Frederick Rudolph "Ted" Schroeder
(July 20, 1921 – May 26, 2006) was an American tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...
player who won the two most prestigious amateur tennis titles, 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...
and the U.S. National. He was the No. 1-ranked American player in 1942 and the No. 2 for 4 consecutive years, 1946 through 1949. He was born in Newark, New Jersey
Newark is the largest city in the American state of New Jersey, and the seat of Essex County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Newark had a population of 277,140, maintaining its status as the largest municipality in New Jersey. It is the 68th largest city in the U.S...
, but developed as a tennis player in Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...
under the guidance of Perry T. Jones.
Schroeder was an almost exact contemporary of Jack Kramer, having been born only 10 days earlier in 1921, and they began to play against each other as top boy players in the mid-1930s. Schroeder's career is similar to Kramer's in that they both became top players whose careers were then interrupted by World War II. They were also life-long friends and at least once Schroeder mortgaged his house on short notice in order to be able to lend an unsolicited $25,000 to Kramer. Schroeder, however, attended college for 4 years, the first two at the University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...
(USC), and the last two at Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...
, while Kramer, apparently, spent only two years at Rollins College
Rollins College is a private, coeducational liberal arts college located in Winter Park, Florida , along the shores of Lake Virginia....
in Winter Park, Florida
Winter Park is a suburban city in Orange County, Florida, United States. The population was 24,090 at the 2000 census. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006 estimates, the city had a population of 28,083. It is part of the Orlando–Kissimmee Metropolitan Statistical Area...
. After the war Kramer proved himself to be slightly better than Schroeder in the amateur ranks. Kramer then turned professional, where he immediately established himself as the best player in the world by demolishing the pro champion, Bobby Riggs
Robert Larimore "Bobby" Riggs was a 1930s–40s tennis player who was the World No. 1 or the co-World No. 1 player for three years, first as an amateur in 1941, then as a professional in 1946 and 1947...
, by 69 victories to 20 losses in the 1948 tour.
Riggs then semi-retired and became the promoter of the tour. He and Kramer decided that the only player who could oppose Kramer for a financially successful tour would be Schroeder. The youthful Pancho Gonzales
Ricardo Alonso González , generally known as Richard "Pancho" Gonzales was an American tennis player. He was the world no. 1 professional tennis player for an unequalled eight years in the 1950s and early 1960s...
was the reigning American amateur champion, due to his upset win at the U.S. Open Championships
The US Open, formally the United States Open Tennis Championships, is a hardcourt tennis tournament which is the modern iteration of one of the oldest tennis championships in the world, the U.S. National Championship, which for men's singles was first contested in 1881...
in 1948, but during his brief career had been beaten by Schroeder 8 matches out of 9. Schroeder, playing during vacation time from his job, won Wimbledon in June 1949. According to his obituary in the New York Times, he . . .
Following his Wimbledon victory, Riggs and Kramer offered Schroeder $25,000 to turn pro after he won the up-coming 1949 U.S. Open. Schroeder agreed. But Gonzales upset their plans by beating the heavily favored Schroeder in a five-set final that lasted nearly five hours — it has been called the 11th greatest match of all time. Gonzales lost the 1-hour and 15-minute first set 16-18 but finally managed to prevail in the 5th set. Kramer writes that in spite of his friendship with Schroeder, he has always felt that Schroeder subconsciously "tanked" the match, in order to avoid the rigors of the professional tour. In any event, Gonzales was now the two-time American champion and Kramer and Riggs were obliged to sign him, instead of Schroeder, to a professional contract.
According to his obituary in The Times
, however, Schroeder was never much more than a part-time player after the War, being preoccupied with his family and his career as vice president of a commercial refrigeration equipment company, and had never really intended to turn professional. "Schroeder always said he took his tennis far too emotionally to allow him to treat it as a full-time job."
Schroeder remained a successful amateur player for a few more years and then faded from view. He died in La Jolla, California at the age of 84. His son, John, is a professional golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....
er who has won on the PGA Tour
The PGA Tour is the organizer of the main men's professional golf tours in the United States and North America...
In his 1979 autobiography, the long-time tennis promoter and great player Jack Kramer
John Albert Kramer was an American tennis player of the 1940s. A World Number 1 player for a number of years, he is a possible candidate for the title of the greatest tennis player of all time. He was considered the father and the leading promoter of the professional tennis tours...
included Schroeder in his list of the 21 greatest players of all time. Schroeder, says Kramer, "won with heart and stamina, but lacked in the simple mechanics."
Schroeder was inducted into 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...
in Newport, Rhode Island
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...
, in 1966, two years before his old friend Jack Kramer.
U.S. National Championships
- Singles champion: 1942
- Singles finalist 1949
- Doubles champion: 1940, 1941, 1947
- Doubles finalist: 1942, 1948
- Mixed Doubles champion: 1942
- The Game, My 40 Years in Tennis (1979), Jack Kramer with Frank Deford (ISBN 0-399-12336-9)
- Man with a Racket, The Autobiography of Pancho Gonzales, as Told to Cy Rice (1959)