Anthony Wilding, tennis champion.
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Asquith Thomson and another unidentified narrator introduce the programme, outlining the career of Anthony Wilding, 'the greatest tennis player New Zealand has ever produced'.
Anthony Wilding won the singles championship at Wimbledon four times, and from 1907-1914 he dominated the doubles at Wimbledon with his partner Sir Norman Brooks. After defeats at Wimbledon in 1907 and 1908 he returned to New Zealand. His brother, Frank Wilding, recalls Anthony's determination to return to Wimbledon.
F. M. B. Fisher and Frank Wilding recall the Wilding family home, "Farnhope' in Opawa, Christchurch, where there was plenty of opportunity for sport. It had a grass tennis court where many matches were held with friends and family, and where visiting cricket teams were often entertained.
Antony Wilding was for some time expected to follow a career in cricket. His extreme fitness is remembered by Warne Pearse of Timaru, a former cricket umpire and friend. After schooling in Christchurch, Wilding moved to England to study law at Trinity College, Cambridge. His tennis improved, and Geoffrey Ollivier recalls his strong fast forehand while F. M. B. Fisher recalls his weak backhand and serve, which had to be corrected.
Wilding's Wimbledon career is recalled, with details of various victories and defeats. It is believed his career was probably at an end when World War I broke out, as he was 30 and had been competing in world-class tennis for ten years. He lost his Wimbledon title in 1914 to Norman Brooks, who recalls the match. Together they went on to win the 1914 Davis Cup doubles in New York, but Wilding lost his singles match.
When war broke out Wilding hurried back from the United States, and his friend Winston Churchill suggested he join the Royal Marines. In April 1915 he was promoted to Captain and given command of a unit in the armoured car force, which consisted of armour-plated Rolls Royce vehicles mounted with machine guns, and drawing Hotchkiss guns behind them.
During the second battle of Ypres, on 9 May 1915, his unit went into action early in the morning on the front line at Neuve Chappelle, and fired some 400 rounds. By the afternoon, his group had to take shelter in a dug-out after coming under heavy bombardment. They received a direct hit and Wilding was killed instantly.
Christchurch's Wilding Park is described, and also the display of Wilding's trophies. Two of his best friends, F. M. B. Fisher and Wallace Myers (Sports Editor of The Daily Telegraph), recall him fondly.
Reference number 150158
Media type AUDIO
Collection Sound Collection
Biographical radio programs
Thomson, Asquith, Presenter
Brookes, Norman Everard, Sir, 1877-1968, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Fisher, F. M. B. (Francis Marion Bates), 1877-1960, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Wilding, Frank, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Pearse, Warne, Speaker/Kaikōrero
Ollivier, Geoffrey, Speaker/Kaikōrero
2YA (Radio station : Wellington, N.Z.), Broadcaster
Date 03 Jul 1960