The son of a Church of England minister and grammar school headmaster, Yorkshire-born Walter Crawley was educated at Oxford. He won the lawn tennis championship of his native county in 1907, a year that saw him also win the Dieppe tournament, the West Sussex Challenge Cup at Chichester, and reach the final of the South of England championship where he lost to [George Hillyard]. The following year was equally memorable for Crawley as he won the Sussex championship and enjoyed his best year at Wimbledon, reaching the singles quarter-final, but lost to [Josiah Ritchie]. And it was Ritchie who beat him again in the final of the European Championship at Queen’s Club. At the 1908 Olympics Crawley and partner [Kenneth Powell] beat the Canadian pair [Captain Foulkes] and [Bobby Powell] before losing to fellow Britons [George Hillyard] and [Reggie Doherty]. In the singles, Walter reached the third round after receiving a bye in round two but was no match for Britain’s [Josiah Ritchie], the eventual champion, who won in straight sets. Walter reached the semi-final of the men’s doubles at Wimbledon on two occasions – with Ireland’s Cecil Parke in 1910 and with Augustus Hendriks in 1913. He made his last appearance at Wimbledon in 1927 aged 47.
Walter’s older brother Alfred was a quarter-finalist at Wimbledon in 1902 and 1906 and in the 1913 Queen’s Club tournament the two brothers met in the last eight, with Walter winning.