Category:Professional tennis players before the Open Era
Pages in category "Professional tennis players before the Open Era"
The following 90 pages are in this category, out of 90 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
The following 90 pages are in this category, out of 90 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
1. Henri Cochet – Henri Jean Cochet was a French tennis player. He was a world No.1 ranked player, and a member of the famous Four Musketeers from France who dominated tennis in the late 1920s, born in Villeurbanne, Rhône, Cochet won ten amateur Majors and one professional Major during his singles career. He was ranked World No.1 player for four years,1928 through 1931 by A. Wallis Myers. He turned professional in 1933 but, after a less than stellar pro career, the Four Musketeers were inducted simultaneously into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island in 1976. Cochet died at age 85 in Paris, Henri Cochet was born on 14 December 1901 in Villeurbanne to Gustave Cochet and Antoinette Gailleton. His father was a groundkeeper in a Lyonnese tennis club where Henri worked as a ball boy and he began playing at the age of eight along with his sister. The president of the club, an owner and French-ranked player Georges Cozon, recognized his talent. He entered his first local tournament in 1920 where he met his mentor in the final and he then moved on to win a series of matches at Aix-les-Bains mostly scratch and handicap matches. That qualified him to be featured in the 1921 French Closed Championships where he repeated his victory over Borotra, also in 1921 he won the military Championship of France. Meanwhile, his sister Aimée Cochet also became a player and later was on the main draw of the 1930 Wimbledon Championships. Immediately after he entered the amateur scene Cochet won every major tournament of the era. After his success abroad he claimed the French Closed Championships when he defeated defending champion Jean Samazeuilh in the final, afterwards he topped the French rankings. In June 1922 he debuted in the France Davis Cup team against Denmark, the next round the team only composed of him and André Gobert and fell to the Australasian team. He also found success in the minor tournaments, at the South of France Championships he lost to Russian count Mikhail Sumarokov-Elston. At the Côte dAzur Championships he repelled the Englishman Morgan for his first Riviera title, in February 1923 he retained his World Covered Court Championships title, defeating John B. Gilbert in the final in straight sets. On 1 April 1924 he met René Lacoste in the match for the Beausite trophy of Cannes. He was ranked the number one player of France alongside Lacoste, due to his business affairs and injuries he missed most of the 1925 season, while he kept his French first place shared with Borotra. The French Internationals of that year marked the first instance of an all-Four Musketeers final in the doubles of the Championships where Brugnon and Lacoste finished ahead of Cochet–Borotra
2. Lew Hoad – Lewis Alan Hoad was an Australian World No.1 tennis player. In his 1979 autobiography, Jack Kramer, the long-time tennis promoter and great player himself, for five straight years, beginning in 1952, he was ranked in the world top 10 for amateurs, reaching the World No.1 spot in 1956. Hoad was a member of the Australian team that between 1952 and 1956 won the Davis Cup four times and he turned professional in July 1957. Hoad won four Grand Slam tournaments as an amateur, and won the 1959 Tournament of Champions as a professional, Rod Laver, writing for the Herald Sun newspaper in 2012, ranked Lew as the greatest player of the Past Champions era of tennis. Laver described his strengths of power, volleying and explosiveness as justification of his accolade, following his retirement in 1972 Hoad and his wife Jenny operated a tennis resort, Lew Hoads Campo de Tenis in Fuengirola, Spain, near Málaga. Hoad died of leukemia on 3 July 1994, lewis Hoad was born on 23 November 1934, in the working-class Sydney inner suburb of Glebe, the oldest of three sons of tramway electrician Alan Hoad and his wife Ailsa Lyle. Hoad started playing tennis at age five with a racket gifted by a social club. At age 10 he competed in the tournament at Manly in the under 16 category. In his youth he played with Ken Rosewall and they became known as the Sydney twins, although they had very different physique, personality. Their first match was in their teens and was played as an opener of an exhibition match between Australia and America. Hoad built up great physical strength, especially in his hands and arms, by training at a boys club. Hoad was about 12 when he was introduced to Adrian Quist, Quist played a couple of sets with Hoad and was impressed by his natural ability. Hoad had just turned 15 when he and Rosewall were selected to play for New South Wales in an interstate contest against Victoria. In November 1949 Hoad won the title at the New South Wales Championships. 