A court ruled that Robert Dee was, in fact, the world's worst professional tennis player

The tale of the world’s worst tennis player

This is the story of a tennis player so bad, there was an actual court ruling that proved he was the worst that ever was.

While we watch Bernard Tomic's plummet from grace, tumbling down the rankings and bouncing off every obstacle with muttered self-absorbed nonsense, it is hard to think of anyone who could actually be worse.

But there was. Here is the tale of Robert Dee, the world's worst professional tennis player. 

Dreaming of taking on the grand slams

A young Briton born in Kent, Robert Dee had grand dreams of taking on the professional tennis world.

His parents, perhaps wisely, suggested he should invest in school first so Dee didn't really hit the courts with any menace until he was 16.

A minor speed bump, he suggested on his website, that would only mean his rise would come later.

"I knew I would not be a 21 year old legend, but maybe by the age of 23 or 24 I could be knocking on the door of world class tournaments and moving up the world ranking lists," he said.

"Well, that was the plan anyway."

A rocky beginning

Training under Nick Bollettieri in Florida, Dee was subjected to the hard workouts that the legend had previously meted out for Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova, Tommy Haas and more.

It was brutal and Dee applied himself. If training was worth ranking points, he would have climbed more than a few places up the ladder.

After two years he finally received a wildcard to a Mexican challenger event. There, he was duly beaten by a home town favourite. It would only get worse from there.

Losing becomes a habit


Dee persevered, but the losses kept racking up.

In total, Dee was beaten 54 times in a row on the international tennis circuit - a record for the sport.

The world media gobbled this stat up with glee, proudly declaring that Dee was the worst professional the sport had ever seen.

This angered the young Brit, but he was yet to see that his biggest loss was still to come.

I fought the media and the media won

Incensed by the headlines declaring him the world's worst, Dee took action.

Legal notices were flung in every direction, demanding apologies and damages. Many media outlets relented, but The Daily Telegraph was not having a bar of it.

Here is an extract from their article:

"A Briton ranked as the worst professional tennis player in the world after 54 defeats in a row has won his first match.

"Robert Dee, 21, of Bexley, Kent, did not win a single match during his first three years on the circuit, touring at an estimated cost of £200,000."

The presiding judge's takedown of Dee was brutal:

"The incontestably true facts are that the Claimant (Robert Dee) did lose 54 matches in a row in straight sets in his first three years on the world ranking ITF / ATP tournaments on the international professional tennis circuit, and that this was the worst ever run," she said.

Happily ever after?

These days, Dee has completed his university studies and is working in the finance sector.

He looks back fondly on his tennis days, even if the 'world's worst' name will always stick.

"Although my tennis career is behind me I still have fond memories," he said.

"I realise just how much professional sport taught me and how fortunate I am to have been given the opportunity to follow one of my dreams."

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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