General Lewis Alan (Lew)
Hoad
Male
Australia
1934-11-23
Sydney, NSW, Australia
1994-07-03
Fuengirola, Spain


About

Lewis Alan Hoad, tennis player: born Sydney 23 November 1934; Australian doubles champion 1953, 1956, 1957; French doubles champion 1953; Wimbledon doubles champion 1953, 1955, 1956; French mixed doubles champion 1954; Australian singles champion 1956; French singles champion 1956; Wimbledon singles champion 1956, 1957; US doubles champion 1956; married 1955 Jennifer Staley (one son, two daughters); died Fuengirola, Spain 3 July 1994.

LEW HOAD was the greatest amateur tennis player of the 1950s. Some who recall the Australian\'s brilliant repertoire of shots, his speed around the court and his courage believe that at his best he may have been unequalled in the history of the game. Hoad, however, was rarely motivated enough to produce his best except on the biggest occasions.

He won the Wimbledon singles in 1956 and 1957. He also won in 1956 the Australian and French singles. Thus, he was in line to achieve the Grand Slam at the United States championships that year, but was thwarted in the final by his friend, compatriot and frequent doubles partner Ken Rosewall.

Although there is no doubt Rosewall outplayed him that day, Hoad\'s disarming nonchalance, which proved to be both a strength and at times a weakness in his champion\'s make-up, may have contributed to his defeat. He once said that doing the Grand Slam never entered his mind. \'I certainly didn\'t talk about it to anybody before I went to New York,\' he once told me. \'In fact, I wasn\'t even conscious of the Grand Slam. I remember picking up an American sports magazine with my picture on the cover and the words \'Grand Slammer from Down Under\', and not knowing what they were bloody on about.\'

The late Ted Tinling gave another example of Hoad\'s laid-back manner. He recalled visiting him at his London hotel the morning after Hoad had devastated Ashley Cooper 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 in the 1957 Wimbledon final. The champion, who had been roistering the previous night, wore only a towel round his waist as Tinling informed him that the press was raving over his performance. \'They say you were magnificent,\' Tinling began before Hoad cut him short. \'What\'s Peanuts doing today?\' he asked, taking one of Tinling\'s papers and turning to the comic strip.

Retaining the Wimbledon title is the mark of a great champion. In the Open era, which began in 1968, the men who have matched Hoad\'s feat are Rod Laver, John Newcombe, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, and, the day before yesterday, Pete Sampras.

Hoad was born in 1934, in the working-class Sydney inner suburb of Glebe, the son of a tramwayman. Rosewall, the son of a shopkeeper, was born three weeks earlier. They grew up in tennis together and became known as the Sydney \'twins\', though they were very different in physique, personality and style of play. Hoad built up enormous physical strength, especially in his hands and arms, by training at a police boys\' club, where he made a name as a boxer. After losing his initial tennis encounters with the more slightly built, more methodical Rosewall, Hoad usually overpowered him.

Hoad was only about 12 when introduced to Adrian Quist, a former Australian champion and then general manager of the Dunlop sports goods company. Quist played a couple of sets with the boy and was impressed by his natural ability. When Hoad was 14 he left school and joined the Dunlop payroll, following the pattern of that \'shamateur\' era when most of Australia\'s brightest tennis prospects were employed by sporting goods companies.

Quist described Hoad as a genius on a tennis court:

He simply hit the ball from any position, any shot, naturally, the way it came to him. He didn\'t worry about footwork - I don\'t think he worried about anything much. When the ball came to him he hit it and he hit it hard and well.

Hoad developed into a handsome young man of medium height, blond and blue-eyed. He had steel-like wrists, perfect balance, lightning reflexes and a calm temperament. His serve was deceptive and powerful; he could turn an opponent\'s splendid return to his feet into a winner of his own with a deft and deep half-volley that he made look simple; and he was able to launch a barrage of winners from groundstrokes and volleys. Rosewall, who lost the 1956 Wimbledon final to him, said: \'A match could suddenly be all over and you were not quite sure what had happened.\'

With Rosewall, he first made his mark internationally in 1953; the 18-year-olds won the Australian, French and Wimbledon doubles crowns, capturing the public imagination with their youthful zest and remarkable artistry. In December that year they were involved in one of the most exciting challenge rounds in Davis Cup history, defeating the United States 3-2 at Kooyong. Hoad beat Vic Seixas, the reigning Wimbledon champion, in the first singles. Rosewall then lost to the US titleholder Tony Trabert, and Hoad and Rex Hartwig went down in the doubles to Seixas and Trabert. In a titanic struggle on the third day, in which both players donned spiked shoes to assist their footing as light rain made the grass court slippery, Hoad overcame Trabert 13-11, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 7-5. Rosewall completed the triumph with a four-set win over Seixas. Trabert said the Americans had been beaten by \'two babes and a fox\', a reference to the wily captaincy of Harry Hopman.