1951 Hoads first Grand Slam tournament appearance was at the 1951 Australian Championships held in January at the White City Tennis Club in Sydney and he won his first match against Ronald McKenzie in straight sets but lost in the following round to defending champion Frank Sedgman. It was the only Grand Slam tournament he played that year, in May, before departing to Europe, he won the singles title at the Australian Hardcourt Championships after a five-set win in the final against Rosewall. In only their appearance as a doubles team at a Grand Slam event Hoad. Hoad subsequently played the Belgian tennis championships in Brussels in early June, Hoads first entry at the Queens Club Championship in June 1952 ended in the quarterfinal against countryman and eventual champion Frank Sedgman
3. Rod Laver – Rodney George Rod Laver AC, MBE is an Australian former tennis player widely regarded as one of the greatest in tennis history. He was the No.1 ranked professional from 1964 to 1970, spanning four years before and he also was the No.1 amateur in 1961–62 according to Lance Tingay. He excelled on all of the surfaces of his time, grass, clay, hard, carpet. Despite being banned from playing the Grand Slam tournaments for the five prior to the Open Era. He is the player to twice achieve the calendar-year Grand Slam, in 1962 and 1969. Rodney George Laver was born in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia and he was the third of four children of Roy Laver, a cattleman and butcher, and his wife Melba Roffey. In 1966 Laver, aged 27, married Mary Benson in San Rafael, born Mary Shelby Peterson in Illinois, she was a divorcee with three children. Laver and Mary had a son and the family lived at various locations in California including Rancho Mirage, Corona del Mar, Mary Laver died in November 2012 at the age of 84 at their home in Carlsbad. Although of a short and medium build, Laver developed a technically complete serve-and-volley game. Dan Maskell, the Voice of Wimbledon, described him as technically faultless and his left-handed serve was well disguised and wide swinging. His groundstrokes on both flanks were hit with topspin, as was the attacking topspin lob, which Laver developed into a weapon and his stroke technique was based on quick shoulder turns, true swings, and accurate timing. His backhand, often hit on the run, was a point-ender that gave him an advantage, Laver was very quick and had a strong left forearm. Rex Bellamy wrote, The strength of that wrist and forearm gave him blazing power without loss of control, even when he was on the run, the combination of speed and strength, especially wrist strength, enabled him to hit ferocious winners when way out of court. At the net, he had forcing volleys, often hit as stroke volleys, especially on the backhand, he could hit sharp underspin angles as well. He was difficult to lob, because of his agility. As an amateur, Laver was a flashy player, often a late starter. He had to learn to control his adventurous shot-making and integrate percentage tennis into his game when he turned professional, in his prime, he could adapt his style to all surfaces and to all conditions. Laver had a record in five-set-matches, often turning things around with subtle changes of tactics
4. Fred Perry – Perry won three consecutive Wimbledon Championships from 1934 to 1936 and was World Amateur number one tennis player during those three years. Perry was the first player to win a Career Grand Slam and he remains the only British player ever to achieve this. Although Perry began his tennis career aged 18, he was also a Table Tennis World Champion in 1929, in 1942, he was drafted into the US Air Force during the Second World War. Perry was born in Stockport, in 1909 where his father, for the first decade of his life, he also lived in Bolton, Lancashire, and Wallasey, Cheshire, because his father was involved in local politics. When living in Wallasey he attended Liscard Primary School and Wallasey Grammar School, Perry moved to Brentham Garden Suburb in Ealing, west London aged eleven years when his father became the national secretary of the Co-operative Party after World War I. His father became the Co-operative Party Member of Parliament for Kettering in 1929, Perry first began to play tennis on the public courts near his familys housing estate. He was educated at Ealing Grammar School for Boys, in 1928–29, Perry won