Louise Brough

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Louise Brough
Full name Althea Louise Brough
Country  United States
Born (1923-03-11)March 11, 1923
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Died February 3, 2014(2014-02-03) (aged 90)
Vista, California
Height 1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HOF 1967 (member page)
Singles
Highest ranking No. 1 (1955, Lance Tingay)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open W (1950)
French Open SF (1946, 1947, 1950)
Wimbledon W (1948, 1949, 1950, 1955)
US Open W (1947)
Doubles
Highest ranking No. 1 (1946)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open W (1950)
French Open W (1946, 1947, 1949)
Wimbledon W (1946, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1954)
US Open W (1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1955, 1956, 1957)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Wimbledon W (1946, 1947, 1948, 1950)
US Open W (1942, 1947, 1948, 1949)

Althea Louise Brough Clapp (March 11, 1923 – February 3, 2014) was an American tennis player. During her career between 1942 and 1957, she won six Grand Slam singles titles as well as numerous doubles and mixed doubles titles. She was ranked world no. 1 by Lance Tingay in 1955.

Biography[edit]

Louise Brough (pronounced Bruff) was born in Oklahoma City in 1923.[2] Their family moved to Beverly Hills, California when she was four years old.[2] She learned to play tennis on the public courts at Roxbury Park[3] and was later coached by Dick Skeen. In 1940 and 1941, she won the US Girls' Championships.[4]

In doubles, Brough usually teamed with her longtime friend Margaret Osborne duPont.[2] Both won their first US doubles title at the 1942 US Championships. The successful pair won another eight consecutive doubles titles at Forest Hills until 1950 which is the longest championship run in history in any event at any Grand Slam tournament.[4] Brough and duPont did not play as a team at the US Championships in 1951 or 1952 but in 1953, they returned to extend their record match winning streak to 41 before losing to Hart and Shirley Fry Irvin in the final, 6–2, 7–9, 9–7.[4] Their career record as a team at the US Championships was 58–2, winning 12 of the 14 times they entered the tournament and losing only five sets in those 14 years.[4] In singles, Brough won the US title in 1947. Although she appeared in five more singles finals at Forest Hills, this would remain her only US singles title. In 1948, she had a match point at 6–5 in the third set against duPont.[5][6] She also had three match points in the 1954 final against Doris Hart, the first at 5–4 in the third set and two more at 6–5 in that set.[5][7]

At Wimbledon, Brough won the singles title three times in a row between 1948 and 1950, and again 1955. During the "Brough decade" from 1946 through 1955, a Wimbledon final without her was unusual. She appeared in 21 of the 30 finals contested at Wimbledon in singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles during that period.[4] In 1950, she won the rare triple at Wimbledon – singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Alongside duPont, she won four doubles titles at Wimbledon, and another four mixed doubles titles partnering Tom Brown, John Bromwich and Eric Sturgess.

Brough took part in the Australian Championships only once, in 1950, when she won the singles and doubles title. Despite reaching the semifinals three times at the French Championships between 1946 and 1950, she could never win the singles titles there as the slow clay courts were not suitable to her attacking style of play.[8] However, she won the doubles title at Paris in 1946, 1947 and 1949.

In summary, Brough won 13 titles at Wimbledon, 17 titles at the US Championships, 3 titles at the French Championships, and 2 titles at the Australian Championships. Her 35 Grand Slam titles ties her with Doris Hart for fifth on the all-time list, behind only Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, and Margaret Osborne duPont.[4]

According to John Olliff and Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Brough Clapp was ranked in the world top 10 from 1946 through 1957 (no rankings issued from 1940 through 1945), reaching a career high of World No. 1 in those rankings in 1955.[1] She was included in the year-end top 10 rankings issued by the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) from 1941 through 1950 and from 1952 through 1957. She was the top ranked US player in 1947.[4] Her 16 years in the USLTA top 10 put her behind only Billie Jean King (18 years) and Chris Evert (19 years).[4]

Bud Collins regards her one of the great volleyers in history.[4] He wrote, "A willowy blonde, 5-foot-71/2, she was quiet but the killer in the left court when at play alongside duPont."[4] Beside her aggressive volleys, her strengths were her backhand and a paralyzing American twist serve with a high kick.[5][8] Her rival Alice Marble wrote about Brough's serve, "She gets an enourmous high bounce on [it], and women are notoriously feeble in their effort to return it, especially on the backhand."[2]

Brough married Pasadena dentist Dr. Alan Clapp in 1958[3] and retired from tennis competitions one year later. She taught juniors in California for the following 20 years.[8] She was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1967. Occasionally she played in senior tournaments, winning the doubles title at the US Hard Court Senior Championships alongside Barbara Green Weigandt in 1971 and 1975.[4] Her husband died in 1999. She died at her home in Vista, California, on February 3, 2014, at the age of 90 and left no children.[2]

Major finals[edit]

Grand Slam tournaments[edit]

