. 

In a tweet on Thursday, TSA said: Tennis SA, & the wider tennis community, mourns the loss of Gordon Forbes, who passed away on Wednesday, aged 86. Forbes was a superb tennis player, among the best in the world in the 1950s & ’60s. Once he hung up his racquet, he carved out a 2nd career as a best-selling author.

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