Although twins Lionel and Cecil Escombe were born in South Africa they lived most of their lives in England and it is where Lionel played nearly all his tennis, although he did have a brief spell back in his homeland in the Winter of 1908-09 when he toured with the All-England team. He did not win any leading titles although he was runner up in the1903 Lucerne tournament in Switzerland, the 1905 Le Touquet tournament in France and he lost to Reggie Doherty 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 in the final of the South African Open in 1909. At Wimbledon Escombe’s best performance was in 1907 when he lost his quarter-final match in five sets to Wilberforce Eaves. In his final Wimbledon appearance in 1909 he lost in three straight sets to Herbert Roper Barrett. Escombe played in doubles at Wimbledon eight times between 1900-09 but never got beyond the second round.
Escombe competed in the covered court singes at the 1908 Olympics but lost his only match in straight sets to Sweden’s Gunnar Setterwall. In the doubles he teamed up with Josiah Ritchie but lost to fellow Britons Arthur Wentworth Gore and Roper Barrett in the semi-final, and in the bronze medal match the Swede Setterwall, and his partner Wollmar Boström, again ended Escombe’s chance of a medal by coming from two sets down to win 3-2.
Escombe married his wife Kathleen in November 1899 but little over a year later she died, aged 21, just three days after giving birth to their son. That son, Lionel Aubrey Escombe, went on to play cricket for Charterhouse school and play in a trial with Middlesex at Lord’s. Lionel senior married his second wife Daisy in 1913 just 18 months before he died.
|Discipline (Sport) / Event
|NOC / Team
|1908 Summer Olympics
|Singles, Covered Courts, Men (Olympic)
|Doubles, Covered Courts, Men (Olympic)