James Outram (J.O.) Anderson
One of the greatest Australian champions of the 1920's, Davis Cup team captain and Grand Slam title winner.
James Outram Anderson was born in Enfield in 1894. JO as he was known was the youngest of 8 children, with a court in the backyard, so he had plenty of older, quality competition, as several brothers were also extremely talented players.
He played in and won almost every tournament that was open to him until reaching the NSW Singles Championship which he won in 1914 when he beat A.B. Jones, a Davis Cup player.
In May 1925, Anderson was ranked as one of the four greatest lawn tennis players in the world when, as captain of the Davis Cup team, he was about to leave for America to attempt to win the cup for Australia.
In August 1926, after suffering illness, Anderson and other top players met in Exhibition games organised by the WSLTA in front of a large gathering at Pratten Park. It was a great display of tennis where Anderson beat R Schlesinger in straight sets. Then in October 1926 Anderson won the singles title at the Metropolitan Championships of Sydney and also the men’s doubles, partnered by John Willard. In reading accounts of Anderson’s play at the championships, it is clear that he was a powerful hitter of the ball as his opponents could ‘only watch them pass like thunderbolts between them’. He was tipped to be a more than adequate challenge to the Americans in the Davis Cup and his play was described as ‘a very whirlwind of aces and placements, and the crash of his racquet on the ball was the end of the rally’. After the end of the 1926 season, Anderson established himself as a tennis coach in Sydney and turned professional.
There have been many words used to describe Anderson including: ‘Six Feet of Hard Hitting Precision’, The Greyhound’, ‘The Colt of NSW’, ‘The Australian Ace’, ‘A Human Avalanche’, etc, however, he was a man plagued by illness. In 1940 he became seriously ill with a severe haemorrhage requiring a blood transfusion to save his life. The NSW Lawn Tennis Association gave him a testimonial setting up a fund to assist him financially.
"JO"Anderson continued coaching until the 1960s and died on 23 December 1973 at Gosford.