Jack Crawford

Great Champions

Christened John Herbert, 'Jack' Crawford was born in Albury on 22 March 1908 and won the Australian Open four times, from 1931-33 and in 1935.

Known as Gentleman Jack because of his impeccable sportsmanship, Crawford's good looks and stylish play are credited with transforming tennis from a minor to a major Australian sport in the late 1920s. He was so poised and graceful on court that his fans claimed he could have played with a book balanced on his head.

The New South Welshman made his debut at the Australian Championships in 1927, losing an epic first round against Gar Moon.

In 1928 he reached the quarterfinal where he lost to Jean Borotra, the most accomplished international opponent he'd faced in his career to that point.

World No.1 Borotra declared his opponent a future world champion, saying he'd never seen a young player with such great ability and promise and that there were no limits to what Crawford might achieve. Three years later the Frenchman's assessment proved correct when Crawford defeated Harry Hopman in four sets to win the 1931 title, defending the crown over the same opponent in 1932.

At the peak of his powers in 1933, Crawford won his third Australian title, beating American Keith Gledhill in the final. He rolled on to victories at the French Open and Wimbledon and, at Forest Hills later that year, came within one set of becoming the first person in history to win all four majors, losing to Fred Perry in the US Championships final 3-6 13-11 6-4 0-6 1-6.

Perry underlined his dominance over Crawford in the 1934 Australian final but the Aussie turned the tables on the Brit in 1935. Winning the last of his six major singles titles 2-6 6-4 6-4 6-4, in what was his seventh appearance in the final of the championships, Crawford ultimately posted a 52-15 win-loss record at the tournament.