Singles: 14 (6 titles, 8 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1942 U.S. Championships Grass United States Pauline Betz 4–6, 6–1, 6–4
Runner-up 1943 U.S. Championships Grass United States Pauline Betz 6–3, 5–7, 6–3
Runner-up 1946 Wimbledon Grass United States Pauline Betz 6–2, 6–4
Winner 1947 U.S. Championships Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont 8–6, 4–6, 6–1
Winner 1948 Wimbledon Grass United States Doris Hart 6–3, 8–6
Runner-up 1948 U.S. Championships Grass United States Margaret Osborne 4–6, 6–4, 15–13
Winner 1949 Wimbledon (2) Grass United States Margaret Osborne 10–8, 1–6, 10–8
Winner 1950 Australian Championships Grass United States Doris Hart 6–4, 3–6, 6–4
Winner 1950 Wimbledon (3) Grass United States Margaret Osborne 6–1, 3–6, 6–1
Runner-up 1952 Wimbledon Grass United States Maureen Connolly 6–4, 6–3
Runner-up 1954 Wimbledon Grass United States Maureen Connolly 6–2, 7–5
Runner-up 1954 U.S. Championships Grass United States Doris Hart 6–8, 6–1, 8–6
Winner 1955 Wimbledon (4) Grass United States Beverly Baker 7–5, 8–6
Runner-up 1957 U.S. Championships Grass United States Althea Gibson 6–3, 6–2

Doubles: 28 (21 titles, 7 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1942 U.S. Championships Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Pauline Betz
United States Doris Hart
2–6, 7–5, 6–0
Winner 1943 U.S. Championships (2) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Pauline Betz
United States Doris Hart
6–4, 6–3
Winner 1944 U.S. Championships (3) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Pauline Betz
United States Doris Hart
4–6, 6–4, 6–3
Winner 1945 U.S. Championships (4) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Pauline Betz
United States Doris Hart
6–3, 6–3
Winner 1946 Wimbledon Championships Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Pauline Betz
United States Doris Hart
6–3, 2–6, 6–3
Winner 1946 French Championships Clay United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Pauline Betz
United States Doris Hart
6–4, 0–6, 6–1
Winner 1946 U.S. Championships (5) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Pat Canning Todd
United States Mary Arnold Prentiss
6–1, 6–3
Runner-up 1947 Wimbledon Championships Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Doris Hart
United States Pat Canning Tod
3–6, 6–4, 7–5
Winner 1947 French Championships (2) Clay United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Pauline Betz
United States Pat Canning Todd
7–5, 6–2
Winner 1947 U.S. Championships (6) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Pat Canning Tod
United States Doris Hart
5–7, 6–3, 7–5
Winner 1948 Wimbledon Championships (2) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Doris Hart
United States Pat Canning Tod
6–3, 3–6, 6–3
Winner 1948 U.S. Championships (7) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Pat Canning Tod
United States Doris Hart
6–4, 8–10, 6–1
Winner 1949 French Championships (3) Clay United States Margaret Osborne duPont United Kingdom Joy Gannon
United Kingdom Betty Hilton
7–5, 6–1
Winner 1949 Wimbledon Championships (3) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Gussy Moran
United States Pat Canning Tod
8–6, 7–5
Winner 1949 U.S. Championships (8) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Doris Hart
United States Shirley Fry
6–4, 10–8
Winner 1950 Australian Championships Grass United States Doris Hart Australia Nancye Wynne Bolton
Australia Thelma Coyne Long
6–2, 2–6, 6–3
Runner-up 1950 French Championships Clay United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Doris Hart
United States Shirley Fry
6–4, 5–7, 6–1
Winner 1950 Wimbledon Championships (4) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Shirley Fry
United States Doris Hart
8–6, 7–5
Winner 1950 U.S. Championships (9) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Doris Hart
United States Shirley Fry
6–2, 6–3
Runner-up 1951 Wimbledon Championships Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Shirley Fry
United States Doris Hart
6–3, 13–11
Runner-up 1952 Wimbledon Championships Grass United States Maureen Connolly United States Shirley Fry
United States Doris Hart
8–6, 6–3
Runner-up 1952 U.S. Championships Grass United States Maureen Connolly United States Doris Hart
United States Shirley Fry
10–8, 6–4
Runner-up 1953 U.S. Championships Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Doris Hart
United States Shirley Fry
6–2, 7–9, 9-7
Winner 1954 Wimbledon Championships (5) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Shirley Fry
United States Doris Hart
4–6, 9–7, 6–3
Runner-up 1954 U.S. Championships Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Doris Hart
United States Shirley Fry
6–4, 6–4
Winner 1955 U.S. Championships (10) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Doris Hart
United States Shirley Fry
6–2, 1–6, 6–3
Winner 1956 U.S. Championships (11) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Betty Rosenquest Pratt
United States Shirley Fry
6–3, 6–0
Winner 1957 U.S. Championships (12) Grass United States Margaret Osborne duPont United States Althea Gibson
United States Darlene Hard
6–2, 7–5

