Class of 1966
U.S No. 1 (1949)
World No. 1 (1949)
Grand Slam Results
6-time major champion, and 4-time finalist
Member of the U.S. Davis Cup Team 1946-1951
Member of the U.S. Championship Davis Cup Team 1946-1949
Overall Record: 13-6
Singles Record: 11-3
Doubles Record: 2-3
On match point during the 1949 Gentleman’s Singles Wimbledon Final, angular Ted Schroeder relied on his most potent shot: He served down the middle forcing Czech Jaroslav Drobný to extend his backhand and then attacked the short, chipped return. He unleashed a powerful forehand and drove the ball crosscourt, skidding past his opponent for an uncontested winner. With unabashed joy and enthusiasm, Schroeder tossed his racquet 50 feet in the air, the wooden frame bouncing softly on the Centre Court grass. With a boyish smile and engaging innocence that characterized his game, Schroeder accepted the championship trophy with Queen Mother Elizabeth watching intently from the stands.
Schroeder captured his Wimbledon title by defeating Drobný in five sets, 3–6, 6–0, 6–3, 4–6, 6–4. Going the distance had become standard fare for Schroeder in London. Four of his victories, including three-straight in the quarters, semis, and finals, were five-set marathons, earning Schroeder the moniker “Lucky Ted.” In his quarterfinal victory over Frank Sedgman, Schroeder thrived under pressure, playing with unabashed confidence. He staved off two match points to win 9-7 in the fifth. Schroeder never returned to the All-England Club as a player, explaining, "I was a businessman. I had to work for a living."
Ted Schroeder played tennis for the love of the sport, not for financial gain or acclaim. He spurned countless offers from his dear friend Jack Kramer to play professionally, recalling between puffs of his ever-present corn cob pipe later in life that “tennis was always much too emotional for me to treat it like a profession.”
Schroeder had a tenacious playing style – more power than finesse – and preferred an aggressive game plan rather than counter punching from the baseline. His strokes weren’t as polished as his contemporaries, so he relied on a punishing overhead and crisp volleying. Schroeder, whose career was interrupted by military service and a commitment to industry, aspired to be both a champion and a successful businessman, achieving each goal admirably. Post tennis, he became vice-president of Kold Hold Pacific Sales Company, a Californian refrigeration company.
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Schroeder honed his game 3,000 miles away in Los Angeles, California. It became the impetus for his lifelong relationship with Kramer – who later coached Schroeder in the 1949 Wimbledon final. Schroeder attended Stanford University, studied economics and carefully managed both his tennis career and business interests. In 1942, Schroeder won the Intercollegiate Singles and Doubles Championship in the fall and that summer defeated fellow American Frank Parker in five scintillating sets, 8–6, 7–5, 3–6, 4–6, 6–2, to win the U.S. National Men’s Singles Championship, making him only the second player in history to achieve that rare feat, shared with Don McNeill.
Schroeder, who had military commitments after his victory, serving on Navy destroyers and as a fighter pilot in World War II until his discharge in 1945, didn’t return to the U.S. Nationals until 1949. His finals match against Pancho Gonzales was a memorable, five-hour tussle – the first set taking 1 hour, 15 minutes to complete, with Gonzales rallying from two sets down to win, 16–18, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Schroeder regularly swatted away Kramer’s incessant pleas to turn pro, but the longtime friend never took the refusal personally and the duo were a strikingly great doubles combination, winning the 1940, 1941, and 1947 U.S. National Doubles Championships. The 1940 title, when both players were just 19-years-old, made them the youngest doubles tandem in history to hoist the trophy. Schroeder and Kramer won four matches for the 1946 Davis Cup final, leading to a 5-0 victory over Australia. After the war, Schroeder played Davis Cup tennis until his retirement in 1951. He played six years, compiling a 13-6 record, 11-3 in singles competition and earned four straight cups from 1946-49. In additional doubles play, Schroeder teamed with the legendary Louise Brough to win the U.S. mixed doubles title in 1942, made the men’s doubles finals in 1942 and 1948 and the Wimbledon doubles final in 1949.
“The most spectacular, most aggressive player I've ever seen,” said Bobby Riggs. “His power overhead stuns you."
From 1940 to 1951, Schroeder was ranked in the top 10 nationally nine times, including No. 1 in 1942. From 1946 to 1949 he ranked second in the world.
Wimbledon: W (1949)
U.S. Nationals: W (1942)
Wimbledon: F (1949)
U.S. Nationals: W (1940), W (1941), W (1947)
U.S. Nationals: W (1942)