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Texas

In Memoriam: Hall of Famer Dennis Ralston

December 07, 2020

Dennis Ralston, a legend of Texas tennis and five-time Grand Slam doubles champion, passed away on Sunday. He was 78.

 

In 1960, Ralston teamed up with Rafael Osuna of Mexico to win Wimbledon at the age of 17. He made four straight US Championship finals with fellow Texas Tennis Hall of Famer Chuck McKinley from 1961-1964, winning three.

Ralston was a member of the Handsome Eight who signed with the World Championship Tennis (WCT) tour in 1967. He and the other seven pros helped paved the way for the ATP as we know it today.

 

He helped the US win the Davis Cup in 1963. In 1968, at the age of 25, Ralston became the coach of the Davis Cup team, helping kick off five years of American dominance with titles from 68-72. In 1972, he captained the team to a thrilling win over Romania in the final and served as captain until 1975.

 

The Davis Cup was the start of Ralston’s coaching career, as he coached Chris Evert for six years during the height of her career. Ralston went on to coach Southern Methodist University for two stints in the 80’s and 90’s and was named NCAA National Coach of the Year in 1983.

 

Later in life, Ralston had his foot amputated due to a staph infection. This didn’t stop Dennis, who continued to teach and serve as an advocate for Adaptive tennis. Ralston attended the first USA TAP Open in 2016, an International Standing Adaptive Tennis Tournament in Houston. For the last decade, Ralston taught at the Grey Rock Tennis Club in Austin.

 

Ralston was inducted into the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame in 2016.  

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