Class of 1961
World No. 4 (1929)
Grand Slam Results
Five-time major champion
Gold Medal in Men’s Doubles at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games (w/ Vinnie Richards)
United States Davis Cup Team member 1927-1929
Overall record: 4-2
Singles record: 3-1
Doubles record: 1-1
Carving out a successful career in an era when Bill Tilden ruled the courts could be a frustrating and exasperating proposition. Had he played in a different era, perhaps the talented Francis “Frank” Hunter would have corralled a handful of major singles championships. The hard-hitting New Yorker cemented his Hall of Fame niche as a proficient doubles player who won five major titles and an Olympic Gold Medal.
The first doubles triumph came at Wimbledon in 1924 with Vinnie Richards – his partner in winning the Gold Medal at the Paris Games that same year. It was a grueling five-set victory over fellow Americans Watson Washburn and Richard Norris Williams II. Three additional doubles titles came in 1927, including a pair at Wimbledon alongside Tilden in men’s play and with Elizabeth Ryan in mixed doubles. He and Tilden won the U.S. National Men’s Doubles Championship later that year. In mixed doubles play, Hunter had another ideal partner in Helen Wills Moody, but fell in the 1928 and 1929 French International Championships to Britain’s Eileen Bennett and France’s Henri Cochet each time. Hunter and Wills finally broke through as a tandem, winning an easy Wimbledon Mixed Doubles title in 1929 over the British team of Joan Fry and Ian Collins.
Despite not collecting a major singles title, Hunter was a talented player and came very close to winning two U.S. National Men’s Singles Championships, losing his 1928 contest to Cochet, 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. The following year, Tilden prevailed in another tight five-setter, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4. Hunter’s 38-13 U.S. Championships singles record (74 percent) was earned with an aggressive game built on strong serving and a powerful forehand. Hunter enjoyed his greatest singles success playing in his native New York at the Seventh Regiment Armory, winning titles in 1922 and 1930 and was a finalist in 1923, 1924 and 1929. He played on Davis Cup teams for three years (1927-29). From 1922-29, Hunter was ranked in the U.S. Top 10 five times and was a world Top 10 four times from 1923-29.
Following his tennis career, the Cornell educated Hunter had business interests that included operating three coal mines in West Virginia and owning a chain of newspapers in Westchester County, N.Y. His most lucrative business venture was 21 Brands Inc., an importer and distributor of wines and liquor that he co-founded in 1933. He served as president until 1963.
Wimbledon: F 1923
U.S. Nationals: F 1928, 1929
Wimbledon: W 1924, 1927
U.S. Nationals: W 1927
French Championships: F 1928, 1929
Wimbledon: W 1927, 1929