Frederick John Perry (18 May 1909 – 2 February 1995) born in Stockport, Cheshire, was an English tennis and table tennis player and three-time Wimbledon champion. He was the World No. 1 player for five years, four of them consecutive, 1934 to 1938, the first three years as an amateur. He was the last Englishman to win the Wimbledon, US Open, French Open and Australian Open Men's Singles
After three years as the World No. 1 player while still an amateur, Perry turned professional in 1937. For the next two years he played lengthy tours against the powerful American player Ellsworth Vines. In 1937 they played 61 matches in the United States, with Vines winning 32 and Perry 29. They then sailed to England, where they played a brief tour. Perry won six matches out of nine, so they finished the year tied at 35 victories each. Most observers at the time considered Perry to be the World No. 1 for the fourth year in a row, sharing the title, however, with both Vines and the amateur Don Budge. The following year, 1938, the tour was even longer, and this time Vines beat Perry 49 matches to 35. Budge, winner of the amateur Grand Slam, was clearly the World No. 1 player. In 1939 Budge turned professional and played a series of matches against both Vines and Perry, beating Vines 21 times to 18 and dominating Perry by 18 victories to 11.
Kings of the Court, a video-tape documentary made in 1997 in conjunction with the International Tennis Hall of Fame, named Perry one of the ten greatest players of all time. But this documentary only considered those players who played before the Open era of tennis that began in 1968, with the exception of Rod Laver, who spanned both eras, so that all of the more recent great players are missing.
Kramer, however, has several caveats about Perry. He says that Bill Tilden once called Perry "the world's worst good player". Kramer says that Perry was "extremely fast; he had a hard body with sharp reflexes, and he could hit a forehand with a snap, slamming it on the rise—and even on the fastest grass. That shot was nearly as good as Segura's two-handed forehand." His only real weakness, says Kramer, "was his backhand. Perry hit underslice off that wing about 90 percent of the time, and eventually at the very top levels—against Vine and Budge—that was what did him in. Whenever an opponent would make an especially good shot, Perry would cry out 'Very clevah.' I never played Fred competitively, but I heard enough from other guys that that 'Very clevah' drove a lot of opponents crazy."
Kramer also says that in spite of his many victories, both as an amateur and as a professional, Perry was an "opportunist, a selfish and egotistical person, and he never gave a damn about professional tennis. He was through as a player the instant he turned pro. He was a great champion, and he could have helped tennis, but it wasn't in his interest so he didn't bother." Kramer then recounts several instances in which it was clear to him that Perry was losing matches in which he had given up because he "wanted to make sure that the crowd understood that this was all beneath him."
Perry, however, recalled his days on the professional tour differently. He maintained that "there was never any easing up in his tour matches with Ellsworth Vine and Bill Tilden since there was the title of World Pro Champion at stake." He said "I must have played Vines in something like 350 matches, yet there was never any fixing as most people thought. There were always people willing to believe that our pro matches weren't strictly on the level, that they were just exhibitions. But as far as we were concerned, we always gave everything we had.
A final comment from Kramer is that Perry unwittingly "screwed up men's tennis in England, although this wasn't his fault. The way he could hit a forehand—snap it off like a ping-pong shot—Perry was a physical freak. Nobody else could be taught to hit a shot that way. But the kids over there copied Perry's style, and it ruined them. Even after Perry faded out of the picture, the coaches there must have kept using him as a model."
Inside the Church Road gate at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, London, a statue of Fred Perry was erected in 1984 to mark the 50th anniversary of his first singles championship. In his birthplace, a special 14 mile (23 km) walking route, Fred Perry Way, was built by the borough of Stockport and officially opened in September 2002.
In the late 1940s Perry was approached by Tibby Wegner, an Austrian footballer who had invented an anti-perspirant device worn around the wrist. Perry made a few changes and invented the sweatband. Wegner's next idea was to produce a sports shirt which was to be made from white knitted cotton pique with short sleeves and buttons down the front. Launched at Wimbledon in 1952, the Fred Perry polo shirt was an immediate success. The brand is best known for its laurel logo, which appears on the left breast of the tennis shirts. The laurel logo (based on the old Wimbledon symbol) was stitched into the fabric of the shirt instead of merely ironed on (as was the case with the crocodile logo of the competing Lacoste brand).
