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Angela Buxton
Photo of Angela Buxton.jpg
Angela Buxton in 1955, when she was ranked among the top 10 female players in the world.
Country (sports)  United Kingdom
Born (1934-08-16)16 August 1934
Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died 14 August 2020(2020-08-14) (aged 85)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
Retired 1957
Grand Slam singles results
French Open QF (1954)
Wimbledon F (1956)
Grand Slam doubles results
French Open W (1956)
Wimbledon W (1956)
Grand Slam mixed doubles results
French Open 3R (1956)
Medal record
Representing  England
Maccabiah Games
Gold 1953 Israel Women's Singles

Angela Buxton (16 August 1934 – 14 August 2020) was a British tennis player. She won the women's doubles title at both the French Championships and Wimbledon in 1956 with her playing partner Althea Gibson.

Early life

Buxton was born in Liverpool on 16 August 1934, one of two children born to Harry and Violet (Greenberg) Buxton. Her grandparents on both sides were Jewish and had immigrated to England from Russia, fleeing from the pogroms in the early 1900s. She was raised partly in South Africa. Buxton's father owned a successful cinema chain in northwestern England, which allowed her to attend boarding school at Gloddaeth Hall. While there, a coach noticed her tennis ability and urged her to acquire more training.


Buxton began playing tennis at a young age. After spending time undergoing training in London and Los Angeles, in 1954 she earned the British No. 4 ranking. Buxton then reached the 1955 Wimbledon singles quarterfinals and climbed to World No. 9 in the rankings. She played in Wightman Cup competition for the United Kingdom in 1954, 1955, and 1956.

Buxton had her most successful tennis year in 1956. She won the women's doubles title and reached the singles final at Wimbledon, the first Briton to do so in 17 years. She won the English Indoor and London Grass Court singles championships and the English Hard Court doubles crown (with Darlene Hard). At the French Championships, she reached the singles semifinals and won the women's doubles title with Althea Gibson, who was the first African-American champion. Buxton was ranked World No. 5 by World Tennis and World No. 6 by Lance Tingay.

Buxton also won the women's singles title at the 1953 Maccabiah Games in Israel.

After suffering a serious hand condition in late 1956 (tenosynovitis), Buxton was forced to retire following the 1957 season at the age of 22.

Buxton's Judaism played a role throughout her career. Her religious background prevented full acceptance within the tennis world from an early age.

Buxton repeatedly was refused access to training facilities because of her ethnicity. From the mid-1950s, she was able to practise at the private indoor court of Simon Marks, the Jewish owner of department store chain Marks and Spencer, who had become aware of the difficulties which Buxton faced.

After Buxton won the women's doubles title at Wimbledon with an African-American partner Althea Gibson, one English newspaper reported the event with a story titled "Minorities Win". "It was in very small type", said Buxton, "lest anyone should see it". Contradictory information surrounds the issue why Buxton was never a member of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club in Wimbledon. In one interview she recalled that she herself had refused an offer of hononary membership to the club, whereas in another she stated she had not refused it. She was a guest of the club at the Championships in 2014 with seating in the Royal Box. On another occasion, Buxton claimed the reason for not being a member of the club was antisemitic prejudice. Buxton said in 2004: "I think the anti-Semitism is still there. The mere fact that I'm not a member is a full sentence that speaks for itself." The chairman of the club said he could not comment until he investigated further and it was reported in 2019 that the club explained that membership was a private matter and strongly refuted that race or religion play a factor.

In 2009, Buxton remarked that "I wish [tennis] still wasn't such an elite sport", Buxton said. "I wish we could bring it down to a common baseline. It's going that way. It's still not there."

Later life and legacy

Buxton was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1981. In 2014, she was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. In 2015, the Black Tennis Hall of Fame inducted Buxton, honoring her for her doubles partnership and friendship with Althea Gibson as well as her efforts to raise funds for the ailing Gibson near the end of her life.

Buxton wrote the tennis books Tackle Lawn Tennis This Way (1958), Starting Tennis (1975), and Winning Tennis: Doubles Tactics (1980).

Buxton founded the Angela Buxton Tennis Centre in Hampstead Garden Suburb. In later years, she divided her time between Altrincham and Florida, where she kept a winter home and regularly attended tournaments and mentored players. She died on 14 August 2020, two days short of her 86th birthday, at her home in Fort Lauderdale.

Grand Slam finals

Singles (1 runner-up)

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score Source
Loss 1956 Wimbledon Grass United States Shirley Fry 3–6, 1–6

Doubles (2 titles)

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score Source
Win 1956 French Championships Clay United States Althea Gibson United States Darlene Hard
United States Dorothy Head Knode
6–8, 8–6, 6–1
Win 1956 Wimbledon Grass United States Althea Gibson Australia Fay Muller
Australia Daphne Seeney
6–1, 8–6

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline

(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
Tournament 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 Career SR
Australian Championships A A A A A 0 / 0
French Championships A A QF 3R SF 0 / 3
Wimbledon 1R 4R 4R QF F 0 / 5
U.S. Championships A A A 3R A 0 / 1
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 9

See also

  • List of select Jewish tennis players
  • Performance timelines for all female tennis players who reached at least one Grand Slam final
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