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Tennis History

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Vanity Fair, 1932

Where Glamour and Tennis Met: Nancy Chaffee (Quick Magazine, 1951)

This article is about Nancy Chaffee (1929 - 2002), another California-born tennis champion of the post-war era. Chaffee had once been ranked as the fourth-place women's tennis champ in all the world, winning three consecutive national indoor championships (1950-1952). She first came to view in 1947 playing alongside the men on the U.S.C. tennis team (there was no women's team at the time). The year before this article appeared on the newsstands, Chaffee made the semi-finals at Forrest Hills, her record at Wimbledon can be read here

 

Donald Budge: 1940s Tennis Champ (Stage Magazine, 1939)

An article about Donald Budge (1915 2000), an American tennis champ active in the late 1930s who was ranked the World's Number 1 player for five years, first as an amateur player and then as a pro. This article appeared in print in 1939, when the player's best days were behind him.

"Kids in California, in some parts of which you can actually heave a rock at a bird without breaking a window, regard tennis as part of their birthright....Budge started at the age of nine. Moreover, out there tennis is not a rich man's game. If it had been, we shouldn't have had Budge, with his clean sweep of all the amateur honors of the world, from Davis Cup to Wimbledon and Forest Lawn."

 

How Tennis Should Be Played (Outing Magazine, 1918)

These twelve black and white photographs depicting the tennis Guru George Agutter, in full court attire, are accompanied by short, pithy instructions as to how the racquet should be held and the feet positioned in order to play the game as they did in 1918.

 

The Steel Tennis Racket Makes It's Appearance (Vanity Fair Magazine, 1922)

Although the steel tennis racquet would not know true glory until Jimmy Connors used his Wilson T2000 in the 1970s, a big splash was made by William A. Larned (1872 - 1926; seven times champion of the U.S. Open) when he designed the Dayton Steel Racket in 1922.

"It is the same size and weight as an ordinary wooden racquet but offers one-third less air resistance and is for that reason easier to play with - especially in serving, and in back hand strokes."

It was by no means the first steel tennis racquet but it was a clear improvement on it's predecessors. The Dayton Steel Racquet proved to be quite popular with schools and tennis clubs for it's obvious durability. Having suffered too long with spinal meningitis, William Larned did away with his life four years after this article appeared.

 

An Interview with Suzanne Lenglen (Literary Digest, 1921)

A magazine interview highlighting the tennis career of Suzanne Lenglen (1899 1938) up to the summer of 1921.

Mille. Lenglen was a remarkable French tennis player who won 31 Grand Slam titles from 1914 through 1926. She is remembered as the the first high-profile European woman tennis star to go professional: in 1912 she was paid $50,000.00 to play a series of matches against Mary K. Browne (1891 - 1971). This article concentrates on her supreme confidence and overwhelming determination to win.

"When prest as to whether she liked a tonic, or say just a little wine, before her matches, Mile. Lenglen admitted that she did and that she had been promised that it would be obtained for her in the United States. Despite the fact that she is in an arid land Suzanne praised the effect of this stimulant on her game."

"'Nothing," she said, "is so fine for the nerve, for the strength, for the morale. A little wine tones up the system just right. One can not always be serious. There must be some sparkle, too.'"

 

Doubting Bill Tilden (Vanity Fair Magazine, 1922)

The legendary sports writer, Grantland Rice (1880 1954), had his doubts as to whether tennis champ Bill Tilden (1893 1953) could keep his title for a third year in a row (he did; all told, "Big Bill" Tilden won the U.S. Tennis Championship 6 times in succession and 7 times altogether).

 


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