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Don McNeill (tennis)

Don McNeill (tennis)

US tennis player
Don McNeill (tennis)
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro US tennis player
A.K.A. William Donald McNeill
Was Athlete Military officer Soldier Tennis player Officer
From United States of America
Type Military Sports
Gender male
Birth 30 April 1918, Chickasha, Grady County, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
Death 28 November 1996, Vero Beach, Indian River County, Florida, U.S.A. (aged 78 years)
Star sign Taurus
Residence New York City
Peoplepill ID don-mcneill
The details (from wikipedia)


William Donald McNeill (April 30, 1918 – November 28, 1996) was an American male tennis player. He was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma and died in Vero Beach, Florida, United States.


Don McNeill graduated from Kenyon College in 1940, where he became a brother of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Lambda chapter).

McNeill won his first major title in 1938 when he defeated Frank Bowden at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships, played at the Seventh Regiment Armory in Manhattan, New York.

In 1939, McNeill became the second American to win the French Championships singles title (after Don Budge) when he defeated compatriot Bobby Riggs in the final in straight sets. Afterwards he played at Wimbledon, the only time he participated, and lost to Franjo Kukuljevic in the second round of the singles, reached the third round in the doubles and the quarterfinal in the mixed doubles. He went on to win the All England Plate, a tennis competition held at the Wimbledon Championships which consisted of players who were defeated in the first or second rounds of the singles competition.

In June 1940 McNeill beat Bobby Riggs to win the singles title at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships in Chicago. In August that year he also won the Southampton Invitational tournament after a victory in the final over Frank Kovacs. His run continued two weeks later when he won the invitational tournament at the Newport Casino. In September he won his second Grand Slam title when he defeated Riggs in the final of the U.S. National Championships after being down two sets to love. He was the third player who managed to overcome a two-set deficit in the final of the U.S. Championships after Maurice McLoughlin (1912) and Bill Tilden (1922).

His title wins in 1940 earned McNeill the No. 1 ranking in the USA at the end of the year. There were no "official" amateur rankings during World War II - McNeill reached as high as World No. 7 in Gordon Lowe's amateur rankings list in 1939. During the war McNeill served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and was attached to the embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While stationed there he won the Argentinian Championships in 1942 and defended the title successfully in November 1943, defeating Pancho Segura in the final.

After the war McNeill decided to focus on his business career and played tournaments less frequently. In 1950 McNeill won his second U.S. Indoor title, twelve years after winning his first. This time in the final he was too strong for Fred Kovaleski, defeating him in four sets. Additionally he had been a runner-up in 1940 and 1946. Both Allison Danzig, in a New York Times article in 1936, and Pancho Segura, in a telephone interview in 2014, described McNeill's game as consisting of very heavily topspun drives off both wings, and Segura was of the opinion that McNeill didn't turn pro because there was really very little money in professional tennis then.

He was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1965.

After his tennis career he became an advertising executive in New York. McNeill died on November 28, 1996 in Vero Beach due to complications from pneumonia.

Grand Slam finals

Singles: 2 (2 titles)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1939 French Championships Clay United States Bobby Riggs 7–5, 6–0, 6–3
Winner 1940 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Bobby Riggs 4–6, 6–8, 6–3, 6–3, 7–5

Doubles: 3 (2 titles, 1 runner-up)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1939 French Championships Clay United States Charles Harris France Jean Borotra
France Jacques Brugnon
4–6, 6–4, 6–0, 2–6. 10–8
Winner 1944 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Bob Falkenburg United States Bill Talbert
Ecuador Pancho Segura
7–5, 6–4, 3–6, 6–1
Runner-up 1946 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Frank Guernsey United States Gardnar Mulloy
United States Bill Talbert
6–3, 4–6, 6–2, 3–6, 18–20

Mixed: 1 (1 runner-up)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1944 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Dorothy Bundy United States Margaret Osborne
Ecuador Bill Talbert
2–6, 3–6
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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