Don McNeill (tennis)
McNeill (right) with Chilean tennis player Andrés Hammersley in 1942.
|Full name||William Donald McNeill|
|Country (sports)||United States|
|Born||April 30, 1918|
|Died||November 28, 1996 (aged 78)|
Vero Beach, USA
|Height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Plays||Right-handed (one-handed backhand)|
|Int. Tennis HoF||1965 (member page)|
|Highest ranking||No. 4 (1940, Karoly Mazak)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|French Open||W (1939)|
|US Open||W (1940)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|French Open||W (1939)|
|US Open||W (1944)|
|Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results|
|US Open||F (1944)|
In 1939, McNeill became the second American to win the French Championships singles title (after Don Budge) when he defeated compatriot Bobby Riggs in the final in straight sets. Afterwards he played at Wimbledon, the only time he participated, and lost to Franjo Kukuljevic in the second round of the singles, reached the third round in the doubles and the quarterfinal in the mixed doubles. He went on to win the All England Plate, a tennis competition held at the Wimbledon Championships which consisted of players who were defeated in the first or second rounds of the singles competition.
In June 1940 McNeill beat Bobby Riggs to win the singles title at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships in Chicago. In August that year he also won the Southampton Invitational tournament after a victory in the final over Frank Kovacs. His run continued two weeks later when he won the invitational tournament at the Newport Casino. In September he won his second Grand Slam title when he defeated Riggs in the final of the U.S. National Championships after being down two sets to love. There were several bad line calls that went against Riggs in this match. McNeill was the third player who managed to overcome a two-set deficit in the final of the U.S. Championships after Maurice McLoughlin (1912) and Bill Tilden (1922).
His title wins in 1940 earned McNeill the No. 1 ranking in the USA at the end of the year. There were no "official" amateur rankings during World War II - McNeill reached as high as World No. 7 in Gordon Lowe's amateur rankings list in 1939. During the war McNeill served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and was attached to the embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While stationed there he won the Argentinian Championships in 1942 and defended the title successfully in November 1943, defeating Pancho Segura in the final.
After the war McNeill decided to focus on his business career and played tournaments less frequently. In 1950 McNeill won his second U.S. Indoor title, twelve years after winning his first. This time in the final he was too strong for Fred Kovaleski, defeating him in four sets. Additionally he had been a runner-up in 1940 and 1946. Both Allison Danzig, in a New York Times article in 1936, and Pancho Segura, in a telephone interview in 2014, described McNeill's game as consisting of very heavily topspun drives off both wings, and Segura was of the opinion that McNeill didn't turn pro because there was really very little money in professional tennis then.
He was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1965.
Grand Slam finals
Singles: 2 (2 titles)
|Winner||1939||French Championships||Clay||Bobby Riggs||7–5, 6–0, 6–3|
|Winner||1940||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Bobby Riggs||4–6, 6–8, 6–3, 6–3, 7–5|
Doubles: 3 (2 titles, 1 runner-up)
|Winner||1939||French Championships||Clay||Charles Harris|| Jean Borotra
|4–6, 6–4, 6–0, 2–6, 10–8|
|Winner||1944||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Bob Falkenburg|| Bill Talbert
|7–5, 6–4, 3–6, 6–1|
|Runner-up||1946||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Frank Guernsey|| Gardnar Mulloy
|6–3, 4–6, 6–2, 3–6, 18–20|
Mixed: 1 (1 runner-up)
|Runner-up||1944||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Dorothy Bundy|| Margaret Osborne
- Mazak, Karoly (2010). The Concise History of Tennis, p. 68.
- "Don McNeill Wins Indoors Tennis Singles Crown". Palm Beach Daily News. March 6, 1938.
- Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (2nd ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. pp. 612, 613. ISBN 978-0942257700.
- "Wimbledon player archive – Don McNeill". AELTC. Archived from the original on March 25, 2014.
- Alan Little, ed. (2011). 2011 Wimbledon Compendium. London: The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. pp. 493–497. ISBN 9781899039364.
- "Don McNeill Defeats Riggs in Tennis Finals". St. Petersburg Times. June 25, 1940.
- "Don MvcNeill Wins Southampton Tennis". Eugene Register-Guard. August 4, 1940.
- "McNeill Wins Both Titles at Newport". The News. August 18, 1940.
- "McNeill Takes Rigss' Crown". The Tuscaloosa News. September 10, 1940.
- "W. Don McNeill". www.tennis.co.nf.
- E., Digby Baltzell (2013). Sporting Gentlemen : Men's Tennis from the Age of Honor to the Cult of the Superstar. Somerset, NJ: Transaction Publishers. p. 320. ISBN 978-1412851800.
- "Don McNeill and Alice Marble Top Tennis Lists at Year End". The Spokesman-Review. December 28, 1940.
- United States Lawn Tennis Association (1972). Official Encyclopedia of Tennis (First Edition), p. 425.
- "McNeill Wins Tennis Title". The Montreal Gazette. November 22, 1943.
- "Tennis to Promote Pan-Americanism". The Milwaukee Journal. June 9, 1944.
- "Aging Don McNeill is Spry Enough to regain Net Title". The Milwaukee Journal. March 27, 1950.
- "W. Donald McNeill, 78, a U.S. Tennis Champion". The New York Times. November 30, 1996.