Karen Hantze Susman - TennisForum.com
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 26th, 2006, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 334
                     
Karen Hantze Susman

I'm curious about Wimbledon's (seemingly) completely forgotten champion from 1962, Karen Hantze Susman. What very little is ever written about her is hardly flattering and she seems to have made so little impact on the tennis world, despite a really remarkable string of wins in singles & doubles at Wimbledon. It's said she never gained particular popularity and I know she retired very early, but then came back to tennis in the late 70's, even competing at the US Open and with Billie-Jean in the doubles at Wimbledon 77, when she attended the centenary parade of champions. But that's about it. She didn't come to the women's centenary in 84 or the millenium parade in 2000. Has she completely turned her back on tennis? Anyone know anything about this mysterious Wimbledon champ?
Johnny O is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2006, 03:08 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,895
                     
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny O
I'm curious about Wimbledon's (seemingly) completely forgotten champion from 1962, Karen Hantze Susman. What very little is ever written about her is hardly flattering and she seems to have made so little impact on the tennis world, despite a really remarkable string of wins in singles & doubles at Wimbledon. It's said she never gained particular popularity and I know she retired very early, but then came back to tennis in the late 70's, even competing at the US Open and with Billie-Jean in the doubles at Wimbledon 77, when she attended the centenary parade of champions. But that's about it. She didn't come to the women's centenary in 84 or the millenium parade in 2000. Has she completely turned her back on tennis? Anyone know anything about this mysterious Wimbledon champ?

Nancy Richey on the blogs said that her career ended quickly because her husband changed her grip which affected her swing.


Check out this website:

http://www.goldonian.org/wimbledon/returns.htm
trivfun is offline  
post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2006, 07:19 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 107
                     
I've often wondered about her too, because at eighth she was one of the lowest seeds to win Wimbledon (until Sharapova and Venus in recent years). Although she came back for the Wimbledon centenary celebration on Center Court, she has been noticeably absent from the future gatherings (1984, I think) when all her contemporaries showed up. There is film of her playing the final against Vera Sukova on http://.www.britishpathe.com; it's short but interesting.
Jakarta is offline  
 
post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2006, 01:05 PM
Senior Member
 
alfajeffster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: United States of America
Posts: 9,216
                     
I seem to remember there being an entire thread dedicated to Karen in the wonderful player biographies archives Rollo put together. Just do a search for it, and you'll find the thread. I'm going by memory (which isn't always such a good thing), but I seem to remember Billie Jean mentioning Karen a couple of times in BJK's book "Billie". She describes her as a terrific player, who fell in love and married, and just decided that her married life without tennis was where she wanted to be. She retired and set up home and began a family in San Diego, CA, where she lives today, from what I can tell.

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
alfajeffster is offline  
post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2006, 02:08 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 334
                     
I think that's what makes this 'missing' player somewhat intriguing. According to BJK's autobiography, Karen Hantze did indeed hang up her racket after marrying Rod Susman and winning Wimbledon. She only played intermittingly after that through to about 64/65. But then she gave up the family life etc and did return to pro-tennis in the late 70's, so clearly she wasn't done with tennis at all. I guess my interest is more to do with her disappearance completely rather than her decision to quit playing. Her absence from the Wimbledon ladies centenary in 84 was odd as she was younger than most who did attend and had been at the 77 celebration. I'm also interested to know more about why she was seemingly so unpopular. I've read that she moved very slowly between shots and games and that annoyed the crowds. She's certainly an enigma and possibly the most forgotten Wimbledon champ of all time, partly due to her lack of impact at any other tournament.
Johnny O is offline  
post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2006, 07:43 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,620
                     
Interesting case, Karen. She had met Rod Susman at a young age and decided to marry looking on him as her mentor. This was to the displeasure of the USTA who wanted to have control over her as their brightest young prospect and it could well be that they held a grudge against her as she was not prepared to kowtow to them.

She fell pregnant quite quickly and was out of tennis for the 1963, however returned to the international scene in 1964 reaching the quarters at RG and Forest Hills beating the #1 seed Margaret Smith in doing so, and finished in the world top 10 for the year.

She decided not to go abroad in 1965 but played on the US circuit leading up to Forest Hills. She was not seeded and after the draw was made and she was coupled with Margaret Smith in the first round she withdrew in protest. She felt her past performance merited a seeding but she also said that she could not afford to take part. Only the seeded players were given money to cover their expenses at the event.

Citing her default, the USTA then excluded her from the rankings for that year and suspended her from play for (I think) 6 months. She never appeared again until late in the 70s.

It could very well be that she was intending to retire anyway but more likely that the suspension was the last straw in her strained relationship with the USTA causing her to jack it in.

