(1927 - )
Richard "Dick" Savitt is a Jewish American former professional tennis player.
In 1951, Dick Savitt won the Wimbledon Singles
Championship, the Australian Singles championship, and was #1 player
on the United States Davis Cup Team. In his prime, he was considered
the greatest backcourt player in the game, and was ranked #3 in the
World in l951 (World Tennis Magazine). Savitt was elected to the
International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1976.
But, just one year later, after winning the U.S.
National Indoor Singles Championship, he abruptly retired from
competitive tennis. His sudden retirement was attributed to a never
explained snub by the U.S. Davis Cup coaching staff.
Savitt had played and won his sectional Davis Cup
matches enroute to leading the American team into the 1951 finals
against Australia. His coaches, however, would not permit him to
compete against the Aussies, who, only months earlier, he had
dominated at Wimbledon (trounced Australia's #1 seed in straight sets
to win the title) and in Australia (the first non-Aussie to win that
title in 13 years). To no one's surprise, the United States lost the
1951 Davis Cup to Australia.
Savitt returned to the competitive tennis scene
part-time in l956, and though limited tournament competition
prevented him from receiving an official ranking, he was nonetheless
considered the #1 player in the U.S.
Among Savitt's major victories are the l958 and
l961 U.S. National Indoor Championships. Including the 1952 Indoor
victory that sent him into retirement, he was the first to win that
national title three times.
In 1961, Savitt won both the Singles and Doubles
(with Mike Franks) gold medals at the World Maccabiah
Games in Israel.
Jewish Sports Hall of Fame