Tennis started to spread in Italy at the end of the 1800’s. It was the English that played and made the sport known, during their long holidays in our country. In 1893, the Lawn Tennis Club was formed in Milan.
During these years, tennis was played by a limited number of people, but the enthusiasm for the new sport spread rapidly and the “passionate pioneers” found the TCM to be the perfect place to play.
Even Gabriele D’Annunzio attended our club, as a non-player. His secretary Tom Antongini was a great tennis player and won the first tournaments. Among the first people to be passionate about tennis, the Count Alberto Bonacossa and the Marquis Gilberto Porro Lambertenghi were the most enthusiastic and active. In 1914, they wrote and printed the first Italian Manual of Tennis.
In 1920, Italian tennis was present for the first time at the Antwerp Olympics. The Italian team was made up of Rosetta Gagliardi Prouse, Cesare Colombo and Alberto Bonacossa from TCM and Tino Baldi di Rebecco from TC Genova. After 1920, tennis was played more and more and it assumed the appearance of a rapidly spreading sport.
In 1923, the current location of TCM was inaugurated, designed by the architect Giovanni Muzio at the request of Count Bonacossa.
Count Bonacossa became its president and would remain with extreme dedication until 1953, the year of his death. In that period, the TCM became the most important reference point for Italian tennis and the most important national and international champions played on the new courts of Via Arimondi. The first five editions of the Internazionali d’Italia were played on the main court of the Tennis Club Milano, which Count Bonacossa had built, in memory of his friend Gilberto Porro Lambertenghi. The Club became a meeting place for sports, politics, art, friendship and social events, the best in Milano.
Tennis was living a moment of great splendor and champions were trained at the TCM, such as the Baron Uberto de Morpurgo, the first Italian at the top of the world rankings and other prestigious champions including Sabbadini, Serventi, Colombo, Placido Gaslini, Leonardo Bonzi, Stefano Mangold, Guido Cesura. And we cannot forget the first “historical doubles” with Taroni-Quintavalle from the Davis Cups of the period. In the women’s field, after the early century successes of Rosetta Prouse, Forlanini and Perelli, it was the big momento for Lucia Valerio. She was Champion of Italy several times and the first Italian to arrive in the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
In 1937, coach Vincenzo Mei organized the first national tennis school. After the war, the TCM experienced new periods of success and enthusiasm. There were the first international victories for Francesco Romanoni and Renato Bossi. Another “historical doubles” team started down its road of victories: Marcello Del Bello and Gianni Cucelli. Marcello came to TCM from Rome, and with him came his brother Rolando, also a champion and still today a respected teacher at TCM. Giovanni Cucelli came from Istria and changed his surname from Kucel to Cucelli. In the women’s field, the young star was Annelies Ullstein, she obtained Italian citizenship when she married Renato Bossi and played for Tennis Club Milano and for Italy and remained, until 1950, among the top 8 players in the world.
The TCM continued its glorious history by hosting the Davis Cup until 1960. Even this period was important for tennis. The champions from this time were Fausto Gardini, Antonio Maggi, Sergio Tacchini, Lea Pericoli and Lucia Bassi, all from TCM.
The Tennis Club Milano Alberto Bonacossa today…
With respect for the precious sporting ideals passed down to us from our illustrious predecessors, the TCMAB is always working to spread the popularity of tennis and the values of sport. Even today, a large number of athletes and those passionate about tennis can come to TCMAB to learn, refine, compete and have fun. At the Tennis Club Milano Alberto Bonacossa there is a Tennis Training School (SAT), open to students from 4 to 14 years of age. The best students, after their time in the school, enter the competitive sector, which is coordinated by first class experienced teachers. The competitive sector of the Tennis Club Milano Alberto Bonacossa participates in all competitions of the various categories organized by the Italian Tennis Federation.
Each year, the TCM organizes two important junior competitions on its courts:
- TROFEO BONFIGLIO
Italia Juniores International Championship, girls and boys.
- Coppe PORRO LAMBERTENGHI
Under 12 Italian Championships, boys and girls.
CLUB DE CENTENAIRE
The Tennis Club Milano Alberto Bonacossa, along with other prestigious European clubs, founded the Club de Centenaires de Tennis. An international association sponsored by C.I.O and restricted to tennis clubs with at least one hundred years of history.