She was well known for her slow play and stalling between points. A number of players took exception to this the chief of whom was Ann Jones who had a number of run-ins with her over it culminating in the 1962 Wimbledon semi the year Karen won the event.

Who knows whether it was deliberate or not? but she certainly got inside Ann's head that day. It was very cold and Ann said that if she had had the courage she would have gone to the chair and put her cardigan back on. Only the fact that it was at Wimbledon and in front of her own crowd prevented her from causing trouble. If nothing else Ann was tenacious and experienced enough not to let an opponent psyche her out but after losing her patience and the first set 8-6 she blew up and was steamrollered 6-1 in the next - totally out of character for her. This is one match she always feels she should have won.

Against this, Trivfun supplied a link in another thread to an article on reminiscenses of ballboys at Wimbledon and when asked who their favourite players to work with Karen Susman got more mentions than anyone.

Margaret Thatcher - Michele Bachmann two strong women of our time.
chris whiteside is offline  
post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2006, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 334
                     
Interesting about Karen. I guess that in 62, the draw just opened up and worked for her! It can happen from time to time even now. Isn't that right Conchita?

Still none the wiser as to why Karen is so invisible since she finally gave up on playing in the late 70's. Are we sure she's even still alive? I recall in the 85 Wimbledon brochure a story that Kitty Godfree travelled to LA with the Wimbledon committee bigwigs for the 84 Olympics and delivered the crystal vase to Karen that commemorated the centenary for the ladies championship. I guess I'll always wonder why she didn't attend in person, or the millenium parade.
Johnny O is offline  
post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2006, 08:23 PM
Senior Member
 
alfajeffster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: United States of America
Posts: 9,216
                     
Susman, Karen
7159 Castle Peak Dr
West Hills CA 91307-3823
Phone: 818-719-0057
These are probably the details- anyone care to give her a ring and ask if she'd log on here and chat with us?

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
alfajeffster is offline  
post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2006, 10:05 PM
Moderator - BFTP
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 22,782
                     
Quote:
Susman, Karen
7159 Castle Peak Dr
West Hills CA 91307-3823
Phone: 818-719-0057
These are probably the details- anyone care to give her a ring and ask if she'd log on here and chat with us?
It's tempting Alfa! I hope someone does.

Karen was THE hot American prospect in the late 50s and early 60s-much more highly touted than Billie Jean.As Chris already mentioned, she had a lot of run-ins with the USTA and was accused of stalling in between points.

She resurfaced late in 1976 to play some events in Hawaii (winning one) and 1977. By then she was playing for fun after rasing her daughter. There was an article in World Tennis contrasting her with Billie Jean-the piece had a sort of "what might have been" feel to it. Billie Jean naturally felt that Karen could have won a lot od majors had Rod not insisted on her being a housewife;Karen
expressed no regrets at having given up the circuit for motherhood.
Rollo is offline  
post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 27th, 2006, 10:10 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,895
                     
I have tried to reach that number, It is disconnected. Unless, I kept dialing the wrong number or if this a trick. I give up. Nancy Richey said that Rod changer her grip which affected her career. Do you agree with that?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo
It's tempting Alfa! I hope someone does.

Karen was THE hot American prospect in the late 50s and early 60s-much more highly touted than Billie Jean.As Chris already mentioned, she had a lot of run-ins with the USTA and was accused of stalling in between points.

She resurfaced late in 1976 to play some events in Hawaii (winning one) and 1977. By then she was playing for fun after rasing her daughter. There was an article in World Tennis contrasting her with Billie Jean-the piece had a sort of "what might have been" feel to it. Billie Jean naturally felt that Karen could have won a lot od majors had Rod not insisted on her being a housewife;Karen
expressed no regrets at having given up the circuit for motherhood.
trivfun is offline  
post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 28th, 2006, 01:02 PM
Senior Member
 
alfajeffster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: United States of America
Posts: 9,216
                     
Quote:
Originally Posted by trivfun
I have tried to reach that number, It is disconnected. Unless, I kept dialing the wrong number or if this a trick. I give up. Nancy Richey said that Rod changer her grip which affected her career. Do you agree with that?
I got the info from White Pages, and hesitated putting up here to begin with, because it is for all intents and purposes an invasion of privacy. I'm actually glad this morning that it doesn't work. I lost sleep last night over the stupidity of posting private details for all the world to see. Not that I'm above calling a player whose number I have- just a mistake to publish the information without their permission.

I have no idea about the grip change, nor do I know where you heard or read that Nancy said that. Details?

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
alfajeffster is offline  
post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 28th, 2006, 01:35 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,895
                     
Quote:
Originally Posted by alfajeffster
I got the info from White Pages, and hesitated putting up here to begin with, because it is for all intents and purposes an invasion of privacy. I'm actually glad this morning that it doesn't work. I lost sleep last night over the stupidity of posting private details for all the world to see. Not that I'm above calling a player whose number I have- just a mistake to publish the information without their permission.

