Angela Buxton

Angela Buxton (16 August 1934 – 14 August 2020)[2] was a British tennis player. She won the women's doubles title at both the French Championships and Wimbledon in 1956 with her playing partner Althea Gibson.

Angela Buxton
Photo of Angela Buxton.jpg
Angela Buxton in 1955, when she was ranked among the top 10 female players in the world.
Country (sports) United Kingdom
Born(1934-08-16)16 August 1934
Liverpool, England
Died14 August 2020(2020-08-14) (aged 85)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.[1]
Retired1957
Singles
Grand Slam Singles results
French OpenQF (1954)
WimbledonF (1956)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
French OpenW (1956)
WimbledonW (1956)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French Open3R (1956)
Medal record
Representing  England
Maccabiah Games
Gold medal – first place 1953 Israel Women's Singles

Early lifeEdit

Buxton was born in Liverpool on 16 August 1934, one of two children born to Harry and Violet (Greenberg) Buxton.[3][4] Her grandparents on both sides were Jewish and had immigrated to England from Russia, fleeing from the pogroms in the early 1900s. She was raised partly in South Africa.[5] Buxton's father owned a successful cinema chain in northwestern England, which allowed her to attend boarding school at Gloddaeth Hall. While there, a coach noticed her tennis ability and urged her to acquire more training.[5]

CareerEdit

Buxton began playing tennis at a young age.[6] After spending time undergoing training in London and Los Angeles, in 1954 she earned the British No. 4 ranking. Buxton then reached the 1955 Wimbledon singles quarterfinals and climbed to World No. 9 in the rankings. She played in Wightman Cup competition for the United Kingdom in 1954, 1955, and 1956.[5][7]

Buxton had her most successful tennis year in 1956. She won the women's doubles title and reached the singles final at Wimbledon, the first Briton to do so in 17 years.[5] She won the English Indoor and London Grass Court singles championships and the English Hard Court doubles crown (with Darlene Hard).[5] At the French Championships, she reached the singles semifinals and won the women's doubles title with Althea Gibson, who was the first African-American champion. Buxton was ranked World No. 5 by World Tennis and World No. 6 by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.[8]

Buxton also won the women's singles title at the 1953 Maccabiah Games.[9]

After suffering a serious hand condition in late 1956 (tenosynovitis), Buxton was forced to retire following the 1957 season at the age of 22.[10]

Buxton's Judaism played a role throughout her career. Her religious background prevented full acceptance within the tennis world from an early age.[6] Regarding her experience at the Cumberland Club, she said:

I had to fill in a form: name, address, telephone number and then religion. I had several lessons there with a guy called Bill Blake, and I kept asking him about membership. Eventually he turned round to me and said "Look, Angela, please don't keep asking me, you're not going to be able to join the club." I said "Why not? I'm not good enough?" "No, because you're Jewish." And that was the beginning. It was the first time it [prejudice] had hit me in this country.[6]

Buxton repeatedly was refused access to training facilities because of her ethnicity. From the mid-1950s, she was able to practise at the private indoor court of Simon Marks, the Jewish owner of department store chain Marks and Spencer, who had become aware of the difficulties which Buxton faced.[11]

After Buxton won the women's doubles title at Wimbledon with an African-American partner Althea Gibson, one English newspaper reported the event with a story titled "Minorities Win". "It was in very small type", said Buxton, "lest anyone should see it".[12] Following her victory, Buxton proceeded to apply for admission to the All-England Club, believing she would be admitted as one of England's top tennis players. However, her application (along with Gibson's) never was accepted. Over the next 63 years, Buxton continued to apply for admission without success, with Buxton claiming the reason was antisemitic prejudice.[13] Buxton said in 2004: "I think the anti-Semitism is still there. The mere fact that I'm not a member is a full sentence that speaks for itself." The chairman of the club said he could not comment until he investigated further.[14] "I wish it still wasn't such an elite sport", Buxton said. "I wish we could bring it down to a common baseline. It's going that way. It's still not there."[6][15][16]

Later life and legacyEdit

Buxton was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.[6] In 2014, she was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.[17][18] In 2015, the Black Tennis Hall of Fame inducted Buxton, honoring her for her doubles partnership and friendship with Althea Gibson as well as her efforts to raise funds for the ailing Gibson near the end of her life.[19]

Buxton wrote the tennis books Tackle Lawn Tennis This Way (1958),[20] Starting Tennis (1975),[21] and Winning Tennis: Doubles Tactics (1980).[22]

