Hans Nüsslein

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Hans ("Hanne") Nüsslein (March 31, 1910, Nuremberg, Germany–June 28, 1991, Altenkirchen, Germany) was a German tennis player of the 1930s who is almost totally forgotten today.

Nüsslein had almost no background in amateur tennis, with no record in the major Grand Slam tournaments or in the Davis Cup. In late 1931, however, as a youthful professional, he played the great American Bill Tilden twice in Europe, taking him to 5 sets each time. Almost certainly exaggerating for promotional reasons, Tilden once called him "a machine with a brain, and the finest player I ever saw." Strictly a backcourt player, Nüsslein was known for his endurance and his fine groundstrokes. Joining the small group of touring professionals, he went on to beat the far more prominent but much older Tilden frequently throughout the 1930s. At one point in 1934, it was calculated that Nüsslein had, up till then, played 163 matches against Tilden, with the American winning winning 116 of them. [1] According to his profile at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, Nüsslein won the French Pro title in 1937 and 1938, the London Pro title in 1937, and the U.S. Pro title in 1934. He also won a number of other important professional tournaments.

In spite of his almost total obscurity, Nüsslein was finally inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, in 2006, along with another forgotten but great European baseliner of the same era, Karel Koželuh.

References

  1. History of the Pro Tennis Wars, Chapter V, by Ray Bowers, a lengthy Internet history of professional tennis from 1928 through 1942 in 12 chapters at [[1]]