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Althea Louise Brough Clapp (née Brough; March 11, 1923 – February 3, 2014) was an American tennis player. During her career between 1939 and 1959, she won six Grand Slam singles titles as well as numerous doubles and mixed doubles titles. At the end of the 1955 tennis season, Lance Tingay of the London Daily Telegraph ranked her world No. 1 for the year.

Louise Brough
Louise Brough, 1948 (14365739371).jpg
Louise Brough in 1948
Full nameAlthea Louise Brough
Country (sports) United States
Born(1923-03-11)March 11, 1923
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
DiedFebruary 3, 2014(2014-02-03) (aged 90)
Vista, California
Height1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF1967 (member page)
Singles
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1955, Lance Tingay)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenW (1950)
French OpenSF (1946, 1947, 1950)
WimbledonW (1948, 1949, 1950, 1955)
US OpenW (1947)
Doubles
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1946)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenW (1950)
French OpenW (1946, 1947, 1949)
WimbledonW (1946, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1954)
US OpenW (1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1955, 1956, 1957)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
WimbledonW (1946, 1947, 1948, 1950)
US OpenW (1942, 1947, 1948, 1949)
Team competitions
Wightman CupW (1946, 1947, 1948, 1950)

BiographyEdit

Louise Brough (pronounced Bruff) was born in Oklahoma City in 1923.[2] Her family moved to Beverly Hills, California when she was four years old.[2] She learned to play tennis on the public courts at Roxbury Park[3] and was coached by Dick Skeen. In 1940 and 1941, she won the U. S. Girls' Championships.[4]

In women's doubles, Brough never failed to reach the quarterfinals at the 32 Grand Slam tournaments she played during her career. She reached the semifinals 29 times and the final 28 times. She usually teamed with her longtime friend Margaret Osborne duPont.[2] They won their first U. S. doubles title as a team at the 1942 U. S. National Championships. That was the first of nine consecutive doubles titles at the U. S. national tournament. This was the longest championship run in history in any event at any Grand Slam tournament.[4] Their attempt at a tenth consecutive title was unsuccessful because Osborne duPont was injured and unable to play the 1951 U. S. national tournament. Osborne duPont also did not play there in 1952. In 1953, their winning streak as a team at the U. S. national tournament reached 42 before they lost to Doris Hart and Shirley Fry in the final, 6–2, 7–9, 9–7.[4] Their career record as a team at the U. S. national championships was 58–2, winning twelve of the fourteen times they entered the tournament and losing only twelve sets in those 60 matches.[4] They played Wimbledon as a team seven times, winning five titles and compiling a 33–2 record. At the French International Championships, they won three titles and had a 14–1 record. Combining their record at these three Grand Slam tournaments, they had a win-loss record of 105–5, 95.45 percent and won 20 titles out of 25 attempts.

In singles, Brough won the U. S. title in 1947 after being the runner-up in 1942 and 1943. Although she appeared in three more singles finals, this would remain her only U. S. singles title. In 1948, she had a match point at 6–5 in the third set against duPont.[5]:67 She also had three match points in the 1954 final against Doris Hart, the first at 5–4 in the third set and two more at 6–5 in that set.[5]:89

At Wimbledon, Brough won three consecutive singles titles from 1948 through 1950, with her fourth and last title coming in 1955. From 1946 through 1955, she appeared in seven Wimbledon singles finals. She also appeared in 21 of the 30 finals contested at Wimbledon in singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles during those 10 years.[4] In 1948 and 1950, she won the rare "triple" at Wimbledon, sweeping the singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles titles. Alongside duPont, she won five doubles titles there. She also won four mixed doubles titles there with partners Tom Brown, John Bromwich, and Eric Sturgess.

Brough entered the Australian National Championships only once, in 1950, when she won the singles and women's doubles titles. She played the French International Championships four times between 1946 and 1950, with her best result in singles being the semifinals. The slow clay courts in Paris were not suitable to her attacking style of play.[6] However, she won women's doubles titles there in 1946, 1947, and 1949.

