William “Bill” Tilden Autograph Letter Signed – One of the Best Tennis Letters Ever


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Famed American tennis player (1893-1953) whose major tournament victories number in the dozens (including six consecutive years as U.S. Singles Champion). Though his reputation was tainted by a pedophilic scandal and a jail term in the 1940s, a 1950 Associated Press poll named him the greatest tennis player of the first half of the twentieth century.

Two-page autograph letter signed (ALS) “Always with love your Bill” on front and back of 8×10 page, no date but original (no longer present) envelope was postmarked August 1, 1949, to his protege, Arthur “Brat” Anderson, in full:

The coming tournament starting next Saturday is a very good test for you Babe. It is the first time since you put your teeth really back into the game, to show just how far you have gone in the past few weeks. If you will really “give,” refuse to lose, dominate every match, get in and push your opponents around all over the court, hitting with the freedom and confidence that you seemed to have mastered in practice, you will be outstanding in your class.

Please, Babe, for me give in every match. Let me see the winning spirit show up. If you get a lead, fight it home at once, push every chance to win so pressure never lessens on your opponent. Have complete confidence to hit hard and aggressively when the chance comes, and always when you are attacked. Prove to me, that you have completely made up your mind to win. Bring out all your new power and use it with confidence. Do not even think you might lose. Forget defeat and think and believe victory.

Read this over a few times Babe, perhaps it might be worth taking along to remind you I am thinking of you, believing in you and pulling for you in every point of every match.


The best content tennis letter from Tilden we have ever handled.  There is a PSA/DNA authentication hologram at bottom right of second page.