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Dick Savitt

(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.

Sources: International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame