James Henry Van Alen
is best known for being the founder of the International Tennis Hall of Fame
The International Tennis Hall of Fame is located in Newport, Rhode Island, United States. The hall of fame and honors players and contributors to the sport of tennis and includes a museum, grass tennis courts, an indoor tennis facility, and a court tennis facility.-History:The hall of fame and...
, the largest tennis museum in the world. A poet, musician, publisher, civic leader and raconteur, Jimmy Van Alen achieved his greatest renown in tennis. His greatest legacies are as the inventor of the first tiebreaker
In games and sports, a tiebreaker or tiebreak is used to determine a winner from among players or teams that are tied at the end of a contest, or a set of contests.-In matches:In some situations, the tiebreaker may consist of another round of play...
in tennis and as founder and primary benefactor of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum at the Newport Casino, which he gave to the United States Tennis Association in 1954, saving the national landmark from a proposed car park.
He was born on September 19, 1902 in Newport
Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War...
, Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...
, USA. He helped found the Hall of Fame in 1954 at the old Newport Casino. He graduated in 1924 from Cambridge University and played tennis. He died after striking his head in a fall at his home on July 3, 1991.
Two days after his death, on July 5 1991, in a Wimbledon
The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply Wimbledon , is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, considered by many to be the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the other three Majors...
semifinal, Stefan Edberg
Stefan Bengt Edberg is a former World No. 1 professional tennis player from Sweden. A major proponent of the serve-and-volley style of tennis, he won six Grand Slam singles titles and three Grand Slam men's doubles titles. He also won one season ending championship title the Masters Grand Prix...
lost to Michael Stich
Michael Detlef Stich is a former professional tennis player from Germany. He is best remembered for winning the men's singles title at Wimbledon in 1991...
4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-2). Edberg didn't lose serve. Later, after hearing of Van Alen's death, Edberg said: "If he hadn't lived, Michael and I might still be out there playing".
His mother Daisy inherited the fortune of Frederick W. Vanderbilt. She gave the Vanderbilt Mansion in New Hyde Park NY to the National Park Service.
- President, Newport Casino 1952
- President/Founder of National Hall of Fame
- Inventor of the first tie breaker
- Inventor of VASSS (Van Alen Streamlined Scoring System)
- National Court Tennis singles and doubles champion.