Sidney Wood

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Sidney Wood
Sidney Wood.jpg
Full name Sidney Burr Beardslee Wood Jr.
Country (sports)  United States
Born (1911-11-01)November 1, 1911
Black Rock, Connecticut, USA
Died January 10, 2009(2009-01-10) (aged 97)
Palm Beach, Florida, USA
Turned pro 1927 (amateur tour)
Retired 1956
Plays Right-handed (1-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF 1964 (member page)
Highest ranking No. 5 (1938, A. Wallis Myers)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
French Open 3R (1928, 1932)
Wimbledon W (1931)
US Open F (1935)
Mixed doubles
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French Open F (1932)
Team competitions
Davis Cup F (1934)

Sidney Burr Wood Jr. (November 1, 1911 – January 10, 2009) was an American tennis player who won Wimbledon in 1931. Wood was ranked in the world's Top 10 five times between 1931 and 1938, and was ranked World No. 6 in 1931 and 1934 and No. 5 in 1938 by A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph.[2]

Wood was born in Black Rock, Connecticut. He won the Arizona State Men’s Tournament on his 14th birthday, which qualified him for the French Championship and earned him a spot at Wimbledon.[3] He attended The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, where he created the tradition of "J-ball." In the 1927 Wimbledon Championships, Wood became the youngest competitor in the Men's Singles at 15 years 231 days old and the Men's Doubles at 15 years 234 days old.[4] He was the third youngest winner of the Wimbledon Championships, which he won in 1931 at the age of 19 after Frank Shields withdrew due to an ankle injury. Shields did so on request of the U.S. Davis Cup Committee, "Frank wanted to play me and it was an insult to Wimbledon and the public that he didn't," recalled Wood.[5] Wood is the only uncontested winner of a Wimbledon final.[6] He also reached the finals of the Mixed Doubles of the French Championships in 1932, the Davis Cup in 1934, and the U.S. National Championships Men's Singles in 1935.

Wood is credited with inventing, designing and patenting Supreme Court, a synthetic playing surface used for indoor courts. It was used by the World Championship Tennis tour from 1973 to 1978. He was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1964. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living Hall of Famer.[7]

Grand Slam singles finals (1-1)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1931 Wimbledon Grass United States Frank Shields w/o
Runner-up 1935 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Wilmer Allison 2–6, 2–6, 3–6


Wood's uncle Watson Washburn was a Davis Cup team member. He credited his uncle with introducing him to tennis.[3]

Wood was the father of David, Colin, Sidney III, and W. Godfrey Wood. Sidney Wood III, a Yale tennis player, died at the age of 22 in an early morning car accident in a car driven by a tennis teammate on a North Carolina highway in 1961.[8]

Wood is survived by his other three sons. Colin Wood is the subject in Diane Arbus' famous 1962 photograph Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park.[9]

David Wood lives in New York and works for a law firm.

W. Godfrey Wood lives in Maine and still holds the collegiate season record for lowest goals against average (1.21 GAA, in 1962), as a goalie for Harvard's hockey team. His save percentage of .945 ranks second in all time NCAA standings (only .001 behind .946). He started the Hartford Whalers and the Portland Pirates. Godfrey has three children: Whitney Wood Bylin (Palm Beach, FL), Sidney Gray Wood (Portland, ME), and Amanda Burr Wood (San Francisco, CA).


  1. ^ "Bromwich Placed Third", The Sydney Morning Herald, October 5, 1938.
  2. ^ Béla Kehrling, ed. (November 1, 1931). "Külföldi hírek" [International news] (PDF). Tennisz és Golf. III (in Hungarian) (Budapest, Hungary: Egyesült Kő-, Könyvnyomda. Könyv- és Lapkiadó Rt.) 20: 16–17. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Tennis Master Sydney Wood Dies Southampton Press, January 15, 2009.
  4. ^ "Wimbledon Records & Statistics". Event Guide - History. AELTC. Retrieved January 14, 2009. 
  5. ^ Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (2nd ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780942257700. 
  6. ^ Richard Goldstein (January 14, 2009). "Sidney Wood, 97, only Wimbledon winner by default". NY Times. Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  7. ^ Tennis Great Sidney Woods Dies Associated Press, January 11, 2009
  8. ^ Father & Son Time Magazine, March 31, 1961
  9. ^ Diane Arbus' Photos and the Stories Behind Them Mental Floss, July 26, 2008

External links[edit]