Vinnie Richards

Vinnie Richards

Class of 1961

Master Player

Career Achievements

Top Ranking     
World No. 2 (1924)

Grand Slam Results
9-time major champion, 3-time finalist

Olympics
Gold Medal in Men’s Singles at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games
Gold Medal in Men’s Doubles at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games (with Frank Hunter)
Silver Medal a in Mixed Doubles at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games (with Marion Jessup)

Davis Cup
Member of the US Championship Davis Cup Team 1922-1926
Overall Record: 4-1
Singles Record: 2-0
Doubles Record: 2-1

Citizenship: USA Born: March 20, 1903 in Yonkers, New York Died: September 28, 1959 Played: Right-handed

Vincent “Vinnie” Richards was born and grew up in Yonkers, 20 miles from the site of the U.S. National Championships in Forest Hills. Imagine the pride he felt as a 15-year-old winning the 1918 Men’s Doubles Championship with Bill Tilden in five epic sets over Fred Alexander and Beals Wright, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-2. By becoming the youngest male in history to win any of the major championships, Richards was immediately dubbed the “Boy Wonder of Tennis.” His game matured nicely over the years, becoming a volleying machine that used his quickness and footwork at net to become one of the finest doubles specialists in history. 

Richards remained an amateur for ten years, due in large part to his desire to represent the United States in Olympic competition. Richards realized that dream, winning two Gold Medals and a Silver Medal at the 1924 Games held in Paris, France. In a marathon singles match, Richards ousted Frenchman Henri Cochet, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 5-7, 6-2. He then teamed with Frank Hunter to stifle Cochet and Jacques Brugnon in the doubles final, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. He completed the medal triple, earning his Silver by teaming with Marion Zinderstein Jessup in mixed doubles. Those victories were historically impressive, as Olympic tennis competition ended in 1924 and wasn’t resurrected until 1988 in Seoul, Korea. Richards remains the only American male player to win a Gold Medal in both singles and doubles. 

As an amateur, Richards won three U.S. doubles titles with Tilden and two with Richard Norris Williams. In 1926, he and Howard Kinsey became the first foreigners to win a doubles title at the French Championships. Richards would have likely won a coveted Grand Slam had he competed at the Australian Championships. But time and distance to Australia impeded travel and many Americans passed on the excursion. In total Richards won an impressive seven major men's doubles championships.

Richards was a valued member of the U.S Davis Cup Team, winning four titles (1922, 1924-26). He bolstered a brilliant 1924 season by winning both his singles Davis Cup matches against Australia. In 1924, he became an advocate of professional tennis. Employing his proficient all-court game, Richards won the 1927, 1928, 1930 and 1933 U.S. Pro Tennis Championships, an event he was instrumental in organizing.

After retiring from competition, Richards joined the Dunlop Tire and Rubber Company as vice president of the sporting goods division. In celebration of his 50th Birthday, the Pride of Yonkers was honored with a full-page photo and written tribute in The Yonkers Herald Statesman on March 23, 1953. He died six years later at Doctors Hospital from a heart attack. In a fitting assessment from a player who spent many years charging the net, Richards once said, “I figure I played about 14,000 matches, and in each one I ran about four and a half miles. That means I ran 56,000 miles or about twice around the world.”

Grand Slam

Grand Slam Best Results

Titles

7 Doubles | 2 Mixed Doubles

Singles
French Championships: SF (1926)
Wimbledon: QF (1924)
U.S. Nationals: SF (1922), SF (1924), SF (1925), SF (1926)                                        
Doubles
French Nationals: W (1926)
Wimbledon: W (1924)
U.S. Nationals: W (1918), W (1921), W (1922), W (1925), W (1926)

Mixed Doubles 
Wimbledon: SF (1923), (1926)                                
U.S. Nationals: W (1919), W (1924)