Kings Birthday Honour – Chris Lewis receives an ONZM for services to tennis

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Congratulations to Chris Lewis, an absolute legend of tennis in Auckland and New Zealand, on his King’s Birthday Honour, receiving an ONZM for services to tennis.

Chris became only the third player from New Zealand to reach the final of a Grand Slam singles event, and was the second New Zealander to reach a Wimbledon final

He was ranked world junior number one and won the Wimbledon Junior final in 1975, the only New Zealander to achieve this title, and a finalist at the US Open Junior Championships in the same year. He played on the ATP tour for 12 years, making 10 major tennis tournament finals and winning three. He reached 16 ATP doubles finals, winning eight tournaments. He was ranked number one in New Zealand for 10 years and achieved a career-high world ranking of 19.

Chris was a member of the New Zealand Davis Cup team during the early 1980’s, through 1981 and 1982 and into 1983, when Jeff Simpson became Davis Cup Captain. Chris was pivotal in New Zealand’s 1982 Davis Cup run to the semi-finals, where, having beaten Italy 3-2 in the quarter finals, we lost 2-3 to France. In 1983, New Zealand made the ATP World Teams finals, beating France 3-2 in the quarter finals.

Post retirement, Chris has had a successful coaching career developing players in every age group, many of whom have won prestigious junior world events. He has coached at the highest level of professional tennis, including former world number one Ivan Lendl and New Zealander Marina Erakovic along with GD Jones and Sacha Jones. He was coach/manager of the Auckland Tennis Junior Programme from 1997 to 2005. Since moving to the United States, his successful programmes have included several State Champions and highly ranked juniors.

Off court, Chris’ achievements are also noteworthy. In 1983 he became a Life Member of New Zealand Tennis and was voted New Zealand Sportsman of the year. In 1986 he was inducted as an Honoured Member into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.

Governance roles have included New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame, New Zealand Tennis, Peter Snell Institute of Sport and the Auckland Central Sports Trust. He was a judge at both the Halberg Sports Awards and New Zealand Sportsperson of the Year.

As a columnist, Chris has contributed to the NZ Herald, Sunday News, New Zealand Times and New Zealand Tennis Times. His opinions are keenly sought in the media, no more so than in 2023, on the 40th anniversary of his extraordinary performance at Wimbledon.