Vincent Richards

Vincent "Vinnie" Richards (March 20, 1903 – September 28, 1959) was an American tennis player.[1] He was active in the early decades of the 20th century,[4] particularly known as being a superlative volleyer. He was ranked World No. 2 both as an amateur in 1924 by A. Wallis Myers, and as a pro by American Lawn Tennis magazine in 1930.[5]

Vincent Richards
Vincent Richards 1922.jpg
Richards at the 1922 Davis Cup
Country (sports) United States
Born(1903-03-20)March 20, 1903
Yonkers, New York, U.S.[1]
DiedSeptember 28, 1959(1959-09-28) (aged 56)
New York City, U.S.[1]
Height5 ft 10 in (178 cm)[1]
Turned pro1927
Retired1930 (very brief comeback in 1933 and 1945)
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF1959 (member page)
Career record472-154 (75.4%) [2]
Career titles46 [3]
Highest rankingNo. 2 (1924, A. Wallis Myers)[4]
Grand Slam Singles results
French OpenSF (1926)
WimbledonQF (1924)
US OpenSF (1922, 1924, 1925, 1926)
Professional majors
US ProW (1927, 1928, 1930, 1933)
Career recordno value
Grand Slam Doubles results
French OpenW (1926)
WimbledonW (1924)
F (1926)
US OpenW (1918, 1921, 1922, 1925,       1926)
F (1919)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
US OpenW (1919, 1924)
F (1925)


Born in Yonkers, New York, he attended the Jesuit Fordham Preparatory School, attended Fordham University and studied at the Columbia University School of Journalism in 1922.[1][6]

Richards won the National Boys Outdoor Singles Tournament in 1917. He became a protégé of Bill Tilden after being defeated by the latter in a match, and he then teamed up with him to win the United States doubles championship in 1918 at the age of 15. He remains the youngest male to have ever won a major championship.[1] Twenty-seven years later, in 1945, he and Tilden won the United States Pro doubles title. While Bill Tilden teamed with Richards to win titles together, he was also beaten by Richards in both singles and doubles, including for several major titles. During their long rivalry, they faced each other 102 times, with Richards holding a career record of 52–50 against Tilden.

Richards retained his amateur status for 10 years because his ambition was to compete in the 1924 Olympics held in Paris, France. He realized this ambition by winning the gold medal for the United States in both singles and doubles, additionally collecting the silver medal in mixed doubles.[1] Richards is one of two American male tennis players to win the gold medal in both singles and doubles (Beals Wright was the other), and he ranks second all-time with his three medals won in 1924 (second to Reginald Doherty of Great Britain, who won four Olympic tennis medals). Between both men and women, Richards is tied with Venus Williams with three overall medals, with Williams collecting three gold medals over multiple Olympics. Richards was a semifinalist at the French championships in 1926, where he beat Colin Gregory and Bela Von Kehrling before losing to Henri Cochet.[7] He was also a semifinalist at the U. S. championships in 1922 (losing to Bill Johnston), 1924 (losing to Tilden), 1925 (where he beat Rene Lacoste before losing to Tilden) and 1926 (losing to Jean Borotra). While there was no official ATP Tour in the 1920s, Richards was one of the pioneers in creating a version of a "world tennis tour", playing in the equivalent of all four grand slams during his career, additional major tournaments, and exhibition matches in front of emperors, presidents, and other heads of states. While Tilden may have overshadowed Richards, even in the Davis Cup, Richards held a perfect 5–0 record when he played for his country.

Richards was one of the best singles players of the 1920s and played on several United States Davis Cup teams.[8] In 1927 he was the first prominent male player to turn professional. In 1928, he was still generally considered to be one of the top 5 or 6 players in the world and played a brief tour at the end of the year against Czech player Karel Koželuh, another new professional. Richards only beat Koželuh five times in 20 matches. Richards won the United States Pro Championship in 1927, 1928, and 1930, beating Koželuh in the finals in both 1928 and 1930, while losing to him in the 1929 final. He lost the 1931 final to Tilden and won the U. S. Pro Championships for the last time in 1933, this time beating Frank Hunter in the final. He continued to play in the U. S. Pro championships in most years until 1946.[9] Richards and Tilden won the doubles at the 1945 U. S. Pro championships.

