A loose-limbed, slender 6-foor-3 blond, Frederick Sydney Stolle had his Wimbledon singles frustrations but overflowed with success everywhere else as one of the overpowering phalanx of Aussies in the 1960s and 1970s. Known as ‘Fiery Fred’ or ‘Fiery’ to his teammates for his outspoken competitiveness, he became also known as the ‘Old Hacker’ at the U.S. Championship of 1966. A proven grass-court player and some-time member of winning Australian Davis Cup teams, and thrice Wimbledon runner-up (1963, 1964, 1965), he was outraged on arriving at Forest Hills, fresh from winning the German title, to find himself unseeded.
“I guess they think I’m just an old hacker,” said the almost 28-year-old. Then he proceeded to win the title, the second unseeded man to do so, over unseeded John Newcombe, chortling, “Well, I guess the Old Hacker can still play a bit.”
He had won the French in 1965, showing that he could be patient at the baseline, too, although his strengths were a high-velocity serve, stinging volleys and a splendid backhand. These paid off in his 16 major doubles titles. His greatest success came with Bob Hewitt (two Wimbledons, two Australians), Roy Emerson (one U.S. and an Australian), Ken Rosewall (one U.S. and a French).
As a member of three victorious Australian Davis Cup teams, 1964, 1965 and 1966, he scored his most memorable win the first year in the Cup round in Cleveland, 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 9-11, 6-4, over Dennis Ralston. Down a break in the fifth, with his side trailing the U.S. 2-1, Stolle pulled it out so that Emerson could win the Cup-lifting clincher over Chuck McKinley. Perhaps his lead-off win in the following year’s Cup finale meant more since it came in his hometown Sydney, and he had to dig himself from a very deep hole to beat the Spanish ace, Manolo Santana, 10-12, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5, to send the Aussies on their way.
His career spanned the amateur and open eras, and he was in the World Top Ten four years, starting with 1963, No. 2 in 1964 and 1966. He turned pro in 1967, and as a pro won two singles and 13 doubles titles, and about $500,000 in career prize money. He had a last U.S. final in 1972, at 33, beating 5th and 11th seeds Newcombe and Cliff Drysdale to gain the quarters, where he lost to the champ, Ilie Nastase, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Born Oct. 8, 1938, in Hornsby, New South Wales, Fred has worked as a teaching pro, was player-coach of the title-winning New York Apples of World Team Tennis in 1976 and 1977, and of Australia 10 times (5-5) in the since disbanded World Cup against the U.S., 1970-79. His son, Sandon, is a former ATP pro, and has played the major championships. For some time Fred has been a successful television commentator on tennis. He entered the Hall of Fame in 1985. Fred won 31 amateur singles tides.
MAJOR TITLES (18) – French singles, 1965; US. singles, 1966; Australian doubles, 1963, 1964, 1966; French doubles, 1965, 1968; Wtmbledon doubles, 1962, 1964; US. doubles, 1965, 1966 1969; Australian mixed, 1962; US. mixed, 1962, 1965; Wimbledon mixed 1961, 1964, 1969. DAVIS CUP – 1964, 1965, 1966; record’ 10-2 in singles, 3-1 in doubles. SINGLES RECORD IN THE MAJORS – Australian (21-9), French (25-8). Wimbledon (31-12), US. (25-9).
- Bio Courtesy Bud Collins
Birthplace: Hornsby, Australia One of the games best players, Stolle turned pro after winning 31 amateur singles titles and helping Australia retain the 1966 Davis Cup. He won the 1965 French Open and the 1966 US Open. As a doubles player, he first teamed with Bob Hewitt and won the 1964 and 1963 Australian Open titles. With Roy Emerson, he won the 1965 French and U.S. Open doubles titles, and the 1966 Australian, Italian and U.S. doubles titles. With L.R. Turner, he won the 1964 and 1961 Wimbledon doubles titles.
Personal: after retiring, continued to play World Team Tennis with the Philadelphia Freedoms and then as player/coach of the league champion New York Apples in 1976 and 1977...long-time Director of Tennis at the Turnberry Isle Resort in Aventura, Florida...President of Grand Slam Sports and co-owner of the International Tennis Championships, an ATP event in Delray Beach, Florida...colorful tennis commentator for ESPN, Fox Sports and Channel 9 in Australia...Wife, Patricia and children, Monique, Nadine and Sandon, a former top ATP touring professional.