Frank Hadow

Frank Hadow bigraphy, stories - Tennis player

Frank Hadow : biography

24 January 1855 – 29 June 1946

Patrick Francis (Frank) Hadow (24 January 1855 Regent’s Park – 29 June 1946 Bridgwater, Somerset) was a former World No. 1 English tennis player, who won the Wimbledon championship in 1878.

Major finals

Grand Slam tournaments

Singles: 1 (1 title)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1878 Wimbledon Grass GBR}} Spencer Gore 7–5, 6–1, 9–7

Sporting career

He was the loftiest Wimbledon Champion: he introduced the lob to thwart volleyer Spencer Gore in the 1878 (second) Wimbledon Men’s Final, 7–5, 6–1, 9–7. He played at Wimbledon whilst on holiday from his coffee plantation in Ceylon. He did not defend his title – and is therefore the male champion never to have lost a set in singles there. He returned to Wimbledon nearly half a century later to collect a commemorative medal from Queen Mary for being the oldest surviving champion.

When asked if he would defend his title Hadow is reported to have said "No sir. It’s a sissy’s game played with a soft ball."

Hadow was also a distinguished big game hunter, hunting in Africa in the early years of the 20th century. He has listings in many categories of the 1928 Rowland Ward "Records of Big Game", including ranking trophies in the sable antelope, Cape buffalo, Uganda kob and eland categories.

As a cricketer, he also represented MCC, Middlesex, the Orleans Club, the South and the Gentlemen of England as a right-handed batsman in seven first-class matches between 1883 and 1891. He also played cricket in Ceylon.

Personal life

His father was Patrick Douglas Hadow who was educated at Harrow School and Balliol College Oxford University and became Chairman of the P&O Shipping Company.

Frank Hadow attended Harrow School along with six of his seven brothers who were known as the "Harrow Hadows". Hadow represented Harrow at rackets and the brothers were well known as distinguished cricketers. Hadow’s oldest brother Douglas Robert Hadow died during the descent after the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865.