Faye Urban was “Canada’s First Lady of Tennis” in the 1950s and ’60s. She competed at Wimbledon on five separate occasions and captained her country in the Federation Cup.
Urban was born in Windsor on October 28, 1945.
From an early age, Urban excelled in competitive tennis, drawing acclaim especially for her forehand stroke. Urban won the Western Ontario Girls Under 13 and Under 15 titles in 1956, despite not turning 11 until the autumn of that year. She also reached the Canadian Girls Under 13 championship match.
Urban competed at the Federation Cup as a member of Canada’s team in 1963, ’66, ’67, ’68, and ’69. She captained the side in 1968. Now known simply as the Fed Cup, the annual tournament is the premier team competition in women’s tennis, equivalent to the Davis Cup.
Over the course of her career, Urban competed in 15 countries, playing in world-class cities like Prague, Berlin, Athens, Paris, Cannes, Rome, London, and Lausanne. Throughout her career, Urban was an accomplished singles, doubles, and mixed doubles player. Her most regular doubles partners were Brenda Nunns, with whom she competed at the Junior and Senior levels, and the Welshwoman Vicki Berner.
In 1966, Urban was voted Windsor and Ontario’s Athlete of the Year.
In 1967, she won a bronze medal at the Pan-Am Games in doubles competition. She also reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon that same year, playing with Vicki Berner.
Urban was the first Canadian player ever to be seeded at the United States Championships. She achieved the feat in 1968 as the fifth-ranked foreign player. That same year, she reached the semifinals at the Broward County Invitational in Pompano, Florida. Notably, she defeated the second and sixth ranked American players.
She capped off her career in 1969 with a gold medal at the Canada Games.
A comprehensive list of Urban’s accomplishments follows:
1958 Western Ontario Under 12 Championships
1958 Canadian and Ontario Juvenile Championships
1959 Western Ontario Under 14 Championships
1960 Ontario & Quebec Junior Championships
1960 Ontario Junior Doubles (with Della Freedhoff)
1960 Canadian Open Junior Doubles (with Brenda Nunns)
1961 Canadian Open & Closed Junior Girls Doubles (with Brenda Nunns)
1962 Canadian Closed Junior Championship
1962 Oregon State Championships (Singles)
1962 Pacific Regional Under 18
1962 Canadian Open Doubles (with Brenda Nunns)
1963 Canadian & Ontario Open Junior Championships
1963 Ontario Open Junior Doubles Championship (with Brenda Nunns)
1958 Canadian Closed Junior Championships (Juvenile)
1958 Canadian Open Junior Championships Mixed Doubles (with Butch Seewagen)
1960 Canadian Open Junior Singles
1961 Canadian Open & Closed Junior Championships
1961 Ontario & Quebec Junior Championships
1962 Canadian Open Junior Championships
1964 Tennessee Valley Invitational Doubles (with Brenda Nunns)
1964 Tri-State Championships Doubles in Cincinnati (with Brenda Nunns)
1965 Canadian & Ontario Doubles Titles (with Brenda Nunns)
1965 Canadian Mixed Doubles Title (with David Body)
1966 British Hard Court Mixed Doubles (with Peter Van Lingen)
1966 Ontario Open Singles
1966 Canadian & Ontario Open Doubles (with Vicki Berner)
1967 Canadian & Ontario Open Doubles Titles (with Vicki Berner)
1968 Austin-Smith Singles & Doubles, Ft. Lauderdale (with Alice Tym, USA)
1968 Miami Invitational Singles,
1968 Dixie International Doubles, Pompano, Florida (with Helga Niessen, Germany)
1968 St. Anne’s England International Grass Court
1968 Glamorgan Lawn Tennis Singles & Doubles (with Vicki Berner, Wales)
1968 Ulster Grass Court Championship, Belfast
1968 Canadian & Ontario Open Doubles (with Vicki Berner)
1968 Canadian Closed singles
1969 Canadian Open & Closed Singles
1969 Canadian Open Doubles (with Vicki Berner)
1969 Griffith Park Championship, Los Angeles