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Patrick Spence
Full name Patrick Dennis Benham Spence
Country South Africa South Africa
Born (1898-02-11)11 February 1898
Queenstown, Cape Colony
Died 22 November 1983(1983-11-22) (aged 85)
Turned pro 1922 (amateur tour)[1]
Retired 1936
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Singles
Grand Slam Singles results
French Open SF (1927)
Wimbledon QF (1926)
Other tournaments
Olympic Games 4R (1924)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
Wimbledon SF (1924)[2]
Mixed Doubles
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French Open W (1931)[3]
Wimbledon W (1928)[3]

Patrick Spence (11 February 1898 – 22 November 1983) was a South African tennis player. He was born in Queenstown, South Africa. He competed mainly in Great Britain and found his form in hard court tournaments. He notably won the mixed doubles championships at Wimbledon in 1928 with Elizabeth Ryan and at the French Open in 1931 with Betty Nuthall.

Tennis career[edit]

Patrick Spence began his tennis prominence in Great Britain in 1922 when he became Scottish champion after winning the local tournament.[1] The next year he defended his title.[1]

In 1924 he took the Middlesex Championships against compatriot Louis Raymond, with whom he also won the doubles title, but lost the mixed doubles title against him.[4] He first became the covered courts champion at the Queen's Club the same year by beating reigning champion Patrick Wheatley in three sets.[5]

In April 1925 he won the British Hard Court Championships over Charles Kingsley.[6] He also won the mixed doubles partnering Evelyn Colyer.[6] A week later, at the Surrey Hard Court Championships, he defeated Randolph Lycett of Australia in straight sets.[7] At another hard court tournament in London he was defeated by Indian Sydney M. Jacob in five sets.[8] He shared the doubles victory with Raymond and the mixed doubles with Colyer.[8] In October he successfully defended his covered courts title against Edward Higgs.[9] That month he failed to capture the Drive Club title.[10]

In 1926 he was a finalist for the Kent Championships.[11]

In 1927 he met René Lacoste for his second British Hard Court Championships trophy but was subdued in straight sets. He also lost the doubles against the French team of Lacoste and Brugnon.[12] The next year they had their rematch also in the final and Lacoste overcame Spence for the second time.[13]

In 1928 he was upset in the final of the Kent Championships for the second time.[11] He also lost the Middlesex Championships to Randolph Lycett.[14] However, he was more successful in his mixed doubles matches, including the final of the Nottingham Championships, which he won with his partner Betty Nuthall.[15] One of his biggest accomplishments came when he took the 1928 Wimbledon Championships mixed doubles contest alongside Elizabeth Ryan.[3]

In 1930, as a member of the International Tennis Club of Great Britain, he participated in the team challenge against Rot-Weiss Club of Berlin, winning all of his four matches (two singles and two doubles) and defeating high-profile players such as Daniel Prenn and Heinrich Kleinschroth.[16] Also in 1930 he lost the London Covered Courts Championships to Yoshiro Ohta, but as many times before he was triumphant in the mixed contest with his recurring partner Nuthall.[17]

In 1931 he was a runner-up for the doubles tournament of the West-England Championships, partnering Edward Avory, but eventually lost to the Japanese pair of Jiro Satoh and Ryuki Miki.[18] He was also runner up in the Championship of London in doubles.[19] As in his previous years his breakthrough came in the mixed doubles competitions; first he and Betty Nuthall went for the British Hard Court Championships in April and were only eliminated in the final,[20] while in May they won the mixed title at the French Championships (now the French Open).[3]

A couple of years later, in 1935, he reached the final of the Surrey Grass Court Championships, where he was stopped by New Zealand's Eskell D. Andrews.[21] The importance of that particular match was the test of a new service rule implemented for the first time there, which allowed the server to swing his leg over the baseline on serve but introduced the service box.[22] In 1936 he won the Queen's Club hard court doubles with John Olliff.[23]

In the Davis Cup he set a 14–7 match record (66% winning ratio) and represented South Africa from 1924 to 1931.

Personal life[edit]

Patrick Spence was born 11 February 1898 in Queenstown, Cape Colony. He moved to Edinburgh, Great Britain right after the First World War.[24] He graduated from Edinburgh University with a doctorate in medicine.[24] Apart from playing tennis, he was an amateur rugby player.[1] He worked at Guy's Hospital in London and then in Richmond in 1930.[24] Later with several colleagues he was in private practice in Kingston-on-Thames as Howlett, Kemp, Carson and Spence, from which he retired in 1934.[25] He formed a real-life couple with his 18-year-old doubles partner Betty Nuthall,[24][26] with whom he went on to win the French Open mixed doubles tournament in 1931.[3]

Playing style[edit]

British Davis Cup team member Nigel Sharpe described him as an attacking type of player. He preferred to pace the ball rather than give it a spin. He tended to go to the net, but his volley showed indecisiveness. He possessed a severe overhead shot. He had a long-swinged forehand, on which he applied a moderate topspin. His backhand was quite weak, and so he always placed himself to receive the ball to his forehand side.[1]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Mixed doubles: 2 (2–0)[edit]

