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Don Budge
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Tennis Player
    (June 13, 1915-January 26, 2000)
    Born in Oakland, California
    Birth name was John Donald Budge
    Won two Wimbledons (1937-38), two US Opens (1937-38), one French Open (1938) and one Australian Open (1938)
    First player to win the Grand Slam in a calendar year (1938)
    Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (1964)
    Died of complications from a December, 1999, auto accident
    He dropped out of college to join the Davis Cup auxiliary team.
    A 'Time' magazine profile described him as 'so homely that even his mother smiled when a friend said that if not the best tennis player in the world, her son was certainly the ugliest.'
    While in the US Army during WWII, he tore his shoulder on an obstacle course, and was never again a dominant player, with Jack Kramer writing, 'At the age of thirty Don Budge was very nearly a has-been.'
    He is mentioned in a song from the Broadway musical 'Annie,' which is an anachronism since the story is set in 1933 when Budge was an unknown college student.
    When someone suggested that the ban on professional players made it easier to win a Grand Slam in the 30s, he replied, 'If it was so easy, why did no one else do it?'
    When he turned pro the year after his Grand Slam, he defeated the two top ranked players, Ellsworth Vines and Fred Perry, so he might well have won his Grand Slam even if Open-era rules had applied.
    When tennis player Gottfried von Cramm was imprisoned on a morals charge, he wrote to Hitler asking for Cramm's release and refused to play in Germany in protest.
    As of 2014, he remains the youngest man to complete a career Grand Slam.
    Six and seven decades after his prime, he was still regularly listed as one of the top ten (and often top five) male tennis players of all time.

Credit: C. Fishel


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