Brough came very close in 1950 to winning a calendar year Grand Slam in women's doubles. She had already won the title at the Australian Championships with Doris Hart. And she would go on to win the titles at Wimbledon and the U. S. championships, both with Osborne duPont. At the French International Championships, Brough and Osborne duPont reached the final and were heavy favorites to defeat Hart and Shirley Fry. But the underdogs prevailed 1–6, 7–5, 6–2. This was Brough's first defeat in a Grand Slam women's doubles match since the 1947 Wimbledon final.

In summary, Brough won 13 titles at Wimbledon, 17 titles at the U. S. National Championships, 3 titles at the French International Championships, and 2 titles at the Australian National Championships. Her 35 Grand Slam titles ties her with Doris Hart for fifth on the all-time list, behind only Margaret Smith Court, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, and Margaret Osborne duPont.[4]

According to John Olliff and Lance Tingay of the London Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Brough was ranked in the world top 10 from 1946 through 1957 (no rankings issued from 1940 through 1945), reaching a career high of world No. 1 in 1955.[1] She was included in the year-end top 10 rankings issued by the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) from 1941 through 1950 and from 1952 through 1957. She was the top ranked US player in 1947.[4] Her 16 years in the USLTA top 10 put her behind only Billie Jean King (18 years) and Chris Evert (19 years).[4]

Bud Collins regarded her as one of the great volleyers in history.[4] He wrote, "A willowy blonde, 5-foot-71/2, she was quiet but the killer in the left court when at play alongside duPont."[4] Beside her aggressive volleys, her strengths were her backhand and a paralyzing American twist serve with a high kick.[5]:65[6] Alice Marble wrote about Brough's serve, "She gets an enormously high bounce on this serve, and women are notoriously feeble in their effort to return it, especially on the backhand."[2]

Brough married Pasadena dentist Dr. Alan Clapp on August 9, 1958[3] and retired from tennis competitions one year later. She taught juniors in California for the following 20 years.[6] She was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1967. Occasionally she played in local tournaments in California and in senior tournaments, winning the doubles title at the U. S. Hard Court Senior Championships alongside Barbara Green Weigandt in 1971 and 1975.[4] Her husband died in 1999. She died at her home in Vista, California, on February 3, 2014 at the age of 90 and left no children.[2]

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles: 14 (6 titles, 8 runner-ups)Edit

Result Year Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1942 U.S. Championships Grass   Pauline Betz 6–4, 1–6, 4–6
Runner-up 1943 U.S. Championships Grass   Pauline Betz 3–6, 7–5, 3–6
Runner-up 1946 Wimbledon Grass   Pauline Betz 2–6, 4–6
Winner 1947 U.S. Championships Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont 8–6, 4–6, 6–1
Winner 1948 Wimbledon Grass   Doris Hart 6–3, 8–6
Runner-up 1948 U.S. Championships Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont 6–4, 4–6, 13–15
Winner 1949 Wimbledon (2) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont 10–8, 1–6, 10–8
Winner 1950 Australian Championships Grass   Doris Hart 6–4, 3–6, 6–4
Winner 1950 Wimbledon (3) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont 6–1, 3–6, 6–1
Runner-up 1952 Wimbledon Grass   Maureen Connolly 5–7, 3–6
Runner-up 1954 Wimbledon Grass   Maureen Connolly 2–6, 5–7
Runner-up 1954 U.S. Championships Grass   Doris Hart 8–6, 1–6, 6–8
Winner 1955 Wimbledon (4) Grass   Beverly Baker Fleitz 7–5, 8–6
Runner-up 1957 U.S. Championships Grass   Althea Gibson 3–6, 2–6

