By Randy Walker
The tennis world is still buzzing over Andy Murray ending a 76-year British Grand Slam drought of men’s singles champions.
Murray’s 7-6 (10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 win over Novak Djokovic in Monday’s US Open final ended years of frustration that a British man could not break through and win one of the four major championships of tennis.
This 76-year era of British Grand Slam futility actually started 76 years ago today, on September 12, 1936, when the last British man prior to Murray sat in the winner’s circle as a singles champion at a major championship. That man was, of course, Fred Perry, who captured the last of his three U.S. Championships – and his eight major singles titles – with his dramatic win over Don Budge in the final of the U.S. Championships. Perry, who also won three Wimbledon titles and one French and Australian title in his Hall of Fame career, was incidentally, the first player in tennis history to capture a “Career Grand Slam” when he captured the French Championships in 1935. This was, of course, three years before Budge won the first “calendar year” Grand Slam in 1938.
The following is my write up from the September 12 chapter of my book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY (available at www.TennisHistoryBook.com, where ever books are sold and here on amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/This-Tennis-History-Day—Day/dp/0942257421/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347467605&sr=8-1&keywords=On+this+day+in+tennis+history) that reviews this historic date.
Sept. 12, 1936: Fred Perry becomes the first foreigner to win three U.S. men’s singles titles as he dramatically defeats Don Budge 2-6, 6-2, 8-6, 1-6, 10-8 in the men’s singles final. Budge holds two match points serving for the match at 5-3 in the fifth set, but falters. Wrote Bud Collins in The Bud Collins History of Tennis, “Point and counter-point they went as Budge, in his first major final, neared the championship again and again, two points away at 7-6 and 8-7, only to be blocked. Every point was a war, but Perry coolly won the last three games, the only man other than Bill Tilden to carry off three titles fromForest Hills. It was Fred’s eighth major singles, good for second place all-time then behind Tilden’s 10. Budge would play six more major finals, winning them all.”
ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY is a fun and fact-filled, this compilation offers anniversaries, summaries, and anecdotes of events from the world of tennis for every day in the calendar year. Presented in a day-by-day format, the entries into this mini-encyclopedia include major tournament victory dates, summaries of the greatest matches ever played, trivia, and statistics as well as little-known and quirky happenings. Easy-to-use and packed with fascinating details, the book is the perfect companion for tennis and general sports fans alike and is an excellent gift idea for the holiday season. The book features fascinating and unique stories of players such as John McEnroe, Don Budge, Maria Sharapova, Bill Tilden, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Anna Kournikova among many others. On This Day In Tennis History is available for purchase via on-line book retailers and in bookstores in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
Said Hall of Famer and current U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier of the book, “ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY is a fun read that chronicles some of the most important—and unusual—moments in the annals of tennis.” Said tennis historian Joel Drucker, author of Jimmy Connors Saved My Life, “An addictive feast that you can enjoy every possible way—dipping in for various morsels, devouring it day-by-day, or selectively finding essential ingredients. As a tennis writer, I will always keep this book at the head of my table.” Said Bill Mountford, former Director of Tennis of the USTA National Tennis Center, “ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY is an easy and unique way to absorb the greatest—and most quirky—moments in tennis history. It’s best read a page a day!”