WASHINGTON: Tony Trabert, a five-time Grand Slam singles champion from the United States who produced one of the greatest seasons in tennis history in 1955, died Wednesday. He was 90.
Trabert captured the 1953 US Open, the 1954 French Open and the 1955 US and French Opens and Wimbledon.
The ATP Tour and International Tennis Hall of Fame, which inducted Trabert in 1970, announced his death.
Trabert served as the Hall of Fame’s president from 2001 to 2011 and spent 30 years as a television analyst. He also served as an author and coach and captained the US Davis Cup team from 1976-1980, guiding the squad to titles in 1978 and 1979.
“He didn’t just show us all how to be a great champion,” said Hall of Fame president Stan Smith, who followed Trabert into the job.
“He was also a role model as a wise coach and mentor, a fair and effective leader, someone who gave back to the sport, and an all-around terrific ambassador for tennis. He was a good friend to me and to so many and he will be greatly missed.”
Growing up two houses from clay courts in a Cincinnati park, Trabert began playing tennis at age six against his older brothers. He was a 1951 national college singles champion at the University of Cincinnati while also playing for the school basketball team.
“Tony’s impact went far beyond the court, in particular to those who knew him closely,” said J. Wayne Richmond, director of the ATP Cincinnati Masters event. “He was so proud of his Cincinnati roots and was always a loyal supporter of the tournament.”
After serving a stint of nearly two years in the US Navy ending in June 1953, Trabert returned and won the US national crown then took the Roland Garros title the following year, setting the stage for an epic 1955 run at age 25.
Trabert went 106-7 in 1955, including a 38-match win streak, and captured 18 titles, including three majors. He lifted 10 trophies in a row at one stage and suffered his only Grand Slam loss of the year to Ken Rosewall in the semi-finals of the Australian championships.
No US man won the French singles crown again until 17-year-old Michael Chang in 1989.
Trabert is in a select group of men to win three Grand Slam titles in a single year, a lineup that includes Don Budge (1938), Rod Laver (1962, 1969), Mats Wilander (1988), Roger Federer (2004, 2006, 2007), Rafael Nadal (2010) and Novak Djokovic (2011, 2015).
As a professional touring with Jack Kramer, Trabert helped usher in the Open Era of tennis and opened tennis camps in the 1970s.