Mixed doubles: 11 (8 titles, 3 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1942 U.S. Championships Grass United States Ted Schroeder United States Pat Canning Todd
Argentina Aleja Russell
3–6, 6–1, 6–4
Winner 1946 Wimbledon Championships Grass United States Tom Brown United States Dorothy Bundy
Australia Geoff Brown
6–4, 6–4
Runner-up 1946 U.S. Championships Grass United States Robert Kimbrell United States Margaret Osborne duPont
United States Bill Talbert
6–3, 6–4
Winner 1947 Wimbledon Championships (2) Grass Australia John Bromwich Australia Nancye Wynne Bolton
Australia Colin Long
1–6, 6–4, 6–2
Winner 1947 U.S. Championships (2) Grass Australia John Bromwich United States Gussy Moran
Ecuador Pancho Segura
6–3, 6–1
Winner 1948 Wimbledon Championships (3) Grass Australia John Bromwich United States Doris Hart
Australia Frank Sedgman
6–2, 3–6, 6–3
Winner 1948 U.S. Championships (3) Grass United States Tom Brown United States Margaret Osborne duPont
United States Bill Talbert
6–4, 6–4
Runner-up 1949 Wimbledon Championships Grass Australia John Bromwich South Africa Sheila Piercey Summers
South Africa Eric Sturgess
9–7, 9–11, 7–5
Winner 1949 U.S. Championships (4) Grass South Africa Eric Sturgess United States Margaret Osborne duPont
United States Bill Talbert
4–5, 6–3, 7–5
Winner 1950 Wimbledon Championships (4) Grass South Africa Eric Sturgess United States Pat Canning Todd
Australia Geoff Brow
11–9, 1–6, 6–4
Runner-up 1955 Wimbledon Championships Grass Argentina Enrique Morea United States Doris Hart
United States Vic Seixas
8–6, 2–6, 6–3

Grand Slam tournament timelines[edit]

Singles[edit]

Tournament 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 19461 19471 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 Career
SR
Career
Win-Loss
Australian Championships A A NH NH NH NH NH A A A A W A A A A A A A A A 1 / 1 5–0
French Championships A NH R R R R A SF SF A 3R SF A A A A A A A A A 0 / 4 10–4
Wimbledon A NH NH NH NH NH NH F SF W W W SF F A F W SF QF A A 4 / 11 56–7
U.S. Championships 1R 1R 2R F F SF SF QF W F SF 3R A SF SF F 3R QF F QF QF 1 / 20 60–19
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 3 1 / 3 1 / 2 1 / 3 2 / 4 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 1 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 1 6 / 36 131–30

Women's doubles[edit]

Tournament 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 19461 19471 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 Career
SR
Australian Championships A A A NH NH NH NH NH A A A W A A A A A A A A A 1 / 1
French Championships A NH R R R R A W W A W F A A A A A A A A A 3 / 4
Wimbledon A NH NH NH NH NH NH W F W W W F F A W A SF A A A 5 / 9
U.S. Championships A 2R QF W W W W W W W W W A F F F W W W A QF 12 / 18
SR 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 1 1 / 1 1 / 1 1 / 1 3 / 3 2 / 3 2 / 2 3 / 3 3 / 4 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 1 / 2 1 / 1 1 / 2 1 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 1 21 / 32

Mixed doubles[edit]

Tournament 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 Career
SR
Australian Championships A A A NH NH NH NH NH A A A SF A A A A A A A A A 1 / 1
French Championships A NH R R R R A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 0
Wimbledon A NH NH NH NH NH NH W W W F W SF SF A A A A 4R A A 4 / 8
U.S. Championships A 1R QF W A A SF F W W W 3R A A QF QF A A A A A 4 / 11
SR 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 1 1 / 2 2 / 2 2 / 2 1 / 2 1 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 0 9 / 20

NH = tournament not held.
A = did not participate in the tournament.
R = tournament restricted to French nationals and held under German occupation.
SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam doubles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Collins, Bud (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York, N.Y: New Chapter Press. pp. 695, 702–3. ISBN 0-942257-41-3. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Goldstein, Richard (February 5, 2014). "Louise Brough Clapp, Tennis Champion at Midcentury, Dies at 90". New York Times (New York City). Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "PASSINGS: Louise Brough Clapp, Richard Bull, Michael Filerman". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles). February 5, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Collins, Bud (2010). History of Tennis (2nd ed.). New York City: New Chapter press. p. 552. ISBN 978-0942257700. 
  5. ^ a b c Billie Jean King with Cynthia Starr (1988). We Have Come a Long Way: The Story of Women's Tennis. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 65. ISBN 0-07-034625-9. 
  6. ^ Billie Jean King with Cynthia Starr (1988). We Have Come a Long Way: The Story of Women's Tennis. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 67. ISBN 0-07-034625-9. 
  7. ^ Billie Jean King with Cynthia Starr (1988). We Have Come a Long Way: The Story of Women's Tennis. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 89. ISBN 0-07-034625-9. 
  8. ^ a b c Evans, Richard (February 5, 2014). "Louise Brough obituary". The Guardian (London). Retrieved February 5, 2014. 

External links[edit]