Fred Perry: Wikis


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Frederick John Perry.
A statue of Fred Perry at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon.
Country United Kingdom
Residence Stockport, England
Date of birth 18 May 1909(1909-05-18)
Place of birth Stockport, England
Date of death 2 February 1995 (aged 85)
Place of death Melbourne, Australia
Turned pro 1937
Retired 1939
Plays Right-handed; one-handed backhand
Int. Tennis HOF 1975 (member page)
Career record 106–12
Highest ranking No. 1 (1934)
Grand Slam results
Australian Open W (1934)
French Open W (1935)
Wimbledon W (1934, 1935, 1936)
US Open W (1933, 1934, 1936)
Career record 18–4
Highest ranking N/A
Last updated on: 7 January 2007.

Frederick John Perry (18 May 1909 – 2 February 1995) born in Stockport, Cheshire, was an English tennis and table tennis player and three-time Wimbledon champion. He was the World No. 1 player for five years, four of them consecutive, 1934 to 1938, the first three years as an amateur.

As an eight-time Slam winner, Perry is the last British male player to win any of tennis's Grand Slam events, and one of only six men in history to have won all four Grand Slam events.[1]


Early successes

The house where Fred Perry was born

Born in 1872, his father, Samuel Perry, was elected to the British House of Commons as a Co-operative member for Kettering. Perry was a Table Tennis World Champion in 1929 and took up tennis at the relatively late age of 18. He had exceptional speed from his table tennis days and played with the Continental grip, attacking the ball low and on the rise. He was the first player to win all four Grand Slam singles titles, though not all in the same year. He was the first to have achieved the "Career Grand Slam," doing so at the age of 26. Perry is the last British player to win the Wimbledon men's singles title, winning it three times in a row and becoming a British icon.

In 1933 Perry helped lead his team to victory over France in the Davis Cup, which earned Great Britain the Davis Cup for the first time in 21 years.

As a professional

After three years as the World No. 1 amateur player, Perry turned professional in 1937. For the next two years he played lengthy tours against the powerful American player Elly Vines. In 1937 they played 61 matches in the United States, with Vines winning 32 and Perry 29. They then sailed to England, where they played a brief tour. Perry won six matches out of nine, so they finished the year tied at 35 victories each. Most observers at the time considered Perry to be the World No. 1 for the fourth year in a row, sharing the title, however, with both Vines and the amateur Don Budge. The following year, 1938, the tour was even longer, and this time Vines beat Perry 49 matches to 35. Budge, winner of the amateur Grand Slam, was clearly the World No. 1 player. In 1939 Budge turned professional and played a series of matches against both Vines and Perry, beating Vines 21 times to 18 and Perry by 18 victories to 11.

Sporting legacy

Fred Perry's Blue Plaque at the house where he was born

Perry is considered by some to have been one of the greatest male players to have ever played the game. In his 1979 autobiography Jack Kramer, the long-time tennis promoter and great player himself, called Perry one of the six greatest players of all time.[2]

Kings of the Court, a video-tape documentary made in 1997 in conjunction with the International Tennis Hall of Fame, named Perry one of the ten greatest players of all time. But this documentary only considered those players who played before the Open era of tennis that began in 1968, with the exception of Rod Laver, who spanned both eras, so that all of the more recent great players are missing.

Kramer, however, has several caveats about Perry. He says that Bill Tilden once called Perry "the world's worst good player". Kramer says that Perry was "extremely fast; he had a hard body with sharp reflexes, and he could hit a forehand with a snap, slamming it on the rise—and even on the fastest grass. That shot was nearly as good as Segura's two-handed forehand." His only real weakness, says Kramer, "was his backhand. Perry hit underslice off that wing about 90 percent of the time, and eventually at the very top levels—against Vines and Budge—that was what did him in. Whenever an opponent would make an especially good shot, Perry would cry out 'Very clevah.' I never played Fred competitively, but I heard enough from other guys that 'Very clevah' drove a lot of opponents crazy."

Kramer also says that in spite of his many victories, both as an amateur and as a professional, Perry was an "opportunist, a selfish and egotistical person, and he never gave a damn about professional tennis. He was through as a player the instant he turned pro. He was a great champion, and he could have helped tennis, but it wasn't in his interest so he didn't bother." Kramer then recounts several instances in which it was clear to him that Perry was losing matches in which he had given up because he "wanted to make sure that the crowd understood that this was all beneath him."

Perry, however, recalled his days on the professional tour differently. He maintained that "there was never any easing up in his tour matches with Ellsworth Vines and Bill Tilden since there was the title of World Pro Champion at stake." He said "I must have played Vines in something like 350 matches, yet there was never any fixing as most people thought. There were always people willing to believe that our pro matches weren't strictly on the level, that they were just exhibitions. But as far as we were concerned, we always gave everything we had."[3]

A final comment from Kramer is that Perry unwittingly "screwed up men's tennis in England, although this wasn't his fault. The way he could hit a forehand—snap it off like a ping-pong shot—Perry was a physical freak. Nobody else could be taught to hit a shot that way. But the kids over there copied Perry's style, and it ruined them. Even after Perry faded out of the picture, the coaches there must have kept using him as a model."

Inside the Church Road gate at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, London, a statue of Fred Perry was erected in 1984 to mark the 50th anniversary of his first singles championship. In his birthplace, a special 14 mile (23 km) walking route, Fred Perry Way, was built by the borough of Stockport and officially opened in September 2002.

