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Wilmer Lawson Allison Jr. (December 8, 1904 – April 20, 1977) was an American amateur tennis champion of the 1930s. Allison's career was overshadowed by the arrival of Don Budge, although he was both a fine singles player and, along with his frequent partner, John Van Ryn, a great doubles player. At the University of Texas at Austin, Allison was the Intercollegiate tennis champion in 1927. One of Allison's earliest tournament wins was the 1928 Canadian Championship, where he won the final over doubles partner Van Ryn 6–2, 6–4, 6–3.

Wilmer Allison
Wilmer Allison july 1929.jpg
Full nameWilmer Lawson Allison Jr.
Country (sports) United States
Born(1904-12-08)December 8, 1904
San Antonio, TX, US
DiedApril 20, 1977(1977-04-20) (aged 72)
Austin, TX, US
Height1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Turned pro1927 (amateur tour)
Retired1941
PlaysRight-handed (1-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF1963 (member page)
Singles
Career record46–13
Highest rankingNo. 4 (1935, A. Wallis Myers)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenSF (1933)
WimbledonF (1930)
US OpenW (1935)
Doubles
Career record0–0
Grand Slam Doubles results
WimbledonW (1929, 1930)
US OpenW (1931, 1935)
Mixed doubles
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
US OpenW (1930)

Contents

CareerEdit

Right-handed, Allison's greatest triumph was winning the 1935 U.S. Championship singles, defeating Fred Perry in the semifinals and Sidney Wood in the finals, both in three sets. He had previously lost to Perry 8–6 in the fifth set in the 1934 finals. He was ranked U.S. No. 1 both years and World No. 4 in 1932 and again in 1935 by A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph.[1] At the Wimbledon Championships his best results in singles came in 1930 when he finished runner-up to Bill Tilden, losing the final in straight sets.[2] En route to the final he defeated reigning champion and first-seed Henri Cochet in straight sets in the quarterfinals.[3] As a doubles player with partner John Van Ryn, Allison won the 1929 and 1930 Wimbledon and 1935 U.S. doubles championships. Allison's last major tournament was a 1936 quarterfinal loss to Bunny Austin.[4]

Davis CupEdit

Allison played a total of 44 matches, 29 in doubles with Van Ryn, in Davis Cup for the United States, the third most of any player behind John McEnroe and Vic Seixas. He won 32 of those matches but never the cup.

Playing styleEdit

In his 1979 autobiography Jack Kramer, who had a fine volley himself, devotes a page to the best tennis strokes he had ever seen. He writes: "FOREHAND VOLLEY — Wilmer Allison of Texas, who won the 1935 Forest Hills, had the best I ever saw as a kid, and I've never seen anyone since hit one better. Budge Patty came closest, then Newcombe".[5]

George Lott, who himself won five U.S. doubles titles as well as two at Wimbledon, wrote an article in the May 1973, issue of Tennis Magazine in which he ranked the great doubles teams and the great players. He called the team of Allison and Van Ryn the ninth best of all time.

Allison was a colonel in the United States Army Air Forces in World War II. He coached tennis for the varsity team of his alma mater from 1946 through 1972 and was head coach from 1957.[6]

Allison was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island in 1963.[7]

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles (1 titles, 2 runners-up)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponents Score
Runner-up 1930 Wimbledon Grass   Bill Tilden 3–6, 7–9, 4–6
Runner-up 1934 U.S. National Championships Grass   Fred Perry 4–6, 3–6, 6–3, 6–1, 6–8
Winner 1935 U.S. National Championships Grass   Sidney Wood 6–2, 6–2, 6–3

Doubles (4 titles, 5 runners-up)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1929 Wimbledon Grass   John Van Ryn   Ian Collins
  Colin Gregory
6–4, 5–7, 6–3, 10–12, 6–4
Winner 1930 Wimbledon Grass   John Van Ryn   John Doeg
  George Lott
6–3, 6–3, 6–2
Runner-up 1930 U.S. National Championships Grass   John Van Ryn   John Doeg
  George Lott
6–8, 3–6, 6–3, 15–13, 4–6
Winner 1931 U.S. National Championships Grass   John Van Ryn   Berkeley Bell
  Gregory Mangin
6–4, 6–3, 6–2
Runner-up 1932 U.S. National Championships Grass   John Van Ryn   Keith Gledhill
  Ellsworth Vines
4–6, 3–6, 2–6
Runner-up 1934 U.S. National Championships Grass   John Van Ryn   George Lott
  Lester Stoefen
4–6, 7–9, 6–3, 4–6
Runner-up 1935 Wimbledon Grass   John Van Ryn   Jack Crawford
  Adrian Quist
3–6, 7–5, 2–6, 7–5, 5–7
Winner 1935 U.S. National Championships Grass   John Van Ryn   Don Budge
  Gene Mako
6–2, 6–3, 2–6, 3–6, 6–1
Runner-up 1936 U.S. National Championships Grass   John Van Ryn   Don Budge
  Gene Mako
4–6, 2–6, 4–6

Mixed doubles (1 title, 1 runner-up)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1930 U.S. National Championships Grass   Edith Cross   Marjorie Morrill
  Frank Shields
6–4, 6–4
Runner-up 1931 U.S. National Championships Grass   Anna McCune Harper   Betty Nuthall
  George Lott
3–6, 3–6

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Moody, Perry Rated Tops By British Expert", Reading Eagle, 17 October 1935.
  2. ^ "Wimbledon players archive – Wilmer Allison". www.wimbledon.com. AELTC.
  3. ^ "Allison, Wilmer Lawson". Texas State Historical Association (TSHA).
  4. ^ Bud Collins (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (2nd ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. p. 541. ISBN 978-0942257700.
  5. ^ Kramer, Jack; Frank Deford (1981). The Game : My 40 Years in Tennis. London: Andre Deutsch. pp. 295, 296. ISBN 9780233973074.
  6. ^ "Texas Official Athletic Site – Athletics News". Texassports.com. Retrieved 2010-05-14.
  7. ^ "Hall of Famers – Wilmer Allison". International Tennis Hall of Fame.

External linksEdit