William Tatem Tilden II (February 10, 1893 – June 5, 1953), nicknamed “Big Bill,” is often considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Tilden was born into a wealthy Philadelphia family bereaved by the death of three older siblings.
An American tennis player who was the World No. 1 player for seven years, Bill Tilden dominated the world of international tennis in the first half of the 1920s. During his 18 year amateur period of 1912-30, he won 138 of 192 tournaments, and had a match record of 907-62, a winning percentage of 93.6 percent.
There has perhaps never been an era in tennis more dominated by a single player than Philadelphia native “Big Bill” Tilden in the 1920s.
From 1920 through 1926 he led the United States team to 7 consecutive Davis Cup victories, a record that is still unequalled. Among his foremost achievements, he won the U.S. National… Championship (precursor to the US Open) 6 times in succession and 7 times altogether (1920-1925, 1929), doubles 5 times, and mixed doubles 4 times.
For approximately 14 years, from about 1920 to 1934, Tilden was generally considered the world’s greatest tennis player. Tilden, who was one of the most famous athletes in the world for many years, today is not widely remembered despite his former renown.