Wilmer Lawson Allison, Jr. (December 8, 1904 – April 20, 1977) was an American amateur tennis champion of the 1930s. Allison's career was overshadowed by the arrival of Don Budge, although he was both a fine singles player and, along with his frequent partner, John Van Ryn, a great doubles player. At the University of Texas at Austin, Allison was the Intercollegiate tennis champion in 1927. One of Allison's earliest tournament wins was the 1928 Canadian Championship, where he won the final over doubles partner Van Ryn 6–2, 6–4, 6–3.
Right-handed, Allison's greatest triumph was winning the 1935 U.S. Championship singles, defeating Fred Perry in the semifinals and Sidney Wood in the finals, both in three sets. He had previously lost to Perry 8–6 in the fifth set in the 1934 finals. He was ranked U.S. No. 1 both years and World No. 4 in 1932 and again in 1935 by A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph. At the Wimbledon Championships his best results in singles came in 1930 when he finished runner-up to Bill Tilden, losing the final in straight sets. En route to the final he defeated reigning champion and first-seed Henri Cochet in straight sets in the quarterfinals. As a doubles player with partner John Van Ryn, Allison won the 1929 and 1930 Wimbledon and 1935 U.S. doubles championships. Allison's last major tournament was a 1936 quarterfinal loss to Bunny Austin.
Allison played a total of 44 matches, 29 in doubles with Van Ryn, in Davis Cup for the United States, the third most of any player behind John McEnroe and Vic Seixas. He won 32 of those matches but never the cup.
In his 1979 autobiography Jack Kramer, who had a fine volley himself, devotes a page to the best tennis strokes he had ever seen. He writes: "FOREHAND VOLLEY — Wilmer Allison of Texas, who won the 1935 Forest Hills, had the best I ever saw as a kid, and I've never seen anyone since hit one better. Budge Patty came closest, then Newcombe".
George Lott, who himself won five U.S. doubles titles as well as two at Wimbledon, wrote an article in the May 1973, issue of Tennis Magazine in which he ranked the great doubles teams and the great players. He called the team of Allison and Van Ryn the ninth best of all time.
|Runner-up||1930||Wimbledon||Grass||Bill Tilden||3–6, 7–9, 4–6|
|Runner-up||1934||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Fred Perry||4–6, 3–6, 6–3, 6–1, 6–8|
|Winner||1935||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Sidney Wood||6–2, 6–2, 6–3|
|Winner||1929||Wimbledon||Grass||John Van Ryn|| Ian Collins
|6–4, 5–7, 6–3, 10–12, 6–4|
|Winner||1930||Wimbledon||Grass||John Van Ryn|| John Doeg
|6–3, 6–3, 6–2|
|Runner-up||1930||U.S. National Championships||Grass||John Van Ryn|| John Doeg
|6–8, 3–6, 6–3, 15–13, 4–6|
|Winner||1931||U.S. National Championships||Grass||John Van Ryn|| Berkeley Bell
|6–4, 6–3, 6–2|
|Runner-up||1932||U.S. National Championships||Grass||John Van Ryn|| Keith Gledhill
|4–6, 3–6, 2–6|
|Runner-up||1934||U.S. National Championships||Grass||John Van Ryn|| George Lott
|4–6, 7–9, 6–3, 4–6|
|Runner-up||1935||Wimbledon||Grass||John Van Ryn|| Jack Crawford
|3–6, 7–5, 2–6, 7–5, 5–7|
|Winner||1935||U.S. National Championships||Grass||John Van Ryn|| Don Budge
|6–2, 6–3, 2–6, 3–6, 6–1|
|Runner-up||1936||U.S. National Championships||Grass||John Van Ryn|| Don Budge
|4–6, 2–6, 4–6|
|Winner||1930||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Edith Cross|| Marjorie Morrill
|Runner-up||1931||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Anna McCune Harper|| Betty Nuthall