The polo shirt was only available in white until the late 50s when the mods picked up on it and demanded a more varied colour palette. It was the shirt of choice for diverse groups of teenagers throughout the 1960s and 70s, ranging from the skinheads to the Northern Soul scene and Manchester's very own "Perry Boys", a group of violent football supporters whose exploits were recently documented in the book of that name by author Ian Hough. The clothing brand has also become popular amongst young teens in Ireland.
In recent years Fred Perry has been a very popular brand again with youths, especially with Indie subculture. In Germany, it was (and to a limited extent still is) highly popular with traditional skinheads. Today however products that copy the cut of Fred Perry shirts and are produced by companies catering for the traditional skinheads subculture have surpassed the original product in popularity. The producers of Fred Perry clothing have always rejected taking a political stand and distance themselves from what is seen as "hijacking" of their brand by Far Right youths (see also Lonsdale). Fred Perry is also the sponsor of British tennis player Andy Murray.
The Fred Perry Way, named after the famous tennis champion from Stockport, is a recently designated 14 mile walking route which spans the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport, from Woodford in the south to Reddish in the north. The route combines rural footpaths, quiet lanes and river valleys with urban landscapes and parklands. Interesting features of the route include Houldsworth Mill and Square, the start of the River Mersey at the confluence of the River Tame and River Goyt, Stockport Town Centre, Vernon and Woodbank Parks and the Happy Valley. The route passes through Woodbank Park where Fred Perry actually played some showcase games of tennis in the park's tennis courts.
|Year||Championship||Opponent in Final||Score in Final|
|1933||U.S. Championships||Jack Crawford||6–3, 11–13, 4–6, 6–0, 6–1|
|1934||Australian Championships||Jack Crawford||6–3, 7–5, 6–1|
|1934||Wimbledon Championships||Jack Crawford||6–3, 6–0, 7–5|
|1934||U.S. Championships (2)||Wilmer Allison||6–4, 6–3, 1–6, 8–6|
|1935||French Championships||Gottfried von Cramm||6–3, 3–6, 6–1, 6–3|
|1935||Wimbledon Championships (2)||Gottfried von Cramm||6–2, 6–4, 6–4|
|1936||Wimbledon Championships (3)||Gottfried von Cramm||6–1, 6–1, 6–0|
|1936||U.S. Championships (3)||Don Budge||2–6, 6–2, 8–6, 1–6, 10–8|
|Year||Championship||Opponent in Final||Score in Final|
|1935||Australian Championships||Jack Crawford||6–2, 4–6, 4–6, 4–6|
|1936||French Championships||Gottfried von Cramm||0–6, 6–2, 2–6, 6–2, 0–6|
RAF SIMONS PARTNERS WITH FRED PERRY; NEW LABEL TO DEBUT IN STORES THIS FALL, REPLACING FRED PERRY'S UPSCALE COLLABORATION WITH COMME DES GARONS.
Feb 04, 2008; Byline: David Lipke NEW YORK - Jil Sander isn't the only label that Raf Simons is designing for this year-British sportswear...
Fred Perry U.K. acquired by investors: from Figgie Int'l. (Fred Perry Sportswear U.K., Inc. acquired by Taggart-Fasola Group and John Wortley, name to change to Fred Perry Sportswear North America) (Brief Article)
Aug 04, 1994; NEW YORK -- Fred Perry Sportswear U.K., Inc., a Baltimore-based activewear company, has been acquired from Figgie International,...
SEE YOU ON COURT! over the Years, Centre Court Has Hosted Plenty of Close-Run Contests - but When It Comes to Which Shirt to Wear, Few Can Match the Rivalry of the Legendary Rene Lacoste and Fred Perry
Jun 19, 2006; Summertime in Britain means many things: terrible weather, washed-out Test matches and the ceaseless, seemingly never-ending...
Tennis push for Fred Perry site.(sportswear maker plans online marketing)(Company Business and Marketing)(Brief Article)
Jun 07, 2001; Sportswear manufacturer Fred Perry is planning an online marketing push having made initial inroads into e-commerce with the...