Sidney Wood

Sidney Burr Wood Jr. (November 1, 1911 – January 10, 2009) was an American tennis player who won the 1931 Wimbledon singles title. Wood was ranked in the world's Top 10 five times between 1931 and 1938, and was ranked World No. 6 in 1931 and 1934 and No. 5 in 1938 by A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph.[2]

Sidney Wood
Sidney Wood.jpg
Full nameSidney Burr Beardslee Wood Jr.
Country (sports) United States
Born(1911-11-01)November 1, 1911
Black Rock, Connecticut, U.S.
DiedJanuary 10, 2009(2009-01-10) (aged 97)
Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
Turned pro1927 (amateur tour)
PlaysRight-handed (1-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF1964 (member page)
Highest rankingNo. 5 (1938, A. Wallis Myers)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
French Open3R (1928, 1932)
WimbledonW (1931)
US OpenF (1935)
Grand Slam Doubles results
WimbledonSF (1931)
US OpenF (1942)
Mixed doubles
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French OpenF (1932)
Team competitions
Davis CupF (1934)


Wood was born in Black Rock, Connecticut. He won the Arizona State Men's Tournament on his 14th birthday, which qualified him for the French Championship and earned him a spot at Wimbledon.[3] He attended The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, where he created the tradition of "J-ball." At the French Championships in 1927, 15 year old Wood was the youngest competitor ever in the men's singles event.[4] In the 1927 Wimbledon Championships, Wood became the youngest competitor in the Men's Singles at 15 years 231 days old and the Men's Doubles at 15 years 234 days old.[5] He was the third youngest winner of the Wimbledon Championships, which he won in 1931 at the age of 19 (beating Fred Perry in the semi finals and then Frank Shields withdrew from the final due to an ankle injury).[6] Shields did so on request of the U.S. Davis Cup Committee, "Frank wanted to play me and it was an insult to Wimbledon and the public that he didn't," recalled Wood.[7][8] Wood is the only uncontested winner of a Wimbledon final.[9] He also reached the finals of the Mixed Doubles of the French Championships in 1932, the Davis Cup in 1934, and the U.S. National Championships Men's Singles in 1935 (losing to Wilmer Allison).

Wood is credited with inventing, designing and patenting Supreme Court, a synthetic playing surface used for indoor courts.[10] It was used by the World Championship Tennis tour from 1973 to 1978. He was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1964. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living Hall of Famer.[11]

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles: 2 (1 title, 1 runner-up)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Win 1931 Wimbledon Grass   Frank Shields walkover [12]
Loss 1935 U.S. National Championships Grass   Wilmer Allison 2–6, 2–6, 3–6 [13]

Doubles: 1 runner-upEdit

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1942 U.S. Championships Grass   Ted Schroeder   Gardnar Mulloy
  Bill Talbert
7–9, 5–7, 1–6 [14]

Mixed Doubles: 1 runner-upEdit

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1932 French Championships Clay   Helen Wills Moody   Betty Nuthall
  Fred Perry
4–6, 2–6


Wood's uncle Watson Washburn was a Davis Cup team member. He credited his uncle with introducing him to tennis.[3]

Wood was the father of David, Colin,[a] Sidney III, and W. Godfrey Wood. Sidney Wood III, a Yale tennis player, died at the age of 22 in an early morning car accident, in a car driven by a tennis teammate on a North Carolina highway in 1961.[16] Colin is the young boy portrayed by Diane Arbus in the iconic photo Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park.

Wood was survived by his other three sons and his last wife Patricia Wood (sister of the fashion editor Catherine Murray di Montezemolo[17]).


  1. ^ Colin is the subject of Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, arguably Diane Arbus' most well known photograph.[15]


  1. ^ "Bromwich placed third". The Sydney Morning Herald. October 5, 1938. p. 19 – via Google News Archive.
  2. ^ Béla Kehrling, ed. (November 1, 1931). "Külföldi hírek" [International news] (PDF). Tennisz és Golf. III (in Hungarian). Vol. 20. Budapest, Hungary: Egyesült Kő-, Könyvnyomda. Könyv- és Lapkiadó Rt. pp. 16–17. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Tennis Master Sydney Wood Dies Southampton Press, January 15, 2009.
  4. ^ "Grand Slam Tennis Statistics".
  5. ^ "Wimbledon Records & Statistics". Event Guide - History. AELTC. Archived from the original on January 18, 2009. Retrieved January 14, 2009.
  6. ^ "Wimbledon 1931".
  7. ^ Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (2nd ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. p. 43. ISBN 9780942257700.
  8. ^ Sarah Kirkham (August 28, 2014). "Throwback Thursday: Sidney Wood wins without winning". AELTC.
  9. ^ Richard Goldstein (January 14, 2009). "Sidney Wood, 97, only Wimbledon winner by default". The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  10. ^ Charles Friedman (February 16, 1975). "Ex‐Champion Seeking the Perfect Court". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Tennis Great Sidney Woods Dies Associated Press, January 11, 2009
  12. ^ "Wimbledon Rolls of Honour / Gentlemen's Singles". Wimbledon official tournament website. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  13. ^ "U.S. Open Past Champions / Men's Singles". U.S. Open official website. Archived from the original on February 22, 2009. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  14. ^ "U.S. Open Past Champions / Men's Doubles". U.S. Open official website. Archived from the original on October 25, 2007. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  15. ^ Segal, David. "Double Exposure: a Moment With Diane Arbus Created a Lasting Impression." Washington Post, May 12, 2005. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
  16. ^ Father & Son Time Magazine, March 31, 1961
  17. ^ "Patricia Wood, Edward Ney". The New York Times. April 30, 2010. Retrieved September 14, 2021.

External linksEdit