Malcolm Whitman

Malcolm Whitman

Class of 1955

Master Player

Career Achievements

Top Ranking     
World No. 1 (1900)

Grand Slam Results
3-time major champion

Davis Cup
Member of the U.S. Davis Cup Championship Team 1900 and 1902
Overall Record: 3-0                               
Singles Record: 3-0
Doubles Record: 0-0       

Contributions to Tennis
Member of the Executive Committee of the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association (USNLTA)
Author- Tennis Origins and Mysteries (1932)

Citizenship: USA Born: March 5, 1877 in New York, New York Died: December 28, 1932 Played: Right-handed

At 6-foot-2, Malcolm Whitman had uncommon height for the era. He parlayed his reach, particularly at net, to win three straight U.S. National Men’s Singles Championships (1898-1900) at the Newport Casino and earn a No. 1 ranking those same years. Whitman, who was ranked in the U.S. Top 10 six times (1896-1902), was ranked No. 2 in 1902. Whitman groomed his game at the Roxbury (MA) Latin School, just outside Boston, and then at Harvard University, where he was the intercollegiate singles champion in 1896 and doubles champion in 1897 and 1898.  In 1900, Whitman teamed with Harvard teammates Dwight Davis and Holcombe Ward to form the first Davis Cup team. The trio led the United States to championships over the British Isles in 1900 and 1902. Whitman’s playing career was brief, retiring in 1902 to concentrate on business endeavors and earn his bachelor of law degree from Harvard. He later became a member of the Executive Committee of the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association (USNLTA). Whitman was long fascinated by tennis history, publishing Tennis Origins and Mysteries in 1932, more than three decades after he had written himself into other historical accounts of the sport. 

Writing in the book, On Lawn Tennis (1903), Wimbledon champions Reginald and Laurie Doherty described Whitman’s playing style: “Whitman is very safe everywhere, and has not a weak point. We believe he has only been beaten once in the last five years. Perhaps his backhand is almost as good as his forehand. He plays the volleying game, as nearly all the Americans do, and gets up to the net on every possible occasion, and when at the net is very hard to pass. He is wonderfully sure on his volley and, besides, has an enormous reach, and is very active and severe overhead. On the ground he plays rather a soft but still an accurate game, and gets more pace on the ball than he seems to. His length is always excellent. He hits the ball rather low, and passes well. And he has that supreme merit - that he rarely misses easy strokes.”

Grand Slam

Grand Slam Best Results


3 Singles

U.S. Nationals: 1898, 1899, 1900