several medals in the single, double and team events in the World Table Tennis Championships. He had exceptional speed and played with the Shakehand style, attacking the ball low, along with the US, French and Australian Amateur championships, Perry won the Wimbledon mens title three times in succession between 1934 and 1936. His final triumph was a 6–1, 6–1, 6–0 victory over the German Baron Gottfried von Cramm which lasted less than 45 minutes and it became the quickest final in the 20th century and the second shortest of all time. Perry had been able to pick up the information from the Wimbledon masseur that von Cramm had been treated for a strain and was as a result having difficulty moving wide on the forehand. The upper echelons of the British tennis establishment greeted his success more coolly, after winning his maiden Wimbledon title, Perry recalled overhearing a Wimbledon committee member remark that the best man didnt win. His All England Club members tie, awarded to all winners of the Championships, was left for him on a chair in his dressing room. In the Davis Cup, Perry led the Great Britain team to four victories from 1933 to 1936, with wins over France in 1933, the United States in 1934 and 1935. Perry competed in a total of 20 Davis Cup matches, winning 34 of his 38 rubbers in singles, after three years as the world No.1 tennis amateur player, Perry turned professional in late 1936. This led to his being ostracised by the British tennis establishment. He made his debut on 6 January 1937 at the Madison Square Garden against the best professional player. For the next two years he played lengthy tours against Vines, in 1937, they played 61 matches in the United States on their big tour, with Vines winning 32 and Perry 29. They then sailed to Britain, where they played a brief tour, Perry won six matches out of nine, so they finished the year tied at 35 victories each
5. Althea Gibson – Althea Gibson was an American tennis player and professional golfer, and the first black athlete to cross the color line of international tennis. In 1956, she became the first person of color to win a Grand Slam title. The following year she won both Wimbledon and the U. S. Nationals, then won again in 1958, and was voted Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in both years. In all, she won 11 Grand Slam tournaments, including six doubles titles, and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Womens Sports Hall of Fame. She is one of the greatest players who lived, said Robert Ryland. I think shed beat the Williams sisters, in the early 1960s she also became the first black player to compete on the womens professional golf tour. At a time when racism and prejudice were widespread in sports and in society and her road to success was a challenging one, said Billie Jean King, but I never saw her back down. I am honored to have followed in such great footsteps, wrote Venus Williams and her accomplishments set the stage for my success, and through players like myself and Serena and many others to come, her legacy will live on. Gibson was born on August 25,1927, in the town of Silver, in Clarendon County, South Carolina, to Daniel and Annie Bell Gibson, who worked as sharecroppers on a cotton farm. The Great Depression hit rural southern farmers sooner than much of the rest of the country, so in 1930 the family moved to Harlem, where Altheas three sisters and brother were born. Gibson quickly became proficient in tennis, and by 1939, at the age of 12. In 1940 a group of Gibsons neighbors took up a collection to finance a junior membership, in 1941 she entered—and won—her first tournament, the American Tennis Association New York State Championship. She won the ATA national championship in the division in 1944 and 1945. I knew that I was an unusual, talented girl, through the grace of God, I didnt need to prove that to myself. I only wanted to prove it to my opponents, Gibsons ATA success drew the attention of Walter Johnson, a Lynchburg, Virginia, physician who was active in the African American tennis community. In 1946 she moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, under the sponsorship of another physician and tennis activist, eaton and enrolled at Williston High School. In 1949 she became the first black woman, and the black athlete, to play in the USTAs National Indoor Championships. Later that year she entered Florida A&M University on an athletic scholarship
