William Larned

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For Yale professor, see William Augustus Larned (professor).
William Larned
Bill larned.jpg
Full name William Augustus Larned
Country (sports)  United States
Born December 30, 1872
Summit, NJ, USA
Died December 16, 1926(1926-12-16) (aged 53)
New York, NY, U.S.
Turned pro 1890 (amateur tour)
Retired 1911
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF 1956 (member page)
Highest ranking No. 1 (1901, Karoly Mazak)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Wimbledon QF (1896, 1905)
US Open W (1901, 1902, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Wimbledon SF (1905)
Team competitions
Davis Cup W (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 World No. 1 male tennis player who was active at the beginning of the 20th century. He won seven singles titles at the U.S. Championships.


Larned was born and raised in Summit, New Jersey on the estate of his father, William Zebedee Larned.[2] 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 winning the Davis Cup in 1911. 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 Lawrence Doherty described Larned's playing style:

On Lawn Tennis - 1903[3]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles (7 titles, 2 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
Runner-up 1900 U.S. Championships United States Malcolm Whitman 4–9, 6–1, 2–6, 2–6
Winner 1901 U.S. Championships United States Beals Wright 6–2, 6–8, 6–4, 6–4
Winner 1902 U.S. Championships (2) United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Reginald Doherty 4–6, 6–2, 6–4, 8–6
Runner-up 1903 U.S. Championships United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Lawrence Doherty 0–6, 3–6, 8–10
Winner 1907 U.S. Championships (3) United States Robert LeRoy 6–2, 6–2, 6–4
Winner 1908 U.S. Championships (4) United States Beals Wright 6–1, 6–2, 8–6
Winner 1909 U.S. Championships (5) United States William Clothier 6–1, 6–2, 5–7, 1–6, 6–1
Winner 1910 U.S. Championships (6) United States Thomas Bundy 6–1, 5–7, 6–0, 6–8, 6–1
Winner 1911 U.S. Championships (7) United States Maurice McLoughlin 6–4, 6–4, 6–2


  1. ^ Mazak, Karoly (2010). The Concise History of Tennis, p. 29.
  2. ^ 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..."
  3. ^ Doherty, R.F. (1903). R.F. and H.L. Doherty on Lawn Tennis (1st ed.). London: Lawn Tennis. pp. 62–63. 

External links[edit]