R is for Hans Redl

This is my contribution to Round Twelve of ABC Wednesday and again I am focusing on people, some famous, some infamous and some half-forgotten.
Hans Redl

Hans Redl

I’ve written before about amputees who have achieved great things in sport despite their physical disability and another such is Austrian tennis player Hans Redl.

Born in Vienna in 1914, Redl was a better than average player and made the Austrian Davis Cup team in 1937, but after the Anschluss, he represented Germany in 1938 and 1939.

Redl was conscripted into the German army at the outbreak of war and served on the Eastern Front. He was wounded during the Siege of Stalingrad and lost his left arm as a result.

After an intense rehabilitation programme, Redl went on to become Austria’s best tennis player and brought about a change in the rules to allow him to play.

Redl’s problem was in serving and he did this by placing the ball on his racquet and flipping it into the air, thus touching the ball twice.

Hans RedlHe first appeared at Wimbledon in 1947 and his powerful play saw him knock out the American Bob Falkenburg who was to win the title a year later.

Redl played in the tournament between 1947 and 1956, although his best effort came in his first championship. He fared better in the doubles where he partnered Alfred Huber and the pair made the quarter-finals in 1953, taking a set off Lew Hoad and Ken Rosewall, the eventual champions.

He also represented Austria in the Davis Cup from 1948 to 1955 winning three doubles and one singles match. Redl entered tennis administration after 1956, eventually becoming president of the Austrian Tennis Federation.

Redl continued to play seniors tennis until as late as 1968 and died in Vienna in 1976.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

7 comments… Add yours
  • Janis 15th May 2013

    An inspiring post and great choice for letter “R”!

  • Wanda 15th May 2013

    Oh this is a new story for me. So very interesting! Thanks for sharing something so inspiring.

  • Roger Green 15th May 2013

    These are always inspirational!

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  • Jester Pudding 15th May 2013

    Shouldn’t his first name have been changed to “Han” after the amputation? Maybe the Nazis were ‘armless after all.

  • Richie 17th May 2013

    What a great story!

    An Arkies Musings

  • mindlovemisery 20th May 2013

    This is very inspirational!


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