At 10 years of age Bill Moreside began playing with a second-hand tennis racquet and ball on the driveways and streets around his home in Charlottetown. At age 12 he began to play on the old rough clay courts in Victoria Park, since he was still much to young to be allowed to play on the groomed courts of the exclusive Charlottetown Tennis Club. As a teenager he began working at a local sporting goods store where a representative of a major racquet manufacturer taught him how to properly string a tennis racquet, a skill he practiced professionally for the next 12 years.
With natural athletic ability, and a drive to learn, Bill Moreside became an accomplished tennis player by age 14 and, in an unprecedented move, was invited to join the large adult membership at the Charlottetown Tennis Club. Like golf, shooting and other individual games of the era, tennis was played by skilled individuals in the upper social class who protected their membership rosters with strict rules that did not include juniors. The basic dress code for tennis in the 1930s was white hat, white shirt, and white long pants as no shorts were allowed in the sport. Bill began to take the sport seriously, and at age 16, when the Eastern Canadian Tennis Championships were being held in Charlottetown, he was able to obtain private teaching sessions with three leading Canadian professionals; Ross Wilson, Leard Watt and Marcel Ranneville, all playing members of the Canadian Davis Cup Team. Marcel Ranneville took the time to teach young Bill Moreside his blazing overhand serve, called the “Australian Twist”, a serve that Bill learned well, utilized, and which became another great skill that set him apart in Maritime tennis tournaments.
In his first year as a member, at age 16, Bill Moreside won both the Club and Prince Edward Island Senior Championships, titles he would hold for the next seven (7) straight years. Through that period he also won the Men’s Doubles Championship with Ivan Reddin and the Mixed Championships playing alternately with sisters Audrey and Beryl DeBlois. In both 1940 and 1941 Bill advanced to the Maritime Championship finals, losing both titles by a close margin to tennis legend Don Bauld, a Davis Cup team member and one of the best tennis players in Canada.
In 1941 Dunlop Canada contracted to sponsor Bill Moreside at the Davis Cup team trials in Montreal, but the misfortune of bad timing saw the trial cancelled for the next five years due to Canada’s involvement in World War II.
At Dalhousie Medical School, in 1944, and until he graduated, Bill Moreside was captain of the strong Dal Tennis Team that captured a series of Atlantic titles and held National Intercollegiate top ten rankings. In 1946 the team lost the Canadian title in a close 5 – 3 final to perennial champions McGill University. Bill Moreside also played on the Dalhousie hockey team and, on graduation, was awarded the prestigious gold “D” for sports. The only medical student to that time who had received it.
In 1946 Dr. Bill Moreside returned to Prince Edward Island to practice medicine and that year won the last of his seven straight Prince Edward Island Senior and Club Championships. In all Island tennis tournaments of that era he was always listed as the No. 1 seed, and in tournament records it is difficult to find him ever losing a match. How unfortunate it is for Prince Edward Island sports that the pressures of war, plus his personal desire to pursue a medical career, prevented Bill Moreside from challenging for a Canadian Davis Cup berth.
Bill’s serious tennis career ended when he returned to University to do post graduate work, eventually becoming one of the highest regarded Ophthalmologists in Eastern Canada. Apart from tennis, Bill excelled at hockey, golf and curling where he skipped a number of Island teams at National Championships. The superb hand – eye coordination he possessed was evident throughout life, both in sporting interests, his profession and in the field of music. His career and family took priority until serious health problems in 1984 curtailed activity, but even with a stroke and the disability that followed he continued to play tennis until late in life.
No Island athlete has received the respect and status in the game of tennis, or brought more honour to his home province, than the court titles achieved by Dr. Bill Moreside through the 1930s and 1940s. For this reason I am honoured to present the name of the late Dr. J. William Moreside for induction into the Prince Edward Island Sports Hall of Fame.
Updated: July 2013
File Contains: Photos, induction package