Brian Fairlie

Brian Fairlie

Brian Fairlie
Country  New Zealand
Born (1948-06-13) 13 June 1948
Christchurch, New Zealand
Height 5' 8"
Turned pro 1968 (amateur tour from 1966)
Retired 1979
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Career record 187-186 (Open era)
Career titles 12
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open 3R (1976)
French Open 4R (1977)
Wimbledon 3R (1977, 1978)
US Open QF (1970)
Career record 174-156
Career titles 4
Highest ranking No. 27 (30 August 1977)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open QF (1977Dec, 1978)
French Open SF (1971)
Wimbledon 3R (1969, 1970, 1977)
US Open 2R (1972)
Last updated on: 14 November 2012.

Brian Fairlie, born 13 June 1948 in Christchurch, is a retired tennis player from New Zealand. During his career from 1968 to 1979 he won four titles in doubles, all with the Egyptian player Ismail El Shafei, and ten singles titles in the Open era (and at least two more in 1967).[1][2]

Playing career


Fairlie was the 1967 Boys' Singles champion of the Australian Championships.[3]


The 5' 8" player's best Grand Slam result was reaching the Men's Doubles semi-finals at the French Open in 1971 with partner Frew McMillan. A year earlier, he reached the singles quarter-finals of the U.S. Open before losing to Tony Roche.

Whilst his highest ATP singles ranking was World No. 24 (in September 1973), Fairlie was ranked inside the world's Top 20 in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[1][4]

In 1969, his first full year on the circuit, he upset former Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion John Newcombe in the quarterfinals of the Heineken Open in Auckland. It was the year "Auckland Tennis went 'open',"[5] attracting star players such as Newcombe and his countryman, top-ranked Rod Laver. The tournament's website describes the atmosphere at the event that year: "There was wild excitement in a packed stadium when Kiwi Brian Fairlie pulled off an upset win over Newcombe in five hard-fought sets. When he went on to face Laver, the gates had to be closed against the huge crowds wanting to get in."[5] In both 1975 and 1976 Fairlie reached the finals of that tournament, losing on both occasions to fellow New Zealander and Davis Cup doubles partner Onny Parun.

In 1976 Fairlie played in an Australian Open match notable for having the 13th oldest combined age in Grand Slam history. His age and that of his opponent, Hall of Fame player Frank Sedgman, averaged 37 years, 10 months, and 9 days.[6]

In winning the second of his two singles titles (in Manila, Philippines, in 1976), he lost only one set during the entire tournament.[7]

Davis Cup

From 1966 through 1979 he played in 48 Davis Cup matches for New Zealand, winning 13 in singles and 7 in doubles.[8]

Team Tennis

In 1974, the inaugural year of World Team Tennis, he became a member of the Philadelphia Freedoms, a team that also included future Tennis Hall of Famers Fred Stolle and Billie Jean King.[9] With King as player-coach, the team posted the new league's best record, 39-5.[10]

ATP Tour singles titles (2)

Year Tournament Surface Opponent in the final Score
1973 London WCT, England Hard (i) Mark Cox 2–6, 6–2, 6–3, 6–4
1976 Manila, Philippines Hard Ray Ruffels 7–5, 6–7, 7–6

ATP Tour doubles titles (4)

Year Tournament Surface Partner Opponents in the final Score
1974 St. Louis WCT, U.S. Clay Ismail El Shafei Geoff Masters, Ross Case 7–6, 6–7, 7–6
1976 ATP Sydney Indoor, Australia Hard (i) Ismail El Shafei Syd Ball, Kim Warwick 7–5, 6–7, 7–6
1977 Newport, U.S. Grass Ismail El Shafei Tim Gullikson, Tom Gullikson 6–7, 6–3, 7–6
1978 Cairo, Egypt Clay Ismail El Shafei George Hardie 6–3, 7–5, 6–2


  1. ^ a b ITF Tennis - Mens Circuit - Player Biography. Accessed 17 February 2009.
  2. ^ Barrett, John. "World of Tennis", Year Books 1968–1972.
  3. ^ AOJC Media Guide, Australian Open Junior Championships. Accessed 17 February 2009.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Heineken Open - Auckland - History. Accessed 17 February 2009.
  6. ^ Age Records of All Slam Matches. Accessed 19 February 2009.
  7. ^ Tennis - ATP World Tour - Players - Singles Activity. Accessed 19 February 2009.
  8. ^ Davis Cup Official Website - Teams and Players. Accessed 17 February 2009.
  9. ^ Philadelphia Freedoms WorldHeritage article.
  10. ^ Collins, Bud; Xander Hollander (1980). Bud Collins' Modern Encyclopedia of Tennis. Doubleday & Company, Inc. pp. 164–165.  

External links

  • ITF Player Biography
  • Davis Cup record
  • (17 August 1970)Sports Illustrated"Scorecard" column in mentioning Fairlie's reaction in a match in which he felt his opponent "was 'toweling off' too much."
  • Transcript of 2008 New Zealand House of Representatives proceedings during which Representative Dail Jones reminisced about the matches in Auckland between Fairlie and Onny Parun.