Bill Tilden (William Tatem Tilden)

Bill Tilden

William Tatem Tilden II (February 10, 1893 – June 5, 1953), nicknamed “Big Bill,” was an American male tennis player. He is often considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Tilden was the World No. 1 player for six years from 1920 through 1925. He won 15 Major singles titles including ten Grand Slam events, one World Hard Court Championships and four Pro Slam tournaments. He was the first American to win Wimbledon in 1920. He also won a record seven US Championships titles (shared with Richard Sears and Bill Larned). Bill Tilden dominated the world of international tennis in the first half of the 1920s, and during his 18-year amateur period of 1912–30, won 138 of 192 tournaments. He owns a number of all-time tennis achievements including a career match winning record and a career winning percentage at the US National Championships. At the 1929 US National Championships Tilden became the first player to reach 10 finals at a single Grand Slam event. This mark stood until 2015, when Roger Federer reached his tenth Wimbledon final. Tilden, who was frequently at odds with the rigid United States Lawn Tennis Association about his amateur status and income derived from newspaper articles, won his last Major title in 1930 at Wimbledon aged 37. He turned professional on the last day of that year and toured with a handful of other professionals for the next 15 years.

Although Bill Tilden had been born to wealth, and earned large sums of money during his long career, particularly in his early years on the pro tour, he spent it lavishly, keeping a suite at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City. Much of his income went towards financing Broadway shows that he wrote, produced, and starred in. The last part of his life was spent quietly and away from his family, occasionally participating in celebrity tennis matches. He died in his apartment at 2025 North Argyle in Los Angeles, California. He was preparing to leave for the United States Professional Championship tournament in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1953 when he died from heart complications at age 60. Tilden is buried in Ivy Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. Bill Tilden was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1959.

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  • February, 10, 1893
  • USA
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


  • June, 05, 1953
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California


  • Ivy Hill Cemetery
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • USA

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