Sidney Wood, who in 1931 became the only uncontested winner of a Wimbledon final, died. He was 97.
He died in Palm Beach, Florida, the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum said yesterday. Wood's opponent in the final of the 1931 championship at the All-England Club was US Davis Cup teammate Frank Shields. Shields, however, was unable to play because of an ankle injury.
Wood already made Wimbledon history four years earlier when at 15 he became the youngest male to ever play in the tournament. Dressed in white knickers, he lost in straight sets to French great Rene Lacoste.
A slightly built player, Wood concentrated on the finer points of the game and kept his opponents guessing. He was the finalist at the 1935 US Championships, where he was beaten by Wilmer Allison.
Wood was ranked in the top 10 in the US 10 times from 1930-45, reaching No. 2 in 1934. He also was a US doubles finalist in 1942 and a French Open mixed doubles finalist in 1932.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964. He had been the oldest living Hall of Famer.
Wood is credited with inventing, designing and patenting Supreme Court, a portable synthetic playing surface used for indoor courts. It was used by the World Championship Tennis tour from 1973-78.
Wood had tuberculosis as a child. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Patricia Murray Wood, three sons and two stepdaughters.