Although the US regained the cup in 1954, Hoad and Rosewall were largely instrumental in Australia\'s winning it back in 1955 and successfully defending it in 1956. In all, Hoad won 13 major titles in singles and doubles, dominating the game especially in 1956, when he won a total of 15 singles and 17 doubles titles. Yet even in 1956 he never shook off his easy-going ways and sometimes gave the impression that winning wasn\'t always as enjoyable as quaffing a few beers with his mates. More than one Aussie battler owed a win over the ever-popular Hoad to his opponent feeling bored, distracted - or just sympathetic. Jack Kramer, who recruited Hoad to his professional troupe in 1957, saw him as lazy and half-interested. \'He might have been the best,\' Kramer said, \'but day-to-day, week- to-week, he was the most inconsistent of all the top players.\'

It was the custom in the Fifties for the top amateur players eventually to turn pro and take on Pancho Gonzalez in a head-to- head tour. Gonzalez defeated them all decisively, except Hoad. In 1958 they were just about even when Hoad\'s recurring back trouble became more severe, and Gonzalez went on to win the series 51-36. \'When Lew\'s game was at its peak,\' Gonzalez said, \'nobody could touch him.\'

In 1955 Hoad had secretly married at St Mary\'s Church, Wimbledon, Jennifer Staley, a leading Australian player. The ceremony was held a few hours before he played (and lost) the Queen\'s Club final to Rosewall. There was a furore in Australian tennis when the news broke a few days later. Hoad was in an LTAA team managed by Hopman, while Jenny Staley was a member of the first Australian women\'s team to be sent abroad for many years; it was managed by Hoad\'s old mentor Quist. Jenny ended her tour prematurely to return to Melbourne, where she gave birth to the couple\'s first child, a daughter, later in the year. They subsequently had a son and another daughter.

Hoad\'s back problems effectively brought his career to an end while he was still under 30, whereas the apparently less robust Rosewall continued to star for many years after the advent of Open tennis and was still playing in a veterans\' event at Wimbledon last week. Hoad played sporadically up to the early Seventies, never attaining anything near the heights he had scaled as an amateur. In 1968 he and Jenny established a tennis resort at Fuengirola, Spain, and Lew coached privately and at one time for the Spanish tennis federation. He remained a quintessential Aussie: good-natured but laconic, a man\'s man, and a friendly host to the thousands of fans and friends who visited his Campo de Tennis to pay homage to a living legend.

Hoad had bouts of ill-health. He was a regular visitor to Roland Garros, though not often seen at the other Grand Slam venues. For a few years he served on an International Tennis Federation panel that chose the official world champion, but otherwise his links with the world of tennis he once graced were minimal.



Media


Archive statistics 1950 - 1974
45
783
538


Tournament wins 1969 - Dewar Cup Third Leg (Open)
1962 - Adelaide Professional Championships (Professional)
1962 - Zurich Professional Championship ()
1960 - Japan Professional Championships (Professional)
1959 - Perth Professional Championships (Professional)
1959 - South Australia Pros (Professional)
1959 - Kramer Tournament of Champions (Professional)
1957 - West of England Championships (Amateur)
1957 - Northern Lawn Tennis Association Tournament (Open)
1957 - Manly Seaside Tournament (Open)
1957 - Austrian International Championships (Grand Prix Circuit)
1957 - Wimbledon (Grandslam)
1956 - Italian International Championships ()
1956 - O'Keefe International Invitation (Amateur)
1956 - German International Championships ()
1956 - Napoli (Open)
1956 - Wiesbaden Championships (Amateur)
1956 - Roland Garros (Grandslam)
1956 - Lebanon International Championship (Open)
1956 - International Championships of Egypt - Cairo (Open)
1956 - Manly Seaside Tournament (Open)
1956 - Surrey (Open)
1956 - Wimbledon (Grandslam)
1956 - Australian Open (Grandslam)
1956 - International Championships of Egypt-Alexandria (Open)
1955 - Albury Easter Tournament (Amateur)
1955 - New South Wales Championships (Amateur)
1955 - New South Wales Hard Court Championships (Amateur)
1955 - Victorian Championships (Amateur)
1954 - Queensland Championships (Amateur)
1954 - Eastern Grass Court Championships (Amateur)
1954 - Queens Club Tournament (ATP)
1954 - Gstaad (ATP)
1953 - Rapallo (Amateur)
1953 - Queens Club Tournament (ATP)
1953 - Australian Hard Courts Championship (Amateur)
1953 - Eastern Grass Court Championships (Amateur)
1953 - New South Wales Championships (Amateur)
1953 - Victorian Championships (Amateur)
1953 - Queensland Championships (Amateur)
1953 - Central Slopes Championships (Amateur)
1952 - Australian Hard Courts Championship (Amateur)
1952 - County of Cumberland (Amateur)
1951 - Brisbane Exhibition (Amateur)
1951 - New South Wales Hard Court Championships (Amateur)


