SHIRLEY FRY IRVIN


Known as the fastest player of her day, Shirley Fry Irvin (b.1927) was ranked in the Top 10 from 1944 to 1956, reaching No.1 in 1956. She was the third woman to win all four Grand Slam singles events, achieving that distinction shortly after her friend, Doris Hart.

A native of Akron, Ohio, Fry excelled at tennis under her father’s guidance, becoming the youngest player at the U.S. nationals in 1941. A 1949 graduate of Rollins College, she reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals and French finals in her junior year.

With grit and tremendous concentration Fry was a strong competitor against the great Maureen Connolly. Fry also joined Doris Hart in an unstoppable doubles team, taking 11 major titles in the early 1950’s. Following a brief retirement Fry was invited to compete on the 1956 Wightman Cup Team and, in an amazing comeback, went on to win the Wimbledon, U.S., and Australian singles championships.

While in Australia Fry met and married Karl Irvin, a U.S. advertising executive and tennis umpire with whom she had four children. She taught and continued to play competitively for the next three decades. In 1987 Fry was honored with the USTA’s Service Bowl Award.
Career Highlights

  • 17 Grand Slam titles (4 Singles, 12 Doubles, 1 Mixed Doubles)
  • Ranked in USTA Top 10 from 1944 to 1956; No.1 in 1956
  • Winner of USTA Girls’ Sportsmanship Trophy Award 1945
  • U.S. Girls’ 18 Champion in Singles (1944, 1945), Doubles (1943), and Indoor Singles and Doubles (1943)
  • U.S. Singles Champion 1956
  • U.S. Doubles Champion 1951-1954
  • Wimbledon Singles Champion 1956
  • Wimbledon Doubles Champion 1951-1953
  • Wimbledon Mixed Doubles Champion 1956
  • French Singles Champion 1951
  • French Doubles Champion 1950-1953
  • Australian Singles Champion 1957
  • Australian Doubles Champion 1957
  • U.S. Clay Court Singles Champion 1956
  • U.S. Clay Court Doubles Champion 1946, 1950, 1956
  • U.S. Wightman Cup Team Member 1949, 1951-1953, 1955, 1956 (10-2 record)
  • U.S Grass Court Champion: Women’s 40 Singles (1976); Women’s 40 Doubles (1967); Women’s 50 Doubles (1978-1979); Women’s 55 Doubles (1983)
  • U.S. Clay Court Women’s 55 Singles Champion 1985
  • Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame 1970
  • Winner of the USTA Service Bowl 1987