Richards was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1959.[10]

Business careerEdit

After retiring from tennis, Richards joined the Dunlop Tire and Rubber Company as general manager of the sporting goods division and became vice president.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

In February 1924, he married Claremont Gushee in Greenwich, Connecticut; and they had three children.[11] She died in 1950.[12] On September 28, 1959, Richards died of a heart attack at Doctors Hospital in New York.[6]

Grand Slam finalsEdit

The Richards, circa 1930s

Doubles: 9 (7 titles, 2 runners-up)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1918 U.S. National Championships Grass   Bill Tilden   Fred Alexander
  Beals Wright
6–3, 6–4, 3–6, 2–6, 6–2
Runner-up 1919 U.S. National Championships Grass   Bill Tilden   Norman Brookes
  Gerald Patterson
6–8, 3–6, 6–4, 6–4, 2–6
Winner 1921 U.S. National Championships Grass   Bill Tilden   Watson Washburn
  R. Norris Williams
13–11, 12–10, 6–1
Winner 1922 U.S. National Championships Grass   Bill Tilden   Pat O'Hara Wood
  Gerald Patterson
4–6, 6–1, 6–3, 6–4
Winner 1924 Wimbledon Grass   Frank Hunter   Watson Washburn
  R. Norris Williams
6–3, 3–6, 8–10, 8–6, 6–3
Winner 1925 U.S. National Championships Grass   R. Norris Williams   John Hawkes
  Gerald Patterson
6–2, 8–10, 6–4, 11–9
Winner 1926 French Championships Clay   Howard Kinsey   Jacques Brugnon
  Henri Cochet
6–4, 6–1, 4–6, 6–4
Runner-up 1926 Wimbledon Grass   Howard Kinsey   Jacques Brugnon
  Henri Cochet
5–7, 6–4, 3–6, 2–6
Winner 1926 U.S. National Championships Grass   R. Norris Williams   Alfred Chapin
  Bill Tilden
6–4, 6–8, 11–9, 6–3

Mixed Doubles: 3 (2 titles, 1 runner-up)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1919 U.S. National Championships Grass   Marion Zinderstein   Florence Ballin
  Bill Tilden
2–6, 11–9, 6–2
Winner 1924 U.S. National Championships Grass   Helen Wills   Molla Bjurstedt Mallory
  Bill Tilden
6–8, 7–5, 6–0
Runner-up 1925 U.S. National Championships Grass   Ermyntrude Harvey   Kitty McKane
  John Hawkes
2–6, 4–6

Singles performance timelineEdit

Richards was banned from competing in the amateur Grand Slams when he joined the professional tennis circuit in 1927.

(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)
1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 SR W–L Win %
Grand Slam tournaments 0 / 13 38–13 74.5
Australian Open NH A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A Not held A A A A A 0 / 0
French Open NH NH Only for French players A SF A A A A A A A A A A A A A Not held A A A A A 0 / 1 4–1 80.0
Wimbledon NH A A A A 4R QF A 2R A A A A A A A A A A A A A Not held A A A A A 0 / 3 48–3 72.7
US Open 3R 3R 3R 3R SF 3R SF SF SF A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 9 26–9 74.3
Pro Slam tournaments 4 / 18 34–14 70.8
U.S. Pro Not held W W F W F QF W SF A A QF 2R 2R 2R 2R A 2R NH QF 3R 2R A A 1R 4 / 18 34–14 70.8
French Pro Not held A A A NH A A A A A A Not held 0 / 0
Wembley Pro Not held A A A A A A Not held A A 0 / 0
Win–Loss 1–1 1–1 3–1 2–1 5–1 5–2 8–2 4–1 9–3 3–0 4–0 3–1 6–0 5–1 1–1 4–0 2–1 0–1 1–1 0–1 1–1 1–1 0–1 2–1 1–1 0–1 0–1 4 / 31 72–27 72.7
National representation
Olympics NH A NH G Not held 1 / 1 6–0 100


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Vinnie Richards.
  2. ^ Garcia, Gabriel. "Vincent Richards: Career match record". Madrid: Tennismem SL. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  3. ^ Garcia, Gabriel. "Vincent Richards: Career match record". Madrid: Tennismem SL. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  4. ^ a b United States Lawn Tennis Association (1972). Official Encyclopedia of Tennis (First Edition), p. 424.
  5. ^ K. De Lang, ed. (January 14, 1930). "Lawntennis" (PDF). Het Vaderland (in Dutch). Beetsterzwaag, Netherlands: C.M. Schilt. 61: 15. Retrieved July 5, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b c "Vinnie Richards, Dunlop vp, Former Tennis Great Dies in September" (PDF). Michigan State University.
  7. ^ "French Open 1926".
  8. ^ "Davis Cup – Vincent Richards". International Tennis Federation (ITF). Retrieved March 25, 2017.
  9. ^ "U. S. Pro Championships".
  10. ^ "Tennis Hall of Fame – Player Profile Vinnie Richards". International Tennis Hall of Fame. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  11. ^ "Vincent Richards, Class of 1920". Fordham Prep.
  12. ^ "Milestones: Feb. 11, 1924". Time. February 11, 1924.

External linksEdit