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post #31 of 193 (permalink) Old Jan 5th, 2003, 07:40 AM
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Speaking of Molla, I just recently read this article on her, written in the late 40s - kinda like those "where are they now?" stories - and Molla was very displeased with the preponderance of serve-and-volleyers among the top ranks. In her view, they were choosing the easy way out - pampering themselves apparently, by trying to attack the net - and did not have the stamina as she did. Her advice to Louise Brough & Doris Hart & Margaret du Pont & the others was to play more from the baseline and avoid the net

At the time, Molla was working as a saleswoman at Lord & Taylor in New York. It's a shame really - a great champion as her, being forced to work like that to survive after an illustrious career.

And besides Elizabeth Ryan, wasn't Hazel Wightman a more bitter rival of Molla's. I think the two couldn't stand each other. Hazel's high-and-mighty ways must have been too much for Molla.
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post #32 of 193 (permalink) Old Jan 6th, 2003, 03:33 AM Thread Starter
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The Lord and Taylor's job got my attention too. We know her husband was rich in the 20's-perhaps the stock market crash of 1929 did them in.

Her preference for baseliners (and her belief that net rushers were inferior) is understandable since she won with the style. Before Alice Marble came along Molla was even quoted as saying
a female serve and volleyer could never succeed because women lacked the bodies for it. Guess they proved her wrong! On the other hand Mo Connolly probably confirmed some of her belief.

I wish we knew more about her rivalry with Wightman. I really believe in what I call Ted Tinling's "bitch theory" of tennis which says that (almost) every #1 is going to hate her main contender-the woman who eventually replaces her. Thus Molla's main rival appears to have been Lenglen. And Molla herself had no great love for Helen Wills. Molla had no less to be threatened by Wightman because Hazel was still having children on and off during these years.

On the other hand Wightman had a LOT more reasons to dislike Molla. Mallory passed her in winning more US titles, had the love of the public even though she was "foreign", and because of Molla's working class background may have felt Mallory was somehow "beneath" her. I'm guessing on the last two, but just the first may have ben enough! Anyhow, more than one person suggested that Hazel helped Helen with the purpose of knocking off Molla. Molla, Tilden, and Lenglen all returned the favor by doing all in their power to help Jacobs unseat Wills.
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post #33 of 193 (permalink) Old Feb 13th, 2003, 12:06 PM
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What a gloriously wonderful bitchy thread. The supposed fueds between the likes of the Williams, Hingis etc.... faid into comparison with the 1920's women.

Finally got around to reading it...... thanks for all the posts.

Anyway I have a love for the great showdowns of tennis and the Dorthothea Lambert-Chambers, Suzanne Lenglen was one of those. Here's the recount from Gianni Clerrici's Ultimate tennis Book.

Part 1

The very day of the finals July 4 1919, Commander Hillyard then secretary at Wimbledon convinced President Wilson Fox that it was time to move to Worple Rd to build a new stadium capable of accomodating all the fans who had begun to throng to the box office. In the royal box, a full span above the top hats of her entourage, the gray bonnet of Queen mary could be seen alongside the derby of George V. The queen was a totally committed fan, and she feverishly recounted for her husband the steps that had carried the tiny French lass to the challenge round.

Suzanne had in turn beaten Mrs. Larcombe, the absolute master of slice, Miss McKane, the best of the young English women players and finally 6-4 7-5, the American Elizabeth Ryan, who rushed the net like a charging young heifer. Queen Mary had explained further than in that match Suzanne saw herself tied a 5 each, but then a rainstorm had given her the chance to catch her breath and to finish off her opoonent in two games by following her serves to the net.

There's more to life than just being happy.
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post #34 of 193 (permalink) Old Feb 13th, 2003, 12:18 PM
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The Roaring 20's!

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post #35 of 193 (permalink) Old Feb 14th, 2003, 10:49 PM
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Part 2

The conversation was interuptted by the arrival of the two opponents. At the venerable age of 40, Mrs. Dorothea Lambert Chambers did not seem any less vigourous than she had been in 1904 while winning the first of her 7 titles. Her long and capacious cotton skirt and her blouse tightly closed at the collar gave her a certain mechanical air. Suzanne seemed even more diminutive at her side and even more supple, totally at ease under her wide brimmed beach hat, her arms chestnut brown and exposed by the very short sleeves of her light dress. After the curtseys which Mrs. Chambers made with grace of a changing of the guard, the two adversaries squared off to warm up.

Suzanne often came to the net as unconcerned as if it were a simple training game, to drive back Mrs. Chambers powerful forehand shots with her tiny forearm held valaintly in front of her body. Her jaws grim to the point of pursing her lips beyond recognition, Mrs. Chambers put a couple of bad shots out of court, and then moved towards the baseline to await the little ones first service. Having shut her opoonent out in the first game, the champion changed courts with regal bearing, but she had scarcely had time to serve when the ball was returned out of her reach.

For 4 straight games, stroking with ease her cross court forehand, her baseline backhand, her devastating volleys and smashes, Suzanne never let her opoonent get control of the ball and made Dorothea feel for the first time uneasy, out of style, and powerless: in a word, old.

There's more to life than just being happy.
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post #36 of 193 (permalink) Old Feb 15th, 2003, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the blow by blow on 1919 louloubelle-its always mentioned as one of the best ever. Lambert Chambers was once quoted as saying she didn't know who to feel more sorry for-herself (for not getting a record 8 Wimbys which Wills got to break her record) or Suzanne. Chambers felt that had Suzanne lost she might not have been such a tortured soul who strove for perfection to the point where she could never be happy.