Perry was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island in 1975. Perry also has a street named after him in El Paso, Texas. He died in Melbourne, Australia.


Perry was educated during his early teenage years at Ealing Green Grammar School for Boys, in Ealing, West London. Until it's eventual closure in the mid-nineties (having long succumbed to the comprehensive school system), he was still remembered and justifiably considered their most famous 'old boy'.

Personal life

Perry was one of the leading bachelors of the 1930s and his off-court romances were sensationalised in the world press. Perry had a romantic relationship with actress Marlene Dietrich and in 1934 he announced his engagement to British actress Mary Lawson, but the relationship fell apart after Perry relocated to America. In 1935 he married American film star Helen Vinson, but their marriage ended in divorce in 1940. The following year Perry was briefly married to model Sandra Breaux and in 1945 he married Lorraine Walsh, but the marriage ended quickly. Perry's final marriage to Barbara Riese in 1952 lasted forty years, until his death.[4][5]

Fred Perry clothing brand

In the late 1940s, Perry was approached by Tibby Wegner, an Austrian footballer who had invented an anti-perspirant device worn around the wrist. Perry made a few changes and invented the sweatband.

Wegner's next idea was to produce a sports shirt, which was to be made from white knitted cotton pique with short sleeves and buttons down the front. Launched at Wimbledon in 1952, the Fred Perry polo shirt was an immediate success.

The brand, now owned by a Japanese corporation,[6] is best known for its laurel logo, which appears on the left breast of the tennis shirts. The laurel logo (based on the old Wimbledon symbol) was stitched into the fabric of the shirt instead of merely ironed on (as was the case with the crocodile logo of the competing Lacoste brand).

The white polo shirt was only supplemented in the late 50s when the mods picked up on it and demanded a more varied colour palette. It was the shirt of choice for diverse groups of teenagers throughout the 1960s and 70s, ranging from the skinheads to the Northern Soul scene. It regained popularity when Scottish tennis star Andy Murray had it as his clothing sponsor; Murray signed with Adidas for 2010.

Fred Perry Way

Fred Perry Way sign

The Fred Perry Way is a recently designated 14 mile walking route which spans the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, from Woodford in the south to Reddish in the north. The route combines rural footpaths, quiet lanes and river valleys with urban landscapes and parklands. Interesting features of the route include Houldsworth Mill and Square, the start of the River Mersey at the confluence of the River Tame and River Goyt, Stockport Town Centre, Vernon and Woodbank Parks and the Happy Valley. The route passes through Woodbank Park where Fred Perry actually played some showcase games of tennis in the park's tennis courts.

Grand Slam singles finals


Wins (8)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1933 U.S. Championships Australia Jack Crawford 6–3, 11–13, 4–6, 6–0, 6–1
1934 Australian Championships Australia Jack Crawford 6–3, 7–5, 6–1
1934 Wimbledon Championships Australia Jack Crawford 6–3, 6–0, 7–5
1934 U.S. Championships (2) United States Wilmer Allison 6–4, 6–3, 1–6, 8–6
1935 French Championships Nazi Germany Gottfried von Cramm 6–3, 3–6, 6–1, 6–3
1935 Wimbledon Championships (2) Nazi Germany Gottfried von Cramm 6–2, 6–4, 6–4
1936 Wimbledon Championships (3) Nazi Germany Gottfried von Cramm 6–1, 6–1, 6–0
1936 U.S. Championships (3) United States Don Budge 2–6, 6–2, 8–6, 1–6, 10–8

Runner-ups (2)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1935 Australian Championships Australia Jack Crawford 6–2, 4–6, 4–6, 4–6
1936 French Championships Nazi Germany Gottfried von Cramm 0–6, 6–2, 2–6, 6–2, 0–6

Results timeline

Tournament 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936
Australian Championships W F
French Championships R4 QF QF QF W F
Wimbledon Championships R3 R4 SF QF R2 W W W
U.S. Championships R4 SF W W SF W

Grand Slam Titles



  • Australian Open (1934)
  • French Open (1936)

Mixed doubles

  • French Open (1932)
  • Wimbledon (1935, 1936)
  • US Open (1932)

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Writing in 1979, Kramer considered the best ever to have been either Don Budge (for consistent play) or Ellsworth Vines (at the height of his game). The next four best were, chronologically, Bill Tilden, Fred Perry, Bobby Riggs, and Pancho Gonzales. After these six came the "second echelon" of Rod Laver, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Gottfried von Cramm, Ted Schroeder, Jack Crawford, Pancho Segura, Frank Sedgman, Tony Trabert, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Björn Borg, and Jimmy Connors. He felt unable to rank Henri Cochet and René Lacoste accurately but felt they were among the very best.
  3. ^ The History of Professional Tennis, Joe McCauley.
  4. ^ {{ Perry had one sister named, Sylvia, and has a great nephew and great niece, named Daniel and Laura Nightingale. cite web | author= | publisher= | year= | url= | title=Fred Perry | accessdate=June 3, 2009 }}
  5. ^ Doward, Jamie (May 10, 2009). "How Britain's prince of tennis wooed Hollywood's top stars". The Observer. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  6. ^ (Jon Henderson, THE LAST CHAMPION: The Life of Fred Perry, Yellow Jersey, 2009, 978 0 224 08253 2; also TLS, 2009.6.24, Ferdinand Mount, "The Last Champion")


  • The History of Professional Tennis (2003), Joe McCauley

External links


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