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Cliff Drysdale

Cliff Drysdale
Drysdale at the 1966 Davis Cup in the Netherlands
Full name Eric Clifford Drysdale
Country (sports) South Africa
Residence Miami, Florida, United States
Born (1941-05-26) 26 May 1941
Nelspruit, South Africa
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 12 in)
Turned pro 1968 (amateur tour from 1962)
Retired 1980
Plays Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF 2013 (member page)
Official website
Career record 308–186 (62.34%)
Career titles 5 (Open era)
Highest ranking No. 4 (1965, Lance Tingay)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open QF (1971)
French Open SF (1965, 1966)
Wimbledon SF (1965, 1966)
US Open F (1965)
Other tournaments
WCT Finals QF (1971, 1972, 1977)
Career record 189–160 (54.15%)
Career titles 6
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open 1R (1971)
French Open 3R (1973)
Wimbledon SF (1974, 1977)
US Open W (1972)
Drysdale in 2009

Eric Clifford 'Cliff' Drysdale (born 26 May 1941, Nelspruit, South Africa) is a former top-ranked professional tennis player of the 1960s and early 1970s who became a well-known tennis announcer. He was one of the Handsome Eight, a group of players signed by Lamar Hunt in 1968 for the newly formed professional World Championship Tennis (WCT) group.[2] He became President of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) when it was formed by Jack Kramer, Donald Dell, and himself in 1972. Drysdale was ranked World No. 4 in 1965 by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph.[1][3]

Drysdale won the singles title at the Dutch Open in Hilversum in 1963 and 1964. In 1965 he won the singles title at the German Championships by defeating Boro Jovanović in the final. During his Open era career, Drysdale captured five singles titles and six doubles titles including winning the 1972 U.S. Open doubles crown with Roger Taylor.[4] He defeated Rod Laver in the fourth round of the first US Open in 1968. He was a pioneer of the two-handed backhand which he used to great effect in the 1960s [USA Today, 11 July 2013]. He became a naturalized United States citizen after retiring as a player. Today, he serves as a tennis commentator on ESPN.[3] He is the founder of Cliff Drysdale Tennis (along with partner Don Henderson) which specializes in resort, hotel, and club tennis management.[5]

In 1998 Drysdale won the William M. Johnston Award for contribution to men’s tennis, given by the USTA.[6] In 2013 Drysdale was elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.[7]


  • Grand Slam finals 1
    • Singles 1.1
    • Doubles 1.2
  • Grand Prix Championship Series singles finals 2
    • Runner-up (2) 2.1
  • Open Era titles 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5
  • See also 6

Grand Slam finals


Runner-ups (1)
Year Championship Surface Opponent in final Score
1965 U.S. Championships Grass Manuel Santana 2–6, 9–7, 5–7, 1–6


Title (1)
Year Championship Surface Partnering Opponent in final Score
1972 US Open Grass Roger Taylor Owen Davidson
John Newcombe
6–4, 7–6(7–3), 6–3

Grand Prix Championship Series singles finals

Runner-up (2)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1971 Boston WCT Ken Rosewall 4–6, 3–6, 0–6
1972 Las Vegas John Newcombe 3–6, 4–6

Open Era titles

No. Date Championship Surface Opponent Score
1. 22 July 1968 Gstaad, Switzerland Clay Tom Okker 6–3, 6–3, 6–0
2. 5 April 1971 Miami WCT, U. S. Hard Rod Laver 6–2, 6–4, 3–6, 6–4
3. 24 May 1971 Brussels, Belgium Clay Ilie Năstase 6–0, 6–1, 7–5
4. 4 March 1974 Miami WCT (2) Hard Tom Gorman 6–4, 7–5
5. 23 January 1978 Baltimore, U. S. Carpet Tom Gorman 7–5, 6–3



  1. ^ a b United States Lawn Tennis Association (1972). Official Encyclopedia of Tennis (First Edition), p. 427.
  2. ^ Wind, Herbert Warren (1979). Game, Set, and Match : The Tennis Boom of the 1960s and 70s (1. ed.). New York: Dutton. pp. 65–70.  
  3. ^ a b "Gear Talk: Q&A with Cliff Drysdale". 
  4. ^ Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins history of tennis : an authoritative encyclopedia and record book (2nd ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. p. 478.  
  5. ^
  6. ^ "The William M. Johnston Award". USTA. 
  7. ^ "Hingis elected to International Tennis Hall of Fame". ITF Tennis. 4 March 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 

External links

See also

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