ITHF mourns the loss of Brough Clapp
NEWPORT, R.I. — Tennis Hall of Famer Louise Brough Clapp, a former world No. 1 player and the winner of 35 major titles, has died. Brough Clapp, who was 90 years old, passed away at home with her family in Vista, Calif. on February 3, following a brief illness.
Although soft spoken and understated, Brough Clapp was one of the most dominant female tennis players of the 1940s and 50s. To this day, she is remembered for being one of the greatest volleyers in the history of the sport. In recognition of her tremendous tennis accomplishments, Brough Clapp was enshrined in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1967.
At the Grand Slam tournaments, Brough Clapp won a total of 35 titles — six in singles, 21 in doubles, and eight in mixed doubles. She and her contemporary Doris Hart are tied at fifth on the all-time list for winning the most major titles, behind only Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, and Margaret Osborne duPont.
At the height of her career, it was rare to see a Wimbledon final without Brough Clapp competing. She appeared in 21 of the 30 finals contested at Wimbledon from 1946 through 1955 in singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles, ultimately winning 13 titles. In 1950, she achieved a rare triple- winning the titles in singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. In 2010, she traveled to Wimbledon to celebrate the 60th anniversary of this great accomplishment.
Brough Clapp partnered with Margaret Osborne duPont to form one of the sport’s most successful doubles pairings. Together, they won 20 titles at majors (12 U.S., five Wimbledon, three French). From 1942 through 1950, Brough Clapp and duPont won nine consecutive women’s doubles titles at the U.S. Championships, which remains the longest championship run in history in any event at any Grand Slam tournament.
In all, Brough Clapp won 13 titles at Wimbledon, 17 titles at the U.S. Championships, 3 titles at the French Championships, and 2 titles at the Australian Championships.
Brough Clapp was ranked in the world top-10 from 1946 through 1957, reaching a career high of world No. 1 in 1955. She was included in the year-end top-10 rankings issued by the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) from 1941 through 1950 and from 1952 through 1957. She was the top-ranked U.S. player in 1947. Her 16 years in the USLTA top-10 trails only Billie Jean King (18 years) and Chris Evert (19 years).
Born March 11, 1923 in Oklahoma City, Okla., Brough Clapp moved to Beverly Hills as a small child. She grew up playing tennis on the public courts at Roxbury Park, and launched her career with great success as a junior player. She won the U.S. 18-and-under title in 1940 and 1941.
Brough Clapp was pre-deceased by her husband, Dr. A.T. Clapp. She is survived by two nieces and two nephews. Funeral services will be private.
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