Biography of Famous Tennis Player and Athlete William T. Tilden II

About the biography of the famous tennis player and athlete William T. Tilden II, history and information.

William T. Tilden II

Was he the greatest tennis player of all time? From 1920 to 1926, Big Bill Tilden dominated world tennis. A master of court tactics with a flair for the dramatic, he often would allow an opponent a large lead, then battle back from the edge of defeat to destroy him. He combined an overpowering forehand and backhand, a rifle-shot serve and a mastery of spin to defeat the best the game had to offer.

William Tatem Tilden II was born in 1893 in Philadelphia, Pa., and attended the University of Pennsylvania. He began to play tennis at the age of 5 and won his 1st tournament at 8. But it was not until he was 27 that he claimed international attention by taking the Wimbledon singles in 1920.

Later that year he advanced to the American finals at Forest Hills and faced William "Little Bill" Johnston. Johnston had concentrated on Tilden's backhand to beat him the previous year. All winter, Tilden had worked indoors improving the stroke. The effort paid off. He took Johnston after 5 epic sets, 6-1, 1-6, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3, and from then until 1926 he conquered the greats of the game, helped the U.S. to dominate Davis Cup play and reigned as national singles champion. In 1926, he was beaten for the 1st time in 7 years in the U.S. championship by Henri Cochet of France, 6-8, 6-1, 6-3, 1-6, 8-6. The following year, Frenchman Rene Lacoste triumphed over Big Bill in the USLTA final at Forest Hills 11-9, 6-3, 11-9.

But Tilden was far from through. In 1929, he came back to win the U.S. title for a 7th time. In 1930, he took Wimbledon for the 3rd time. He turned pro in 1931 and thrilled spectators for many more years. Tilden died in 1953, at the age of 60.

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