Buxton founded the Angela Buxton Tennis Centre in Hampstead Garden Suburb.[23] In later years, she divided her time between Altrincham and Florida, where she kept a winter home and regularly attended tournaments and mentored players. She died on 14 August 2020, two days short of her 86th birthday, at her home in Fort Lauderdale.[24][5]

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles (1 runner-up)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score Source
Loss 1956 Wimbledon Grass   Shirley Fry 3–6, 1–6 [25]

Doubles (2 titles)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score Source
Win 1956 French Championships Clay   Althea Gibson   Darlene Hard
  Dorothy Head Knode
6–8, 8–6, 6–1 [26]
Win 1956 Wimbledon Grass   Althea Gibson   Fay Muller
  Daphne Seeney
6–1, 8–6 [26]

Grand Slam singles tournament timelineEdit

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# A NH
(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)
Tournament 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 Career SR
Australian Championships A A A A A 0 / 0
French Championships A A QF 3R SF 0 / 3
Wimbledon 1R 4R 4R QF F 0 / 5
U.S. Championships A A A 3R A 0 / 1
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 9

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Wimbledon champion, trailblazer Angela Buxton dies in her Fort Lauderdale home at 85". Miami Herald. 18 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  2. ^ Katharine Q., Seelye (26 August 2020). "Angela Buxton, Half of an Outcast Duo in Tennis History, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 27 August 2020. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  3. ^ Blas, Howard (9 September 2014). "Doubles partners smash prejudice as 1956 Wimbledon champs". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  4. ^ Schoenfeld, Bruce (2009). The Match: Althea Gibson and a Portrait of a Friendship. Harper Collins. p. 31. ISBN 9780061763564.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Angela Buxton, tennis player who fought prejudice to win the Wimbledon doubles crown – obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 17 August 2020. Archived from the original on 17 August 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Buxton, Angela," Jews in Sports Archived 28 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 12 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Angela Buxton's Unique Chapter In Tennis History". World Tennis Magazine. 17 August 2020. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  8. ^ Collins, Bud (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York, N.Y: New Chapter Press. pp. 695, 703. ISBN 978-0-942257-41-0.
  9. ^ Israel Digest: A Bi-weekly Summary of News from Israel. Israel Office of Information, Volumes 6-8. 1955. p. 6.
  10. ^ "Angela Buxton, Althea Gibson's doubles partner, dies at 85". AP/Chicago-Sun Times. 17 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  11. ^ Davis, David. "Justice, Served: A Tennis Story". Forward.com. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  12. ^ Henderson, Jon; O'Donnell, Matthew (8 July 2001). "Triumphing over prejudice". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  13. ^ "British tennis champ says she was denied club membership due to anti-Semitism". JTA. 14 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  14. ^ [Schoenfeld, Bruce, "The Match: Althea Gibson & Angela Buxton: How Two Outsiders—One Black, the Other Jewish—Forged a Friendship and Made Sports History"] (2004), pp. 279–80, Amistad, ISBN 0-06-052652-1, ISBN 978-0-06-052652-8, accessed 6/29/09
  15. ^ Slater, Robert, "Great Jews in Sports", Jonathan David Publishers, 2005, ISBN 0-8246-0453-9, ISBN 978-0-8246-0453-0
  16. ^ Giles, Juanita, "No Jews allowed: UAE bows to 'neighborhood' pressure" The Hook, 2/26/09, accessed 6/29/09
  17. ^ "Schwartz: National Jewish Sports Hall Of Fame Welcomes Its 2014 Class". 12 September 2014.
  18. ^ "National Jewish HOF holds induction ceremony". Newsday.
  19. ^ "2015 Hall of Fame Inductees". 3 June 2015.
  20. ^ "Tackle Lawn Tennis This Way". AbeBooks.com. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  21. ^ "Starting Tennis". AbeBooks.com. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  22. ^ Winning Tennis: Doubles Tactics (A Hyperion book) Hardcover – 1 April 1980. ASIN 0706350898.
  23. ^ Rocker, Simon. "Wimbledon doubles champion Angela Buxton dies, aged 85". Jewish Chronicle. 18 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  24. ^ "Obituary: Angela Buxton". itftennis.com. International Tennis Federation (ITF). Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  25. ^ "Angela Buxton obituary". The Times. 18 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  26. ^ a b Henderson, Jon; O'Donnell, Matthew (8 July 2001). "Triumphing over prejudice". The Observer.

External linksEdit