Funny enough the two women were banned from the royal box area after they turned pro. Chambers and Lenglen got revenge by sitting in the stands together during the 1930s. Of course the crowd ignored the celebs in the box as center court paid tribute to two of its greatest champs.
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post #37 of 193 (permalink) Old Feb 16th, 2003, 11:13 AM
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Part 3

It was at that moment while her whole world was crumbling around her, that Dorothea showed what she was made of. She began to avoid the backhand shots and to muster long forehands from the left-hand corner of the court. Having driven her rival out of bounds, she hit terrifying drop shots which died in the grass ten metres from the young French woman. Building from 1-4 to 3-5 and lastly 5-5, with her tiny opponets set point dramatically reversed by a drop shot, Dorothea played as she never had before. The score 6-5, on her first set point, she thought had carried the day, but Suzanne with her typically light touch cancelled out her opponents advantage with a high volley, exchanging at the same time a meaningful glance with her father, who was nervously grasping his wife's arm in the section reserved for special guests.

The game continued, the score tipping back and forth, Suzanne trying to avoid her older opponents two lethal shots, until it stod at 8 all. Here the youngster staked her all on a couple of en plein, was successful, and took the first set 10-8.

There's more to life than just being happy.
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post #38 of 193 (permalink) Old Feb 20th, 2003, 12:03 PM
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Part 4

But she still had her work cut out for her. Despite her severe training routine, her endless rope jumping, the 100 metre sprints, and the strict curfew imposed by her father, Suzanne was not used to concentrating for such long periods. Her game, though it was still beautiful to witness, lost it's vigour, and at 1-3, a long unsuccessful sustained rally made her raise her bleary eyes towards her father. Mr. Lenglen got to his feet and tossed a shiny object to his duaghter. It was a tiny silver flask and while the umpire, Mr. Hillyard threw an incredulous glance at Max Decugis, one of the linesmen, Suzanne took two deep draughts and immediately returned to the attack. The good vintage cognac was quickly burned off in a series of flaming volleys.

Back to 4 each, Suzanne found herself unable to end the set, and Dorothea tied the match at one set all. After 28 games the elderly queen and the heir apparent to the throne were still tied.

There's more to life than just being happy.
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post #39 of 193 (permalink) Old Feb 21st, 2003, 12:10 PM
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Part 5

Suzanne began to push, but her lack of energy rendered her ineffectual at 4-1. With methodical ferocity, Dorothea caught up with her and then took the lead and garnered the vantage of two match points (6-5 40-15). She waited at the baseline for her opponent to rush the net. Suzanne who was by this time completely exhausted was acting from raw courage.

She moved to attack instinctively and stretched desperately for Dorothea passing shot, playing the ball off the frame without seeing where it landed. To her mazement she heard from the gasp in the stands and then the applause that the ball was good. Dorothea did not have time to recover her composure. Suzanne's deep backhand caught her off balance. Her cheeks aflame and her eyes glistening with happiness, Suzanne once more took control and the older woman again felt the helplessness of age. The tiny marauder finished her work 9-7 and rushed to embrace her victim, while Max Decugis himself rocked toward the two of them to congratulate her with a kiss. Queen Mary smiled and she saw the youngster break away, cross the court like an arrow, and bury herself, wild with joy, in her father's arms.

There's more to life than just being happy.
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post #40 of 193 (permalink) Old Feb 22nd, 2003, 01:10 AM
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Thank you, louloubelle!

I never knew Queen Mary was so into tennis. I wish today's royalty would still take interest and attend the finals (at least). I mean the Queen especially.

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post #41 of 193 (permalink) Old Mar 14th, 2003, 04:58 AM
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Tennis careers can turn on the tiniest of things. Imagine if Suzanne had lost just 2 more matches.

vs Chambers in 1919
vs Wills in 1926

Close matches both. But Suzanne gutted them out, as testament to her greatness? What if she had lost them both?

The Suzanne or Helen question would be dead. Helen would have been the consensus greatest of that era.

Dorothea would have been GREATLY elevated among the all-time greats.

Suzanne would fall into the category of "truly great mortals" like Evonne Goolagong or Alice Marble. Not "Godesses" like the 9+ Slam club. (I consider her the only "Goddess" not in that club)

You have to answer for Santino, Carlo.
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post #42 of 193 (permalink) Old Mar 14th, 2003, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Good post DH-but how do you figure Suzanne at under 9 slams? Though the pre 1925 Frenchies were closed, they were still the title of that nation. And if you shoot that down (which is reasonable) then you have to consider the International World Hard Courts as being equal to the French-after all, it was nothing more than a name change due to American pressure. In either case Suzanne is safely over above 10 major titles
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post #43 of 193 (permalink) Old Mar 15th, 2003, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo
Good post DH-but how do you figure Suzanne at under 9 slams? Though the pre 1925 Frenchies were closed, they were still the title of that nation. And if you shoot that down (which is reasonable) then you have to consider the International World Hard Courts as being equal to the French-after all, it was nothing more than a name change due to American pressure. In either case Suzanne is safely over above 10 major titles
Yes, you could say that. I am just going by the ITF's official count. Too many variables, so you have to stick by some specific criteria.

You have to answer for Santino, Carlo.
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post #44 of 193 (permalink) Old Oct 29th, 2003, 04:57 PM
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Antwerp 1920, Games of the VII Olympiad. Frenchwoman Suzanne LENGLEN in action during the tennis competition. She won the gold medal in the women's single and in the mixed double events.

Credit: IOC Olympic Museum Collections



Antwerp 1920, Games of the VII Olympiad. Frenchwoman Suzanne LENGLEN, winner of the women's tennis single and mixed double events.

Credit: IOC Olympic Museum Collections


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post #45 of 193 (permalink) