‘The Wimbledon Final That Never Was’
June 1, 2011
NEW YORK — Wimbledon’s most controversial conclusion from 80 years ago — as well as fascinating tales featuring some of the greatest Hollywood stars and legends — are featured in the newly-released book THE WIMBLEDON FINAL THAT NEVER WAS…AND OTHER TENNIS TALES FROM A BYGONE ERA. The book, published by New Chapter Press, is the posthumously-published memoir of Sidney Wood, the Wimbledon champion from 1931 and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
THE WIMBLEDON FINAL THAT NEVER WAS ($15.95, New Chapter Press, www.NewChapterMedia.com) details the life and times of Wood with a focus on one of the most unusual episodes ever in sport when he won the men’s singles title at Wimbledon by forfeit. Wood, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 97, tells the story of how he won the title over Frank Shields, his school buddy, doubles partner, roommate and Davis Cup teammate – and the grandfather of actress and model Brooke Shields – when Shields was ordered by the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) to withdraw from the final to rest his injured knee in preparation for a U.S. Davis Cup match following Wimbledon. He then discusses his “private understanding playoff” that saw his match with Shields at the Queen’s Club tournament final in London three years later be played for the Wimbledon trophy.
Wood, who could be called the greatest story teller tennis ever had, also relates fascinating anecdotes and stories that involve some of greatest titans of tennis and such legendary Hollywood personalities as Grace Kelly, Errol Flynn, Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, Gary Cooper among others. Wood also critiques all the best players and all the best strokes for every top player through the years – from Bill Tilden, Rene Lacoste and Don Budge all the way to the modern era of the game.
Wood was born on November 1, 1911 in Black Rock, Conn., and was a long-time resident of New York, N.Y., Southampton, N.Y., and Palm Beach, Fla. When he won the Wimbledon title in 1931 at age 19, he was the youngest man to win the singles title at the All England Club — 17-year-old Boris Becker breaking his record in 1985. He still holds the record of being the youngest player to compete at Wimbledon at age 15 in 1927. He was a singles finalist at the 1935 U.S. Championships and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1964.
David Wood of Queens, N.Y., the youngest son of Wood, served as a contributor to the volume.