In 1932 Bunny Austin was the first Englishman in 23 years to reach the Wimbledon finals. He and Fred Perry were members of the last British team to win the Davis Cup. Their four consecutive victories in the 1930s marked a golden era for British tennis which has never been matched since. Austin remained the last British player to reach the Wimbledon men’s finals until Andy Murray won in 2013. He and Perry were the matinée idols of British tennis fans in an age that was gentler and more sporting, though no less competitive, than today’s fiercely fought contests.
On board ship crossing the Atlantic in 1929, Austin met the actress Phyllis Konstam. She was Alfred Hitchcock’s leading lady in one of his first “talking pictures” and was on her way to Broadway to star opposite Laurence Olivier. She and Austin were married in November 1931, the newspapers hailing the marriage as the wedding of the year.
Austin devoted the rest of his life to Moral Re-armament and wrote several books about it, as well as his autobiography, with Phyllis Konstam, A Mixed Double (1969). They worked closely with Buchman, traveling widely with him in America and Europe as well as Australasia, the Pacific countries and India. They pioneered MRA’s Christian theatre productions, particularly on their return to London in 1961, at the Westminster Theatre. After his wife died in 1976, Austin wrote his last book in memory of her, a series of touchingly honest “letters” entitled To Phyll With Love (1979).