Tournaments West of Scotland Championships - 1974 South African Championships - 1973 Coupe Faulcombridge - 1973 Wimbledon - 1972 Roland Garros - 1972 Irish Championships - 1972 Italian International Championships - 1972 West of England Championships - 1972 South of England Championships - 1972 Conde de Godo - 1972 Madrid - 1972 Las Palmas - 1972 Rothman International Tournament - 1972 Nottingham Round Robin - 1972 Conde de Godo - 1971 Real Madrid International - 1971 Johannesburg Round Robin - 1971 Wimbledon - 1970 Monte Carlo - 1970 Roland Garros - 1970 Queens Club Tournament - 1970 Italian International Championships - 1970 Conde de Godo - 1970 Madrid - 1970 Real Madrid International - 1970 Sevilla - 1970 Palace Hotel - 1969 Dewar Cup First Leg - 1969 Dewar Cup Second Leg - 1969 Dewar Cup Third Leg - 1969 Dewar Cup Fourth Leg - 1969 Wimbledon - 1968 Roland Garros - 1968 Irish Championships - 1968 Queens Club Tournament - 1968 Kent Championships - 1968 Madison Square Garden Fields - 1968 French Professional Championship - 1967 Wembley Professional Championships - 1967 Wimbledon Pros - 1967 Belfast Professional - 1967 Adelaide Professional Championships - 1966 Madison Square Garden Pro Championships - 1966 New South Wales Pro Championships - 1966 BBC-2 World Invitation - 1966 Johannesburg Pros - 1966 Wembley Professional Championships - 1966 US Pro Hardcourts - 1966 World Pro Championships - 1966 US Pro Grasscourt Championships - 1966 Senegal Pros - 1966 Brisbane Professional Championships - 1966 Milano Professional Championships - 1966 Barcelona Pros - 1966 French Pro Events - 1966 Peacock Gap Pros - 1966 Newport Pro Tournament - 1966 Nairobi Pros - 1966 Nancy Pros - 1966 Forest Hills Pros - 1966 Benoni Professionals - 1966 Uganda Pros - 1966 Abidjan Pros - 1966 Adelaide Professional Championships - 1965 New South Wales Pro Championships - 1965 Johannesburg Pros - 1965 Durban Pros - 1965 Port Elizabeth Pros - 1965 Cape Town Pros - 1965 Melbourne Pros - 1965 Perth Professional Championships - 1965 Brisbane Professional Championships - 1965 South Australia Pros - 1965 Rhodesian Professional Championships - 1965 South Africa Professional Matches - 1965 Tasmania Pros - 1965 US Pro Championships - 1964 US Pro Indoors - 1964 French Professional Championship - 1964 Cannes Pro Championships - 1964 Baltimore Pro Championships - 1964 Johannesburg Pros - 1964 Port Elizabeth Pros - 1964 Cape Town Pros - 1964 Wembley Professional Championships - 1964 Milwaukee Pros - 1964 WCT - St. Louis - 1964 Melbourne Pros - 1964 Geneva Professional Gold Trophy - 1964 West Australian Pro Championships - 1964 Rhodesian Professional Championships - 1964 Masters Round Robin Professionals - 1964 La Baule Professionals - 1964 Montreux Pros - 1964 Biarritz Professionals - 1964 Wembley Pros - lesser meeting - 1964 South Africa Professional Matches - 1964 French Professional Championship - 1963 Wembley Professional Championships - 1963 Italian International Professionals - 1963 Japan Professional Championships - 1963 US Pro Grasscourt Championships - 1963 Portschach Pros - 1963 Kitzbühel Pros - 1963 Adelaide Professional Championships - 1962 French Professional Championship - 1962 Cannes Pro Championships - 1962 Johannesburg Pros - 1962 Wembley Professional Championships - 1962 Melbourne Pros - 1962 Kramer Cup - 1962 Geneva Professional Gold Trophy - 1962 Scheveningen Pros - 1962 Cava Dei Tirreni Professionals - 1962 Swedish Professional Championships - 1962 South African Professional Championships - 1962 Rhodesian Professional Championships - 1962 Zurich Professional Championship - 1962 London Indoor Professionals - 1961 Professional Clay Courts - 1961 Kramer Cup - 1961 Scandinavian Professional Championships - 1961 Austrian Professional Championships - 1961 Viareggio Pros - 1961 French Professional Championship - 1960 World Professional Indoors - 1960 Japan Professional Championships - 1960 Australian Professionals - 1960 Perth Professional Championships - 1960 London Indoor Professionals - 1960 London Indoor Professionals Consolation - 1960 Pro Masters - 1959 French Professional Championship - 1959 World Professional Tournament - 1959 New South Wales Pro Championships - 1959 Slazenger Professional - 1959 London Professional Championships - 1959 Perth Professional Championships - 1959 Victorian Professional Championships - 1959 South Australia Pros - 1959 O'Keefe Professional - 1959 Kramer Tournament of Champions - 1959 San