United Press Football Poll

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First Tennis Superstar Bill Tilden

Born February 10, 1883, American William Tilden II or "Big Bill" Tilden, as he was popularly known, was the first great tennis superstar. Was the number one player in the world for seven years and reigned the courts until the age of 38 years.

Tilden was the world's most dominant player in the 1920 and 1930 and is now regarded by many as the most influential person in sports history. Brute force and physical incredible skill and speed in the tennis court did much to change the image of tennis a "sissy" country-club sport played by rich white people in jeans long white to a major sport played by world class athletes.

In the 1920's America, the sport was a huge thing for the public and Tilden was one of five sports figures who stood like superstars larger than life at the moment. The others were Babe Ruth baseball, soccer, Red Grange, Bobby golf Jones and Jack Dempsey boxing

From 1920 to 1955, except for a long period in the 1950's, Tilden completely dominated tennis in a way that left little doubt that he was the greatest player ever. It has never been a single player who dominated an era of tennis as Tilden was in his prime. For seven consecutive years in the 1920's, never lost one important game, especially when Davis Cup was at stake. Said amateur championship of the United States six times in a row and seven times overall. He also led the U.S. to seven straight wins Davis Cup from 1920 to 1926, a record that still unrivaled.

A startling revelation came later that added even more mystique to the legend Tilden. It revealed that mid 1920, the middle finger of Tilden in his hand playing had become infected and was later amputated. But still kept playing and still kept on winning thereafter.

Currently, Tilden is not widely remembered that despite his fame almost iconic. But in his prime, was a flamboyant character who always was in the public eye, even acting in films and theater. In 1950, an Associated Press poll named Bill Tilden as the greatest player of the half century by a wide margin.

About the Author

Kadence Buchanan writes articles on many topics including Tennis, Golf, and Recreation

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