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Patrick Spence

tennis player
Full name: Patrick Dennis Benham Spence
Nickname: Pat
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Bio Patrick Spence was a South African tennis player. He was born in Queenstown, South Africa. He competed mainly in Great Britain and found his form in hard court tournaments. He notably won the mixed doubles championships at Wimbledon in 1928 with Elizabeth Ryan and at the French Open in 1931 with Betty Nuthall.

He moved to Edinburgh, Great Britain right after the First World War. He graduated from Edinburgh University with a doctorate in medicine. Apart from playing tennis, he was an amateur rugby player. He worked at Guy's Hospital in London and then in Richmond in 1930 Later with several colleagues he was in private practice in Kingston-on-Thames as Howlett, Kemp, Carson and Spence, from which he retired in 1934. He formed a real-life couple with his 18-year-old doubles partner Betty Nuthall, with whom he went on to win the French Open mixed doubles tournament in 1931

Patrick Spence began his tennis prominence in Great Britain in 1922 when he became Scottish champion after winning the local tournament. The next year he defended his title.

In 1924 he took the Middlesex Championships against compatriot Louis Raymond, with whom he also won the doubles title, but lost the mixed doubles title against him. He first became the covered courts champion at the Queen's Club the same year by beating reigning champion Patrick Wheatley in three sets.

In April 1925 he won the British Hard Court Championships over Charles Kingsley. He also won the mixed doubles partnering Evelyn Colyer. A week later, at the Surrey Hard Court Championships, he defeated Randolph Lycett of Australia in straight sets. At another hard court tournament in London he was defeated by Indian Sydney M. Jacob in five sets. He shared the doubles victory with Raymond and the mixed doubles with Colyer. In October he successfully defended his covered courts title against Edward Higgs. That month he failed to capture the Drive Club title.

In 1926 he was a finalist for the Kent Championships.

In 1927 he met René Lacoste for his second British Hard Court Championships trophy but was subdued in straight sets. He also lost the doubles against the French team of Lacoste and Brugnon. The next year they had their rematch also in the final and Lacoste overcame Spence for the second time.

In 1928 he was upset in the final of the Kent Championships for the second time. He also lost the Middlesex Championships to Randolph Lycett. However, he was more successful in his mixed doubles matches, including the final of the Nottingham Championships, which he won with his partner Betty Nuthall. One of his biggest accomplishments came when he took the 1928 Wimbledon Championships mixed doubles contest alongside Elizabeth Ryan.

In 1930, as a member of the International Tennis Club of Great Britain, he participated in the team challenge against Rot-Weiss Club of Berlin, winning all of his four matches (two singles and two doubles) and defeating high-profile players such as Daniel Prenn and Heinrich Kleinschroth. Also in 1930 he lost the London Covered Courts Championships to Yoshiro Ohta, but as many times before he was triumphant in the mixed contest with his recurring partner Nuthall.

In 1931 he was a runner-up for the doubles tournament of the West-England Championships, partnering Edward Avory, but eventually lost to the Japanese pair of Jiro Satoh and Ryuki Miki. He was also runner up in the Championship of London in doubles. As in his previous years his breakthrough came in the mixed doubles competitions; first he and Betty Nuthall went for the British Hard Court Championships in April and were only eliminated in the final, while in May they won the mixed title at the French Championships (now the French Open).
A couple of years later, in 1935, he reached the final of the Surrey Grass Court Championships, where he was stopped by New Zealand's Eskell D. Andrews. The importance of that particular match was the test of a new service rule implemented for the first time there, which allowed the server to swing his leg over the baseline on serve but introduced the service box. In 1936 he won the Queen's Club hard court doubles with John Olliff.

In the Davis Cup he set a 14–7 match record and represented South Africa from 1924 to 1931.

British Davis Cup team member Nigel Sharpe described him as an attacking type of player. He preferred to pace the ball rather than give it a spin. He tended to go to the net, but his volley showed indecisiveness. He possessed a severe overhead shot. He had a long-swinged forehand, on which he applied a moderate topspin. His backhand was quite weak, and so he always placed himself to receive the ball to his forehand side.
Tournament AO RG W US Win-Loss
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