Bill Johnston


Born: 2/11/1894 Died: 1/5/1946

World Hard Court (Clay) 1923

Wimbledon 1923

US Open 1915,1919

‘Little’ Bill Johnston may have been small in stature but he had a big heart. Johnston made his Grand Slam debut at the US Open in 1913 where he lost in the third round to Dick Williams in four sets. Two years later Johnston beat Williams from two sets to one down in the semis and Maurice McLoughlin from a set down in the final to win his first Grand Slam final. At the 1916 US Open Johnston beat Rob Lindley Murray in the semis in straight sets before losing a two sets to one lead against Williams in the final. At the 1919 US Open Johnston beat Gerald Patterson in four sets in the fourth round, Lindley Murray in the quarters and Wallace Johnson in the semis before exposing Bill Tilden’s weak backhand to win the final in straight sets. At the 1920 US Open Johnston beat Williams in straight sets in the fourth round and went on to reach the final, where after five long sets he finally went down to Tilden. In the 1921 US Open Johnston came from two sets to love down to beat Vinnie Richards in the third round before losing in four sets to Tilden in the fourth round. In the 1922 US Open Johnston beat Richards in straight sets in the semis before blowing a two sets to love lead against Tilden in the final. Tilden did not enter the major European events in 1923 and Johnston took full advantage. At the World Hard Court event on clay, he beat Rene Lacoste in the semis before a five set win against Jean Washer in the final. At Wimbledon Johnston beat Brian Norton in straight sets in the semis and Frank Hunter for the loss of just four games in the final. At the US Open Johnston beat Hunter in straight sets in the semis before losing easily to Tilden in the final. At the 1924 US Open Johnston beat Rene Lacoste in straight sets in the quarters and Gerald Patterson for the loss of just two games in the semis before losing in straight sets to Tilden in the final. At the 1925 US Open Johnston lost in five sets to Tilden in the final. In the quarter finals of the US Open in 1926 Johnston led Jean Borotra two sets to love before losing in five sets. By 1927 Johnston was already beginning to suffer the effects of tuberculosis and in his final Grand Slam event at the US Open lost in the semis to Lacoste in four sets. Johnston’s TB worsened and he died of the disease in May 1946 at the premature age of 51. Tilden missed his old rival greatly and dedicated his memoirs to Johnston.


HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: J.Borotra 0-1, R.Lacoste 2-1, M.McLoughlin 1-0, R.L.Murray 2-0, C.Parke 0-1, G.Patterson 2-0, B.Tilden 1-6, D.Williams 3-3

Bill Johnston's Grand Slam record