The Harry Hopman Legacy

Harry Hopman Legacy

Harry Hopman biography

Born: 12 August 1906, Glebe, NSW
Died: 27 December 1985

Doubles champion

Australian Championships 1929–1930

Mixed doubles champion

Australian Championships 1930, 1936–1937, 1939
United States 1939

Hall of Fame

Inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame in December 1996
Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978

The Hopman Cup was named in honour of one of Australia’s greatest tennis players and coaches, Harry Hopman.

Hopman’s record speaks for itself. He captained Australia to 16 Davis Cup titles between 1939 and 1967. As a player he won seven Grand Slam doubles and mixed doubles titles (several with his first wife, Nell), was a member of the victorious Australian Davis Cup team in 1939 and reached the singles final of the Australian Championships three times.

Hopman was a trim, dapper, sandy-haired gentleman with considerable composure and contagious confidence, who shared a great rapport with his players. He had supreme authority over his Davis Cup squad, regardless of the individual’s standing in world tennis. Players knew that their own reputation as a flag-carrier of Australian sport was in the hands of this quiet achiever who organised their fitness programs, kept the team together away from the prying eyes of the media, watched over their lifestyle and maintained a critical and constant watch on their techniques.

A meticulous planner, Hopman left nothing to chance in his quest to keep the Cup in Australian hands. His coaching philosophies were absorbed by many Australian players of the 1950s, 60s and onwards and his fame spread to the USA, where he would later set up his international coaching school.

As well as several generations of outstanding Australian tennis players, there have been many others who have benefited from Hopman’s influence. John McEnroe still refers to Hopman as “Mr Hopman”, South Africa’s Amanda Coetzer attended his camp, as did French stars Guy Forget and Mary Pierce, and also late American Vitas Gerulaitis.

The Hopman name is still connected to the coaching world at the Saddlebrook Resort, near Tampa, where previous Hopman Camp coaches moved the training venue when it was scaled down at its previous Florida headquarters. Players including Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriatti and Mardy Fish have all used the Saddlebrook facilities.