Biographies Russian Sport Tennis Count Mikhail Sumarokov-Elston

Count Mikhail Sumarokov-Elston

Born: 1893, Koreiz (near Yalta)
Died: 1970, London

Russian tennis player. Descended from Alexander Sumarokov, whose great-granddaughter Countess Elena Sumarokova (1829–1901) married Lieutenant General Felix Elston (1820–1877), leading to the name of Sumarokov-Elston (1853). Son of Count Nikolai Sumarokov-Elston (1857–1908) and Countess Sofia von Koskull (?–1916), nephew of tennis player Count Pavel Sumarokov-Elston (1855–1938) and Count Felix Sumarokov-Elston, cousin of Prince Felix Yussupov (1887–1967). Played left-handed with heavy topspin and won thirty-nine titles. Born at the Yussupov estate of Koreiz in the Crimea (21 November 1893). Taught to play tennis by his uncle Count Pavel Sumarokov-Elston (late 1890s–early 1900s). Moved to France for treatment on his right hand (1905), which was unsuccessful and forced him to start playing with his left hand. Lived in Dresden because of his father’s poor health, where he trained under Kurt Bergmann from Germany and George Logie from Scotland (1907–08). Made his international debut at the age of thirteen in the second-class handicaps at Bad Homburg (1906), beating Jack Hillyard of Great Britain in the second round (6-4 4-6 7-5) and going on to win the tournament without the loss of a further set. Played in the Wiesbaden Championships (1907), beating A. von Parpart of Germany in the first round (6-1 6-2) and losing to W. Butler Lloyd of Great Britain in the second round (walkover). Played in the Wiesbaden Cup (1907), beating W. Butler Lloyd in the first round (6-1 9-7) and R. Boshagen of Germany in the second round (6-1 6-1), before losing in the quarterfinals to B. De Struve (6-1 4-6 6-0). Played at Bad Homburg (1907), beating E. L. Von Spiegl in the first round (6-0 6-4) and losing to N. Scott in the second round (6-4 9-7). Played in the Wiesbaden Championships (1908), losing in the second round to Tony Wilding of New Zealand (6-2 6-1). Played at Les Avants (1908), beating N. Canava in the first round (6-2 6-0) and losing to Robert Wallet of France in the second round (6-1 6-2). Played at Montreux (1908), beating C. L. Adda in the second round (6-1 6-3), W. Fletcher in the third round (walkover) and losing to Richard Norris Williams of the United States in the quarterfinals (6-4 6-1). Returned to Russia and joined the St Petersburg Circle of Sportsmen (1908), which played at the Tauride Gardens (50 Kirochnaya Street). Won the St Petersburg Lawn Tennis Championships in the second-class handicaps (1908) and first-class handicaps (1909). Played in the South of France Championships (1910), beating Y. Resuge in the second round (7-5 6-1) and losing to Max Decugis of France in the quarterfinals (walkover). Played in the Côte d’Azur Championships (1910), beating G. De Pas in the second round (4-6 6-1 6-2) and losing to Otto Paul Lindpaintner of Germany in the quarterfinals (6-0 6-1). Won a record eight national titles at the All-Russian Lawn Tennis Championships in Moscow (1910) and St Petersburg (1911–14), winning five consecutive singles titles (1910–14), one men’s doubles title with Count Ludwig von Salm-Hoogstraten (1912) and two mixed doubles titles (1912–13). Played at the Moscow Lawn Tennis Championships (1910), beating L. Parbury of Great Britain in the singles final and winning the men’s doubles with his uncle Count Pavel Sumarokov-Elston. Won the singles and men’s doubles at the first indoor tennis tournament in Russia (1911). Competed at the Stockholm Olympics (1912), where in the first round he drew compatriot Alexander Alenitsyn (1884–1920), who withdrew to give him a bye into the next round, where he beat Carl Setterwall of Sweden (6-2 6-3 11-13 6-2), before losing to eventual bronze-medallist Oscar Kreuzer of Germany (6-2 10-12 6-4 6-0). Partnered Alexander Alenitsyn in the men’s doubles, losing in the quarterfinals to Albert Canet and Édouard Mény de Marangue of France (6-3 6-0 6-1). Won the singles titles at the St Petersburg Lawn Tennis Championships (1912, 1914) and