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Bunny Austin

Henry Wilfred "Bunny" Austin (26 August 1906 – 26 August 2000) was a British tennis player from England. For 74 years he was the last Briton to reach the final of the gentlemen's singles at Wimbledon, until Andy Murray did so in 2012. He was also a finalist at the 1937 French Championships and a championship winner at Queen's Club. Along with Fred Perry, he was a vital part of the British team that won the Davis Cup in three consecutive years (1933–35). He is also remembered as the first tennis player to wear shorts. Early life and education The son of stockjobber Wilfred Austin and his wife Kate, Austin was brought up in South Norwood, London. Austin concluded that the nickname "Bunny", bestowed on him by school friends, came from the Daily Mirror comic strip Pip, Squeak and Wilfred (Wilfred was a rabbit, or bunny). Encouraged by his father, who was determined that he become a sportsman, he joined Norhurst Tennis Club aged six. Austin was educated at Repton School, and studied history at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Tennis career While still an undergraduate at Cambridge University, he reached the semifinals of the men's doubles at Wimbledon in 1926. In 1931, A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph ranked Austin as the World No. 2. In his first Wimbledon men's singles final in 1932, he was beaten by Ellsworth Vines of the United States in three sets. In 1932 he decided that the traditional tennis attire, cricket flannels, weighed him down too much. He bought a pair of shorts to use at Forest Hills and subsequently became the first player to wear them at Wimbledon. Austin reached the quarter finals or better at Wimbledon 10 times. At Wimbledon 1932 Austin beat Frank Shields and Jiro Satoh before losing the final in straight sets to Ellsworth Vines. At the French championships in 1937, Austin beat Yvon Petra before losing to Henner Henkel in the final. At Wimbledon 1938 Austin beat Henkel but won just four games in the final against Don Budge, who was at the peak of his form and went on to win the Grand Slam. He would be the last British man to reach the final of a Grand Slam tournament until Andy Murray in 2012. At Wimbledon 1939 Austin was top seed, but lost early. It was his last appearance at Wimbledon. In the years 1933-36 he and Fred Perry helped to win the Davis Cup for Britain. Austin also pioneered the design of the modern tennis racquet by inventing the 'Streamline' – a racquet with a shaft that splits into three segments – allowing for aerodynamic.


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