Fred Perry


Born: 18/5/1909 Died: 2/2/1995

Australian Open 1934

French Open 1935

Wimbledon 1934,1935,1936

US Open 1933,1934,1936

US Pro 1938,1941

Fred Perry was Britain's greatest ever tennis player. His father Sam was a Labour MP and many of the snooty hierarchy of the game in Britain looked down on Perry because of his working class background. Perry was a determined player and no gallant loser like so many of his countrymen. Perry's first sporting love was table tennis. He would push the dining table up against the wall and knock for hours. In 1929 Perry won the World Table Tennis Championships in Budapest. Then Perry transferred his affections to tennis. He made his Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon later that year and lost to John Olliff in the third round. At Wimbledon 1930, Perry beat the seventh seeded Italian Umberto de Morpurgo before losing to Colin Gregory. This was enough for him to be noticed by the Davis Cup selectors. In 1931 Perry reached the semis at Wimbledon but lost in five sets to Sidney Wood, who went on to take the final by default. Perry developed his trademark fitness by training at Arsenal Football Club. This improved his stamina no end and meant he rarely lost a five set match. At the 1933 US Open Perry denied Jack Crawford the Grand Slam by coming from two sets to one down to beat him in the final to take his first Grand Slam title. At the Australian in 1934, Perry came from two sets to love down to beat Viv McGrath in the semis before overpowering Crawford in the final. At Wimbledon Perry won the title by beating Crawford in the final. An emissary from the All England Club left Perry's club tie in his dressing room and told Crawford that 'on this occasion the best man didn't win'. At the US Open Perry outlasted Wilmer Allison 8-6 in the fifth set to win his second title. After losing to Crawford in four sets in the 1935 Australian Open final, Perry took the French Open over Gottfried von Cramm in four sets in a dour final. At Wimbledon Perry beat von Cramm in straight sets to take his second title. In the Wimbledon final of 1936 von Cramm was suffering from an injury and Perry took him apart 6-1,6-1,6-0 to take a hat trick of titles. At the U.S. Open Perry reached the final again and was involved in a tremendous tussle with Don Budge. Perry finally prevailed 10-8 in the fifth set and then turned professional. Perry then emigrated to the United States and became a U.S. citizen. He earned his living on the pro tour in the late 1930s and early 1940s. On turning pro in 1937, Perry lost a head to head tour against Ellsworth Vines by just a couple of matches. In 1938 Perry and Vines faced off once again. Perry won the first six matches but in the end Vines finished with a winning 49 matches to 35 advantage. Perry had had a winning advantage over Don Budge in their amateur days before Budge had reached his peak. However, fresh from his 1938 Grand Slam, Budge overcame Perry on their head to head tour of 1939. Perry badly injured his arm in 1941 and played little competitive tennis after that. After the war he returned to Britain and was involved in a nation-wide coaching initiative with his good friend Dan Maskell. Perry was eventually recognised for his greatness and popularity when the Fred Perry gates and statue were unveiled at Wimbledon in 1984. He continued to commentate for BBC Radio and was known for his sarcastic wit. At the French Open in 1994, Perry observed that if the two players (Bruguera and Berasategui) stood any further back on the court they'd be sitting down! Perry died aged 85 in February 1995. He had been visiting the Australian Open when he sustained a fall and died in a Melbourne hospital a few days after the tournament ended.


HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: W.Allison 2-1, M.Bernard 1-0, D.Budge 2-0, J.Crawford 5-2, C.Gregory 0-1, V.McGrath 2-0, F.Parker 1-0, A.Quist 2-0, E.Vines 0-1, G.von Cramm 4-1, D.Williams 2-0, S.Wood 1-2

PRO SLAM HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: D.Budge 0-1, P.Gonzales 0-1, P.Segura 0-2, B.Tilden 1-0, E.Vines 0-1

Fred Perry's Grand Slam record
Fred Perry's Pro Slam record