Al Laney

Al Laney

Class of 1979


Career Achievements

Contributions to Tennis

  • Sports journalist for over 50 years
Citizenship: USA Born: January 11, 1896 in Pensacola, Florida, United States Died: January 31, 1988

Bud Collins described Albert Gilles Laney as the prototypical sports writer: mustachioed and usually under a gray fedora.

When the game of tennis was exploding on the worldwide scene during the 1920s, sports journalist Laney helped raise the stature of the sport. From the 1920s through the 1970s, Laney — who wrote for both the Paris Herald Tribune and then the New York Herald — related insightful and prolific accounts of the biggest matches played by the greatest champions. He covered every Wimbledon Championship from 1925-1939, and with the onset of World War II, returned to New York and became a fixture at Forest Hills from 1940-1965 covering the U.S. National Championships.

His graceful prose bore the unmistakable stamp of authority, and he had a detailed eye and a vivid, descriptive style. In his memoir, Covering the Court: A 50-year Love Affair With the Game of Tennis, Laney described the historical match between Helen Wills and Suzanne Lenglen held at Cannes in 1926 as, "…a titanic struggle such as the world had never seen before." Even as a young reporter, Laney had a keen way of chronicling tennis, with his accounts of the Maurice McLoughlin-Norman Brookes Davis Cup match at Forest Hills in 1914 being one of his masterful works.