ITHF mourns the loss of duPont

October 25, 2012

NEWPORT, R.I. — The Board of Directors and Staff of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum mourn the loss of one of America’s great early tennis champions, former world No. 1 Margaret Osborne duPont. She passed away yesterday in Texas at the age of 94. During a lengthy career from the early 1940s through the early 1960s, duPont won an incredible 37 titles at Grand Slam tournaments in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, which places her fourth on the all-time record list, despite the fact that she never entered the Australian Championships.

Complementing her extraordinary success on court, duPont was always held in high regard by peers and fans for her exemplary sportsmanship and character. duPont was inducted to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1967.

duPont was an inspiration for many players, including Hall of Famer Billie Jean King, who commented today, “Margaret duPont was a giant in tennis and had a huge impact on my career. She was one of my sheroes and was a great influence on my life both on and off the court. I hope today’s players and any boy or girl who dreams of a career in tennis will go to the history books and read about Margaret because her career wasn’t just about winning matches, it was also about mentoring others.”

Last year, fellow Hall of Famer Tony Trabert was asked about duPont’s legacy in the sport and he commented, “I watched Margaret play many times, and she was really just an outstanding player and in particular, a fantastic doubles player, as is clear to see by her record. I always found her to be a genuinely nice person and to have great sportsmanship. She has been a terrific representative of our sport.”

duPont was the year-end world No.1 in 1947, 1948, 1949, and 1950. She was first ranked in the United States top-10 in 1938, and she remained in the top-5 for 20 years. She was ranked in the U.S. top-10 14 times over those 20 years, and in the world top-10 nine times.

duPont’s Grand Slam tournament success included six singles titles, 21 doubles titles, and 10 mixed doubles titles. Her incredible total of 37 Grand Slam tournament wins is surpassed only by fellow Hall of Famers and tennis greats Margaret Smith Court, Martina Navratilova, and Billie Jean King. duPont teamed with Louise Brough Clapp, also a Hall of Famer, to win 20 of her major women’s doubles titles, which ties Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver for the most Grand Slam titles ever won by a women’s doubles team.

duPont won 25 of her major titles at the U.S. Championships, which is an all-time record. In 2010, she was inducted to the US Open Court of Champions.

duPont had an impeccable Wightman Cup record, winning her ten singles and nine doubles matches between 1938 and 1958 to go undefeated. She also led the United States team to eight victories over those years.