Richards at the 1922 Davis Cup
|Country (sports)||United States|
March 20, 1903|
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
|Died||September 28, 1959
New York City, U.S.
|Height||5 ft 10 in (178 cm)|
|Retired||1930 (very brief comeback in 1933 and 1945)|
|Plays||Right-handed (one-handed backhand)|
|Int. Tennis HoF||1959 (member page)|
|Highest ranking||No. 2 (1924, A. Wallis Myers)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|French Open||SF (1926)|
|US Open||SF (1922, 1924, 1925, 1926)|
|US Pro||W (1927, 1928, 1930, 1933)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|French Open||W (1926)|
|US Open||W (1918, 1921, 1922, 1925, 1926)
|Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results|
|US Open||W (1919, 1924)
Vincent "Vinnie" Richards (March 20, 1903 - September 28, 1959) was an American tennis player. He was active in the early decades of the 20th century, particularly known as being a superlative volleyer. He was ranked World No. 2 both as an amateur in 1924 by A. Wallis Myers, and as a pro by American Lawn Tennis magazine in 1930.
Richards won the National Boys Outdoor Singles Tournament in 1917. He became a protégé of Bill Tilden after being defeated by the latter in a match, and he then teamed up with him to win the United States doubles championship in 1918 at the age of 15. He remains the youngest male to have ever won a major championship. Twenty-seven years later, in 1945, he and Tilden won the United States Pro doubles title. While Bill Tilden teamed with Richards to win titles together, he was also beaten by Richards in both singles and doubles, including for several major titles. During their long rivalry, they faced each other 102 times, with Richards holding a career record of 52-50 against Tilden.
Richards retained his amateur status for 10 years because his ambition was to compete in the 1924 Olympics held in Paris, France. He realized this ambition by winning the gold medal for the United States in both singles and doubles, additionally collecting the silver medal in mixed doubles. Richards is one of two American male tennis players to win the gold medal in both singles and doubles (Beals Wright was the other), and he ranks second all-time with his three medals won in 1924 (second to Reginald Doherty of Great Britain, who won four Olympic tennis medals). Between both men and women, Richards is tied with Venus Williams with three overall medals, with Williams collecting three gold medals over multiple Olympics. While there was no official ATP Tour in the 1920s, Richards was one of the pioneers in creating a version of a "world tennis tour", playing in the equivalent of all four grand slams during his career, additional major tournaments, and exhibition matches in front of emperors, presidents, and other heads of states. While Tilden may have overshadowed Richards, even in the Davis Cup, Richards held a perfect 5-0 record when he played for his country.
Richards was one of the best singles players of the 1920s and played on several United States Davis Cup teams. In 1927 he was the first prominent male player to turn professional. In 1928, he was still generally considered to be one of the top 5 or 6 players in the world and played a brief tour at the end of the year against Czech player Karel Ko?eluh, another new professional. Richards only beat Ko?eluh five times in 20 matches. At the end of 1930 he announced his retirement from professional tennis. At the time, he had won the United States Pro Championship in 1927, 1928, and 1930, beating Ko?eluh in the finals in both 1928 and 1930, while losing to him in the 1929 finals. He came out of retirement and won the Pro Championship again in 1933, this time beating Frank Hunter. Coming out of retirement again some 12 years later, at age 45, he and Bill Tilden won the doubles at the 1945 U.S. Pro Championships.
In February 1924 he married Claremont Gushee in Greenwich, Connecticut and the couple had three children. She died in 1950. On September 28, 1959 Richards died of a heart attack at Doctors Hospital in New York.
|Winner||1918||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Bill Tilden|| Fred Alexander
|6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-2|
|Runner-up||1919||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Bill Tilden|| Norman Brookes
|6-8, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 2-6|
|Winner||1921||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Bill Tilden|| Watson Washburn
R. Norris Williams
|13-11, 12-10, 6-1|
|Winner||1922||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Bill Tilden|| Pat O'Hara Wood
|4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4|
|Winner||1924||Wimbledon||Grass||Frank Hunter|| Watson Washburn
R. Norris Williams
|6-3, 3-6, 8-10, 8-6, 6-3|
|Winner||1925||U.S. National Championships||Grass||R. Norris Williams|| John Hawkes
|6-2, 8-10, 6-4, 11-9|
|Winner||1926||French Championships||Clay||Howard Kinsey|| Jacques Brugnon
|6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4|
|Runner-up||1926||Wimbledon||Grass||Howard Kinsey|| Jacques Brugnon
|5-7, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6|
|Winner||1926||U.S. National Championships||Grass||R. Norris Williams|| Alfred Chapin
|6-4, 6-8, 11-9, 6-3|
|Winner||1919||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Marion Zinderstein|| Florence Ballin
|2-6, 11-9, 6-2|
|Winner||1924||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Helen Wills|| Molla Bjurstedt Mallory
|6-8, 7-5, 6-0|
|Runner-up||1925||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Ermyntrude Harvey|| Kitty McKane