Class of 1980
World No. 1 (1897)
Grand Slam Results
14-time major champion, and five-time finalist
First Place in Men’s Doubles at the 1900 Paris Olympic Games
First Place in Mixed Doubles at the 1900 Paris Olympic Games
Third Place in Men’s Singles at the 1900 Paris Olympic Games
Gold Medal in Men’s Doubles at the 1908 London Olympic Games
Member of the British Isles Davis Cup 1902-1906
Member of the British Isles Championship Davis Cup Team 1903-1906
Overall Record 7-1
Singles Record 2-1
Doubles Record 5-0
Reginald Doherty was older than his accomplished brother Laurence by three years and taller by three inches at 6-foot-1, and thus “Reggie” earned the nickname “Big Do.” In comparison to his brother, Reginald wasn’t as successful, but in comparison to all other players to perform on Centre Court at the All England Club, he was massively talented.
Doherty won four straight Wimbledon singles titles (1897-1900), was a finalist in 1901, and made it to the championship match at the U.S. Nationals in 1902. He shared a record of eight doubles championships at Wimbledon alongside his brother, played in a record 11 straight doubles championship matches at Wimbledon (one with Harold Nisbet, 10 with Laurence) and won two additional major doubles titles at the U.S. Nationals.
Growing up just eight miles from Wimbledon on Hatfield Road, Reggie was plagued by health problems throughout his life and died nine years earlier than Laurie, at age 38. He won his first Wimbledon in 1897 defeating compatriot Harold Mahony, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. In what must have been a bittersweet triumph the following year, he defeated his brother in a five-set tussle, 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1. Doherty’s 1899 Wimbledon Championship took massive effort, as the match went five sets again. Arthur Gore jumped out to a 2-0 sets lead, only to witness Reggie with the next three sets for a 1-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory. The following year, Doherty and fellow Brit Sidney Smith competed, and Doherty won in four sets. Gore defeated Doherty in the 1901 Wimbledon final and American William Larned won his second straight U.S. National Men’s Singles Championship in 1902 against Doherty.
Playing against Reggie and Laurence Doherty in doubles was an exercise in futility for many opponents. They could be hard to distinguish because of similar hairstyles – dark and parted down the middle – and neither was error-prone. The Doherty brothers kept the ball in play and forced opponents into mistakes. In their ten victories, the brothers dropped just five sets in the finals and were pushed to a fifth set just once – the 1900 Wimbledon final against compatriots Herbert Roper Barrett and Harold Nisbet that was heavy on competition, the Dohertys winning 9-7, 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3.
International competition brought Reggie to the 1900 Olympic Games in Paris and the 1908 Games in London. He was scheduled to play his brother in the 1900 singles final, but refused and withdrew, earning a Third Place finish (medals were not awarded until 1904). He did team with Laurie to win First Place in doubles over the mixed national team of American Basil Spalding de Garmendia and France’s Maxime Decugis. He garnered a mixed doubles Olympic First Place win with five-time Wimbledon champion Charlotte Cooper and in 1908 shared a doubles Gold Medal with George Hillyard in London.
Doherty had a prolific Davis Cup run with Great Britain’s team. He was a member from 1902 to 1906 and won four championships, including the British Isles’s first in 1903.
The brothers co-wrote R.F. and H.L. Doherty on Lawn Tennis (1903), one of the leading historical publications on the game. The brothers were newsmakers themselves, prominently featured in Ernest C. Elliott’s Fifty Leaders of British Sport: A Series of Portraits, published in 1904.
Wimbledon: W 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900
U.S. Nationals: F 1902
Wimbledon: W 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1903, 1904, 1905
U.S. Nationals: W 1902, 1903