|Full name||William Augustus Larned|
|Country (sports)||United States|
|Born||December 30, 1872
Summit, NJ, United States
|Died||December 16, 1926
New York, NY, U.S.
|Turned pro||1890 (amateur tour)|
|Plays||Right-handed (one-handed backhand)|
|Int. Tennis HoF||1956 (member page)|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (1901, Karoly Mazak)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Wimbledon||QF (1896, 1905)|
|US Open||W (1901, 1902, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Davis Cup||W (1902)|
William Augustus Larned (December 30, 1872 – December 16, 1926) was an American tennis player.
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", Larned won the title seven times, as did Richard Sears before him and Bill Tilden after. 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 and was ranked World No. 1 or co-World No. 1 for 1901, 1902, 1908, 1909 and 1910 by Karoly Mazak. 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.
In their book R.F. and H.L. Doherty - On Lawn Tennis (1903) multiple Wimbledon champions Reginald and Lawrence Doherty described Larned's playing style:
|“||Larned, when on his game, is very fine indeed and very brilliant. His is a good style and pleasant to watch. Throughout he hits hard, and goes for his stroke. With very little effort Larned gets great pace on the ball. His forehand is distinctly stronger than his backhand, but he puts top on both, hitting nearly at the height of the bound. Among his strongest points are his forehand volley, which is very hard indeed, and his service, which is a capital one of the ordinary straight kind, and which he, as a rule, follows up to the net. He is quick reaching the net after a good-length drive, and he can drive the ball while he is on the run. He is good at the volley but erratic at times in his return of service. He has really only one fault — namely, that he varies at times; he has his off-days.||”|
On Lawn Tennis - 1903
Grand Slam finals
Singles: 9 (7 titles, 2 runners-up)
|Runner-up||1900||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Malcolm Whitman||4–6, 6–1, 2–6, 2–6|
|Winner||1901||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Beals Wright||6–2, 6–8, 6–4, 6–4|
|Winner||1902||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Reginald Doherty||4–6, 6–2, 6–4, 8–6|
|Runner-up||1903||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Laurence Doherty||0–6, 3–6, 8–10|
|Winner||1907||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Robert LeRoy||6–2, 6–2, 6–4|
|Winner||1908||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Beals Wright||6–1, 6–2, 8–6|
|Winner||1909||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Bill Clothier||6–1, 6–2, 5–7, 1–6, 6–1|
|Winner||1910||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Tom Bundy||6–1, 5–7, 6–0, 6–8, 6–1|
|Winner||1911||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Maurice McLoughlin||6–4, 6–4, 6–2|
- Mazak, Karoly (2010). The Concise History of Tennis, p. 29.
- Staff. "LARNED WORKS BUNDY: Champion Tennis Player Makes The Youngster Show Weakness", The Baltimore Sun, August 26, 1910. Accessed February 18, 2011. "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..."
- Doherty, R.F. (1903). R.F. and H.L. Doherty on Lawn Tennis (1st ed.). London: Lawn Tennis. pp. 62–63.