Bob Wrenn

Bob Wrenn

Class of 1955

Master Player

Career Achievements

Top Ranking
World No.1 (1897)

Grand Slam Results
5-time major champion

Davis Cup
U.S. Team 1903
Overall Record  0-3
Singles Record  0-2
Doubles Record 0-1                                                        

Contributions to Tennis
USNLTA President 1912-1915

Citizenship: USA Born: September 20, 1872 in Highland Park, Illinois Died: November 12, 1925 Played: Left-handed

In the formative years of tennis, there were few players who were as crafty and cunning as Robert “Bob” Duffield Wrenn, the first left-hander to win the U.S. National Men’s Singles Championship in 1893 and a championship finalist five straight years. Wrenn won the first of his four U.S. titles at 19 years, 11 months and 10 days, making him the fourth youngest champion in history. A player possessing raw tennis ability, Wrenn won the 1891 and 1892 Intercollegiate Doubles titles as a collegian at Harvard, where he also excelled in baseball and as a football quarterback. Wrenn employed swift movements, extensive court coverage and the skill to lob effectively as a strategic guise to win four U.S. Championships in five years, coming in 1893, 1894, 1896 and 1897 and none of the titles came easily. Wrenn needed four sets to defeat Manliff Goodbody of Great Britain in 1894, and five arduous sets to oust Wilberforce Eaves of Great Britain in 1897. He defeated Fred Hovey in 1893 and 1896. The 1896 victory over Hovey took five tumultuous sets, 7–5, 3–6, 6–0, 1–6, 6–1, and was particularly satisfying for Wrenn, given Hovey had thumped him in the 1895 final, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Wrenn did not defend his 1897 title, making him one of 24 reigning champions in history not to defend their title.

Teaming with Malcolm Chace, Wrenn won the 1895 U.S. National Men’s Doubles Championship title over Hovey and Clarence Hobart, and was a finalist in 1896. Wrenn played in the 1903 Davis Cup against the British Isles at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston, MA, losing both of his singles matches and his doubles match alongside his right-handed brother George, an accomplished player himself who ranked in the Top 10 four times. The siblings were the first to play Davis Cup for the United States, joined only by Tom and Tim Gullikson, Patrick and John McEnroe and the Byran brothers, Bob and Mike.

Wrenn served as Vice President of the United States National Lawn Tennis Association from 1902-11 and then as President from 1912-15, and was a member of the first Induction Class at the then-National Lawn Tennis Hall of Fame (now the International Tennis Hall of Fame).

Impressively, Wrenn was a member of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War, and reportedly contracted yellow fever that impacted his game. War service interrupted his chance for a fifth title in 1898 and he later served as a middle-aged pilot in World War I.

Grand Slam

Grand Slam Best Results


4 singles | 1 doubles

U.S. Nationals: W 1893, 1894, 1896, 1897

U.S. Nationals: W 1895