6. Suzanne Lenglen – Suzanne Rachel Flore Lenglen was a French tennis player who won 31 Championship titles between 1914 and 1926. She dominated womens tennis from 1914 until 1926 when she turned professional, a flamboyant, trendsetting athlete, she was the first female tennis celebrity and one of the first international female sport stars, named La Divine by the French press. Lenglens 241 titles,181 match winning streak and 341-7 match record are hard to imagine happening in todays tennis atmosphere, Lenglen is regarded by some to be the greatest female tennis player in history. A daughter of Charles and Anaïs Lenglen, Suzanne Lenglen was born in Paris, during her youth, she suffered from numerous health problems including chronic asthma, which also plagued her at a later age. Because his daughter was so frail and sickly, Charles Lenglen and her first try at the game was in 1910, when she played on the tennis court at the family property in Marest-sur-Matz. The young girl enjoyed the game, and her decided to train her further in the sport. His training methods included an exercise where, the story goes, he would lay down a handkerchief at various places on the court, only four years after her first tennis strokes, Lenglen played in the final of the 1914 French Championships, aged only 14. She lost to reigning champion Marguerite Broquedis in the final 5–7, 6–4 and that same year, she won the World Hard Court Championships held at Saint-Cloud, turning 15 during the tournament. This made her the youngest winner of a championship in tennis history. The match, which one of the hallmarks of tennis history, was played before 8,000 spectators, including King George V. After splitting the first two sets, Lenglen took a 4–1 lead in the set before Chambers rallied to take a 6–5 lead. Lenglen saved the first match point when her service return trickled off the wood of her racket, Lenglen survived the second match point when Chambers hit a drop shot into the net. Lenglen then went on to win the match 10–8, 4–6 and it was not only her performances on the court which were noted, however. The staid British also were in shock at the boldness of the French woman who also casually sipped brandy between sets, at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Lenglen dominated the womens singles. On her path to the medal, she gave up only four games. She then teamed up with Max Décugis to win gold medal in the mixed doubles. She was eliminated in a womens doubles semifinal and won the medal after their opponents withdrew. From 1919 through 1925, Lenglen won the Wimbledon singles championship every year with the exception of 1924, health problems due to jaundice forced her to withdraw after winning her quarterfinal match
7. George Lyttleton-Rogers – George Lyttleton-Rogers was an Irish tennis player, promoter and coach. He held the Irish National Championships title for 13 consecutive years from 1927 to 1940 and he was the Canadian and Argentine champion as well. He was a three times runner-up for the Championships of Monaco, in 1931 he was the eleventh on the French rankings. George Lyttleton-Rogers was born on 10 July 1906 in Athy, Ireland to Frank Lyttleton-Rogers and his grandparents Daniel Upton and Marie Lloyd Upton were land-owners in Dublin. In the Irish War of Independence the family home, Holyrood Castle in Sandymount, was requisitioned as a machine gun nest by the British Army and his aunt Alice Upton Harvey was a famous Irish music composer. Harvey, borough president of Queens between 1929–1941, Rogers studied in the Imperial Service College in Windsor. In April 1928 he was defeated by the Austrian champion Erik Worm for the Beaulieu title, and the next year it happened again but this time he suffered defeat from Emmanuel Du Plaix. 1930 In the first days of January Rogers was repulsed in the final of the Beausite tournament in Cannes by Paul Barrelet de Ricou in straight sets. In January–February he entered several riviera tournaments, at New Courts de Cannes doubles contest the Tilden-Kingsley duo saw another victory in the final against Rogers, Cannes he was stopped in the semifinals of singles and doubles and in the quarterfinal of the mixed doubles. Cannes he lost the Italys fourth ranked player Placido Gaslini, for the Beaumont Trophy at Monte-Carlo doubles event Rogers and Tamino Abe were overcame Umberto De Morpurgo and Wilbur Coen. In Menton he reached the semifinals in singles and doubles, in March at the Nice Lawn Tennis Club competition the last two, Tilden and Rogers met again but Rogers was unable to overcome Tilden. In late March at the Cannes Championships the doubles team of Rogers, biarritz tournament Raymond Rodel captured the title ahead of Rogers. Henri Cochet and Pierre Landry beat the Rogers Féret duo for the doubles crown, in June he clinched the third place at the Belgian International Championships. In July he won the Canadian Lawn Tennis National Championships against home-favourite Gilbert Nunns in four sets, during the year 