Harry Hopman

Henry Christian Hopman CBE (12 August 1906 – 27 December 1985) was an Australian tennis player and coach.

Harry Hopman
Harry Hopman c 1930.jpg
Full nameHenry Christian Hopman
Country (sports) Australia
Born(1906-08-12)12 August 1906
Glebe, New South Wales
Died27 December 1985(1985-12-27) (aged 79)
Seminole, Florida, USA
Height1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF1978 (member page)
Career record463-201 (69.7%) [1]
Career titles34 [2]
Grand Slam singles results
Australian OpenF (1930, 1931, 1932)
French OpenQF (1930)
Wimbledon4R (1934, 1935)
US OpenQF (1938, 1939)
Career record0–0
Grand Slam doubles results
Australian OpenW (1929, 1930)
French OpenF (1930, 1948)
US OpenF (1939)
Grand Slam mixed doubles results
Australian OpenW (1930, 1936, 1937, 1939)
WimbledonF (1945)
US OpenW (1939)

Early lifeEdit

Harry Hopman was born on 12 August 1906 in Glebe, Sydney as the third child of John Henry Hopman, a schoolteacher, and Jennie Siberteen, née Glad. His family then moved to Parramatta.

Hopman started playing tennis at the age of 13 and, playing barefoot, won an open singles tournament on a court in the playground of Rosehill Public School where his father was headmaster.[3] He was later a student at Parramatta High School where he played tennis and cricket.

Davis CupEdit

Hopman in Brisbane in 1931

Hopman was the successful captain-coach of 22 Australian Davis Cup teams from 1939 to 1967. With players such as Frank Sedgman, Ken McGregor, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Rod Laver, Neale Fraser, John Newcombe, Fred Stolle, Tony Roche, Roy Emerson, Ashley Cooper, Rex Hartwig, Mervyn Rose and Mal Anderson, he won the cup an unmatched 16 times.

In late 1951, when it appeared that Davis Cup player Frank Sedgman was about to turn professional, Hopman used his column in the Melbourne Herald to lead a fundraising campaign designed to keep Sedgman in the amateur ranks. Enough money was raised to purchase a gasoline station in the name of Sedgman's wife-to-be and Sedgman remained an amateur for one more year. As Joe McCauley writes in The History of Professional Tennis, "For some reason, the pious Hopman, a strong opponent of the paid game, did not regard this as an infringement of Sedgman's amateur status."[4]


Hopman hitting an overhead in the 1930s

Hopman was also a journalist, joining the Melbourne Herald in 1933 as a sportswriter. He provided sporting commentary. After World War II, this became his focus until he was once again coaxed into tennis coaching. As an example of Hopman's journalism, Kramer writes that Sedgman, by then a successful touring professional, once "volunteered to help train the Aussie Davis Cup team. Hopman accepted the offer, and then he took Sedg aside and told him that what Hoad and Rosewall needed was confidence. So he told Sedg to go easy on them, which he gladly did. After a few days, Hopman wrote an exclusive in his newspaper column revealing how his kids could whip Sedgman and how this proved once again that amateurs were better than the pros."[5]


The Hopman Cup was named in his honour. Until her death in mid-2018, his widow Lucy Hopman travelled to Perth, Western Australia each year for the tournament.

Hopman was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1978.

Tennis great Jack Kramer, who was also a successful promoter of the professional tour, writes in his 1979 autobiography that Hopman "always knew exactly what was going on with all his amateurs. He had no children, no hobbies, and tennis was everything to him. Hopman always said he hated the pros, and he battled open tennis to the bitter end, but as early as the time when Sedgman and McGregor signed, Hopman was trying to get himself included in the deal so he could get a job with pro tennis in America."[5]

Kramer, who admits that Hopman "has never been my favorite guy", goes on to say: "The minute one of his stars would turn pro, Hopman would turn on him. No matter how close he'd been to a player, as soon as he was out of Hopman's control, the guy was an outcast. 'It was as if we'd never existed' Rosewall said once."[5]

Personal lifeEdit

Hopman was first married to Nell Hall, with whom he won four mixed doubles finals. The marriage took place on 19 March 1934 at St Philip's Anglican Church in Sydney. She died of an intracranial tumour on 10 January 1968.[6] Hopman emigrated to the United States in 1969 and became a successful professional coach, at Port Washington Tennis Academy, of future champions such as Vitas Gerulaitis and later John McEnroe. Hopman later opened the Harry Hopman's International Tennis camp in Treasure Island then Largo, Florida, with his second wife, Lucy Pope Fox, whom he married on 2 February 1971.[7]

