Angela Buxton

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Angela Buxton
Country (sports) United Kingdom
Born (1934-08-16) 16 August 1934 (age 84)
Liverpool, England
Grand Slam Singles results
French OpenQF (1954)
WimbledonF (1956)
Grand Slam Doubles results
French OpenW (1956)
WimbledonW (1956)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French Open3R (1956)

Angela Buxton (born 16 August 1934) is an English former tennis player. She won the women's doubles title at both the French Championships and Wimbledon in 1956 with her playing partner, Althea Gibson.

Early life[edit]

Buxton was born in Liverpool on 18 August 1934, one of two children born to Harry and Violet Buxton.[1] Her grandparents on both sides were Jews who had immigrated to England from Russia. She was raised partly in South Africa. Buxton's father owned a successful cinema chain in northwestern England, which allowed her to attend boarding school at Gloddaeth Hall. While there, a coach noticed her tennis ability and urged her to acquire more training.

Tennis accomplishments[edit]

Buxton began playing tennis at a young age.[2] After spending time undergoing training in London and Los Angeles, in 1954 she earned the British No. 4 ranking. Buxton then reached the 1955 Wimbledon singles quarterfinals and climbed to World No. 9 in the rankings. She played in Wightman Cup competition for the United Kingdom in 1954, 1955 and 1956.

Buxton had her most successful tennis year in 1956. She won the women's doubles title and reached the singles final at Wimbledon. She won the English Indoor and London Grass Court singles championships and the English Hard Court doubles crown (with Darlene Hard). At the French Championships, she reached the singles semifinals and won the women's doubles title with Althea Gibson, who was the first African-American champion. Buxton was ranked World No. 5 by World Tennis Magazine and World No. 6 by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.[3]

Buxton also won the women's singles title at the 1953 Maccabiah Games.

After suffering a serious hand condition in late 1956 (tenosynovitis), Buxton was forced to retire following the 1957 season at the age of 22.

Judaism and anti-Semitism in her career[edit]

Buxton's Judaism played a role throughout her career. Her religious background prevented full acceptance within the tennis world from an early age.[2] Regarding her experience at the Cumberland Club, she said:

I had to fill in a form: name, address, telephone number and then religion. I had several lessons there with a guy called Bill Blake, and I kept asking him about membership. Eventually he turned round to me and said, "Look, Angela, please don't keep asking me, you're not going to be able to join the club." I said, "Why not? I'm not good enough?" "No, because you're Jewish." And that was the beginning. It was the first time it (prejudice) had hit me in this country.[2]

Buxton was repeatedly refused access to training facilities because of her ethnicity. From the mid-1950s, she was able to practise at the private indoor court of Simon Marks, the Jewish owner of department store chain Marks and Spencer, who had become aware of the difficulties which Buxton faced.[4]

No Jewish tennis players were admitted to the All England Lawn Tennis Club until 1952.[5] Buxton said in 2004: "I think the anti-Semitism is still there. The mere fact that I'm not a member is a full sentence that speaks for itself." The Chairman of the Club said he could not comment until he investigated further.[6] "I wish it still wasn't such an elite sport", Buxton said. "I wish we could bring it down to a common baseline. It's going that way. It's still not there."[2][7][8] After Buxton won the women's doubles title at Wimbledon with her partner, Althea Gibson, one British newspaper reported the event with a story titled "Minorities Win". "It was in very small type", said Buxton, "lest anyone should see it".[9]

Later life and legacy[edit]

Buxton was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.[2] In 2014, she was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[10][11] In 2015, the Black Tennis Hall of Fame inducted Buxton, honoring her for her doubles partnership and friendship with Althea Gibson as well as her efforts to raise funds for the ailing Gibson near the end of her life.[12]

Buxton wrote the tennis books Tackle Tennis This Way, Starting Tennis, and Winning Tennis and Doubles Tactics.

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles (1 runner-up)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1956 Wimbledon Grass United States Shirley Fry 3–6, 1–6

Doubles (2 titles)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1956 French Championships Clay United States Althea Gibson United States Darlene Hard
United States Dorothy Head Knode
6–8, 8–6, 6–1
Winner 1956 Wimbledon Grass United States Althea Gibson Australia Fay Muller
Australia Daphne Seeney
6–1, 8–6

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline[edit]

(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
Tournament 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 Career SR
Australian Championships A A A A A 0 / 0
French Championships A A QF 3R SF 0 / 3
Wimbledon 1R 4R 4R QF F 0 / 5
U.S. Championships A A A 3R A 0 / 1
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 9

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blas, Howard (9 September 2014). "Doubles partners smash prejudice as 1956 Wimbledon champs". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Buxton, Angela," Jews in Sports, accessed 12 March 2014.
  3. ^ Collins, Bud (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York, N.Y: New Chapter Press. pp. 695, 703. ISBN 0-942257-41-3.
  4. ^ Davis, David. "Justice, Served: A Tennis Story". Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  5. ^ Siriginia, Saraswathi, "Wimbledon Rewind: How Angela Buxton and Althea Gibson Broke Barriers in 1956", Bleacher Report, 6/16/09, accessed 6/29/09
  6. ^ [Schoenfeld, Bruce, "The Match: Althea Gibson & Angela Buxton: How Two Outsiders—One Black, the Other Jewish—Forged a Friendship and Made Sports History"] (2004), pp. 279–80, Amistad, ISBN 0-06-052652-1, ISBN 978-0-06-052652-8, accessed 6/29/09
  7. ^ Slater, Robert, "Great Jews in Sports", Jonathan David Publishers, 2005, ISBN 0-8246-0453-9, ISBN 978-0-8246-0453-0
  8. ^ Giles, Juanita, "No Jews allowed: UAE bows to 'neighborhood' pressure" The Hook, 2/26/09, accessed 6/29/09
  9. ^ Henderson, Jon; O'Donnell, Matthew (8 July 2001). "Triumphing over prejudice". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  10. ^ Schwartz: National Jewish Sports Hall Of Fame Welcomes Its 2014 Class « CBS New York
  11. ^ National Jewish Hall of Fame holds induction ceremony | Newsday
  12. ^ 2015 Hall of Fame Inductees | Black Tennis History

External links[edit]