The Last Champion: The Life of Fred Perry

Jon Henderson

The Last Champion: The Life of Fred Perry

Wimbledon champion three times in the 1930s, Fred Perry was the finest tennis player Britain has ever produced. One of the world's first truly international sportsmen, he won the game's four major titles on three continents, an unprecedented feat, and led Britain's annexation of the Davis Cup, the world team championship. Perry came from an unprivileged background and found himself supremely gifted in a sport that discouraged the advancement of those without social standing or private means. Never comfortable with the establishment - a feeling that was reciprocated - Perry turned professional in 1937. He compounded this perceived sin by taking out US citizenship when war broke out. He embraced his new country wholeheartedly. From Hollywood to Florida, he led a vigorous private life, the handsome escort of beautiful women and husband of four wives. This is the first biography of Perry. 4.0 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
The Last Champion: The Life of Fred Perry

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Sports, Hobbies & Games
Format Hardback
Pages 304
RRP £18.99
Date of Publication May 2009
ISBN 978-0224082532
Publisher Yellow Jersey Press
 

Wimbledon champion three times in the 1930s, Fred Perry was the finest tennis player Britain has ever produced. One of the world's first truly international sportsmen, he won the game's four major titles on three continents, an unprecedented feat, and led Britain's annexation of the Davis Cup, the world team championship. Perry came from an unprivileged background and found himself supremely gifted in a sport that discouraged the advancement of those without social standing or private means. Never comfortable with the establishment - a feeling that was reciprocated - Perry turned professional in 1937. He compounded this perceived sin by taking out US citizenship when war broke out. He embraced his new country wholeheartedly. From Hollywood to Florida, he led a vigorous private life, the handsome escort of beautiful women and husband of four wives. This is the first biography of Perry.

Reviews

The Financial Times

Matthew Engel

It’s a great story, far meatier than the average sporting biography. Henderson has researched it well, tells it nicely and weighs up conflicting evidence wisely.

20/06/2009

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The Independent on Sunday

Simon Redfern

Surprisingly, this is the first biography of Perry. He wrote two autobiographies, but Jon Henderson's diligent research and refusal to take Perry's word for anything without triple-checking has produced the first clear-eyed account of an extraordinary life... Henderson is sympathetic to his subject while not blind to his faults, which included more than a hint of arrogance – "Thank God I'm not playing me today," he announced when strolling into one locker room.

28/06/2009

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Times Literary Supplement

Ferdinand Mount

The Last Champion was no doubt conceived not only to celebrate the centenary of Perry’s birth but in the hope that this year at last there might be another British player with the grit, speed and ingenuity to win Wimbledon... The book is worth reading, in any case, not just for the portrait of the unstoppable Fred but for the easy-flowing manner in which Jon Henderson, the doyen of tennis correspondents, evokes the glamour of the sporting 1930s, a much needed counterpoint to the low dishonest side of the decade.

24/06/2009

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