Art Larsen

Art Larsen

Arthur David ("Art" or "Tappy") Larsen (born on April 17, 1925 in Hayward, California, United States) was an American male tennis player best remembered for his victory at the U.S. Championships in 1950 and for his eccentricities. Larsen was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island in 1969.

Jack Kramer, tennis player and long-time promoter, writes in his 1979 autobiography that "Larsen was fascinating to watch. He had concentrated on tennis as mental therapy after serving long stretches in the front lines during (World War II). He was called Tappy because he went around touching everything for good luck, and sometimes he would chat with an imaginary bird that sat on his shoulder. This was good theatre, but it could never have made Larsen a candidate for a professional tour.

A member of the Olympic Club in San Francisco, he had previously attended the University of San Francisco, where he was a member of the 1949 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship team. He was 5 feet 10 inches and 150 pounds and was also known for his partying before, and during, his tournament appearances. It was frequently written that Larsen would arrive for an important match directly from an all-night party with no benefit of sleep.

He was the first man to win the American amateur championships on the four court surfaces that existed at the time, grass, clay, hardcourt, and indoor. Since then, only Tony Trabert has equalled his feat.

Larsen's tennis career ended abruptly in November, 1956, after a motor scooter accident in Castro Valley, California. He was partially paralysed and lost the sight in one eye. He was the Number 8 ranked American amateur at the time.

Grand Slam record

U.S. Championships

  • Singles champion 1950
  • Singles finalist 1954



  • The Game, My 40 Years in Tennis (1979), Jack Kramer with Frank Deford (ISBN 0-399-12336-9)

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