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Senior, Walt
Tennis
Class of: 1973

 

Arguably one of the finest early era tennis players in Fresno history, Walt Senior beat some of the top names in the game during the 1930s and 1940s. In 1945, Senior was ranked fifth in the country by the Professional Lawn Tennis Association in singles and second in doubles. In 1946-1947, he was chosen by the same association as the best teaching professional in the United States. He defeated such luminaries as William L. "Bill" Tilden, Frank Kovacs and Bobby Riggs. The Fresno High School graduate enrolled at Fresno State in 1929 where he competed in basketball, track, and tennis. He captained the Bulldog basketball team in the 1930-1931 season. It was his singles victory and a doubles title with partner Clint Arbuckle in the 1931 Far Western Conference championships that convinced him tennis was his game. He had a grueling work ethic. Senior opened a tennis shop on the corner of Olive and Blackstone Avenues and jogged almost daily to Roeding Park where he would take on anyone willing to play him.

After defeating all the best of the Valley, he moved to the Bay Area to improve his caliber of competition. Another former state champion, Ralph Gledhill, became his coach. Senior won the Canadian National and Western United States titles along with championships in California, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Idaho, and Montana.

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