Billy Talbert

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Died

2/28/1999

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Biography:

Hall of Fame tennis player Bill Talbert, who won 33 national titles, died Feb 28, 1999 at his home in Manhattan. He was 80. Talbert, who suffered from diabetes since the age of 10, had been in declining health since suffering a broken shoulder and pelvis while being mugged in 1992. Talbert was a two-time singles finalist at the United States Championships, which later became known as the U.S. Open, but was beaten by Frank Parker in the 1944 and 1945 finals. He did win eight doubles crowns at the United States Championships, four men's titles with Gardnar Mulloy and four mixed doubles titles with Margaret Osborne. During two stints as the U.S. Open's tournament director (1971-1975, 1978-1987), Talbert helped move the grand slam from the private Westside Tennis Club of Forest Hills to the hardcourts at Flushing Meadows and introduced the use of tiebreakers in decisive sets. Answering players' criticism of the new rule he said, "I never knew a player who bought a ticket." A winner of nine mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, Talbert participated in Davis Cup from 1946 to 1953, and served as captain of the national team for five years. He was 13-4 at the helm and his team won the Davis Cup in 1954. Talbert, who also won the French Open doubles championship with Tony Trabert in 1950, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1967. He is survived by his sons Pike and Peter, and two grandchildren.