Watson Washburn

Watson Washburn

Class of 1965

Master Player

Career Achievements

Top Ranking     
U.S. No. 5

Grand Slam Results
3-time doubles finalist

Davis Cup
Member of the U.S. Championship Davis Cup Team 1921
Overall Record: 1-0
Singles Record: 0-0
Doubles Record: 1-0

Citizenship: USA Born: June 12, 1894 in New York, New York Died: December 2, 1973 Played: Right-handed

Bespectacled and looking more like a college professor than a champion tennis player, Harvard-educated Watson McLean Washburn was ranked in the U.S. Top 10 seven times between 1914 and 1922. The slender 6-foot Watson won the 1913 Intercollegiate Doubles Championship, paving the way to a solid career, albeit primarily in doubles. He and Richard Norris Williams II were a formidable duo, advancing to the 1921 and 1923 U.S. National Men’s Doubles final and the 1924 Wimbledon final.

The U.S. losses were particularly excruciating and frustrating. The tandem lost to Vincent Richards and Bill Tilden 13-11, 12-10, 6-1, in the 1921 final and again in five long sets, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, to Brian I.C. Norton and Tilden in 1923.  The 1924 Wimbledon defeat followed a similar pattern as Frank Hunter and Richards captured an All-U.S. final in five lengthy sets, 6–3, 3–6, 8–10, 8–6, 6–3. Washburn and Williams weren’t going to be denied at every championship juncture, however, and earned a key Davis Cup victory by winning the decisive match against Japan in 1921. The pair bared down to defeat Ichiya Kumagai and Zenzo Shimizu, 6-2 7-5 4-6 7-5. The triumph was the second win of a seven-year streak of U.S. Davis Cup victories.

In singles play, Washburn proved to be a tough out. He advanced to one Wimbledon quarterfinal in 1924, losing to South African Louis Raymond 17-15 in the third set. He played in five U.S. National Men’s Singles Championship quarterfinals (1911-13, 1916, 1920), a testament to his playing acumen. More impressively, perhaps, is that Washburn played in 23 U.S. Singles Championship events, tied for third best in history.

Washburn served his country in the Army during World War I and then dedicated himself to tennis leadership and administration, most notably contributing to the formative years of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Grand Slam

Grand Slam Best Results

Wimbledon: QF 1924
U.S. Nationals: QF 1911, 1912, 1913, 1916, 1920                                    

Wimbledon: F 1924
U.S. Nationals: F 1921, 1923