Harry Hopman

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Harry Hopman
Harry Hopman 1930s.jpg
Harry Hopman hitting an overhead in the 1930s
Full name Henry Christian Hopman
Country  Australia
Born (1906-08-12)12 August 1906
Glebe, New South Wales
Died 27 December 1985(1985-12-27) (aged 79)
Seminole, Florida
Plays Right-handed (1-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HOF 1978 (member page)
Singles
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open F (1930, 1931, 1932)
French Open QF (1930)
Wimbledon 4R (1934, 1935)
US Open QF (1938, 1939)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open W (1929, 1930)
French Open F (1930, 1948)
US Open F (1939)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Australian Open W (1930, 1936, 1937, 1939)
Wimbledon F (1945)
US Open W (1939)

Henry Christian "Harry" Hopman CBE (12 August 1906 – 27 December 1985) was a world-acclaimed Australian tennis player and coach.

Hopman was born in Glebe, Sydney, New South Wales, before his family moved to Parramatta, a city adjoining Sydney and now effectively a suburb of the metropolis.

Hopman was a student at Rosehill Public Primary (elementary) school, where his father was headmaster, and later at Parramatta High School, where he played tennis and cricket.

Early life[edit]

Harry Hopman was born on 12 August 1906 in Glebe, Sydney as the third child of John Henry Hopman, schoolteacher, and his wife Jennie Siberteen, née Glad. He started playing tennis at the age of 13 and, playing barefoot, won an open singles tournament on a court in the playground of Rosehill Public School, where his father was headmaster.[1]

Davis Cup[edit]

Hopman was the successful captain-coach of 22 Australian Davis Cup teams from 1939 to 1967. With players such as Frank Sedgman, Ken McGregor, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Rod Laver, Neale Fraser, John Newcombe, Fred Stolle, Tony Roche, Roy Emerson, Ashley Cooper, Rex Hartwig, Mervyn Rose, and Mal Anderson, he won the cup an unmatched 16 times.

In late 1951, when it appeared that Davis Cup player Frank Sedgman was about to turn professional, Hopman used his column in the Melbourne Herald to lead a fundraising campaign designed to keep Sedgman in the amateur ranks. Enough money was raised to purchase a gasoline station in the name of Sedgman's wife-to-be and Sedgman remained an amateur for one more year. As Joe McCauley writes in The History of Professional Tennis, "For some reason, the pious Hopman, a strong opponent of the paid game, did not regard this as an infringement of Sedgman's amateur status."[2]

Journalism[edit]

Hopman was also a journalist, providing sporting commentary. After World War II, this became his focus until he was once again coaxed into tennis coaching. As an example of Hopman's journalism, Kramer writes that Sedgman, by then a successful touring professional, once "volunteered to help train the Aussie [Davis Cup] team. Hopman accepted the offer, and then he took Sedg aside and told him that what Hoad and Rosewall needed was confidence. So he told Sedg to go easy on them, which he gladly did. After a few days, Hopman wrote an exclusive in his newspaper column revealing how his kids could whip Sedgman and how this proved once again that amateurs were better than the pros."[3]

Legacy[edit]

The Hopman Cup is named in his honour. His widow, Lucy Hopman, travels to Perth, Western Australia in January each year for the tournament.

Hopman was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island in 1978.

Tennis great Jack Kramer, who was also a successful promoter of the professional tour, writes in his 1979 autobiography that Hopman "always knew exactly what was going on with all his amateurs. He had no children, no hobbies, and tennis was everything to him. Hopman always said he hated the pros, and he battled open tennis to the bitter end, but as early as the time when Sedgman and McGregor signed, Hopman was trying to get himself included in the deal so he could get a job with pro tennis in America."[3]

Kramer, who admits that Hopman "has never been my favorite guy", goes on to say "The minute one of his stars would turn pro, Hopman would turn on him. No matter how close he'd been to a player, as soon as he was out of Hopman's control, the guy was an outcast. 'It was as if we'd never existed' Rosewall said once."[3]

Personal life[edit]

Hopman was first married to Nell Hall, with whom he won four mixed doubles finals. The marriage took place on 19 March 1934 at St Philip's Anglican Church in Sydney. She died of an intercranial tumour on 10 January 1968.[4] Hopman emigrated to the United States in 1969 and became a successful professional coach, at Port Washington Tennis Academy, of future champions such as Vitas Gerulaitis and later John McEnroe. Hopman later opened the Hopman Tennis Academy in Largo, Florida, with his second wife, Lucy Pope Fox, whom he married on 2 February 1971.

