Lester Stoefen

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Lester Stoefen
Stoefen (left) with fianceé Ruth Henrietta Moody. 1936
Full nameLester Rollo Stoefen
Country (sports) United States
Born(1911-03-30)March 30, 1911
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
DiedFebruary 8, 1970(1970-02-08) (aged 58)
La Jolla, CA, U.S.
Height6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) [1]
Turned pro1935 (amateur from 1930)
Highest rankingNo. 9 (1933, Pierre Gillou)[2]
Grand Slam singles results
WimbledonQF (1933, 1934)
US OpenSF (1933)
Professional majors
US ProSF (1935)
Wembley ProSF (1935, 1937)
French ProSF (1936, 1939)
Grand Slam doubles results
WimbledonW (1933)
US OpenW (1933, 1934)
Mixed doubles
Grand Slam mixed doubles results
Wimbledon4R (1934)
US OpenF (1934)
Team competitions
Davis CupF (1934Ch)

Lester Rollo Stoefen (March 30, 1911 – February 8, 1970) was an American tennis player of the 1930s.


Stoefen, partnering with compatriot George Lott, won three Grand Slam doubles titles: 1934 Wimbledon Championships, 1933 and 1934 U.S. National Championships. In 1933 he was ranked world No. 9 by Pierre Gillou (president of the Fédération Française de Tennis) and World No. 10 by A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph.[2][3] Stoefen reached the semifinals of the U. S. Championships singles in 1933, losing to Fred Perry in straight sets.[4]

In 1934 he played for the US Davis Cup team and won all his six matches, including the only match the US won in their defeat in the final against Great Britain.[5] Also in 1934 Stoefen won the U.S. Indoor Tennis Championships singles event, defeating Gregory Mangin in the final in three straight sets.[6]

Stoefen signed a professional contract in November 1934 with promoter Bill O'Brien. In January 1935, at Madison Square Garden, he started a series of head-to-head matches against Ellsworth Vines and by March trailed him 1–25.[1][7]

Personal life[edit]

He was the cousin of basketball player Art Stoefen, although they were commonly mistaken for brothers, and both attended Los Angeles High School.[8][9]

On February 6, 1936, he married actress Ruth Moody in Hollywood.[10]

He died in La Jolla, California on February 8, 1970, of liver cirrhosis.[11][12]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Doubles (3 titles)[edit]

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1933 U.S. National Championships Grass United States George Lott United States Frank Shields
United States Frank Parker
11–13, 9–7, 9–7, 6–3
Win 1934 Wimbledon Grass United States George Lott France Jean Borotra
France Jacques Brugnon
6–2, 6–3, 6–4
Win 1934 U.S. National Championships Grass United States George Lott United States Wilmer Allison
United States John Van Ryn
6–4, 9–7, 3–6, 6–4

Mixed doubles (1 runner-up)[edit]

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1934 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Elizabeth Ryan United States Helen Jacobs
United States George Lott
6–4, 11–13, 2–6


  1. ^ a b McCauley, Joe (2000). The History of Professional Tennis. Windsor: The Short Run Book Company Limited. pp. 25–26.
  2. ^ a b "World's first ten". The West Australian. Vol. XLIX, no. 9, 741. Western Australia. September 18, 1933. p. 5 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "Mr. Wallis Myers' ranking". Sydney Morning Herald. September 22, 1933. p. 12 – via Google News Archive.
  4. ^ Talbert, Bill (1967). Tennis Observed. Boston: Barre Publishers. p. 111. OCLC 172306.
  5. ^ "Davis Cup – Lester Stoeffen". International Tennis Federation (ITF).
  6. ^ "Sport: Indoor Champion". Time. March 26, 1934. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013.
  7. ^ "Les Stoefen, tennis ace, joins pro ranks". The Gazette and Daily. AP. November 14, 1934. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Stanford Cage Star Praises his Brother". Standard-Examiner. UP. January 9, 1936. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "In the Spotlight of Sports". Oakland Tribune. January 16, 1936. p. 18. Retrieved April 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  10. ^ "Lester Stoefen Marries American Film Actress". The Argus (Melbourne). No. 27, 916. Victoria, Australia. February 8, 1936. p. 25 – via National Library of Australia.
  11. ^ "Lester Stoefen, 58, tennis champion" (PDF). The New York Times. February 9, 1970.
  12. ^ Barbara Stoefen (April 28, 2015). "Proof That Addiction Runs in Families?". Barbaracoferstoefen.com.

External links[edit]