Art Larsen

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Art Larsen
Full name Arthur David Larsen
Country  United States
Born (1925-04-17)April 17, 1925
Hayward, California, USA
Died December 7, 2012(2012-12-07) (aged 87)
San Leandro, California, USA
Turned pro 1948 (amateur tour)
Retired 1956
Plays Left-handed (1-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HOF 1969 (member page)
Singles
Highest ranking No. 3 (1950, John Olliff)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open SF (1951)
French Open F (1954)
Wimbledon QF (1950, 1951, 1953)
US Open W (1950)
Art Larsen

Arthur David ("Art" or "Tappy") Larsen (April 17, 1925 – December 7, 2012) was an American No. 1 male tennis player best remembered for his victory at the U.S. Championships in 1950 and for his eccentricities.[2] He won the "Times" national sports award for the outstanding tennis player of 1950.[3] Larsen was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1969.

Biography[edit]

Jack Kramer, tennis player and long-time promoter, stated in his 1979 autobiography that "Larsen was fascinating to watch. He had concentrated on tennis as mental therapy after serving long stretches in the front lines during (World War II). He was called Tappy because he went around touching everything for good luck,[4] and sometimes he would chat with an imaginary bird that sat on his shoulder. This was good theatre, but it could never have made Larsen a candidate for a professional tour."[5]

John Olliff of The Daily Telegraph ranked Larsen as World No. 3 in 1950.[1]

A member of the Olympic Club in San Francisco, he had previously attended the University of San Francisco, where he was a member of the 1949 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship team. He was 5 feet 10 inches and 150 pounds and was also known for his partying before, and during, his tournament appearances. It was frequently written that Larsen would arrive for an important match directly from an all-night party with no benefit of sleep.[6]

He was the first man to win the American amateur championships on the four court surfaces that existed at the time, grass, clay, hardcourt, and indoor. Since then, only Tony Trabert has equalled his feat.

Larsen's tennis career ended abruptly in November 1956, after a motor scooter accident in Castro Valley, California. He was partially paralyzed and lost sight in one eye. He was the Number 8 ranked American amateur at the time.

Larsen died on December 7, 2012 at the age of 87.[7]

Grand Slam record[edit]

U.S. Championships[edit]

  • Singles champion: 1950
  • Singles runner-up: 1954

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b United States Lawn Tennis Association (1972). Official Encyclopedia of Tennis (First Edition), p. 426.
  2. ^ Newman, Paul (December 24, 2012). "Art Larsen: Tennis player whose prodigious talents were matched by his eccentricities". London: The Independent. Retrieved December 24, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Larsen is happier - Dec 12th, 1950". The Sydney Morning Herald. March 2, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Strange Habits of Highly Successful Tennis Players" by Christopher Clarey, June 21, 2008 in The New York Times.
  5. ^ The Game, My 40 Years in Tennis (1979), Jack Kramer with Frank Deford, page 92
  6. ^ Watkins, Les (2010). "What a load of racquets", Fairfax NZ News, April 20, 2010.
  7. ^ Weber, Bruce (December 25, 2012). "Art Larsen, Quirky Tennis Champion, Dies at 87". The New York Times. 

Sources[edit]

  • The Game, My 40 Years in Tennis (1979), Jack Kramer with Frank Deford (ISBN 0-399-12336-9)

External links[edit]