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Henry J. Prusoff (nicknamed "the Russian Bear";[1] December 10, 1912 – May 1943) was a top-ranked American tennis player in both singles and doubles in the 1930s. Prusoff was ranked # 3 in doubles during the 1930s, and # 8 in singles in the U.S. in 1940.[2]

Henry J. Prusoff
Country (sports) United States
Born(1912-12-10)December 10, 1912
Cleveland, Ohio
DiedMay 1943 (1943-06) (aged 30)
Highest rankingNo. 8 (in 1940)
Highest rankingNo. 3 (in 1930s)


Early lifeEdit

He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and was Jewish.[3] He later lived in Seattle, Washington.[4] He attended Garfield High School in Seattle.[5]

Tennis careerEdit

Prusoff won the singles and doubles titles at the Oregon State Tennis Championship in 1932. In 1933 he played in the US Championships, but was defeated in the round of 128 by Keith Gledhill.[6] Prusoff also won the singles title and reached the doubles final at the Cincinnati Masters in 1934, and played in the US Championships where he was defeated in the round of 64 by John Van Ryn.[6] He also won the Tri-State Tennis Tournament that year.[2]

In 1935, while ranked 13th in the United States and after defeating S. H. Ellsworth Davenport at the US Championship in the round of 64 (but losing in the round of 32 to Frank Shields), Prusoff sustained a very bad, near-fatal back injury from which he nevertheless eventually made a surprising recovery.[6][7][2]

By 1939, Prusoff was ranked # 10 in singles in the US (after returning to the US Championship, where he beat Lewis Duff in the round of 128 and Ernest Sutter in the round of 64, but lost to Gilbert Hunt in the round of 32),[8][6] and in 1940 he was ranked # 8 (after at the US Championship he beat Gilbert Hall in the round of 64 and Edwin Armark in the round of 32, but lost to Jack Kramer in the round of 16).[7][6][2]

In both 1935 and 1939 he was nominated for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Man of the Year sports award.[9]

He died in 1943 at the age of 30 of a rare blood disease.[1]

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit