Dick Savitt


Born: 4/3/1927

Australian Open 1951

Wimbledon 1951

Dick Savitt was a highly-strung character who took up the game of tennis as a child but considered it a sissy sport. His main sport was basketball and, though he was persuaded that tennis wouldn’t compromise his masculinity, basketball still took preference. After studying economics at Cornell University, Savitt sustained a knee injury that put pay to his basketball career so he concentrated on tennis. His tennis career took off in 1950, when he reached the semis of the US Open where he lost to Arthur Larsen. At the Australian Open in 1951 Savitt thrashed former champion John Bromwich in the quarters and in the semis he met defending champion Frank Sedgman. Savitt’s passing shots were too good for Sedgman at the net and in a gruelling match Savitt came from two sets to one down to win. In the final Savitt beat Ken McGregor to take his first Grand Slam title. Savitt’s emotional nature came to the fore at the French Open. He led by two sets to love and 4-2 against Jaroslav Drobny but Drobny came back to win and Savitt burst into tears! However, he put his French Open disappointment behind him at Wimbledon by beating McGregor in the final to take his second Grand Slam title. At the U.S. Open Savitt made the semis, where he lost to Vic Seixas. Later in the year Savitt returned to Australia in preparation for the Davis Cup final but was angry at being left out of the team and by the captain Frank Shields' comments that he didn’t think Savitt had a good enough temperament. Defending his title at the Australian a month later, Savitt reached the semis where he faced McGregor. After losing the first two sets Savitt fought back to take the third set and led 3-1 in the fourth when rain stopped play. When the players returned to the court Referee Frank Piper let McGregor wear spikes. Savitt did not have a pair of spikes and was furious at the decision and he refused to play on. For twenty minutes Savitt held up play before he was persuaded to play on, by which time his concentration had been shot to pieces. At Wimbledon he lost to Merv Rose in the quarters by which time he had become disillusioned with tennis. He went into a career in the oil industry and played tennis part time after that.


HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: M.Anderson 0-2, J.Asboth 1-0, J.Bromwich 2-0, J.Drobny 0-1, N.Fraser 1-0, A.Larsen 1-1, R.Laver 1-0, K.McGregor 2-1, B.Patty 1-0, M.Rose 1-2, K.Rosewall 0-1, F.Sedgman 1-0, P.Segura 0-1, V.Seixas 0-1

Dick Savitt's Grand Slam record