Flam, Herb

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FLAM, HERB (1928– ), U.S. tennis player. Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in California, Flam started playing at the age of 10 under the tutelage of his father and won his first tournament at 12. He first gained attention in 1943, when he won the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association (uslta) Singles Championship as a 15 year old. As a Beverly Hills High School junior in 1945, he captured the uslta Interscholastic titles in Singles and Doubles, with Hugh Stewart. The pair repeated their Doubles success in 1946. Flam earned national prominence in 1948, when as an undergraduate at ucla, he entered the uslta Singles Championships unseeded and reached the semifinals, earning him a No. 9 U.S. ranking. He won the uslta Intercollegiate Singles and Doubles with Gene Garrett in 1950, and then reached the finals of the U.S. Singles championship, becoming the first Jewish tennis player ever to advance to those finals. Flam won the U.S. National Clay Court Singles that year, and teamed with Art Larsen to win the Clay Court Doubles crown as well. He reached the final eight of the Wimbledon Singles three times, and the semifinals in 1952. Flam also reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Singles six times. After serving in the Navy in 1953–54, Flam won the 1955 U.S. Hard Court Championship, and in 1956 he won his second U.S. Clay Court title. He competed for the United States in Davis Cup matches starting in 1951, winning 12 of 14 matches through his final appearance in 1957. He was ranked No. 6 in the world in 1951, No. 10 in 1952, No. 7 in 1956, No. 5 in 1957 by World Tennis Magazine, and No. 4 in 1957 by the dean of British tennis writers, Lance Tingay. His U.S. rankings were as high as No. 2 in 1950, 1956, and 1957. Up until his time, Flam earned more world rankings than any other Jewish player.

[Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)]