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Godfrey Brinley

Sport: Tennis

Born: November 22, 1864

Died: May 6, 1939

Town: Perth Amboy

Godfrey Malbone Brinley was born November 22, 1864 in Perth Amboy. Godfrey was a boy when tennis was first introduced to the Garden State and he took the game quickly. At St. Paul’s boarding school in New Hampshire, he was a top tennis and squash player.

At age 17, Godfrey entered the Orange Invitation tournament and defeated Howard Taylor in the semis and J.F. Bacon in the finals to win his first top-tier title. In 1883, while studying at Trinity College, he entered the U.S. Championships in Newport and reached the quarterfinals before falling to James Dwight in three sets. In 1884, Godfrey bowed out in the second round, defeated by Taylor, but he reached the semifinals of the doubles.

In 1885, Godfrey joined the ranks of the game’s top players when he won the all-comers draw at the U.S. Championships to earn a berth in the Challenge Round against defending champion Dick Sears. He lost to Sears in four sets. Godfrey was crowned U.S. Intercollegiate champion in 1886, beating Philip Sears of Harvard in the final in New Haven. Sears would go on to win the 1887 and 1888 titles.

Godfrey continued to play competitively until 1889, when he entered the priesthood. Godfrey passed away at age 74 while vacationing on the Dalmatian coast near Dubrovnik in 1939.


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