the Moscow Lawn Tennis Championships (1913). Played in the Championnats du Monde sur Terre Battue in Paris (1913), beating E. Chelli of France in the first round (6-4 6-1 6-4) and losing to André Gobert of France in the second round (6-2 6-1 6-3). Elected an honorary member of the Stade Français in Paris (1913). Defeated Tsar Nicholas II in a series of friendly matches at Livadia in the Crimea (19-22 November 1913). Played for Russia in the international matches against Great Britain (1913) and France (1914). Volunteered to fight in the First World War (1914–17). Moved to the Crimea, where he joined his cousin Prince Felix Yussupov at Koreiz (1918). Emigrated with his sister Elena (1890–1964) in the company of Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna on board HMS Marlborough (1919). Disembarked at Malta (1919), where he won the singles championships (1919). Moved to Nice (1920), where he won the South of France Championships (1920), beating H. S. Lewis-Barclay of Great Britain in the quarterfinals (6-3 7-5), Major Josiah George Ritchie of Great Britain in the semifinals (3-6 6-4 6-4) and Alain Gerbault of France in the final (7-5 6-2 2-6 3-6 6-1). Reached the semi-finals at Nice (1921), beating J. Thole in the second round (6-0 6-1) and R. A. Boyd in the quarterfinals (6-1 6-0), before losing to Sir Francis Gordon Lowe of Great Britain in the semifinals (3-6 10-8 3-6 7-5 3-0 retired). Won the men’s singles at the South of France Championships (1921), beating Count Giovanni (Mino) Balbi de Robecco of Italy in the final (6-1 6-1 6-0). Won the Nice Lawn Tennis Club Championships (1921), beating Alain Gerbault in the men’s singles final (7-5 1-6 7-5 6-3) and partnering Suzanne Lenglen to defeat Alain Gerbault and M. Septier in the mixed doubles final (6-0 6-1). Partnered Suzanne Lenglen and won the mixed doubles at the South of France Championships (1921), defeating A. C. Mclaughlin and Mlle Franke in the first round (6-0 6-0), S. Glen Walker of Great Britain and E. L. Wilkinson in the second round (6-0 6-1), Colonel Elwes and M. Sichel in the quarterfinals (6-0 6-0), Count Giovanni (Mino) Balbi de Robecco and Phyllis Howkins in the semifinals (default) and Jack Hillyard and Phyllis Satterwaite of Great Britain in the final (6-0 6-3). Won at Nice (1922), beating Jack Hillyard in the quarterfinals (6-2 6-4), Lord Rocksavage of Great Britain in the semifinals (6-3 6-2) and C. Morier of Switzerland in the final (6-1 6-1 6-0). Won the men’s singles at the South of France Championships (1922), beating Charles Aeschliman of Switzerland in the semifinals (6-4 6-4) and Henri Cochet of France in the final (6-0 6-2 7-5). Partnered Suzanne Lenglen and won the mixed doubles at the South of France Championships (1922), beating Lord Rocksavage and Elizabeth Ryan of the United States in the final (6-2 6-2). Partnered Suzanne Lenglen and lost in the semifinals of the South of France Championships (1923) to Randolph Lycett of Australia and Elizabeth Ryan (6-3 7-5). Partnered Élisabeth d’Ayen (wife of Sir Gordon Nevil Macready) and lost in the final of the mixed doubles at the New Court Lawn Tennis Club in Cannes (1931) to Emmanuel du Plaix of France and Muriel Thomas of Great Britain (9-7 6-3). Partnered Muriel Thomas and lost in the final of the mixed doubles at the Cannes Lawn Tennis Club (1931) to René Gallepe of Monaco and Mme Taunay of Holland (1-6 6-3 6-4). Married Natalia Bellik (1932) and had a daughter called Sofia (1933), who married John Desmond Anstey (1957) and Anthony Marling Lund (1967). Won the Russian Émigré Tennis Championships (1935–37). Member of the Association française des professeurs et professionnels de tennis (1936). Moved to London (1937), where he headed the Anglo-Russian Sports Club at The Lindens on Hartington Road in Chiswick. Died peacefully at University College Hospital in London while watching the Wimbledon Championships on television (3 July 1970) and buried at Chiswick New Cemetery (1970). Inducted into the Russian Hall of Tennis Fame (2002).

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