Doubles: 28 (21 titles, 7 runner-ups)Edit

Result Year Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1942 U.S. Championships Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Pauline Betz
  Doris Hart
2–6, 7–5, 6–0
Winner 1943 U.S. Championships (2) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Pauline Betz
  Doris Hart
6–4, 6–3
Winner 1944 U.S. Championships (3) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Pauline Betz
  Doris Hart
4–6, 6–4, 6–3
Winner 1945 U.S. Championships (4) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Pauline Betz
  Doris Hart
6–3, 6–3
Winner 1946 Wimbledon Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Pauline Betz
  Doris Hart
6–3, 2–6, 6–3
Winner 1946 French Championships Clay   Margaret Osborne duPont   Pauline Betz
  Doris Hart
6–4, 0–6, 6–1
Winner 1946 U.S. Championships (5) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Patricia Canning Todd
  Mary Arnold Prentiss
6–1, 6–3
Runner-up 1947 Wimbledon Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Doris Hart
  Patricia Canning Todd
6–3, 4–6, 5–7
Winner 1947 French Championships (2) Clay   Margaret Osborne duPont   Pauline Betz
  Patricia Canning Todd
7–5, 6–2
Winner 1947 U.S. Championships (6) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Patricia Canning Todd
  Doris Hart
5–7, 6–3, 7–5
Winner 1948 Wimbledon (2) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Doris Hart
  Patricia Canning Todd
6–3, 3–6, 6–3
Winner 1948 U.S. Championships (7) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Patricia Canning Todd
  Doris Hart
6–4, 8–10, 6–1
Winner 1949 French Championships (3) Clay   Margaret Osborne duPont   Joy Gannon
  Betty Hilton
7–5, 6–1
Winner 1949 Wimbledon (3) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Gussy Moran
  Patricia Canning Todd
8–6, 7–5
Winner 1949 U.S. Championships (8) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Doris Hart
  Shirley Fry
6–4, 10–8
Winner 1950 Australian Championships Grass   Doris Hart   Nancye Wynne Bolton
  Thelma Coyne Long
6–2, 2–6, 6–3
Runner-up 1950 French Championships Clay   Margaret Osborne duPont   Doris Hart
  Shirley Fry
6–1, 5–7, 2–6
Winner 1950 Wimbledon (4) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Shirley Fry
  Doris Hart
6–4, 5–7, 6–1
Winner 1950 U.S. Championships (9) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Doris Hart
  Shirley Fry
6–2, 6–3
Runner-up 1951 Wimbledon Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Shirley Fry
  Doris Hart
3–6, 11–13
Runner-up 1952 Wimbledon Grass   Maureen Connolly   Shirley Fry
  Doris Hart
6–8, 3–6
Runner-up 1952 U.S. Championships Grass   Maureen Connolly   Doris Hart
  Shirley Fry
8–10, 4–6
Runner-up 1953 U.S. Championships Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Doris Hart
  Shirley Fry
2–6, 9–7, 7–9
Winner 1954 Wimbledon (5) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Shirley Fry
  Doris Hart
4–6, 9–7, 6–3
Runner-up 1954 U.S. Championships Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Doris Hart
  Shirley Fry
4–6, 4–6
Winner 1955 U.S. Championships (10) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Doris Hart
  Shirley Fry
6–3, 1–6, 6–3
Winner 1956 U.S. Championships (11) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Betty Rosenquest Pratt
  Shirley Fry
6–3, 6–0
Winner 1957 U.S. Championships (12) Grass   Margaret Osborne duPont   Althea Gibson
  Darlene Hard
6–2, 7–5

Mixed doubles: 11 (8 titles, 3 runner-ups)Edit

Result Year Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1942 U.S. Championships Grass   Ted Schroeder   Patricia Todd
  Alejo Russell
3–6, 6–1, 6–4
Winner 1946 Wimbledon Grass   Tom Brown   Dorothy Bundy
  Geoff Brown
6–4, 6–4
Runner-up 1946 U.S. Championships Grass   Robert Kimbrell   Margaret Osborne duPont
  Bill Talbert
3–6, 4–6
Winner 1947 Wimbledon (2) Grass   John Bromwich   Nancye Wynne Bolton
  Colin Long
1–6, 6–4, 6–2
Winner 1947 U.S. Championships (2) Grass   John Bromwich   Gussy Moran
  Pancho Segura
6–3, 6–1
Winner 1948 Wimbledon (3) Grass   John Bromwich   Doris Hart
  Frank Sedgman
6–2, 3–6, 6–3
Winner 1948 U.S. Championships (3) Grass   Tom Brown   Margaret Osborne duPont
  Bill Talbert
6–4, 6–4
Runner-up 1949 Wimbledon Grass   John Bromwich   Sheila Piercey Summers
  Eric Sturgess
7–9, 11–9, 5–7
Winner 1949 U.S. Championships (4) Grass   Eric Sturgess   Margaret Osborne duPont
  Bill Talbert
4–5, 6–3, 7–5
Winner 1950 Wimbledon (4) Grass   Eric Sturgess   Pat Canning Todd
  Geoff Brown
11–9, 1–6, 6–4
Runner-up 1955 Wimbledon Grass   Enrique Morea   Doris Hart
  Vic Seixas
6–8, 6–2, 3–6

