Film footage surfaces of gay tennis great Bill Tilden

Possibly the greatest gay male athlete of all time, tennis legend Bill Tilden was possibly as dominant as Roger Federer was from 2004 to 2009. He was also gay, ultimately being embroiled in underage-sex scandals that sent him to jail.

Now British Pathe is releasing rare footage of Tilden's first-ever professional tennis match, from 1931. Filmed at Madison Square Garden, Tilden made quick work of Karel Kozeluh, who was the world pro champion at the time. While the style of play may look a little odd, Tilden's dominance is obvious. His serve was reportedly clocked at 163 mph, which would make his one of the fastest serves in history (and in 1931 with a wooden racquet).

Check out 90 seconds of the great old film footage here.

Hat tip to Patricia Nell Warren and A.G. Clarkson.

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