Angela Buxton (16 August 1934 – 14 August 2020) 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.
|Country (sports)||United Kingdom|
|Born||16 August 1934|
|Died||14 August 2020 (aged 85)|
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|French Open||QF (1954)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|French Open||W (1956)|
|Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results|
|French Open||3R (1956)|
Buxton was born in Liverpool on 16 August 1934, one of two children born to Harry and Violet (Greenberg) Buxton. 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. 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.
Buxton began playing tennis at a young age. 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.
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. She won the English Indoor and London Grass Court singles championships and the English Hard Court doubles crown (with Darlene Hard). 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.
Buxton's Judaism played a role throughout her career. Her religious background prevented full acceptance within the tennis world from an early age. 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.
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.
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". 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. 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. "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."
Later life and legacyEdit
Buxton was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1981. In 2014, she was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. 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.
Buxton founded the Angela Buxton Tennis Centre in Hampstead Garden Suburb. 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.
Grand Slam finalsEdit
Singles (1 runner-up)Edit
|Loss||1956||Wimbledon||Grass||Shirley Fry||3–6, 1–6|||
Doubles (2 titles)Edit
|Win||1956||French Championships||Clay||Althea Gibson|| Darlene Hard
Dorothy Head Knode
|6–8, 8–6, 6–1|||
|Win||1956||Wimbledon||Grass||Althea Gibson|| Fay Muller
Grand Slam singles tournament timelineEdit
|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|
- "Wimbledon champion, trailblazer Angela Buxton dies in her Fort Lauderdale home at 85". Miami Herald. 18 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
- 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.
- Blas, Howard (9 September 2014). "Doubles partners smash prejudice as 1956 Wimbledon champs". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
- Schoenfeld, Bruce (2009). The Match: Althea Gibson and a Portrait of a Friendship. Harper Collins. p. 31. ISBN 9780061763564.
- "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.
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- "Angela Buxton, Althea Gibson's doubles partner, dies at 85". AP/Chicago-Sun Times. 17 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
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- "British tennis champ says she was denied club membership due to anti-Semitism". JTA. 14 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
- [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
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- "National Jewish HOF holds induction ceremony". Newsday.
- "2015 Hall of Fame Inductees". 3 June 2015.
- "Tackle Lawn Tennis This Way". AbeBooks.com. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
- "Starting Tennis". AbeBooks.com. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
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- Rocker, Simon. "Wimbledon doubles champion Angela Buxton dies, aged 85". Jewish Chronicle. 18 August 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
- "Obituary: Angela Buxton". itftennis.com. International Tennis Federation (ITF). Retrieved 17 August 2020.
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