Year Championship Surf. Partner Opponents in Final Score
1928 The Championships
Wimbledon
Grass United States Elizabeth Ryan Australia Daphne Akhurst
Australia Jack Crawford
7–5, 6–4[3]
1931 French Open
Paris
Clay United Kingdom Betty Nuthall United Kingdom Dorothy Shepherd Barron
United Kingdom Bunny Austin
6–3, 5–7, 6–3[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Nigel Sharpe (3 April 1932). "Dr. Spence-The Master Of Speed". The Straits Times (Singapore, Straits Settlements: Straits Times Press) (16): 3. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Tennis Championships, Brookes Defeated in Doubles" (PDF). The Argus (Melbourne, Australia: Argus Office) (24,308): 4. 4 July 1924. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g John Grasso (2011). Historical Dictionary of Tennis. Lanham, Maryland United States: Scarecrow Press. pp. 333, 357. ISBN 9780810872370. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Singapore Tennis Championships". The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (Singapore, Straits Settlements: Mohammed Eunos): 12. 12 June 1924. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "Tennis" (pdf). Hawera & Normanby Star (Southern Taranaki). XLVIII: 7. 20 October 1924. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "British Hard Court Tennis". The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (Singapore, Straits Settlements: Mohammed Eunos): 16. 20 April 1925. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  7. ^ Reuter (27 April 1925). "Surrey Championships" (PDF). The Argus (Melbourne, Australia: Argus Office) (24,560): 4. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Lawn Tennis". The Straits Times (Singapore, Straits Settlements: Straits Times Press): 10. 6 April 1925. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "Covered Court Tennis". The Straits Times (Singapore, Straits Settlements: Straits Times Press): 10. 28 October 1925. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  10. ^ "Lawn Tennis". The Straits Times (Singapore, Straits Settlements: Straits Times Press): 10. 1 October 1925. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  11. ^ a b J Buddell (17 February 2011). "Kent All-Comers' Championships" (PDF). beckenhamtennisclub.co.uk. Beckenham, United Kingdom: Beckenham Tennis Club. Retrieved 20 October 2012. 
  12. ^ "Hard court tennis" (PDF). The Argus (Melbourne, Australia: Argus Office) (25,186): 4. 2 May 1927. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  13. ^ "Lacoste captures British net title". Berkeley Daily Gazette (Berkeley, California, United States: Gazette Pub. Co.): 10. 5 May 1928. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "Lawn Tennis". The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, Australia: John Fairfax and Sons) 98 (28,210): 9. 4 June 1928. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  15. ^ "Mrs. Beamish does well at Nottingham". Kingston Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica, Jamaica: Gleaner Company) XCIV (200): 34. 31 August 1928. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  16. ^ Béla Kehrling, ed. (16 September 1930). "Külföldi hírek" [International news] (pdf). Tennisz és Golf (in Hungarian) (Budapest, Hungary: Bethlen Gábor Irod. és Nyomdai RT) II (17): 346. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Béla Kehrling, ed. (22 March 1930). "Külföldi hírek" [International news] (pdf). Tennisz és Golf (in Hungarian) (Budapest, Hungary: Bethlen Gábor Irod. és Nyomdai RT) II (6): 97. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  18. ^ Béla Kehrling, ed. (1 November 1931). "Külföldi hírek" [International news] (PDF). Tennisz és Golf. III (in Hungarian) (Budapest, Hungary: Egyesült Kő-, Könyvnyomda. Könyv- és Lapkiadó Rt.) 20: 16–17. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  19. ^ "El Campeonato de Londres" [London Championships]. La Vanguardia (in Spanish) (Barcelona, Spain: Carlos Godó Valls): 12. 11 March 1931. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  20. ^ Béla Kehrling, ed. (15 May 1931). "Külföldi hírek" [International news] (PDF). Tennisz és Golf (in Hungarian) (Budapest, Hungary: Egyesült Kő-, Könyvnyomda. Könyv- és Lapkiadó Rt.) III (10): 186. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  21. ^ Alexander Heldring, ed. (28 May 1935). "Nieuwe baan-indeling" [New rule classification] (pdf). Algemeen Handelsblad (in Dutch) (Amsterdam, Netherlands: Daniel Johannes von Balluseck) 108 (35,311): 14. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  22. ^ "New Tennis rule". The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, Australia: John Fairfax and Sons) 105 (30,388): 10. 27 May 1935. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  23. ^ "Olliff-Spence Win Final In Queen's Club Doubles". The New York Times (New York, United States: Ochs-Sulzberger family). May 1936. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  24. ^ a b c d "Miss Nuthall and Dr. Spence". The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (Singapore, Straits Settlements: Mohammed Eunos): 12. 27 January 1930. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  25. ^ The London Gazette (pdf) (London, United Kingdom: Office of Public Sector Information): 12. 7 September 1934 http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/34043/pages/2585/page.pdf |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  26. ^ "Betty Engaged? That's What England Hears" (pdf). Evening Leader (Corning, N.Y.). Associated Press: 9. 25 January 1930. 

External links[edit]

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