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Grand Slams and APTA Champs Part 1
September 4, 2016
Great tennis players clearly have the skills to become great paddle players, but how many competitors out there have reached the pinnacle of both sports? As the US Open unfolds, it is a fitting time to recognize the eleven individuals who have played on tennis’s biggest stages, the Grand Slam tournaments, and reached the top of the paddle world by winning an APTA Doubles or Mixed Doubles Championship. Here are four of them:
TENNIS – The only player to ever win Wimbledon (1931) by default when Frank Shields sprained a knee and pulled out of the finals. Wood was also the youngest men’s singles player at age 15.Ranked in the top ten five times between 1931 and 1938 and inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
PT-Won the APTA National Championships in 1950 with Cliff Sutter.
TENNIS-In 1939, he defeated the ever controversial Bobby Riggs, becoming the second American man to win the French Championships. The next year, he beat Riggs again to win the US Championships (the precursor to the US Open). Frank Guernsey and McNeill lost a heartbreaker n the Men’s Doubles final at the 1946 US Open in the fifth set. He was inducted in to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1965.
PT-Won the APTA National Championships in 1953 and 1954 with Frank Guernsey.
TENNIS- He reached the fourth round of the 1939 US Championships (US Open) and partnered with Don McNeill to reach the doubles final in 1946. A standout collegiate player at Rice University, he was inducted in to the Intercollegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 1989.
PT-A three time APTA National Champion, partnering with Don McNeill in 1953 and 1954 and John Moses in 1957.
TENNIS-Quarterfinalist at the US National Championships (US Open) in 1944.
PT-Despite his fear that learning paddle would hurt his tennis strokes, Zan went on to become a dominant paddle player, winning the APTA National Championships for three consecutive years between 1961 and 1963 and adding a Mixed Nationals title with Barbara Koegel in1964. He and partner Dick Hebard were one of five teams in history to win The Nationals three or more times and one of four to win three times in a row. He was inducted into the Platform Tennis Hall of Fame in 1996.
The next installment of this article will showcase more of these dual tennis and paddle stars. For more information about any of the players mentioned here, go to the Platform Tennis Hall of Fame website.