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Thursday, 2 February 2017

Fred Perry

Fred Perry was born in Stockport, Lancashire, England on May 18, 1909 where his father, Samuel Perry (1877–1954), was a cotton spinner.


Young Fred first began to play tennis on the public courts near his family's housing estate.

In 1928–29, Perry won several medals in the single, double and team events in the World Table Tennis Championships.

He trained with Arsenal Football Club in the 1930s to focus on his fitness, a highly unusual move at a time when few players bothered to train in that way.

Perry won the Wimbledon men's title three times in succession between 1934 and 1936. His final triumph was a 6–1, 6–1, 6–0 victory over the German Baron Gottfried von Cramm which lasted less than 45 minutes. It became the quickest final in the 20th century and the second shortest of all time.

Prior to Andy Murray in 2013, Perry was the last British player to win the men's Wimbledon championship, in 1936. Perry’s prize money for winning Wimbledon in 1936, then still an amateur event, was £10 – or £640 ($800) in today’s money.

Perry was ranked World No 1 for three years. He also won the Australian and French Opens once each and the US Open three times.

After three years as the world No. 1 tennis amateur player, Perry turned professional in late 1936 after his friend, comedian Harpo Marx, told him: "You can’t buy groceries with glory."

Perry made his professional debut on January 6, 1937 at New York City's Madison Square Garden against the best professional player, Ellsworth Vines and immediately began to make thousands of pounds.

Perry would not shake anyone’s hand before a match because he feared he would lose the feeling in his fingers if he did.

He was unafraid to inflict "psychological warfare" on his opponents. Perry used the tactic of saying ‘very clevah’ after an opponent’s shot – which is said to have annoyed some competitors so much they were tempted to walk off court.

Perry often leapt over the net after winning to prove he still had energy to spare.


In the late 1940s, Perry was approached by Tibby Wegner, an Austrian footballer who had invented an antiperspirant device worn around the wrist. Perry made a few changes to create the first sweatband.

Wegner's next idea was to produce a sports shirt, which was to be made from white knitted cotton pique with short sleeves. Perry launched his famous polo shirt at Wimbledon in 1952 and it was an immediate success. The laurel logo was based on the old Wimbledon symbol and unlike other logos it was stitched into the shirt.

The classic Fred Perry design. By stylecountz - Fred Perry 8-11 005, Wikipedia

The white tennis shirt was supplemented in the late 1950s with colored versions for table tennis in which white shirts are not allowed. These became popular in the 1960s as a symbol of mod culture.


Away from the court Perry was a keen dancer who loved jazz and dance tunes.

He had a weakness for chocolates and boiled sweets – and claimed the reason he smoked a pipe was to stop him over-indulging in confectionery.

Perry was one of the leading bachelors of the 1930s and his off-court romances were sensationalized in the world press. Perry had a romantic relationship with the actress Marlene Dietrich and was also known for conducting affairs with Bette Davis, Jean Harlow, and Loretta Young.

He married four times, first to American movie star Helen Vinson between 1935-1940, then briefly to model Sandra Breaux and Lorraine Walsh, and finally to Barbara Riese in 1952. This last marriage lasted more than 40 years until he died.

Fred Perry died at Epworth Hospital in Melbourne, Australia on February 2, 1995, aged 85, after breaking his ribs following a fall in a hotel bathroom.

A statue of Fred Perry at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon. By Matthewmayer 

Sources Daily

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