Lenglen versus Wills - TennisForum.com

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post #1 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 2002, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Wills vs. Lenglen

Found a detailed description of the Wills vs. Lenglen match in 1926 at Cannes which I thought I would post.

But it is sooooo long that I thought I would post in bits... as well as keeping you all in suspense!!!

Taken from 'The Ultimate Tennis Book' by Gianni Clerici

When she (Wills) was only 15 years of age, she won the American championship at Forest Hills for those under 18, and the organisers offered as a prize a reserved seat to watch the encounter between Suzanne Lenglen and Molla Mallory.

'She spoke in an animated fashion with all those who crowded around her' was Helen's sage reminiscence of the tennis goddess. 'She impressed me, especially when I saw her with 6 racquets. Her short sleeved tennis outfit, with it's short skirt, was the first seen in the states. her black hair was held in place with a brightly colored headband and her figure was delicate with very slim ankles. The white of her shoes was dazzling as she sped around the court. As soon as I had seen the match, I knew what my goal would be, and what tennis I would play'. After five years Helen and Suzanne finally faced each other, on the clay courts of the Carlton Hotel in Cannes.

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post #2 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 2002, 09:07 PM
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This is great louloubelle!!! MAMA WANT MORE!!!

That's what she said!!!
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post #3 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 15th, 2002, 09:59 PM
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I've got the book and also a videoclip ( 15' documentary from the same Gianni Clerici)
If someone is interested, email me or tell me here.

But the title of the book is "Divina", here in Italy.
Has it been translated with a different title?
Or is it a "digest" version of more Clerici's books?
(i reckon he wrote more than 20)
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post #4 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 2002, 01:28 AM
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Thanks!
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post #5 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 2002, 02:07 AM
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louloubelle's book is different way, so please post from your book too. Divina is all about Suzanne, right? I've heard it's the best bio about Lenglen.

I'll try and find pics I posted before in GM about the match at Cannes.

Looking forward to your nest post louloubelle
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post #6 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 2002, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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Way… the book was translated by Richard J. Weizell, Ph.D. It doesn’t have its original name.

Part 2

The curiosity of the Cote d’Azur had been aroused by the prospect of that match and the world of high society talked of nothing for several weeks. Every news agency and every newspaper of importance had sent its representative, and the most inaccurate and even downright false reports often appeared in print. A mixed doubles encounter between the goddess and de Morpurgo, and Helen and the Swiss champion Aeschlimann, described, as ‘the most frenzied and crude battle ever witnessed on the coast’ seemed to Helen ‘a peaceful and pleasant match’. The news that she was soon to leave for the United States surprised her too, as did the reputed fact that Suzanne was ill once again, for they had just attended together the supper provided by the king of Sweden, an invitation which allowed Helen to see the salons of the Monte Carlo Casino at Monte Carlo, usually declared off limits to minors. Suzanne, in point of fact, was not sick, but felt assaulted from all sides, her nerves a jangled shambles.
The sale of the tickets at the Carlton hotel, where the tennis goddess was staying, was like a raid on a jewelry shop: and while one South American newspaper offered the Spanish novelist Blasco Ibanez 40,000 francs for a story, a motion picture company purchased the rights to film the match for $100,000, the same figure that the Carpentier-Dempsey fight commanded!

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post #7 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 2002, 01:28 PM
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That's the match where Helen Wills met her future husband Frederick Moody right?
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post #8 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 2002, 01:50 PM
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Yes Sam-

After Suzanne was buried beneath loads of bouquets and well wishers(for the second time) Helen was virtually ignored. Fred hopped on to the court, introduced himseld, and said, "You played awfully well" (or something like that).
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post #9 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 2002, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rollo
Yes Sam-

After Suzanne was buried beneath loads of bouquets and well wishers(for the second time) Helen was virtually ignored. Fred hopped on to the court, introduced himseld, and said, "You played awfully well" (or something like that).
How romantic! BTW I know this may be going off topic, but why did Helen Wills never end up having children? She had 2 or 3 husbands right?
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post #10 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 2002, 02:21 PM
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No idea Sam. I'm not even certain why she got divorced twice. Helen kept her enigmatic self to herself. She was indeed a PRIVATE person in every sense of the word it seems.

Here's a caracature of SL a couple weeks after "the match."

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post #11 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 2002, 02:25 PM
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Before the match. Suzanne wouldn't dream of letting down her fans by appearing in anything less than full war-gear, which for her meant fur! Helen was more demure in a school-girl type outfit.

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post #12 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 16th, 2002, 03:04 PM
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A card




pics from the match.





Suzanne wins-or does she? Notice the man waving the camera off. Someone in the crowd had shouted "out". It was mob scene after this pic as Suzane's fans went wild with joy while the chair umpire tried to order everyone off the court, saying the match was NOT over. Note the fans atop the tin roof.

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post #13 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 17th, 2002, 01:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rollo
Suzanne wouldn't dream of letting down her fans by appearing in anything less than full war-gear, which for her meant fur!
SHOCKING! but considering the times I'm not the least surprised. Thanks for the photos rollo.
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post #14 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 17th, 2002, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Part 3

On the day of the final match, set for eleven in the morning, the Promenade Croisette was a scene of enormous confusion, with people packed on the rofftops surrounding the small tennis club. A few tiles were dislodged in the process, grazing the heads of the youngsters that had climbed into the branches of the eucalyptus trees for a better view.

Helen waited calmly, on her head a white visor that she herself had fashioned. Suzanne had just delivered a withering tongue lashing against the manager of the Carlton, who was somehow responsible for her sleepless night, and then finally made her grand entrance, followed by her mother, who could no longer find her ticket; by Monsieur Charles (her father), waxen under a gray blanket; and by Gyp (her Pekinese dog) who was now ancient and almost totally blind.
The sidelines of the court were under the control of expert and elegant English linesmen, among others Lord Charles Hope and Cyril Tolley, the golf champion. Adding his hallmark to the importance of the procedings was the umpire, Commander Hillyard, who had performed the same function at the women's finals at Wimbledon.

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post #15 of 120 (permalink) Old Oct 18th, 2002, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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Part 4

The first set certainly didn't measure up to the expectation of the fans who had waited for such a long time. After letting fly with a couple of balls, Suzanne found her arms free of a nervous tick that earlier had her shivering in her pink sweater which was usually reserved for special occasions. Helen found her rival's balls struck lightly, yet placed extremely well and very difficult to return. She lost 6-3, making more mistakes than usual. She realized that Suzanne was trying to save herself and repeating with regularity the same basic pattern: a baseline backhand drive followed by another backhand equally long and cutting cross court, and finished with a short cross-court forehand that was only possible due to her Continental grip.
Helen tried to interrupt her opponent by pushing and with a drop shot, but she soon learned that both strength and canniness were self-deafting against that little sorceress. She positioned herself in the backcourt and tried to shore up her disadvantage with long strokes and by closing the angles: she knew she had more staying power than Suzanne and staked her all on the greater youth.

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