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Tom Pettitt (real tennis world champion from 1885 to 1890.19 December 1859 - 17 October 1946) was the
|Born||19 December 1859|
|Died||17 October 1946(aged 86)|
Born in Beckenham, Kent, England, Pettitt emigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, United States, as a penniless teenager. He quickly rose from being the dressing-room boy at a private court on Buckingham Street, to being its head professional at age seventeen. He began playing matches in Great Britain and France to improve his game, and finally challenged George Lambert at the Royal Tennis Court, Hampton Court Palace, for the world championship in 1885. He defended his title in Dublin in 1890, then retired the title the same year. He is credited with inventing the railroad, a fast overarm service that runs the length of the penthouse with a reverse twist.
Pettitt continued to work in Boston at various clubs, retiring from the Tennis and Racquet Club in 1927 after half a century of service. He also taught lawn tennis at the Newport Casino during the summers from 1876–1929, and afterwards continued as a supervisor there.