William Harris (tennis)

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William Harris was an American tennis player in the mid-20th Century.

Harris began playing tennis at the age of 8, and started playing tournaments at age 11. Harris was one of the best junior tennis players of the mid 20th century.

Born January 14, 1947, in West Palm Beach, Florida, won the singles title at the Cincinnati Masters in 1968. He knocked Premjit Lall of India out in the semifinals and Allan Stone of Australia in the final for the title. He also reached the singles final in Cincinnati in 1966.

In junior tennis, Harris was the No. 1 ranked player in the United States, and won the National Boys championship in the 14, 16 and 18 age divisions.

He attended Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Harris practiced with his brother Robert Harris during the summers for 9 hours a day or more at Howard Park. "I won't leave this park until I hit the ball 500 times back and fourth without missing" - Bill Harris. Harris reached the world record to be #1 in the world with the highest number of tennis balls hit on the backboard without missing. Harris said "I caught the ball at 966, people were amazed and stared at me like I was crazy, but I just didn't want to take that little girls world record away of 967."

Harris was diagnosed with Schizophrenia when he was at the age of 18, he then retired from tennis at age 22 because of this genetic disease. "Harris could have been world No. 1 ranked player if he wasn't diagnosed with this disease because he never missed" -Harris Family.

Bill Harris died in his mid 50's from an allergic reaction to a medication for his treatment for his illness.

Harris' father, Charles Harris, reached the Cincinnati singles final in 1936 before falling to Bobby Riggs, 6–1, 6–3, 6–1.


  • From Club Court to Center Court by Phillip S. Smith, (2007 Edition, pages 33, 239, 240 & 250)