Athlete


Date Inducted: 11 Dec 1991
Sport: Administration - Tennis
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Brian Tobin AM - Administration - Tennis

Brian Tobin has devoted over 45 years of his life to the sport of tennis. He was a member of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia (now Tennis Australia) from 1964, serving as honorary president from 1977 and becoming its first full-time president in 1982 until 1989. During this time he oversaw the building and opening of the current stadium for the Australian Open (now named Rod Laver Arena) in 1988. The stadium features a retractable roof, thereby eliminating match cancellations due to inclement weather. He worked tirelessly to reinstate the (Ford) Australian Open as a true grand slam tournament.

Tobin was involved with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for over 20 years, serving as the first fulltime president from 1991 to 1999 (he was the first executive vice-president of the ITF in 1989). Upon his retirement in 1999 he was designated as lifetime honorary president. Under his leadership, the ITF and its principal activities, including the worldwide operation of the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and Olympic tennis, were greatly enhanced and developed. He was chairman of the ITF Davis Cup Committee from 1989 to 1999, and chairman of the ITF Olympic Committee from 1989 to 2001. His business foresight and progressive thinking prepared the ITF to carry out its mission as a governing body, ensuring future growth of the organisation.

Tobin was a member of the Men's Professional Tennis Council from 1982 to 1989 and the Women's International Professional Tour from 1983 to 1985, serving both as a world tournament representative and ITF representative.

Tobin also had a successful playing career. Between 1956 and 1962, he reached the number eight ranking, his highest national ranking. He was a doubles winner in the 1954 Australian hard courts and a mixed doubles winner at both the Swiss championships and the Netherlands championships in 1964. At the Victorian hard court championships, Tobin was a finalist three times, in 1954, 1956, and 1958. He was the 1967 USA 35+ singles winner and the 1967 USA clay court doubles winner. Tobin was the captain of the 1964 and 1967 Australian Fed Cup teams, winning in 1964.

In 1986 Tobin was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), and in 1999 received the Olympic Order from the IOC. In 2003 Tobin was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.

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When considering the stature of an athlete or for that matter any person, I set great store in certain qualities which I believe to be essential in addition to skill. They are that the person conducts his of her life with dignity, with integrity, courage, and perhaps most of all, with modesty. These virtues are totally compatible with pride, ambition, and competitiveness.