Class of 1999
World No. 3 (1952)
Grand Slam Results
9-time champion, 4-time finalist
Member of the Australian Davis Cup Team 1950-1952
Member of the Australian Championship Davis Cup Team 1950-1952
Overall Record: 6-3
Singles Record: 4-3
Doubles Record: 2-0
The sum of Ken McGregor’s prodigious tennis career was but a few years. It ended before it fully took off – over in a blink of an eye – but his accomplishments and achievements in a short time span would make 20-year tour veterans jealous.
McGregor, part of the endless array of gifted Australian players assembled by the legendary coach Harry Hopman, won nine major championships, seven of those coming in doubles. They were all won between 1950 and 1952 and then he wafted into thin air like an apparition. McGregor was 6-foot-3, powerfully built and strong. His physically imposing stature was not all muscle without talent – his size and strength enhanced a menacing game, one fostered on big serves and overheads and an engulfing presence at the net. McGregor’s size and strength were also ideal for Australian rules football – his first love and sport of choice. At age 25 he bid tennis a fond adieu, both the amateur and professional tours that he so sparsely played, and in 1953 returned to South Australia to play for West Adelaide, his local Aussie rules team.
McGregor’s tennis legacy and place in history remains firmly embedded in doubles, where he and partner Frank Sedgman comprised one of the finest duos the sport has ever seen, winning the only men’s calendar-year doubles Grand Slam in 1951. McGregor and Sedgman won seven consecutive major doubles titles – the Australian, French, and Wimbledon championships in both 1951 and 1952, and the U.S. Nationals in 1951. Only Vic Seixas and Mervyn Rose were able to dismantling the pair, road blocking a potential eighth straight with a massive struggle and victory at the U.S. Nationals in 1952, 3-6, 10-8, 10-8, 6-8, 8-6. None of the championships were won in a breeze, the 1951 championships at the Australian, French, Wimbledon, and U.S. Nationals took five, four, five, and four sets respectively. The titles in 1952 were straight set triumphs. The first Australian was perhaps the toughest of the seven to earn, with compatriots John Bromwich and Adrian Quist pushing hard, but falling 11–9, 2–6, 6–3, 4–6, 6–3. The 1951 Wimbledon victory was a nip-and-tuck battle against Jaroslav Drobný and Eric Sturgess, ultimately won by the Aussies, 3–6, 6–2, 6–3, 3–6, 6–3.
McGregor was clicking on all cylinders in 1951, reaching the Wimbledon Gentleman Singles final, where he fell to American Dick Savitt, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. At the 1952 Australian, the No. 4 seeded McGregor won his first and only singles major, ousting Savitt in the semifinals (6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4) and then defeating doubles partner and No. 1 seed Sedgman, 7–5, 12–10, 2–6, 6–2.
From 1950 through 1952, McGregor played on the Australian Davis Cup team and helped the Aussies defeat the United States three straight years. The 1951 championship was McGregor’s shining moment as he and Sedgman earned the go-ahead point with a 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory over Tony Trabert and Seixas.
McGregor was ranked in the World’s Top Ten from 1950-1952, reaching No.3 in 1952. He joined the professional tour in 1953, a pay check hard to ignore, but he didn’t garner much success, and the lure of playing rugby again was beckoning.
McGregor was elected to the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000. Tennis SA, the governing body of tennis within South Australia, established the Ken McGregor Foundation to assist in the promotion of the next generation of international players.
Australian Championships: W 1952
French Championships: SF 1951, 1952
Wimbledon: F 1951
Australian Championships: W 1951, 1952
French Championships: W 1951, 1952
Wimbledon: W 1951, 1952
U.S. Nationals: W 1951
French Championships: SF 1950, 1951
Wimbledon: SF 1951, 1952
U.S. Nationals: W 1950