International Tennis Hall of Fame Mourns the Loss of 1964 Hall of Famer Sidney Wood

January 12, 2009

*NEWPORT, RI — *The International Tennis Hall of Fame has announced the passing of Hall of Famer Sidney B. Wood. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964 alongside Don Budge, George Adee, George Lott, Alice Marble and Frank Shields, Wood died earlier today in Palm Beach, Florida. He was 97.

Wood, formerly the oldest living Hall of Famer, won the 1931 Wimbledon Singles Championship and was a finalist in the 1935 U.S. Championships. He was also a U.S. Doubles finalist in 1942 and a French Mixed Doubles finalist in 1932. He was ranked in the World Top 10 five times between 1931 and 1938, reaching No. 5 in 1938. He was ranked in the U.S. Top 10 ten times between 1930 and 1945, reaching No. 2 in 1934. He played Davis Cup in 1931 and 1934.

Sidney Burr Beardsley Wood was born November 1, 1911 in Black Rock, Connecticut. On the tennis court he stood at 5’10” and was of slight build, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a champion. He focused on the finer points of the game, varying length, direction, and speed that kept his opponents constantly guessing. His 1931 Wimbledon win was an historical event, as finalist Frank Shields defaulted the title due to injury. In addition, he was the youngest male Wimbledon entrant ever in 1927 at age 15.

After World War II, he and his friend, J. Donald Budge, the first Grand Slam winner, founded Budge-Wood Laundry services in Manhattan.

Wood is also credited with inventing, designing and patenting Supreme Court, a portable synthetic playing surface used for indoor courts. It was used by the World Championship Tennis tour from 1973-1978.

Wood is survived by his wife of 48 years Patricia Murray Wood, three sons, Godfrey of Falmouth, David of New York, and Colin of Los Angeles. He was predeceased by his eldest son Sidney Wood III in 1961. He also leaves two stepdaughters, Robin Roche Pickett and Hilary Geary Ross, a granddaughter, Whitney, and several great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be planned this spring in Southampton.