Robert Leo Fahey is a Real Tennis player and former World Champion of the sport, holding the title from March 16th, 1994, to May 21st, 2016, and again from April 28th, 2018, to September 15th, 2022 (at which point he lost to Camden Riviere, who became the new World Champion).
Birthday: April 30, 1968
Birthplace: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
L/R Handed: Right
TOURNAMENT AND MATCH HIGHLIGHTS*
World Championship: Fahey matched legendary Real Tennis player Pierre Etchebaster’s feat of seven consecutive defences of the Real Tennis Singles World Championship on April 27th, 2006, at the Oratory Tennis Club. The defence was against Tim Chisholm in the latter’s third consecutive challenge.
Fahey once again defended his title in May 2008 in a match against Camden Riviere at Fontainebleau Palace, France – thus breaking Etchebaster’s record.
In May 2010 he retained his title for a record ninth time, defeating Steve Virgona; and in April 2012, he retained his title for the tenth time, again defeating Virgona. In May 2014, Fahey managed to defend his World Championship title an eleventh time, this time beating Camden Riviere at the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club. However, Riviere fought back in 2016 at the National Tennis Club in Newport, Rhode Island (Riviere's home court), and Fahey was finally defeated.
At the 2018 World Championship Singles at The Queen’s Club in London, Fahey snatched back the top title in a match against Riviere, 7 sets to 5. However, Riviere beat Fahey in the 2022 competition at Queen’s, which left Fahey defeated once again.
World Doubles Championship: Partnered with Steve Virgona, Fahey won top honours in 2003 (Hobart), 2005 (Fontainebleau), 2007 (Boston), 2009 (Seacourt – Hayling Island), and 2011 (RMTC – Melbourne).
Grand Slams: Fahey won back-to-back Grand Slams in 2000 and 2001, and once again in 2008.
*As of 2022
Fahey is married to fellow Real Tennis player Claire Fahey (nee Vigrass). They have two children together.
Fahey was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 British New Year Honours for services to sport; he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2019 Australian Queen's Birthday Honours for service to Real Tennis.
A portrait of Fahey by Rupert Alexander was shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award 2012.
T&RA INTERVIEW ANSWERS
When and how did you get involved in Real Tennis?
1987 – I started as the assistant professional in Hobart, Australia.
Why do you love Real Tennis (the people involved, can play at any time, it’s niche, etc.)?
All of the above, plus I am really good.
What’s a fun fact about you?
I don’t step on the chase lines when I’m changing ends.
Which famous person would you love to see play Real Tennis?
Donald Trump so that we could all take pot-shots at him.