Cliff Richey is a legend of American tennis, author of the book “ACING DEPRESSION: A TENNIS CHAMPION’S TOUGHEST MATCH” and a mental health advocate.
As a tennis player, he was known as the original “Bad Boy” of tennis, before there was John McEnroe and Ilie Nastase. His 26-year career was highlighted by a 1970 season where he led the United States to the Davis Cup title, finished as the first-ever Grand Prix world points champion and won one of the most exciting matches in American tennis history that clinched the year-end No. 1 American ranking. He won both of his singles matches in the 5-0 U.S. victory over West Germany in the 1970 Davis Cup final, while he beat out rivals Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith to win the first-ever Grand Prix world points title the precursor to the modern day ATP rankings. At the 1970 Pacific Coast Championships at the Berkeley Tennis Club in Berkeley, Calif., he earned the No. 1 U.S. ranking when he beat Smith in a fifth-set tie-breaker, where both players had simultaneous match point in a sudden-death nine-point tie-breaker at 4-4. He also reached the semifinals of both the 1970 French and U.S. Opens, losing a famous match to Zeljko Franulovic of Yugoslavia in the French semifinals, despite holding match points and leading by two-sets-to-one and 5-1 in the fourth set. He and his sister Nancy, a former French and Australian singles champion, are regarded by some as the best brother-sister duo in tennis history.
Cliff, along with his daughter Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, wrote ACING DEPRESSION: A TENNIS CHAMPION’S TOUGHEST MATCH, which was published by New Chapter Press in 2010. Cliff uses the book – and his mental health advocacy talks, to help educate people about depression and provide for hope of improving their lives.