Ashley Cooper (tennis)


Ashley John Cooper AO (15 September 1936  22 May 2020) was an Australian tennis player who played between 1953 and 1968. He was recognised as the world's best amateur player during the years of 1957 and 1958.[lower-alpha 1][2] Cooper won four singles and four doubles titles at Grand Slam tournaments. He won three of the four Grand Slam events in 1958. He turned professional in 1959.

Ashley Cooper
AO
Ashley Cooper in 1958
Full nameAshley John Cooper
Country (sports) Australia
ResidenceAustralia
Born(1936-09-15)15 September 1936
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died22 May 2020(2020-05-22) (aged 83)
Height178 cm (5 ft 10 in)
Turned pro1959 (amateur from 1953)
Retired1962
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF1991 (member page)
Singles
Career record414–223 (64.9%) [1]
Career titles27 [1]
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1957, Lance Tingay)[2]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenW (1957, 1958)
French OpenSF (1956, 1957, 1958)
WimbledonW (1958)
US OpenW (1958)
Other tournaments
Professional majors
US ProSF (1959, 1960)
Wembley ProQF (1959, 1960, 1961, 1962)
French ProSF (1962)
TOCQF (1959)
Doubles
Career record0–3
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1957)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenW (1958)
French OpenW (1957, 1958)
WimbledonF (1958)
US OpenW (1957)
Team competitions
Davis CupW (1957)

Playing career


Cooper won his first Grand Slam singles title at the 1957 Australian Championships where he defeated compatriot Neale Fraser in the final in four sets.[3][4]

Cooper played his best year in 1958, becoming one of only eleven men to win three of the four Grand Slam events in the same year. He successfully defended his Australian singles title after a straight-sets victory in the final against Malcolm Anderson.[3] In July, he won his first and only Wimbledon title after beating Fraser in the final. The pair were roommates at that year's tournament and ate breakfast together on the morning of their match.[5] He followed up with a first singles title at the U.S. Championships, again defeating Anderson in the final.[5] Additionally, Cooper was a semifinalist at the French Championship, losing to Luis Ayala in five sets after leading by 2 sets to love. The defeat prevented him from achieving the Grand Slam that year. It remained the only Major that Cooper did not win in his career.[6]

The right-handed Cooper was the top ranked player in both 1957—when he was a Wimbledon and Forest Hills finalist, and Paris semi-finalist—and in 1958. Cooper played on the Australian Davis Cup team that won the cup in 1957, and were finalists in 1958. In January 1959, Cooper turned professional after signing a contract with Jack Kramer.[7]

After retiring as a player, Cooper went on to serve as a tennis player development administrator with Tennis Queensland, where he was based for nearly fifty years. He also sat on the board of directors for Tennis Australia.[8]

Honours


Cooper was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1987 and the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1991.[9] In the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 2007, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his service to tennis.[10]

In 2009 Cooper was inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame.[11]

Grand Slam finals


Source:[12]

Singles: (4 titles, 2 runners-up)

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Win 1957 Australian Championships Grass Neale Fraser 6–3, 9–11, 6–4, 6–2
Loss 1957 Wimbledon Grass Lew Hoad 2–6, 1–6, 2–6
Loss 1957 U.S. Championships Grass Malcolm Anderson 8–10, 5–7, 4–6
Win 1958 Australian Championships (2) Grass Malcolm Anderson 7–5, 6–3, 6–4
Win 1958 Wimbledon Grass Neale Fraser 3–6, 6–3, 6–4, 13–11
Win 1958 U.S. Championships Grass Malcolm Anderson 6–2, 3–6, 4–6, 10–8, 8–6

Doubles: (4 titles, 3 runners-up)

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss1956French ChampionshipsClay Lew Hoad Don Candy
Robert Perry
5–7, 3–6, 3–6
Loss1957Australian ChampionshipsGrass Malcolm Anderson Lew Hoad
Neale Fraser
3–6, 6–8, 4–6
Win1957French ChampionshipsClay Malcolm Anderson Don Candy
Mervyn Rose
6–3, 6–0, 6–3
Win1957U.S. ChampionshipsGrass Neale Fraser Gardnar Mulloy
Budge Patty
4–6, 6–3, 9–7, 6–3
Win1958Australian ChampionshipsGrass Neale Fraser Roy Emerson
Robert Mark
7–5, 6–8, 3–6, 6–3, 7–5
Loss1958WimbledonGrass Neale Fraser Sven Davidson
Ulf Schmidt
4–6, 4–6, 6–8
Win1958French ChampionshipsClay Neale Fraser Robert Howe
Abe Segal
3–6, 8–6, 6–3, 7–5

Grand Slam tournament performance timeline


Source:[13]

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)

Singles

Tournament195419551956195719581959196019611962196319641965196619671968SR
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open QF QF QF W W A A A A A A A A A A 2 / 5
French Open 2R A SF SF SF A A A A A A A A A 2R 0 / 5
Wimbledon 4R 1R 4R F W A A A A A A A A A A 1 / 5
US Open 2R 3R QF F W A A A A A A A A A A 1 / 5
Strike Rate 0 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 4 1 / 4 3 / 4 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 1 4 / 20

Personal life


Cooper married Helen Wood, Miss Australia 1957, on 2 January 1959. An estimated crowd of five thousand unruly people surrounded St. Paul's Presbyterian Church in Brisbane to try to catch a glimpse of the couple.[14]

Cooper died on 22 May 2020 at the age of 83 following a long illness.[15]

Notes


  1. According to Lance Tingay

References


  1. "Ashley Cooper: Career match record". thetennisbase.com. Tennis Base. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  2. United States Lawn Tennis Association (1972). Official Encyclopedia of Tennis (First Edition), p. 427.
  3. Paul Newman (20 September 2016). "From the archive: Ashley Cooper, Wimbledon's original marathon man". www.wimbledon.com. AELTC.
  4. "Wimbledon Draws Archive – 1958 Gentlemen's Singles". www.wimbledon.com. AELTC. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  5. Ransom, Ian (22 May 2020). "Australian great Cooper dies at 83". Reuters. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  6. McDonald, Margie (28 January 2017). "Ashley Cooper: The one that got away". The Australian. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  7. Grasso, John (16 September 2011). Historical Dictionary of Tennis. Scarecrow Press. p. 70. ISBN 9780810872370.
  8. "Ashley Cooper AO". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  9. It's an Honour – Officer of the Order of Australia
  10. "Mr Ashley Cooper AO". Queensland Sport Hall of Fame. qsport.org.au. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  11. "Ashley Cooper". International Tennis Hall of Fame. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  12. "Ashley Cooper – Player Activity". ATP Tour. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  13. "Near-Riot Marks Cooper Wedding". The New York Times. New York City. Associated Press. 3 January 1959. Retrieved 24 October 2018.