Re: 1923 results
From the London 'Times', Saturday, July 7, 1923:
"Lawn Tennis – The Championships – Mlle Lenglen wins again
"From our Special Correspondent
"There was another perfect afternoon yesterday at Wimbledon and another large crowd. They saw Mlle Suzanne Lenglen pass to her fifth championship with serene assurance […]
"At the end of the final round of the Ladies' Championship the title remained in the firm keeping of the holder. Miss Kathleen McKane won two games from Mlle Lenglen in each of the two sets, and as she stood up to her for 37 minutes she earned some such recognition as a silver medal. Every now and then she hit clean and hard to the backhand line high up and scored a point decisively, but this stroke hardly once brought her the complementary volley which she had a right to expect. If Mlle Lenglen reached the ball, there would be a long low lob or a passing drive which found a clean passage. Miss McKane was not allowed to make much use of her best stroke – her volley; Mlle Lenglen's being what it was, it would have been suicide to go up.
"To look at Mlle Lenglen alone was to think her on the defensive; there seemed to be no aggressiveness in the unhurried sweep of her driving, and she appeared content that the ball should fall within such easy reach for her stroke; then one looked at Miss McKane and saw that she was running hard for the ball. Taking the hitter as the apex of a triangle, Miss McKane had to cover between any two of her strokes a base twice as wide as Mlle Lenglen's. Sooner or later she broke down under the relentless pressure.
"The first game went to Mlle Lenglen after rallies which were typical of the match. At the end of one long rally Miss McKane came up on a deep hit and could not quite reach the perfect backhand drive which she was required to intercept. This was a 'vantage game; in the next game Mlle Lenglen had worked up to the economical speed she was to maintain for the remainder of the match; in addition, she showed her suppleness of body in returning a net-cord and her coolness of mind in an unexpected lob.
"Five games to the good, Mlle Lenglen shaped a little carelessly at the last stroke of the sixth, and Miss McKane was accorded the well-earned relief of a game. Helped by two brave volleys, Miss McKane won the next game, and then Mlle Lenglen showed that she, too, could volley, and ran out.
"In the second game of the next set Miss McKane raised hopes of a struggle. She got in her smash at last, and although she missed another – the one easy chance she was allowed in the match – she got a bonus of a double fault and made it one-all. The fifth game she won to love with fine strokes. Mlle Lenglen retaliated with a trifle more width in her driving; Miss McKane fought her way twice to within a point of the last game; quickly Mlle Lenglen pulled her back, and before one realised that the Championship was decided both ladies were facing a platoon of photographers.
"What we like to see is the winning stroke made from a losing position, and this is the one aesthetic delight which Mlle Lenglen usually withholds from us. In direction and length her strokes are consistently perfect; but nine out of ten of them look easy to make – in the sense that, if they can be made at all, it is the most easy to make them in the position in which the ball finds her waiting.
"Most of her problems are solved by the perfection of her method before ever her racket comes forward. Her long arm will move inwards or outwards and up and down in response to any slight eccentricities of the bounce without any obvious movement of the body. With beginners the body is apt to be in the way; they are obviously tucked up as they strike; one cannot imagine Mlle Lenglen tucked up – it would be a contradiction in terms. Her body is never in the way; at the last moment all its supple power runs smoothly down her arm into the racket head as the ball is struck. She is never spasmodic; if compelled to retreat she can be seen – like Camilla – aiming her dart in flight; and it always strikes home."