Fred Perry

Fred Perry

Infobox Tennis player
playername= Frederick John Perry

nicknames =
country= United Kingdom
residence= Stockport, England
datebirth= Birth date|1909|05|18|df=yes
placebirth= Stockport, England
datedeath= Death date and age|1995|02|02|1909|05|18|df=yes
turnedpro= 1937
retired= 1939
plays= Right-handed
singlesrecord= 106–12
highestsinglesranking= No. 1 (1934)
AustralianOpenresult= W (1934)
FrenchOpenresult= W (1935)
Wimbledonresult= W (1934, 1935, 1936)
USOpenresult= W (1933, 1934, 1936)
doublesrecord= 18–4
highestdoublesranking= N/A
updated= 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. He was the last Englishman to win the Wimbledon, US Open, French Open and Australian Open Men's Singles

Early successes

His father, Samuel Perry, was elected to the British House of Commons as a Labour Party member for Kettering. Perry was a Table Tennis World Champion in 1929 before taking 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 an English 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 player while still an amateur, Perry turned professional in 1937. For the next two years he played lengthy tours against the powerful American player Ellsworth 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 dominating Perry by 18 victories to 11.

porting legacy

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. [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.]

"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 Vine 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 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 Vine 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." ["The History of Professional Tennis", Joe McCauley.]

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. He died in Melbourne, Australia.

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 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 polo shirt was only available in white until 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 and Manchester's very own [ "Perry Boys"] , a group of violent football supporters whose exploits were recently documented in the book of that name by author Ian Hough. The clothing brand has also become popular amongst young teens in Ireland.

In recent years Fred Perry has been a very popular brand again with youths, especially with Indie subculture. In Germany, it was (and to a limited extent still is) highly popular with traditional skinheads. Today however products that copy the cut of Fred Perry shirts and are produced by companies catering for the traditional skinheads subculture have surpassed the original product in popularity. The producers of Fred Perry clothing have always rejected taking a political stand and distance themselves from what is seen as "hijacking" of their brand by Far Right youths (see also Lonsdale). Fred Perry is also the sponsor of British tennis player Andy Murray.

Fred Perry Way

The Fred Perry Way, named after the famous tennis champion from Stockport, 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)

Runner-ups (2)

Grand Slam Titles


*Australian Open (1934)
*French Open (1935)
*Wimbledon (1934, 1935, 1936)
*US Open (1933, 1934, 1936)


*Australian Open (1934)
*French Open (1936)

Mixed doubles

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

ee also

* List of male tennis players
* List of World Table Tennis Champions



* "The History of Professional Tennis" (2003), Joe McCauley

External links

* [ International Tennis Hall of Fame profile]
* [ Official Wimbledon website profile]
* [ Fred Perry Official website]
* [ Fred Perry Way route map]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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