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Fred Perry: Not Just A Name on Murray's Shirt

Posted by gauloises1 on May 11, 2009

Neil Harman has some interesting stuff here on Fred Perry, the first (and possibly last) British tennis superstar.


Obviously one hears Perry’s name a lot, particularly these days with Andy Murray. But I’ve realised I don’t know anything about him, really. With the 100th anniversary of his birth approaching, Jon Henderson has a book coming out, The Last Champion, that I really want to read – especially if it elaborates on this kind of thing:

A hundred years on, and the name Perry still resonates as vividly as it did in the 1930s, when he won his three Wimbledon championships, completed the grand slam of all four of the majors, became something of a matinee idol, and all of this after he had won the world table tennis championship at 19 defeating Hungary’s 17-year-old sensation Miklos Szabados 14-21, 21-12, 23-21, 21-19 in the final – the first time he had entered the championship and after which he received a 10 minute standing ovation in Budapest, the Hungarian capital. Perry was an absolute star.

And how about this:

Think of this. “Tennis has always been a bit of an intellectual exercise,” Perry once wrote, but I wanted to make it a physical test, too.” And so, as Henderson tells us, he contacted Tom Whittaker, who had transformed the training methods of Arsenal FC and a deal was struck by which if Perry made certain he was at the training ground at 9 in the morning, he could train with the first team squad for free.

“I must have round around that Highbury pitch hundreds of thousands of times,” Perry recalled ” and up and down those stands five million times. Eddie Hapgood, David Jack, Cliff Bastin, Alex James, they used to kill me.” Perry also played in the weekly football practices, once being chided by Whittaker for upending Herbie Roberts, the England centre-half, because Roberts was valuable. “So am I,” Perry responded.

You should read the whole thing.

And for extra credit, you can read the Times report from July 7th, 1934, when Perry won Wimbledon, here. You won’t regret it.

6 Responses to “Fred Perry: Not Just A Name on Murray's Shirt”

  1. Arun said

    hmmm.. that man excelled in 3 sports? nice.. a great report about the final too.


    “We are indebted to a couple of correspondents who tell us that the youngest players in the top 100 are Juan Martin Del Potro (Argentina) and Marin Cilic (Croatia), both 20 years and eight months, and not since the rankings came into force in 1973, have players so ‘old’ been the youngest at that level. ”

    really? that’s surprising to know.

  2. lauren said

    The other article about Perry was an eye-opener too.
    Jean Harlow, Marlene Dietrich, Bette Davis… I was thinking he was a proto-Safin till I read he was teetotal.

  3. klaksa said

    ебать мой хер

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