You entered the most comprehensive Tennis Grand Slam Online Database

William Johnston

tennis player
Full name: William Marquitz Johnston
Nickname: Little Bill
Alias: Bill Johnston
Born November 02, 1894 in San Francisco, California, USA
Died May 01, 1946 in San Francisco, California, USA
Class of HOF 1958
Height 5'9" (175 cm)
Weight 151 lbs (70 kg)
Plays Right-handed
Bio He was an American world No. 1 tennis player.

"Little Bill" William Marquitz Johnston was born the son of Robert Johnston, an electrical plant mechanic and Margaret Burns, of Irish origin. Bill started to play tennis in early 1906, aged eleven, on the public asphalt courts in Golden Gate Park. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake the schools were closed and he spent much of his spare time practicing on the tennis courts. He achieved his first tournament victory at the 1910 Bay Counties junior singles competition.

In 1916 Johnston won the Cincinnati Open (now Cincinnati Masters) after Clarence Griffin defaulted in the Challenge Round. Johnston won the Longwood Challenge Cup, played on the Longwood Courts at Chestnut Hill, MA in 1913, 1916, 1919, 1920 and 1921.

Johnston was the co-World No. 1 player in 1919 and in 1922 respectively along with Gerald Patterson and Bill Tilden. He won the US Championships in 1915 and 1919 as well as the World Hard Court Championships (clay) and Wimbledon in 1923.

Until "Big Bill" Tilden began to defeat him regularly in 1920, Johnston had been the best American player for a number of years and was ranked No.1 by the United States Lawn Tennis Association in 1915 and 1919.

In July 1919, Johnston defeated Tilden in the final of the U.S. Clay Court Championships. A month later, Johnston beat Tilden in three straight sets in the final of the 1919 US Championships, then Tilden overtook him in 1920. Johnston remained competitive with Tilden for the next seven or eight years, but was never able to beat Tilden in an important match again. For instance, in 1922 Johnston defeated Tilden three times out of four occasions but Tilden beat Johnston in the final of the U.S. Championships in five sets. In 1923, despite Johnston winning both the World Hard Court Championships and Wimbledon, he failed to beat Tilden at the US Championships, losing in three one-sided sets. Johnston threatened to get closer to beating Tilden on the big stage in following years, but memorably lost the 1925 US Championships final in five sets to Tilden. Johnston was runner-up a record six times in the US Championships, and this is still a record today. Together Johnston and Tilden won seven consecutive Davis Cup trophies, from 1920 to 1926, a record that still stands. In September 1927, Johnston announced his retirement after the U.S. Davis Cup loss to the French team consisting of the 'Four Musketeers' and confirmed his decision in mid-1928. He turned down an offer to become professional.

He has been the most popular American player of his era, William “Little Bill” Johnston contributed to seven consecutive U.S. Davis Cup triumphs, and garnered a top ten American ranking 12 times between 1913 and 1926.
Perhaps the smallest male champion in history at 120 pounds, he nevertheless used his potent western forehand to beat “Big Bill” Tilden in the final of the 1919 U.S. Championships.

Four years later, he ruled at Wimbledon. He twice secured the No. 1 ranking in his nation.
Johnston was renowned for the power and deadliness of his forehand drive, which he hit shoulder-high with a Western grip, and which was universally considered the best forehand of all time until the advent of Pancho Segura and his two-handed forehand in the late 1940s.

Bill Johnston was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1958.
Misc During World War I, Johnston served in the U.S. Navy, his rank was ensign.

After his tennis career, Johnston was active in the brokerage industry. He died of tuberculosis on May 1, 1946 at the age of 51.
Tournament AO RG W US Win-Loss
1913 A A A R32 2-1
1914 A A A R64 1-1
1915 A A A CH 7-0
1916 A A A RU 6-1
1917 A A A A 0-0
1918 A A A A 0-0
1919 A A A CH 7-0
1920 A A R64 RU 7-2
1921 A A A R16 3-1
1922 A A A RU 6-1
1923 A A CH RU 12-1
1924 A A A RU 6-1
1925 A A A RU 5-1
1926 A A A QF 3-1
1927 A A A SF 4-1
Win-Loss 0-0 0-0 8-1 61-11 69-12