Grand Slam tournament timelinesEdit

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)

SinglesEdit

Tournament 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 19461 19471 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 Career
SR
Career
Win-Loss
Australian Championships A A NH NH NH NH NH A A A A W A A A A A A A A A 1 / 1 5–0
French Championships A NH R R R R A SF SF A 3R SF A A A A A A A A A 0 / 4 10–4
Wimbledon A NH NH NH NH NH NH F SF W W W SF F A F W SF QF A A 4 / 11 56–7
US Championships 1R 1R 2R F F SF SF QF W F SF 3R A SF SF F 3R QF F A QF 1 / 19 60–18
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 3 1 / 3 1 / 2 1 / 3 2 / 4 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 1 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 0 0 / 1 6 / 35
Win – Loss 0–1 0–1 1–1 5–1 4–1 3–1 3–1 11–3 13–2 11–1 10–2 16–2 4–1 10–2 3–1 11–2 8–1 7–2 8–2 0–0 3–1 Total: 131–29

DoublesEdit

Tournament 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 19461 19471 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 Career
SR
Win-Loss
Australian Championships A A NH NH NH NH NH A A A W A A A A A A A A A 1 / 1 3–0
French Championships NH R R R R A W W A W F A A A A A A A A A 3 / 4 14–1
Wimbledon NH NH NH NH NH NH W F W W W F F A W A SF A A A 5 / 9 39–4
US Championships QF QF W W W W W W W W W A F F F W W W A QF 12 / 18 65–6
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 1 1 / 1 1 / 1 1 / 1 3 / 3 2 / 3 2 / 2 3 / 3 3 / 4 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 1 / 2 1 / 1 1 / 2 1 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 1 21 / 32
Win – Loss 1–1 1–1 5–0 4–0 4–0 4–0 12–0 13–1 10–0 13–0 14–1 4–1 6–2 4–1 9–1 4–0 7–1 4–0 0–0 2–1 Total: 121–11

Mixed doublesEdit

Tournament 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 Career
SR
Australian Championships NH NH NH NH NH A A A A A SF A A A A A A A 0 / 1
French Championships NH R R R R A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 0
Wimbledon NH NH NH NH NH NH W W W F W SF SF A A F A 4R 4 / 9
US Championships 1R QF W SF A SF F W W W 3R A A QF QF A A A 4 / 12
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 1 1 / 2 2 / 2 2 / 2 1 / 2 1 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 1 8 / 22

R = tournament restricted to French nationals and held under German occupation.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Collins, Bud (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York, N.Y: New Chapter Press. pp. 695, 702–3. ISBN 0-942257-41-3.
  2. ^ a b c d e Richard Goldstein (February 5, 2014). "Louise Brough Clapp, Tennis Champion at Midcentury, Dies at 90". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "PASSINGS: Louise Brough Clapp, Richard Bull, Michael Filerman". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles. February 5, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Bud Collins (2010). History of Tennis (2nd ed.). New York City: New Chapter Press. p. 552. ISBN 978-0942257700.
  5. ^ a b c Billie Jean King with Cynthia Starr (1988). We Have Come a Long Way: The Story of Women's Tennis. New York City: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-034625-9.
  6. ^ a b c Evans, Richard (February 5, 2014). "Louise Brough obituary". The Guardian. London. Retrieved February 5, 2014.

External linksEdit