I have no idea about the grip change, nor do I know where you heard or read that Nancy said that. Details?

Here it is: Acutally it was just her forehand.


pepetacoNov 11th, 2004, 09:04 AM
Hi Nancy,

Glad to hear that you had a nice time with your Dorset pals - it's a pretty county but not as pretty as mine (Cornwall . Paris is beginning to turn wintry now (fewer tourists, thank goodness) but remains stunningly beautiful whatever the season. Incidentally, when was the last time you came back to Roland Garros during the championships? It must be your turn to present the trophy by now, surely?

Thanks Nancy for this very frank and interesting reply. BJK's take on her lack of play on clay during the 60s has always been a mystery to me: she had plenty of opportunity to compete on the Florida/Caribbean circuit and the big events after Wimbledon such as the Westerns and the US CC, surely, yet rarely did. I've often though she was a tad fortunate at Roland Garros in 1972 that the field did not contain either Margaret or Chrissie.

Like Chris, I'm a bit surprised to read that there was little love lost between Maria and Ann though you implied that the "problem" was more on Maria's side. Darlene seems to have irked a few of her contemporaries as well.

I've read that Julie was known for being very "smart" as a player, someone who compensated for a less than tip-top rate game with astute tactics and a never-say-die attitude. Would you agree and who would you say were the master tacticians of your era, Nancy? I'm not talking gamesmanship like stalling la Hantze, crying la Hard or complaining la King here but just the tactical sense of players who were particularly adept at selecting and changing strategies during a match.

Hi Andy...Well, i haven't been to Paris since '78...they had some celebration back in the late 90's and i was invited to come ...they didn't exactly make one feel welcome...the invitation was for an airticket and Sat. and Sun. of the final week...they might as well have said to come direct from the airport for the ceremony and then go back to the airport and catch a plane home the same day...that invitation might have been o.k. for someone living in Europe but was not one i was thrilled with coming all the way from Texas...anyway, needless to say, i didn't grace them with my presence....you know it's funny that i read that some players thought Hantze stalled and used that as gamesmanship....i played her in the final of the Nat'l 15s and 18s and other times later on and i never felt she did that one...she played at a slow pace but that was just her ....i know Chris asked me about Hantze and what i thought of her ....she was incredibly talented and extremely mature for a 13 year old...everything came naturally to her and she didn't have to practice much.....i don't think tennis meant that much to her and she could take it or leave it....i think her parents divorce really got to her and that's when she started dating Rod and probably one of the reasons she got married so young...then he started messing with her forehand and it went to pot after that ....during World Team Tennis in about '76 i think, we were playing in San Diego, and i saw Karen and Rod at the arena...Karen asked me--did you ever win the Nat'l Juniors? ...i said, "Karen you beat me in the finals every time--no i never won it."....i didn't feel that she was trying to get through me with that question like some ....she just didn't remember because it just didn't mean that much to her...i guess the article that was in Tennis magazine last year on Karen tells it all when she said that she was cleaning cabinets and ran across her Wimbledon trophy tucked away in the back somewhere...knowing her that is how she felt about the whole thing--not very important...now as far as tacticians go i would say that Court was probably the best as she could execute from all areas of the court equally well....also, Carole Graebner, Maria, and Ann J. were very good as well...My friend, Mary, often goes to Cornwall on holiday and she has said how pretty it is there too...to me all of England is beautiful and green with gorgeous countryside....so different, of course, from here...do like West Texas though :-)) ...Nancy
trivfun is offline  
post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 28th, 2006, 02:03 PM
Senior Member
 
alfajeffster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: United States of America
Posts: 9,216
                     
Ah, thanks for digging that up. Obviously a conversation between AndyT and Nancy. I wish she would return to the Blast, at least sporadically. It was great.

There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
alfajeffster is offline  
post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old Jul 28th, 2006, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 334
                     
The correspondence from Nancy Richey is very interesting indeed. Thanks for posting it. I think I now have the answer relating to Susman's disappearance: She simply isn't interested in tennis! If her Wimbledon triumph meant so little and the trophy was buried in a cupboard, why would she think to come back to the place it happened to celebrate? I guess she was there in 77 because she was an active player and somehow BJK had persuaded her to team up for the doubles. But after that, if she wasn't playing, she clearly wouldn't be interested in showing up. Thanks for clearing that up! Mystery solved!
Johnny O is offline  
post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 1st, 2014, 01:38 AM
Moderator - BFTP
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 22,782
                     
Karen Hantze Susman





Last edited by Rollo; Dec 12th, 2016 at 12:32 PM.
Rollo is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the TennisForum.com forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome