Malcolm Whitman

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Malcolm Whitman
M. Whitman crop.jpg
Full name Malcolm Douglass Whitman
Country  United States
Born (1877-03-15)March 15, 1877
New York, NY, USA
Died December 28, 1932(1932-12-28) (aged 55)
New York, NY, USA
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Turned pro 1896 (amateur tour)
Retired 1917
Plays Right-handed (1-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HOF 1955 (member page)
Singles
Highest ranking No. 1 (1900, Karoly Mazak)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
US Open W (1898, 1899, 1900)
Last updated on: September 11, 2012.

Malcolm "Mal" Douglass Whitman (born March 15, 1877, New York – December 28, 1932, New York) was a former co-World No. 1 male American tennis player.

Biography[edit]

He graduated from The Roxbury Latin School, where he is celebrated as one of its greatest athletes. Whitman was American intercollegiate singles tennis champion in 1896[2] and doubles champion in 1897 and 1898[3] as a student at Harvard University. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1899 and received his bachelor in law degree in 1902.[4]

In 1896 Whitman entered his first U.S. National Championships at the Newport Casino and lost in the quarterfinals to Bill Larned. The following year, 1897, he again lost in the quarterfinals, this time against Harold Nisbet.[5] Whitman is best known for this hat-trick of singles titles at the U.S. National Championships. Between 1898 and 1900, he stayed undefeated there. In 1901 he did not compete and in the 1902 Championships he lost in the All-Comers final to Englishman Reginald Doherty. According to the Doherty brothers Malcolm Whitman and Bill Larned were at the time the best American singles players.

He played on the inaugural American Davis Cup squad in 1900 and beat Englishman Arthur Gore in Boston, MA to help his US team win the trophy.[6] In the 1902 Davis Cup final against Great Britain in Brooklyn, NY he again contributed to his team's win by defeating Joshua Pim and Reginald Doherty in the singles.[7]

Whitman retired from tennis in 1902 at the age of 25. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association (USNLTA) and held management positions in several companies.[4]

In 1932 he wrote a book on the origin of tennis titled "Tennis - Origins and Mysteries".

Grand Slam record[edit]

Titles (3)[edit]

Year Tournament Opponent Score
1898 U.S. Championships United States Dwight F. Davis 3–6, 6–2, 6–2, 6–1
1899 U.S. Championships United States J. Parmly Paret 6–1, 6–2, 3–6, 7–5
1900 U.S. Championships United States William Larned 6–4, 1–6, 6–2, 6–2

Playing style[edit]

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

Whitman is very safe everywhere, and has not a weak point. We believe he has only been beaten once in the last five years. Perhaps his backhand is almost as good as his forehand. He plays the volleying game, as nearly all the Americans do, and gets up to the net on every possible occasion, and when at the net is very hard to pass. He is wonderfully sure on his volley and, besides, has an enormous reach, and is very active and severe overhead. On the ground he plays rather a soft but still an accurate game, and gets more pace on the ball than he seems to. His length is always excellent. He hits the ball rather low, and passes well. And he has that supreme merit - that he rarely misses easy strokes.

On Lawn Tennis - 1903[8]

Personal life[edit]

Whitman married his first wife, Janet McCook in 1907. She died in December 1909 after the birth of their second child.[9] In July 1912 Whitman married Jennie Adeline Crocker but they divorced in 1924. In 1926, Whitman married Lucilla Mara de Vescovi, known as the Countess Mara. In December 1931 his daughter Mary, 16, from his second marriage, died of pneumonia.[10] On December 28, 1932 Whitman committed suicide by jumping off an apartment building after a nervous breakdown.[11]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Malcolm Douglass Whitman: Tennis Origins and Mysteries. With an historical bibliography by Robert W. Henderson. Derrydale Press, New York NY 1932, (ISBN 0-486-43357-9).

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mazak, Karoly (2010). The Concise History of Tennis, p. 28.
  2. ^ "Former U.S. Davis Cup stars meet for Centennial Celebration". Athens Banner-Herald. July 14, 1999. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  3. ^ "NCAA Championships (1883-1956)". Council of Ivy League Presidents. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Jumps To Death From Penthouse". The Evening Independent. December 28, 1932. 
  5. ^ "Lawn Tennis At Newport". The New York Times. August 22, 1897. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Davis Cup - Results 1900". ITF. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Davis Cup - Results 1902". ITF. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  8. ^ Doherty, R.F. (1903). R.F. and H.L. Doherty on Lawn Tennis (1st ed.). London: Lawn Tennis. pp. 61–62. 
  9. ^ "Mrs. Malcolm Whitman". The New York Times. December 19, 1909. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Young Heiress Dies". The Pittsburgh Press. December 31, 1931. p. 6. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  11. ^ "M.D. Whitman Ends His Life In Leap". The New York Times. December 29, 1932. Retrieved April 14, 2012.