Richard “Dick” Savitt was a professional tennis player from the United States. He was born on March 4, 1927 in Bayonne, New Jersey. Unlike most professional tennis players, Savitt did not take a single tennis lesson throughout his whole life. He taught himself how to play the game and learned it well enough to make it all the way to the New Jersey Boys Championship finals.
After some time, Savitt played in the National Boys Tennis Tournaments then moved up to the junior tennis players’ ranks. However, despite what many thought, Savitt was actually a basketball player before going into tennis. In fact, he was a co-captain of his high school basketball team as well as a 1944 all-Texas player. He went on to further excel in basketball that at some point, he considered tennis as his second sport.
However, due to injuries, Savitt could no longer play much of basketball. He then decided to continue his tennis playing which he learned when he was younger. Without having a coach to aid him, Savitt was able to reach the U.S. Championship semi-finals which was held at Forest Hills.
By 1951, Savitt was able to harness his tennis playing skills and went on to win Grand Slam titles as well as become the number 1 player of the U.S. Davis Cup Team of the said year. That year was considered by many as Savitt’s best year. During that year, he was thought to be the best back-court player in the world of tennis. He even went on to rank second on the World Rankings.
In 1952, however, Savitt abruptly cut short his career in competitive tennis. He has not provided much information as to why he retired, but there have been speculation especially since he was at the top of his game back then.
Although Savitt’s time playing was not that long, he was able to win two Grand Slam titles as well as be the number one player in the Davis Cup U.S. Team of 1951.