Larned was born and raised in Summit, New Jersey on the estate of his father, William Zebedee Larned. Larned Road in Summit honors both father and son. He came from a family that could trace its American roots to shortly after the arrival of the Mayflower. He was the eldest child of a wealthy lawyer and his wife.
In 1890 he came to Cornell University to study mechanical engineering. He first gained fame in his junior year, when he became the first (and to this day, the only) Cornellian to win the intercollegiate tennis championship.
An all-around athlete, Larned captained the St. Nicholas ice hockey team in 1896-97 and was also a fine horseman, golfer, and rifle shot. He invented the steel-framed racquet in 1922 and founded a company to manufacture it.
As one of the "Big Three of the U.S. men's championship", Larned won the title seven times, as did Richard Sears before him and Bill Tilden after. When he won the last of those prestigious championships, he was 38, establishing himself as the oldest man to realize that significant feat.
With ground strokes that whistled down the line and crosscourt, and an attitude which left no room for compromise, Bill Larned remained at or near the top of American tennis for two decades, capturing seven U.S. National Singles titles early in the twentieth century. While his forehand was the stroke that made him a champion, he was formidable off both sides, and an obstinate competitor.
Larned was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup Team in 1902-03, 1905, 1908–09 and 1911–12. Larned achieved a career-high U.S. ranking of No. 1.
He twice participated in the Wimbledon Championships, in 1896 and 1905, but could not match his success at home, losing on both occasions in the quarterfinals.
Larned was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1956. Buried at Green Wood cemetary in Brooklyn
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