The Last Champion: The Life of Fred Perry by Jon Henderson
For fifty weeks a year, Fred Perry is more associated with the laurel logo and leisurewear that bears his name than his tennis exploits. Then, as Wimbledon returns, and the British hunt for his successor, he stands again as a sporting great. For Perry, Wimbledon champion three times in the 1930s, is the finest player Britain has 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. The ambition and drive that would take him on his unlikely journey to the top were glimpsed first in his father, Sam, who served two stints as a Labour MP. Perry, who disliked politics, turned first to table tennis, winning the world title without formal lessons. By then he had stumbled on tennis, which soon monopolised his life. 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. "The Last Champion" is the first biography of Fred Perry. Through extensive research and interviews, Jon Henderson, tennis correspondent of the "Observer", tells the remarkable story of a remarkable man.