John (Jack) Herbert Crawford
World number 1 in 1933 and one of Australia's greatest players.
John Herbert (Jack) Crawford was born in Urangeline, near Albury in NSW on 22 March 1908. After moving to Sydney, he and his siblings were keen and very capable tennis players who played in as many tournaments as they could manage.
At age 17, Crawford partnered Harry Hopman in the doubles at the County of Cumberland men’s doubles championship at Pratten Park in December 1925. Club member, J.O. Anderson, was at his peak and carried off the singles and doubles. But, while they did not win the tournament, Crawford and Hopman attracted a large number of spectators as they had been selected to play in the NSW Junior Championships. The pair won the doubles at Pratten Park in the 1926/27 County of Cumberland but R Schlesinger beat Crawford in the singles title, not surprisingly, as Crawford was still a junior player competing against much more experienced players.
In 1926 and 1927 the Crawford / Hopman partnership won the WSLTA Club Men’s Doubles Championships and their names are written in gold on the championship board in the clubhouse today. Despite their partnership, as already mentioned, they contested each other in on-court duels with a seriousness which pushed them to extremes. This occurred repeatedly in their tennis careers, notably in the Victorian singles championship finals in 1928 and later in the Australian Men’s Singles Championship Finals in 1931 and 1932. They returned from the Davis Cup in 1928 to play the County of Cumberland once again and were a major attraction for spectators at Pratten Park.
In 1927, Australasian Lawn Tennis magazine featured an article about Crawford, ‘A Colt is Champion of NSW’ which looked at his temperament and how he had been described in the media as Australia’s only hope, despite the broad field of other young Australian players. The journalist was correct as Crawford went on to win the Australian Open men’s singles championship from 1931 to 1933 and in 1935, French singles and the singles at Wimbledon in 1933. Crawford only needed the US singles to win the Grand Slam in 1933 but an asthma attack hindered his performance when he lost to Fred Perry, 3-6, 13-11, 6-4, 0-6, 1-6. He won the Australian Open doubles championships in 1929-30, 1932 and 1935. Jack died in Sydney on September 10th 1991.