W.J.C. Surtees

For a game that was born in prison, racquets is ironically played by an elite few today—if not for any other reason than the scarcity of courts on which to play. All eight courts in the U.S. are at private clubs (e.g. New York's Racquet & Tennis Club on Park Ave). Racquets began as an 18th century pastime in London's King's Bench and Fleet debtors prison. Its popularity spread beyond prison walls to alleys behind pubs, schools and then the States. It is played in a 30 x 60 foot enclosed court, with a ceiling at least 30 feet high and bears some resemblance to squash.

No other American dominated racquets like W.J.C Surtees. He reigned as World Racquets Champ from 1972-73 and 1975-1981 (after which the Brits gladly took back the reigns). And Surtees did it in style—Fred Perry shorts, cable-knit tennis sweater and canvas sneakers. A man never looked better wearing his championships on his chest.