WILDING, Captain Frederick Anthony
International lawn tennis champion.
A new biography of Wilding, Anthony Frederick appears in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography on this site.
Wilding was born at Opawa, Christchurch, on 31 October 1883, the son of Frederick Wilding (1852–1945) a Christchurch lawyer, and of Julia (1852–1934), a daughter of Alderman Charles Anthony, Mayor of Hereford. In October 1902 Wilding left New Zealand to attend Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1905. In the following year he was called to the English Bar at the Inner Temple, and qualified as a barrister and solicitor of the New Zealand Supreme Court in 1909. In 1911 he entered Henderson, Craig, and Co., woodpulp merchants, and later became a director of the Victor Tyre Co., Great Britain.
An outstanding tennis player, Wilding won the New Zealand Handicap Singles when he was 16, and represented his university in 1904–05. He won the following Wimbledon titles: Doubles, 1907–08, 1910–11, 1914; Singles, 1910–13; Mixed Doubles, 1914. He represented Australasia in the Davis Cup, and was in winning teams of 1907–09, and 1914. He won the New Zealand Championship in 1906, 1908–09. He also took these English covered-court titles: Singles, 1907, 1910, 1913; Doubles and Mixed Doubles, 1907–08, 1910, 1913. In addition, Wilding won the following national and international titles: Scotland, 1904; Europe Doubles, 1905; Riviera, 1906, 1911; Victoria, 1909; South Africa, 1910; Brussells Exhibition, 1910; and the Olympic Bronze Medal, Stockholm, 1912. His most successful year was in 1913 when he won the three World Championships Singles titles: Lawn (Wimbledon), Hard Court (Paris), and Covered Court (Stockholm). He toured America in July-August 1914. In New Zealand and in England Wilding often partnered F. M. B. Fisher, who was later to represent this country at Wimbledon and in the Davis Cup.
Shortly after the outbreak of war in 1914 he became a valued member of the Army Intelligence Corps. He was killed at Ypres on 10 May 1915.
Anthony Wilding was a fine sportsman ranking among the greatest of tennis champions, a position he won for himself by following a rigorous training schedule. In 1912 he published On the Court and Off, a collection of his tennis reminiscences.
by Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.
- On the Court and Off, Wilding, A. F. (1912)
- Captain Anthony Wilding, Myers, A. W. (1916).