Francisco Pros - 1959 French Professional Championship - 1958 World Professional Tournament - 1958 Wembley Professional Championships - 1958 Slazenger Professional - 1958 Australian Open - 1957 Wimbledon - 1957 Roland Garros - 1957 Austrian International Championships - 1957 Italian International Championships - 1957 British Hard Court Championships - 1957 West of England Championships - 1957 Pro Masters - 1957 Northern Lawn Tennis Association Tournament - 1957 Napoli - 1957 Manly Seaside Tournament - 1957 Wembley Professional Championships - 1957 International Professional Match - 1957 London Indoor Professionals - 1957 Australian Open - 1956 Wimbledon - 1956 South Australian Championships - 1956 Monte Carlo - 1956 Roland Garros - 1956 US Open - 1956 Victorian Championships - 1956 New South Wales Championships - 1956 Colorado Championship - 1956 Pacific Coast Championship - 1956 Italian International Championships - 1956 Pacific Southwest Championships - 1956 British Hard Court Championships - 1956 International Championships of Egypt - Cairo - 1956 German International Championships - 1956 International Championships of Egypt-Alexandria - 1956 Queensland Championships - 1956 West of England Championships - 1956 Welsh Championships - 1956 Midland Counties Championships - 1956 Conde de Godo - 1956 Wiesbaden Championships - 1956 US vs. Australia exhibitions - 1956 Northern Lawn Tennis Association Tournament - 1956 Napoli - 1956 Lebanon International Championship - 1956 Bavarian International Championships - 1956 Manly Seaside Tournament - 1956 Nations' Cup (Egypt) - 1956 Surrey - 1956 Australia vs. Czecholslovakia Exhbition - 1956 O'Keefe International Invitation - 1956 South Australian b - 1956 Australian Open - 1955 Wimbledon - 1955 US Open - 1955 Victorian Championships - 1955 New South Wales Championships - 1955 Queens Club Tournament - 1955 Pacific Southwest Championships - 1955 Japan vs. Australia Test Matches - 1955 New South Wales Hard Court Championships - 1955 Interstate - 1955 Albury Easter Tournament - 1955 Wimbledon - 1954 South Australian Championships - 1954 Roland Garros - 1954 US Open - 1954 Victorian Championships - 1954 New South Wales Championships - 1954 Newport Casino Tournament - 1954 Eastern Grass Court Championships - 1954 Queens Club Tournament - 1954 Pacific Southwest Championships - 1954 Queensland Championships - 1954 Deauville - 1954 Midland Counties Championships - 1954 International Club Matches - FRA - 1954 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1954 Gstaad - 1954 International Club Matches - USA - 1954 New South Wales vs. Victoria - 1954 Australian Open - 1953 Wimbledon - 1953 South Australian Championships - 1953 Roland Garros - 1953 US Open - 1953 Victorian Championships - 1953 New South Wales Championships - 1953 Newport Casino Tournament - 1953 Eastern Grass Court Championships - 1953 Queens Club Tournament - 1953 Italian International Championships - 1953 Netherlands International Championships - 1953 Pacific Southwest Championships - 1953 Queensland Championships - 1953 US vs. Australia exhibitions - 1953 Australian Hard Courts Championship - 1953 New South Wales Hard Court Championships - 1953 Rapallo - 1953 Central Slopes Championships - 1953 Australian Open - 1952 Wimbledon - 1952 Roland Garros - 1952 US Open - 1952 Victorian Championships - 1952 New South Wales Championships - 1952 Newport Casino Tournament - 1952 Queens Club Tournament - 1952 Pacific Southwest Championships - 1952 Queensland Championships - 1952 Belgian International Championships - 1952 Australian Hard Courts Championship - 1952 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1952 Western Australia Championships - 1952 Bastad - 1952 County of Cumberland - 1952 Oslo International Hard Court Championships - 1952 Australian Open - 1951 Victorian Championships - 1951 New South Wales Championships - 1951 Queensland Championships - 1951 Australian Hard Courts Championship - 1951 Sydney Metropolitan Grasscourt Championships - 1951 Tasmanian Championships - 1951 New South Wales Hard Court Championships - 1951 New South Wales - White City - 1951 Brisbane Exhibition - 1951 North Queensland Championships - 1951 Victorian Championships - 1950 New South Wales Championships - 1950 Australian Hard Courts Championship - 1950 Central Southern Championships - 1950 Southern Slopes Championships - 1950 Brisbane Exhibition - 1950

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