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Eric Clifford Drysdale (born 26 May 1941) is a former top-ranked professional tennis player of the 1960s and early 1970s who became a well-known tennis announcer. Drysdale reached the singles final of the U. S. championships in 1965 (beating Dennis Ralston and Rafael Osuna before losing to Manuel Santana).[5] He was one of the Handsome Eight, a group of players signed by Lamar Hunt in 1968 for the newly formed professional World Championship Tennis (WCT) group.[6] He became President of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) when it was formed by Jack Kramer, Donald Dell, and himself in 1972. Drysdale was ranked World No. 4 in 1965 by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph.[4][7]

Cliff Drysdale
Cliff Drysdale (1966).jpg
Drysdale at the 1966 Davis Cup in the Netherlands
Full nameEric Clifford Drysdale
Country (sports) South Africa
ResidenceAustin, Texas, United States[1]
Born (1941-05-26) 26 May 1941 (age 78)
Nelspruit, South Africa
Height1.89 m (6 ft 2 12 in)
Turned pro1968 (amateur tour from 1962)
PlaysRight-handed (two-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF2013 (member page)
Career record685-345 (66.5%) [2]
Career titles23 [3]
Highest rankingNo. 4 (1965, Lance Tingay)[4]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenQF (1971)
French OpenSF (1965, 1966)
WimbledonSF (1965, 1966)
US OpenF (1965)
Other tournaments
WCT FinalsQF (1971, 1972, 1977)
Career record189–160 (54.15%)
Career titles6
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open1R (1971)
French Open3R (1973)
WimbledonSF (1974, 1977)
US OpenW (1972)
Drysdale in 2009

Drysdale won the singles title at the Dutch Open in Hilversum in 1963 and 1964. In 1965 he won the singles title at the German Championships by defeating Boro Jovanović in the final. During his Open era career, Drysdale captured five singles titles and six doubles titles including winning the 1972 U.S. Open doubles crown with Roger Taylor.[8] He defeated Rod Laver in the fourth round of the first US Open in 1968. He was a pioneer of the two-handed backhand which he used to great effect in the 1960s [USA Today, 11 July 2013]. He became a naturalized United States citizen after retiring as a player. Today, he serves as a tennis commentator on ESPN.[7] He is the founder of Cliff Drysdale Tennis (along with partner Don Henderson) which specializes in resort, hotel, and club tennis management.[9]

In 1998 Drysdale won the William M. Johnston Award for contribution to men’s tennis, given by the USTA.[10] In 2013 Drysdale was elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.[11]


Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles (1 runner-up)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Loss 1965 U.S. Championships Grass   Manuel Santana 2–6, 9–7, 5–7, 1–6

Doubles (1 title)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1972 US Open Grass   Roger Taylor   Owen Davidson
  John Newcombe
6–4, 7–6(7–3), 6–3

Grand Prix Championship Series singles finalsEdit

Runner-up (2)Edit

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1971 Boston WCT   Ken Rosewall 4–6, 3–6, 0–6
1972 Las Vegas   John Newcombe 3–6, 4–6

Open Era titlesEdit

No. Date Championship Surface Opponent Score
1. 22 July 1968 Gstaad, Switzerland Clay   Tom Okker 6–3, 6–3, 6–0
2. 5 April 1971 Miami WCT, U. S. Hard   Rod Laver 6–2, 6–4, 3–6, 6–4
3. 24 May 1971 Brussels, Belgium Clay   Ilie Năstase 6–0, 6–1, 7–5
4. 4 March 1974 Miami WCT (2) Hard   Tom Gorman 6–4, 7–5
5. 23 January 1978 Baltimore, U. S. Carpet   Tom Gorman 7–5, 6–3



  1. ^ Cliff rysdal partners
  2. ^ Garcia, Gabriel. "Cliff Drysdale: Career match record". Madrid, Spain: Tennismem SL. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  3. ^ Garcia, Gabriel. "Cliff Drysdale: Career tournament results". Madrid, Spain: Tennismem SL. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  4. ^ a b United States Lawn Tennis Association (1972). Official Encyclopedia of Tennis (First Edition), p. 427.
  5. ^ "U. S. Open 1965".
  6. ^ Wind, Herbert Warren (1979). Game, Set, and Match : The Tennis Boom of the 1960s and 70s (1. ed.). New York: Dutton. pp. 65–70. ISBN 0525111409.
  7. ^ a b "Gear Talk: Q&A with Cliff Drysdale".
  8. ^ Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins history of tennis : an authoritative encyclopedia and record book (2nd ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. p. 478. ISBN 9780942257700.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "The William M. Johnston Award". USTA.
  11. ^ "Hingis elected to International Tennis Hall of Fame". ITF Tennis. 4 March 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013.

External linksEdit

See alsoEdit