1930 he swept 18 international titles. In the Beausite tournament he was victorious against Paul Féret who came back from professional tennis to amateur play. They teamed up for the doubles where they couldnt convert two match points against Hillyard and Vladimir Landau, which backfired on them and lost in five sets, in mixed doubles Rogers and Elizabeth Ryan found their winning form against Phyllis Satterthwaite and Erik Worm and became mixed champions. In the Parc Imperial L. T. C. de Nice Rogers had a victory over Edmond Lotan and in the mixed doubles he and Mrs. Marjollet defeated Mikhail Sumarokov-Elston. At Gallia L. T. C. de Cannes Rogers faced Jacques Brugnon for the championship, also in Cannes at the Carlton Club Brugnon and Henri Cochet fought a four-set battle against the losing team of Rogers-Aeschlimann
8. Luis Ayala (tennis) – Luis Alberto Ayala Salinas is a Chilean former world-ranked tennis player who competed in the 1950s and 1960s. He was twice a singles runner-up at the French Championships, in 1958 he was seeded fifth and reached the final after a victory against first-seeded and world No.1 Ashley Cooper in the semifinal. In the final, however, he was defeated in straight sets by Mervyn Rose while in 1960 he lost the final in fives sets to Nicola Pietrangeli, together with Thelma Coyne Long he won the mixed doubles title at the 1956 French Championships. He won the singles title at the Italian Open in 1959. The following year,1960, he reached the final. Between 1952 and 1960 Ayala played in 18 ties for the Chilean Davis Cup team, in 1961 he turned professional and joined Jack Kramers tour. When he retired, he became a professional at River Oaks Country Club in Houston. Currently, he is the Director of Tennis at the Forest Club in Houston, Ayala was ranked World No.5 for 1958 by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph. Luis Ayala at the Association of Tennis Professionals Luis Ayala at the International Tennis Federation Luis Ayala at the Davis Cup Forest Club bio
9. Don Budge – John Donald Budge was an American tennis champion who was a World No.1 player for five years, first as an amateur and then as a professional. He won 10 majors, of six were Grand Slams and four Pro Slams. Budge was considered to have the best backhand in the history of tennis, growing up, he played a variety of sports before taking up tennis. He was tall and slim and his height would later help what is considered one of the most powerful serves of all time. Budge studied at the University of California, Berkeley in late 1933, accustomed to hard-court surfaces in his native California, he had difficulty playing on the grass surfaces in the east. Budge became the first man in history to have achieved the Triple Crown at a Grand Slam event three times, eclipsing Bill Tilden who won consecutive Triple Crowns at the U. S. Championships. He gained the most fame for his match that year against Gottfried von Cramm in the Davis Cup inter-zone finals against Germany, trailing 1–4 in the final set, he came back to win 8–6. His victory allowed the United States to advance and to win the Davis Cup for the first time in 12 years. For his efforts, he was named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, Open, to become the first person ever to win the Grand Slam in tennis. He also is the youngest man in history to complete the career Grand Slam and he completed that on June 11,1938 in winning the French Open, two days before his 23rd birthday. Budge turned professional after winning the Grand Slam and thereafter played mostly head-to-head matches, in 1939 he beat the two reigning kings of professional tennis, Ellsworth Vines,22 matches to 17, and Fred Perry,28 matches to 8. That year he won two great pro tournaments, the French Pro Championship over Vines and the Wembley Pro tournament over Hans Nüsslein. There was no tour in 1940 but seven principal tournaments. Budge kept his crown by winning 4 of these events including the greatest one. In 1941 Budge played another major tour beating the 48-year-old Bill Tilden, the final outcome probably being 46–7 plus 1 tie. In 1942 Budge won both his last major tour over Bobby Riggs, Frank Kovacs, Perry and Les Stoefen and for a time the U. S. Pro. In 1942 Budge joined the United States Army Air Force to serve in World War II, at the beginning of 1943 in an obstacle course he tore a muscle in his shoulder. In his book A Tennis Memoir page 144 he said, The tear didnt heal, I was able to carry on with my military duties
