J. Donald Budge


Born: 13/6/1915 Died: 26/1/2000

Australian Open 1938

French Open 1938

Wimbledon 1937,1938

US Open 1937,1938

Pro Champion 1939,1940,1941,1942

French Pro 1939

British Pro 1939

US Pro 1940,1942

John Donald Budge was a Californian, but it was a strange twist of fate that saw him in America. Budge's father, Jack Budge, had played soccer for Glasgow Rangers. Near the end of a practice session one day, Budge went down and was knocked unconscious. Then the ball was kicked to the other end of the pitch and soon afterwards the practice session finished and the players went back to the dressing room. Budge's absence was discovered some time later. He was in the same place he fell and, although they revived him, lying on the cold Scottish turf for all that time caused him to have respiratory problems to the end of his days. Advised by his doctors to move to a warmer climate, Budge emigrated to California. He then married and had children. J. Donald Budge was coached by his elder brother Lloyd but played little tennis as a youngster. Budge concentrated on basketball and baseball and only began playing tennis seriously when he was 15. Budge made his Grand Slam debut aged 19 at the 1934 US, where he lost in the fourth round to Vernon Kirby. At Wimbledon 1935 Budge beat fourth seed Bunny Austin before losing in the semis to Gottfried von Cramm. At the US he lost in the quarters to Bitsy Grant. At Wimbledon 1936 Budge beat Adrian Quist before losing in the semis to Fred Perry. Perry just managed to beat Budge in the US final 10-8 in the fifth set in a match Budge should really have won. Budge was the number one player in the world and dominated the game in 1937, his brilliant backhand the main reason for his success. He won the deciding match in the Davis Cup inter zone final against the Germans, in which he beat Gottfried von Cramm in what some still believe was the greatest match of all time (he beat von Cramm in the Wimbledon and US finals as well). In 1938 Budge set his sights on retaining his Wimbledon and U.S. titles, as well as winning the titles of Australia and France to win the championships of the four nations who had ever won the Davis Cup. He told his doubles partner and great friend Gene Mako of his aim but did not mention it to anyone else. In December 1937 Budge and Mako set sail for Australia. When they arrived 21 days later they began playing warm up matches prior to the start of the Australian championships in Adelaide that got underway in mid-January 1938. Budge breezed through to the final with the loss of only one set and then annihilated John Bromwich 6-4,6-2,6-1. The Aussies were pleased that Budge had made the trip at all because few foreigners did in those days. With the first leg of the Slam accomplished Budge turned his attentions to Europe in preparation for the French championships. It was the first time Budge had been to Paris and he came through his opening two matches comfortably, before surviving a five set last 16 match with Franjo Kukuljevic. He then breezed past Bernard Destremau and Josip Pallada to enter the final against the Czech Roderich Menzel. Budge won it in straight sets to notch up the second leg of the Slam. So it was on to Wimbledon. Defending his title, Budge coasted into the final without dropping a set. Then he beat the home favourite Bunny Austin 6-1,6-0,6-3 to claim the third leg of the Grand Slam. The U.S. Championships at Forest Hills, New York stood between Budge and the Grand Slam. Just as he had done at Wimbledon he breezed through to the final without dropping a set and faced his old friend Gene Mako in the final. Budge won in four sets and Mako greeted him at the net with a warm handshake and congratulated Budge on fulfilling his ambition, which only he knew about. The U.S. retained the Davis Cup, with Budge winning both his singles matches and with his goals achieved Budge turned professional in autumn 1938. Budge then won the 1939 World Championship Series against Ellsworth Vines and Fred Perry to become pro champion. He beat Tilden in the 1941 World Championship Series and retained his title the following year over Bobby Riggs, Frank Kovacs, Fred Perry and Lester Stoefen. He also won the US Pro in 1940 (over Perry) and 1942 (over Riggs), the French Pro in 1939 (over Vines) and the British Pro in 1939. Budge served during the war but after the war was not the same player. He lost his World Champion crown in 1946 after a narrow world championship series loss to Bobby Riggs. After celebrating the 60th anniversary of his 'Slam' in 1998 Budge suffered a car accident in late 1999. He never recovered from it and died in early 2000. Budge dominated the game for years but even if open tennis had arrived earlier, many of Budge's best years were during the Second World War when the U. S. Open was the only Grand Slam event held.


HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: J.Bromwich 1-0, J.Hunt 2-0, V.McGrath 1-0, F.Parker 3-0, F.Perry 0-2, Y.Petra 1-0, A.Quist 3-0, G.von Cramm 2-1, S.Wood 1-0

PRO SLAM HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: P.Gonzales 0-3, K.Kozeluh 1-0, J.Kramer 0-2, H.Nusslein 2-0, D.Pails 2-0, F.Perry 1-0, B.Riggs 4-4, F.Sedgman 0-1, P.Segura 0-1, B.Tilden 3-0, E.Vines 2-0

J. Donald Budge's Grand Slam record
J. Donald Budge's Pro Slam record