1936 – The year the Hoover Dam was completed, Gone with the Wind
was first published and, until this past weekend, the last time the British brought home the Wimbledon Cup. The man to do so 77 years ago was none other than Mr. Fred Perry (yes, that Fred Perry).
Despite his working class roots, Perry broke into the world of tennis during a time when it was considered a game reserved for the upper class. Perry was a natural and used his unique playing style to quickly rise through the ranks. One of Perry's signature moves was his forehand, which he hit with a snap and prompted fellow tennis player Jack Kramer to call him a "physical freak". Throughout England, Perry was an instant crowd favorite because his upbringing contrasted the privileged background of many of the players and patrons associated with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club – the venue of the Wimbledon Championship.
Perry was the first player to win all 4 Grand Slam tournaments – The Australian, French and U.S. Opens, along with Wimbledon – although not all in the same year. Throughout the course of his career, Perry won eight Grand Slam tournaments, including three consecutive Wimbledon Championships beginning in 1934 and two Pro Slams.
In addition to his strength on the court, Perry was also a showman. If matches reached a fourth set, he would often change into a new shirt and white trousers to emphasize his late-game freshness and constant ease. A man of many talents, before his tennis career, Perry was the 1928 World Table Tennis Champion – how is that for an icebreaker?
Though many associate Fred Perry with his slim fit cotton polo shirts, we also tip our hats to the physical talents of the man who is one of the best to ever pick up a racquet and the greatest British player of all time.