For fifty weeks a year, Fred Perry is more associated with the laurel logo and leisurewear that bears his name than his tennis exploits. Then, as Wimbledon returns, and the British hunt for his successor, he stands again as a sporting great. For Perry, Wimbledon champion three times in the 1930s, is the finest player Britain has produced. One of the world s first truly international sportsmen, he won the game s four major titles on three continents, an unprecedented feat, and led Britain s annexation of the Davis Cup, the world team championship. Perry came from an unprivileged background and found himself supremely gifted in a sport that discouraged the advancement of those without social standing or private means. The ambition and drive that would take him on his unlikely journey to the top were glimpsed first in his father, Sam, who served two stints as a Labour MP. Perry, who disliked politics, turned first to table tennis, winning the world title without formal lessons. By then he had stumbled on tenni
Jon Henderson has covered every Wimbledon since 1969. He is tennis correspondent and deputy sports editor of the Observer.