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Sports Then and Now



Great Men of Tennis: “Jack” Kramer, Father of the Modern Game 7

Posted on October 04, 2010 by JA Allen

Jack Kramer was more than a tennis player-he was a visionary of the modern game.

John Albert Kramer, better known as Jack Kramer, did more than play a mean game of tennis.

He initiated a style of play more reminiscent of the serve and volley of John McEnroe than of Pete Sampras––though both games reflect the prowess of Kramer on court.

Off court, Kramer forced the evolution of the structure of modern tennis. He drove the bus that finally arrived in 1968 when amateur and professional tennis blended into one tour, finally allowing players to gain control over their own careers.

The Beginning

“Jack” Kramer was born on August 1, 1921 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and died September 12, 2009 at the age of 88.  His father worked for the Union Pacific railroad. Naturally, the family never accumulated the finer things of life as resources were always lacking.

Shortly after Jack was born, the family moved to the Los Angeles area. But young Kramer had natural athletic ability. He soon found his way into tennis after the family moved to the San Bernardino area, where Kramer was privileged to watch a match played by the great Ellsworth Vines. He became inspired by the brilliant play of Vines and dedicated himself to playing tennis.

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