On 23rd August 1933 forty five enthusiastic tennis players gathered at the Freshwater Bay Yacht Club and founded the Peppermint Grove Tennis Club.
Ten grass courts were officially opened on 12th January 1935. At that time the club had approximately 150 members and club play was restricted to weekends. The Club House was completed in mid January 1935, at a cost of £627.
PGTC earned a place in tennis history during the 1960’s with the introduction of ‘pro’ tennis players. In February 1965 the top players in the world were to be found in Jack Kramer’s troupe and they had arrived in Perth.
Turmoil and panic had been created throughout the hallowed halls of world amateur tennis in the preceding months as the top players turned ‘pro’. The Amateur Tennis Associations were determined to ostracise them.
Frank Sedgman, Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Rod Laver, Earl Bucholz and the famous Pancho Gonzeles were in Perth for a professional tournament. They were not only denied the use of any amateur facilities to stage the tournament but were banned from even practising on those courts.
Max Bonner, a well known WA professional coach and Kramer’s agent, while busy trying to prepare a grass court on northern wing of Subiaco Oval, was unable to arrange practising space. Then President of PGTC, Rupert Sadka was approached and ‘rang around’ the PGTC committee to seek their support in offering the courts at PGTC for the practice session.
It was a courageous decision by PGTC at the time but one that showed not only the generosity of the members to fellow sportsmen but the farsightedness of the committee towards the common interest of tennis players.
Rupert recounts the exciting atmosphere of the session, attended by the many members, the exceptional quality of the guests’ tennis, the morning tea turned on by the ladies and the friendly charm of the ‘pros’ who mixed with everybody.
The sellout evening at PGTC was enthusiastically attended by loyal WA fans who were treated to the quality of professional tennis we today take for granted.
The independence shown by PGTC nearly had a sequel as WALTA requested the attendance of Rupert at their next meeting to explain why the troupe was allowed to use amateur courts. However on the night, the association must have decided against any action and the PGTC representatives were not questioned. Such was the part that PGTC played in the end of the amateur tennis era.