10. Pancho Gonzales – Ricardo Alonso González, also known as Richard Gonzales, and usually as Pancho Gonzales, was an American tennis player. He was the World No.1 tennis player for a record eight years from 1952 to 1960. He won 14 Major singles titles, including 12 Pro Slams and 2 Grand Slams, largely self-taught, Gonzales was a successful amateur player in the late 1940s, twice winning the United States Championships. He is still considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game. The American tennis commentator Bud Collins echoed this in an August 2006 article for MSNBC. com, If I had to someone to play for my life. Gonzales was given a 51-cent racquet by his mother when he was 12 years old and he received tennis analysis from his friend, Chuck Pate, but mostly taught himself to play by watching other players on the public courts at nearby Exposition Park in Los Angeles. Once he discovered tennis, he lost interest in school and began a troubled adolescence in which he was pursued by truant officers. He was befriended by Frank Poulain, the owner of the shop at Exposition Park. Because of his attendance and occasional minor brushes with the law, he was ostracized by the overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon. The headquarters for tennis activity was the Los Angeles Tennis Club, during that time, the head of the Southern California Tennis Association, and the most powerful man in California tennis was Perry T. Jones. Jones was not only the head of California tennis, but much of the country and he was described as an autocratic leader who embodied much of the exclusionary sensibilities that governed tennis for decades. He then joined the Navy just as World War II was ending, according to his autobiography, Gonzales stood 6 feet 3 inches and weighed 183 pounds by the time he was 19 years old. The way he can move that 6-foot-3-inch frame of his around the court is almost unbelievable, Panchos reflexes and reactions are God-given talents. The flamboyant Gussie Moran, who toured with the Gonzales group. In spite of his lack of playing time while in the Navy and he did, however, go East that year to play in the United States Championships at Forest Hills. He surprised the British Davis Cup player Derek Barton and then lost a match to third seed Gardnar Mulloy. The following year, Perry T. Jones relented in his opposition to Gonzales, the top-ranked American player, Ted Schroeder, decided at the last moment not to play in the United States Championships and Gonzales was seeded number 8 in the tournament. To the surprise of most observers, he won it easily by a straight-set victory over the South African Eric Sturgess in the finals with his powerful serve-and-volley game
11. Jack Kramer – John Albert Kramer was an American tennis player of the 1940s and 1950s. He was an advocate for the establishment of Open Tennis between amateur and professional players. An International Tennis Federation proposal to introduce Open tennis lost by five votes in 1960, in 1970, he created the Mens Grand Prix points system. In 1972, he helped found the Association of Tennis Professionals with Donald Dell and Cliff Drysdale and he was unpaid at his request. In that role, he was the leader of an ATP boycott of Wimbledon in 1973, for the banning of Nikola Pilić from the tournament. Tall and slim, he was the first world-class player to play the Big Game and this strategy maximized his efforts on certain points and in certain games during the course of a match to increase his chances of winning. The key was to serve at all costs, which was one of many things that made Kramer one of the greatest players of all time. Kramer was the son of a railroad worker for the Union Pacific railroad. As a boy he was a fine athlete, particularly in basketball. When he was 13, the moved to San Bernardino, California. In 1944, he married Gloria, and they had five sons, Bob, David, John, Michael and they lived in Bel Air, California. He invested in the Professional Tennis Tour, two courses at the Los Serranos Country Club in Chino Hills, CA, and racehorses. Starting in 1948, the Jack Kramer Autograph tennis racket from Wilson Sporting Goods became the most popular selling racket of all time and he began his tennis career by taking lessons from legendary teaching professional, Dick Skeen. Within a year, he was playing junior tournaments, because of his obvious ability and his familys lack of money, he came under the guidance of Perry T. Jones. At the Los Angeles Tennis Club, Jones was the President of the Southern California Tennis Association. Kramer traveled many hours each day from his home in Montebello, California, to tennis at the LATC. He was able to play against such great players as Ellsworth Vines, Bobby Riggs and he was the National Boys Champion in 1936, and the winner of the 1938 National Juniors Interscholastics. He competed occasionally in tournaments on grass courts in the East