According to at least one tennis historian, Hopman was a heavy gambler who "once had to sell the land he had purchased for his dream home."[5]

Hopman died of a heart attack on 27 December 1985.

Tournament record[edit]

Australia Davis Cup[edit]

  • team member 1928, 1930, 1932
  • Captain 1938–1939, 1950–1969
    • winning captain 1939, 1950–1953, 1955–1957, 1959–1962, 1964–1967
    • losing captain 1938, 1954, 1958, 1963, 1968

Italian Championship[edit]

  • Mixed Doubles 1934

Grand Slam tournament finals[edit]

Singles: 3 (0 titles, 3 runner-ups)[edit]

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent in final Score in final
Runner-up 1930 Australian Championships Grass United States Edgar Moon 3–6, 1–6, 3–6
Runner-up 1931 Australian Championships Grass Australia Jack Crawford 4–6, 2–6, 6–2, 1–6
Runner-up 1932 Australian Championships Grass Australia Jack Crawford 4–6, 6–3, 3–6, 6–3, 6–1

Doubles: 7 (2 titles, 5 runner-ups)[edit]

Result Year Championship Partner Opponent in final Score in final
Winner 1929 Australian Championships Australia Jack Crawford Australia Jack Cummings
Australia Edgar Moon
6–1, 6–8, 4–6, 6–1, 6–3
Winner 1930 Australian Championships Australia Jack Crawford Australia Tim Fitchett
Australia John Hawkes
8–6, 6–1, 2–6, 6–3
Runner-up 1931 Australian Championships Australia Jack Crawford Australia James Anderson
Australia Norman Brookes
2–6, 4–6, 3–6
Runner-up 1932 Australian Championships Australia Gerald Patterson Australia Jack Crawford
Australia Edgar Moon
10–12, 3–6, 6–4, 4–6
Runner-up 1930 French Championships Australia Jim Willard France Henri Cochet
France Jacques Brugnon
3–6, 7–8, 3–6
Runner-up 1939 US Championships Australia Jack Crawford Australia Adrian Quist
Australia John Bromwich
6–8, 1–6, 4–6
Runner-up 1948 French Championships Australia Frank Sedgman Sweden Lennart Bergelin
Czechoslovakia Jaroslav Drobný
6–8, 1–6, 10–12

Mixed doubles: 8 (5 titles, 3 runner-ups)[edit]

Result Year Championship Partner Opponent in final Score in final
Winner 1930 Australian Championships Australia Nell Hall Hopman Australia Marjorie Cox Crawford
Australia Jack Crawford
11–9, 3–6, 6–3
Runner-up 1932 Wimbledon Championships Belgium Josane Sigart United States Elizabeth Ryan
Spain Enrique Maier
5–7, 2–6
Runner-up 1935 Wimbledon Championships Australia Nell Hall Hopman United Kingdom Dorothy Round Little
United Kingdom Fred Perry
5–7, 6–4, 2–6
Winner 1936 Australian Championships Australia Nell Hall Hopman Australia May Blick
Australia Abe Kay
6–2, 6–0
Winner 1937 Australian Championships Australia Nell Hall Hopman Australia Dorothy Stevenson
Australia Don Turnbull
3–6, 6–3, 6–2
Winner 1939 Australian Championships Australia Nell Hall Hopman Australia Margaret Wilson
Australia John Bromwich
6–8, 6–2, 6–3
Runner-up 1940 Australian Championships Australia Nell Hall Hopman Australia Nancye Wynne Bolton
Australia Colin Long
5–7, 6–2, 4–6
Winner 1933 US Championships United States Alice Marble United States Sarah Palfrey Cooke
United States Elwood Cooke
9–7, 6–1

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Hopman, Henry Christian (Harry) (1906–1985)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 
  2. ^ The History of Professional Tennis (2003) Joe McCauley, p. 58.
  3. ^ a b c Jack Kramer with Frank Deford (1981). The Game : My 40 Years in Tennis. London: Deutsch. pp. 224, 225. ISBN 0233973079. 
  4. ^ "Hopman, Eleanor Mary (Nell) (1909–1968)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 
  5. ^ Interviews by tennis historian Rich Hillway in 2005 at the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Sources[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Hopman, Harry (1972). Better tennis for boys and girls. New York: Dodd, Mead. ISBN 0-396-06365-9. 

External links[edit]