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1951 New Year Honours for services to sport, and promoted to Commander of the Order (CBE) in the 1956 New Year Honours, again for services to sport (particularly tennis).[8][9]

Hopman died of a heart attack on 27 December 1985.[10]

Tournament recordEdit

Australia Davis CupEdit


  • 1928, 1930, 1932


  • 1938–1939, 1950–1969
    • Winner: 1939, 1950–1953, 1955–1957, 1959–1962, 1964–1967
    • Runner-up: 1938, 1954, 1958, 1963, 1968

Italian ChampionshipEdit

  • Mixed Doubles 1934

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles: 3 (3 runner-ups)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1930 Australian Championships Grass   Edgar Moon 3–6, 1–6, 3–6
Runner-up 1931 Australian Championships Grass   Jack Crawford 4–6, 2–6, 6–2, 1–6
Runner-up 1932 Australian Championships Grass   Jack Crawford 4–6, 6–3, 3–6, 6–3, 6–1

Doubles: 7 (2 titles, 5 runner-ups)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1929 Australian Championships Grass   Jack Crawford   Jack Cummings
  Edgar Moon
6–1, 6–8, 4–6, 6–1, 6–3
Winner 1930 Australian Championships Grass   Jack Crawford   Tim Fitchett
  John Hawkes
8–6, 6–1, 2–6, 6–3
Runner-up 1930 French Championships Clay   Jim Willard   Henri Cochet
  Jacques Brugnon
3–6, 7–8, 3–6
Runner-up 1931 Australian Championships Grass   Jack Crawford   James Anderson
  Norman Brookes
2–6, 4–6, 3–6
Runner-up 1932 Australian Championships Grass   Gerald Patterson   Jack Crawford
  Edgar Moon
10–12, 3–6, 6–4, 4–6
Runner-up 1939 US Championships Grass   Jack Crawford   Adrian Quist
  John Bromwich
6–8, 1–6, 4–6
Runner-up 1948 French Championships Clay   Frank Sedgman   Lennart Bergelin
  Jaroslav Drobný
6–8, 1–6, 10–12

Mixed doubles: 8 (5 titles, 3 runner-ups)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1930 Australian Championships Grass   Nell Hall Hopman   Marjorie Cox Crawford
  Jack Crawford
11–9, 3–6, 6–3
Runner-up 1932 Wimbledon Championships Grass   Josane Sigart   Elizabeth Ryan
  Enrique Maier
5–7, 2–6
Runner-up 1935 Wimbledon Championships Grass   Nell Hall Hopman   Dorothy Round Little
  Fred Perry
5–7, 6–4, 2–6
Winner 1936 Australian Championships Grass   Nell Hall Hopman   May Blick
  Abe Kay
6–2, 6–0
Winner 1937 Australian Championships Grass   Nell Hall Hopman   Dorothy Stevenson
  Don Turnbull
3–6, 6–3, 6–2
Winner 1939 Australian Championships Grass   Nell Hall Hopman   Margaret Wilson
  John Bromwich
6–8, 6–2, 6–3
Winner 1939 US Championships Grass   Alice Marble   Sarah Palfrey Cooke
  Elwood Cooke
9–7, 6–1
Runner-up 1940 Australian Championships Grass   Nell Hall Hopman   Nancye Wynne Bolton
  Colin Long
5–7, 6–2, 4–6


  1. ^ Garcia, Gabriel. "Harry Hopman: Career match record". thetennisbase.com. Tennismem SL. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  2. ^ Garcia, Gabriel. "Harry Hopman: Career match record". thetennisbase.com. Tennismem SL. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Hopman, Henry Christian (Harry) (1906–1985)". Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  4. ^ The History of Professional Tennis (2003) Joe McCauley, p. 58.
  5. ^ a b c Jack Kramer with Frank Deford (1981). The Game : My 40 Years in Tennis. London: Deutsch. pp. 224, 225. ISBN 0233973079.
  6. ^ "Hopman, Eleanor Mary (Nell) (1909–1968)". Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  7. ^ Marilyn Brown (3 February 1976). "Tennis, Anyone?". The Evening Independent. p. 16A.
  8. ^ Australia :"No. 39105". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 December 1950. p. 37.
  9. ^ Australia list: "No. 40670". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1955. p. 40.
  10. ^ "Harry Hopman, Davis Cup captain, dies". The Evening Independent. 30 December 1985. p. 1C.


Further readingEdit

  • Hopman, Harry (1972). Better tennis for boys and girls. New York: Dodd, Mead. ISBN 0-396-06365-9.

External linksEdit