William Larned

American tennis player

William Larned
Bill larned.jpg
Full nameWilliam Augustus Larned
Country (sports) United States 22
Born(1872-12-30)December 30, 1872
Summit, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedDecember 16, 1926(1926-12-16) (aged 53)
New York, New York, U.S.
Turned pro1890 (amateur tour)
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF1956 (member page)
Career record291–71 (80.3%)[1]
Career titles48[1]
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1901, ITHF)[2]
Grand Slam singles results
WimbledonQF (1896, 1905)
US OpenW (1901, 1902, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911)
Grand Slam doubles results
WimbledonSF (1905)
Team competitions
Davis CupW (1902)
Charles Dixon vs. William Augustus Larned on September 9, 1911
William Larned in action

William Augustus Larned (December 30, 1872 – December 16, 1926) was an American tennis player who was active at the beginning of the 20th century. He won seven singles titles at the U.S. National Championships.


Larned was born and raised in Summit, New Jersey on the estate of his father, William Zebedee Larned, a wealthy lawyer and a major landowner in Summit. Stoneover, the manor house in which he grew up, today houses the administrative and faculty offices of the Oak Knoll School. Larned Road in Summit honors both father and son; Brayton School in Summit was named in honor of his younger brother Brayton, who died at age 15. He came from a family that could trace its American roots to shortly after the arrival of the Mayflower. In 1890 he came to Cornell University to study mechanical engineering. He first gained fame in his junior year, when he became the first (and to this day, the only) Cornellian to win the intercollegiate tennis championship.

An all-around athlete, Larned captained the St. Nicholas Hockey Club in 1896–97 and was also a horseman, golfer, and rifle shot. He invented the steel-framed racquet in 1922 and founded a company to manufacture it.

Larned won the title seven times, as did Richard Sears before him and Bill Tilden after.[3] Larned was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup Team in 1902–03, 1905, 1908–09 and 1911–12. Larned achieved a career-high U.S. ranking of No. 1. He twice participated in the Wimbledon Championships, in 1896 and 1905, but could not match his success at home, losing on both occasions in the quarterfinals.

He was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1956.

Larned in 1898 had served in the Spanish–American War as one of Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders. While serving in the war, Larned caught rheumatism in Cuba; rheumatoid arthritis later deteriorated his health forcing him to retire from tennis after losing the Davis Cup challenge round in early 1912. Partially paralyzed by spinal meningitis, he was unable to do any of the activities he loved most, and became depressed. On the evening of December 15, 1926, inside the private chambers of the exclusive Knickerbocker Club in Manhattan, the 53-year-old Larned committed suicide by shooting himself.

Playing style

In their book R.F. and H.L. Doherty - On Lawn Tennis (1903) multiple Wimbledon champions Reginald and Laurence Doherty described Larned's playing style:

Larned, when on his game, is very fine indeed and very brilliant. His is a good style and pleasant to watch. Throughout he hits hard, and goes for his stroke. With very little effort Larned gets great pace on the ball. His forehand is distinctly stronger than his backhand, but he puts top on both, hitting nearly at the height of the bound. Among his strongest points are his forehand volley, which is very hard indeed, and his service, which is a capital one of the ordinary straight kind, and which he, as a rule, follows up to the net. He is quick reaching the net after a good-length drive, and he can drive the ball while he is on the run. He is good at the volley but erratic at times in his return of service. He has really only one fault — namely, that he varies at times; he has his off-days.

On Lawn Tennis - 1903[4]

Grand Slam finals

Singles: 9 (7 titles, 2 runners-up)

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Loss 1900 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Malcolm Whitman 4–6, 6–1, 2–6, 2–6
Win 1901 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Beals Wright 6–2, 6–8, 6–4, 6–4
Win 1902 U.S. National Championships Grass United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Reginald Doherty 4–6, 6–2, 6–4, 8–6
Loss 1903 U.S. National Championships Grass United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Laurence Doherty 0–6, 3–6, 8–10
Win 1907 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Robert LeRoy 6–2, 6–2, 6–4
Win 1908 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Beals Wright 6–1, 6–2, 8–6
Win 1909 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Bill Clothier 6–1, 6–2, 5–7, 1–6, 6–1
Win 1910 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Tom Bundy 6–1, 5–7, 6–0, 6–8, 6–1
Win 1911 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Maurice McLoughlin 6–4, 6–4, 6–2

Performance timeline

(W) winner; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (NH) not held; (SR) strike rate (events won / competed); (W–L) win–loss record.

Events with a challenge round: (WC) won; (CR) lost the challenge round; (FA) all comers' finalist

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 SR W–L Win %
Grand Slam tournaments 7 / 20 66–14 82.50
French only for French club members 0 / 0 0–0
Wimbledon A A A A A QF A A A A A A A A QF A A A A A A 0 / 2 5–2 71.43
U.S. 3R FA A FA FA FA SF A A CR W WC CR SF SF 2R W WC WC WC WC 7 / 18 61–12 83.56
Australian not held A A A A A A A 0 / 0 0–0
Win–loss 2–1 5–1 4–1 5–1 5–1 7–2 4–1 0–0 0–0 6–1 5–0 1–0 0–1 4–1 7–2 0–1 7–0 1–0 1–0 1–0 1–0


  1. ^ a b "William Larned:Career match record". thetennisbase.com. Tennis Base.
  2. ^ International Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee
  3. ^ "Larned works Bundy". The Baltimore Sun. August 26, 1910. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com. For the fourth consecutive time and for the sixth time in his career as tennis player William A. Larned, of Summit, N.J., today won the challenge match of the singles championship of the United States, defeating Thos. C. Bundy, of Los Angeles, Cal., on the Casin courts, 6–1, 5–7, 6–0, 6–8, 6–1
  4. ^ Doherty, R.F.; Doherty, H.L. (1903). R.F. and H.L. Doherty on Lawn Tennis (1st ed.). London: Lawn Tennis. pp. 62–63.

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