William Larned

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William Larned
Bill larned.jpg
Full nameWilliam Augustus Larned
Country (sports) United States
Born(1872-12-30)December 30, 1872
Summit, NJ, U.S.
DiedDecember 16, 1926(1926-12-16) (aged 53)
New York, NY, U.S.
Turned pro1890 (amateur tour)
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF1956 (member page)
Career record291/71 (80.3%) [1]
Career titles48 [1]
Grand Slam Singles results
WimbledonQF (1896, 1905)
US OpenW (1901, 1902, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911)
Grand Slam Doubles results
WimbledonSF (1905)
Team competitions
Davis CupW (1902)
Charles Dixon vs. William Augustus Larned on September 9, 1911
William Larned in action

William Augustus Larned (December 30, 1872 – December 16, 1926) was an American tennis player who was active at the beginning of the 20th century. He won seven singles titles at the U.S. National Championships.


Larned was born and raised in Summit, New Jersey on the estate of his father, William Zebedee Larned. Larned Road in Summit honors both father and son. He came from a family that could trace its American roots to shortly after the arrival of the Mayflower. He was the eldest child of a wealthy lawyer and his wife. In 1890 he came to Cornell University to study mechanical engineering. He first gained fame in his junior year, when he became the first (and to this day, the only) Cornellian to win the intercollegiate tennis championship.

An all-around athlete, Larned captained the St. Nicholas Hockey Club in 1896–97 and was also a fine horseman, golfer, and rifle shot. He invented the steel-framed racquet in 1922 and founded a company to manufacture it.

As one of the "Big Three of the U.S. men's championship"[citation needed], Larned won the title seven times, as did Richard Sears before him and Bill Tilden after.[2] Larned was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup Team in 1902–03, 1905, 1908–09 and 1911–12. Larned achieved a career-high U.S. ranking of No. 1. He twice participated in the Wimbledon Championships, in 1896 and 1905, but could not match his success at home, losing on both occasions in the quarterfinals.

He was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1956.

Larned in 1898 had served in the Spanish–American War as one of Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders. While serving in the war, Larned caught rheumatism in Cuba; Rheumatoid arthritis later deteriorated his health forcing him to retire from tennis after losing the Davis Cup challenge round in early 1912. Partially paralyzed by spinal meningitis, he was unable to do any of the activities he loved most, and became depressed. On the evening of December 15, 1926, inside the private chambers of the exclusive Knickerbocker Club in Manhattan, the 53-year-old Larned committed suicide by shooting himself.

Playing style[edit]

In their book R.F. and H.L. Doherty - On Lawn Tennis (1903) multiple Wimbledon champions Reginald and Laurence Doherty described Larned's playing style:

On Lawn Tennis - 1903[3]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles: 9 (7 titles, 2 runners-up)[edit]

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Loss 1900 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Malcolm Whitman 4–6, 6–1, 2–6, 2–6
Win 1901 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Beals Wright 6–2, 6–8, 6–4, 6–4
Win 1902 U.S. National Championships Grass United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Reginald Doherty 4–6, 6–2, 6–4, 8–6
Loss 1903 U.S. National Championships Grass United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Laurence Doherty 0–6, 3–6, 8–10
Win 1907 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Robert LeRoy 6–2, 6–2, 6–4
Win 1908 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Beals Wright 6–1, 6–2, 8–6
Win 1909 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Bill Clothier 6–1, 6–2, 5–7, 1–6, 6–1
Win 1910 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Tom Bundy 6–1, 5–7, 6–0, 6–8, 6–1
Win 1911 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Maurice McLoughlin 6–4, 6–4, 6–2

Performance 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)

Events with a challenge round: (WC) won; (CR) lost the challenge round; (FA) all comers' finalist

1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898 1899 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906 1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 SR W–L Win %
Grand Slam tournaments 7 / 20 66–14 82.50
French only for French club members 0 / 0 0–0
Wimbledon A A A A A QF A A A A A A A A QF A A A A A A 0 / 2 5–2 71.43
U.S. 3R FA A FA FA FA SF A A CR W WC CR SF SF 2R W WC WC WC WC 7 / 18 61–12 83.56
Australian not held A A A A A A A 0 / 0 0–0
Win–Loss 2–1 5–1 4–1 5–1 5–1 7–2 4–1 0–0 0–0 6–1 5–0 1–0 0–1 4–1 7–2 0–1 7–0 1–0 1–0 1–0 1–0


  1. ^ a b "William Larned:Career match record". thetennisbase.com. Tennis Base.
  2. ^ "Larned works Bundy". The Baltimore Sun. August 26, 1910. p. 10 – via Newspapers.com. For the fourth consecutive time and for the sixth time in his career as tennis player William A. Larned, of Summit, N. J., today won the challenge match of the singles championship of the United States, defeating Thos. C. Bundy, of Los Angeles, Cal., on the Casin courts, 6–1, 5–7, 6–0, 6–8, 6–1
  3. ^ Doherty, R.F.; Doherty, H.L. (1903). R.F. and H.L. Doherty on Lawn Tennis (1st ed.). London: Lawn Tennis. pp. 62–63.

External links[edit]