By the late 1920s, Western had begun to establish its tennis program. October 1927 saw the first Western representative, George Hartwell, enter an intercollegiate championship tournament. Western initially did quite well and in 1933 they won their first intercollegiate victory.
Tennis continued to grow on Western’s campus and in 1958, the senior team won their first intercollegiate tennis championship. In the later part of the 1970s and most of the 1980s, tennis players from Western came to dominate intercollegiate singles and team competition. Great players such as Graeme Duff captured several individual and team Ontario Universities Athletic Association (OUAA) titles in the 1970s. John Hatch continued this tradition into the 1980s, winning the Ontario-Quebec Athletic Association title three times. By the end of the decade, Western had won six team and ten singles titles through intercollegiate play. Even though Western’s tennis teams found success and recognition in intercollegiate play, the games often did not draw large crowds.
Though players came and went, coach Dutch Decker was the one constant that ensured quality competition and training within the tennis program. Dutch served as the coach for twenty-seven seasons before retiring in 1988. Western continued to dominate throughout the 1990s, capturing four intercollegiate team titles and two singles championships.
Today, tennis continues to be a popular sport at the university, with teams and individuals continuing to have strong showings in intercollegiate competition.
For information on women's tennis at Western, click here.