This is a companion piece to my translation of the piece on the Bad Homburg tournament, which can be found here: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=311867 Like the piece on the Bad Homburg tournament, the original article was written by Karl Grauhan and featured in the “Official Annual of the German Tennis Association” in 1927, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the German Lawn Tennis Association. Although there was a women’s singles event at the German Championships from 1896 onwards, the focus of this piece is the men’s singles event. I have translated the most relevant sections of the article. ----- The story of the men’s singles event at the early German Tennis Championships (1892-1913) By Karl Grauhan (translated by Mark Ryan) Part I of III “‘Non-handicap men’s singles for the Championships of Germany, for the Challenge Cup donated by Herr Karl Laeisz.’ That was the somewhat longwinded title of the first Championships of Germany tournament, which took place in Hamburg in 1892. In 1927, the year in which the German Tennis Association is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary, the German Championships tournament can thus already look back on thirty-five years of history. “In the early days the German Championships took place in very modest circumstances. The four championship tennis courts surrounded by towering stands did not yet exist, and thousands of spectators were not in the habit of visiting the tournament held in Grunewald around Pentecost as they have been doing in recent years. In the early years the German Championships tournament was ‘closed’, which meant that only German and Austrian players could take part in it. However, in order to draw top-class foreign players to Hamburg nevertheless, the Championships of Hamburg were held simultaneously with the German Championships, and a number of top-class foreign players took part in the former tournament during its early years. Foreign players were allowed to take part in the men’s singles event at the German Championships only from 1897 onwards. “The first German Championships tournament, in 1892, took place in unfavourable conditions. A whole range of non-local top players had indeed sent in their names, and some of them had already arrived in Hamburg. However, once there they heard the alarming news that cholera was spreading throughout Hamburg, so it is therefore understandable that most of the non-local players immediately packed their suitcases and left the city. The only non-local player to remain and to expose himself to the dangers of contagion by cholera was Dr du Bois-Raymond. “The following are some of the names from the list of participants, a number of whom later became famous: Baron James von Fichard (now a retired lieutenant colonel and living in Karlsruhe), Dr du Bois-Raymond, Carl von der Meden (later the first president of the German Tennis Association), L. Gerdes (from Bremen) and Gerhard Adler (from Hamburg). From among the few remaining participants in 1892, Walter Bonne (from Hamburg) became the first champion of Germany. In the final he beat R.A. Leers 7-5, 6-3. As can be seen from the score, two sets were enough to win German Championships at that time. Bonne was still a very youthful player, being only 19 years old at the time. Much too early for German tennis Dr Walter Bonne died in 1911. “The following year, 1893, a somewhat larger number of people visited the championship tournament, when August von der Melden acted as chief referee. Count Viktor Voss was among the participants for the first time, as was Baron Robert von Fichard. The latter did a great service in relation to introducing the sport of tennis to Germany by translating the English sporting and tournament regulations, and by publishing the first lawn tennis handbooks. Some of the other participants in 1893 included the aforementioned Dr du Bois-Raymond (from Berlin), J. Gabe, F. Grobien and R. Westendarp (from Hamburg). “In the semi-finals Johannes Schneider beat Westendarp 6-3, 6-1, while Christian Winzer beat Count Voss 6-4, 6-4. As can be seen from the scores, in 1893 the Count from Mecklenburg, who was later to become very famous in the tennis world, had not yet reached the form which would later enable him to challenge even the top English players on equal terms. In 1893, Christian Winzer beat the holder, Walter Bonne, in the Challenge Round by the score of 6-4, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3. Winzer thus became the second winner of the German Championships. The relatively modest circumstances in which the tournament was held at that time is indicated by the fact that only nine players had sent their names in. “The three-year reign of the Mecklenburg-born aristocrat Count Viktor Voss began in 1894. However, this year the count had to stretch himself in order to be able to beat Christian Winzer, the holder, in the Challenge Round by the score of 11-9, 6-1, 6-4. In those days tournaments did not take place as quickly as they do today, and in 1894 the tournament lasted a whole nine days despite the rather modest entry list. “Year by year the superiority of Count Voss over the other German players would become ever more obvious. In 1895, Christian Winzer was brushed aside 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 in the Challenge Round. Emphasis should be placed on the championship tournament of 1895 because for the first time we find the name of H.O. Behrens among the participants. Although Behrens was only fifteen years of age at the time, he made it all the way to the All-Comers’ Final, where he lost 6-1, 6-0 to Winzer. On the way to the All-Comers’ Final Behrens recorded a noteworthy victory when he beat the Berlin-based player von Schneider 6-2, 6-4. Since Dr Behrens played his first tournament in 1892, and was still actively participating in tournaments in 1926, he must, with his thirty-four years of tournament participation, surely be one of our oldest active players. “The following year, 1896, Behrens once again reached the All-Comers’ Final before losing to George Wantzelius (from Berlin) by the score of 6-1, 6-2. However, the superiority of Count Voss was then so great that he annihilated Wantzelius in the Challenge Round by the score of 6-1, 6-0, 6-1. Count Voss also won the Hamburg Championships that year by beating the Bremen-based American player W.S. Thomson 6-0, 6-2, 6-4. 1896 appears to have been the high point in the career of Count Voss because, as already mentioned, in the autumn of this year he succeeded in beating the youngest of the Doherty brothers, Laurence (Laurie), in Baden-Baden by the score of 6-3, 3-6, 8-6. Until the turn of the nineteenth century Count Viktor Voss towered above all other German players, and embodied an exception to an even greater extent than Otto Froitzheim, the man who inherited the Mecklenburg-born count’s mantle ten years later. “As already mentioned, the German Championships were open only to German and Austrian players until 1896. However, in 1897 they were opened to foreign players, too. In earlier years only the Hamburg Championships were open to foreign players, which naturally resulted in the events in this tournament being of a greater sporting value than those in the German Championships, where German (and Austrian) players competed against each other. By opening up the German Championships to foreign players it was also hoped that some of the famous English players, who were in the habit of participating in the Bad Homburg tournament, would be tempted to play in Hamburg, too. This hope was very much fulfilled in 1897, when several of the most famous English players sent in their names for the first international German Championships. “Reginald (Reggie) Doherty came to Hamburg, although not without any serious intentions of becoming ‘German champion’. He entered most of the events and it is worth pointing out that the then 17-year-old H.O. Behrens had no less a partner for the handicap men’s double event than the same Reggie Doherty. At that time there was still no championship men’s doubles event. However, the young Behrens won the open men’s doubles event with George Hillyard, later secretary of the All England Club for many years and still a dangerous doubles today at the age of sixty-two. In 1897, George Hillyard also became the first foreign player to win the men’s singles title at the German Championships. In the All-Comers’ Final Hillyard beat his doubles partner of many years, the Irishman George Ball-Greene, 7-5, 4-6, 5-7, 6-0, 6-0. In the semi-finals Ball-Greene had beaten H.O. Behrens, while Hillyard had defeated George Wantzelius. Count Voss did not defend his title in 1897.