Eric Sturgess

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Eric Sturgess
Full name Eric William Sturgess
Country South Africa South Africa
Born (1920-05-10)10 May 1920
Johannesburg, South Africa
Died 14 January 2004(2004-01-14) (aged 83)
Sunninghill, South Africa
Plays Right-handed (1-handed backhand)
Singles
Career record 62–15
Highest ranking No. 6 (1948, John Olliff)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open SF (1950)
French Open F (1947, 1951)
Wimbledon SF (1951)
US Open F (1948)
Doubles
Career record 0–1
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open F (1950)
French Open W (1947)
Wimbledon F (1951, 1952)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Australian Open F (1950)
French Open W (1947, 1949)
Wimbledon W (1949, 1950)
US Open W (1949)

Eric William Sturgess (10 May 1920 – 14 January 2004) was a South African male tennis player and winner of six Grand Slam doubles titles. He also reached the singles final of a Grand Slam tournament three times but never won. Sturgess was ranked World No. 6 by John Olliff of The Daily Telegraph in both 1948 and 1949.[1][2]

Biography[edit]

Eric Sturgess was born in Johannesburg, South Africa where he attended Parktown Boys' High School.[3] Sturgess joined the South African Air Force on the outbreak of World War II and became an instructor with No 4 Spitfire Squadron, SAAF. In October 1944 he was shot down by anti-aircraft fire, captured on landing and sent to the air force officers' prison camp, Stalag Luft III, in eastern Germany. In January 1945 he was transported to Stalag IIIA at Luckenwalde which was liberated two months later by the advancing Russian forces.[3]

He reached the singles final of the 1947 and 1951 French Championships but lost to Hungarian József Asbóth (6–8, 5–7, 4–6) and Jaroslav Drobný (6–3, 6–3, 6–3) respectively. In 1947 he won the doubles competition with countryman Eustace Fannin. In 1948 he reached the singles final at the U.S. National Championships but lost to American Pancho Gonzales.[4]

In 1947 and 1948 he won the British Hard Court Championships played in Bournemouth. He won the first three Swedish Open tournaments (1948, 1949, 1950), played in Båstad. Sturgess won a record 11 singles titles at the South African Championships between 1939 and 1957.

By the end of his career Sturgess had reached fifteen Grand Slam finals (three in singles, six in doubles and six in mixed doubles). He won four titles (the 1947 French Championships doubles title, the 1949 French Championships mixed doubles title and the 1949 and 1950 Wimbledon mixed doubles title).[4]

He represented South Africa in the Davis Cup competition in six ties, compiling a 13–5 record in singles and doubles.[5]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles[edit]

Runner-ups (3)[edit]

Year Championship Opponent Score
1947 French Championships Hungary Jozsef Asboth 6–8, 5–7, 4–6
1948 U.S. National Championships United States Pancho Gonzales 2–6, 3–6, 12–14
1951 French Championships Egypt Jaroslav Drobný 3–6, 3–6, 3–6

Doubles[edit]

Titles (1)[edit]

Year Championship Partner Opponents Score
1947 French Championships South Africa Eustace Fannin United States Tom Brown
Australia Bill Sidwell
6–4, 4–6, 6–4, 6–3

Runner-ups (5)[edit]

Year Championship Partner Opponents Score
1949 French Championships South Africa Eustace Fannin United States Pancho Gonzales
United States Frank Parker
3–6, 6–8, 7–5, 3–6
1950 Australian Championships Egypt Jaroslav Drobný Australia John Bromwich
Australia Adrian Quist
3–6, 7–5, 6–4, 3–6, 6–8
1950 French Championships Egypt Jaroslav Drobný United States Bill Talbert
United States Tony Trabert
2–6, 6–1, 8–10, 2–6
1951 Wimbledon Egypt Jaroslav Drobný Australia Ken McGregor
Australia Frank Sedgman
6–3, 2–6, 3–6, 6–3, 3–6
1952 Wimbledon United States Vic Seixas Australia Ken McGregor
Australia Frank Sedgman
3–6, 5–7, 4–6

Mixed doubles[edit]

Titles (5)[edit]

Year Championship Partner Opponents Score
1947 French Championships South Africa Sheila Piercey Summers Poland Jadwiga Jedrzejowska
Romania Chistian Caralulis
6–0, 6–0
1949 French Championships South Africa Sheila Piercey Summers United Kingdom Jean Quertier
United Kingdom Gerry Oakley
6–1, 6–1
1949 Wimbledon South Africa Sheila Piercey Summers United States Louise Brough
Australia John Bromwich
9–7, 9–11, 7–5
1949 U.S. National Championships United States Louise Brough United States Margaret Osborne duPont
United States Bill Talbert
4–6, 6–3, 7–5
1950 Wimbledon United States Louise Brough United States Pat Canning Todd
Australia Geoff Brown
11–9, 1–6, 6–4

Runner-ups (1)[edit]

Year Championship Partner Opponents Score
1950 Australian Championships Australia Joyce Fitch United States Doris Hart
Australia Frank Sedgman
6–8, 4–6

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b United States Lawn Tennis Association (1972). Official Encyclopedia of Tennis (First Edition), p. 426.
  2. ^ "Richard Gonzalez World's No. 1: Amateur Lawn Tennis Rankings", The Sunday Indian Express, 18th November 1949.
  3. ^ a b "Obituaries – Eric Sturgess". Telegraph. 5 February 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (2nd ed. ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. pp. 373, 387, 400, 436, 460. ISBN 978-0942257700. 
  5. ^ "Davis Cup – Player Profile". ITF. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 

External links[edit]