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Fred Alexander

Sport: Tennis

Born: August 14, 1880

Died: March 3, 1969

Town: Sea Bright

Frederick Beasley Alexander was born August 14, 1880 in Sea Bright. The son of an insurance industry lawyer, he was a fine athlete as a young man and honed his tennis skills on the grass courts of the Seabright Lawn Tennis & Cricket Club in Rumson, as well as the West Side Tennis Club (aka Forest Hills) in New York.

Fred attended the Lawrenceville School, where he became the star of the tennis team. He went on to attend Princeton, graduating in 1902. While in college, Fred teamed with Raymond Little to lead Princeton to the 1900 intercollegiate tennis title. They won the intercollegiate doubles championship together that year and Fred won the college singles crown in 1901.

Fred had a reliable forehand and was able to master two different serves—a hard, flat delivery as well as the vaunted American twist. Combined with his dexterity around the net, this made him an exceedingly good doubles partner. He hand Harold Hackett were nearly unbeatable for a stretch of five years. They reached the doubles finals at Forest Hills in 1905 and 1906 and won the doubles championship each year from 1907 to 1910. Hackett was the better defensive player of the two.

In 1908, Fred’s family bankrolled a trip to Sydney so that he could compete in the Australasian national tournament. He ran the table in the singles draw, defeating New Zealand’s Alfred Dunlop in the finals. Dunlop forged a 2–0 lead in sets, but Fred took the last three. Earlier, the two had teamed up to win the doubles title.

Fred turned out to have a better tennis mind than a business mind. Between tournaments he worked as a stockbroker, but lost his fortune shortly before World War I. He went to work for Spalding and ran tennis tours to raise money for the war effort, and then served briefly in a stateside artillery unit in the final weeks of the war. In the late ‘teens he served as Cecil B. DeMIlle’s secretary.

The business contacts and tennis friends Fred made with the Hollywood elite enabled him to found the Beverly Hills Tennis Club. He served as the club pro and helped develop a number of fine West Coast players, including Jack Tidball, the NCAA singles champ in 1933. Fred lived to age 88, and was enshrined in his early 80s in the International Tennis Hall of Fame . He passed away in Los Angeles in 1969.


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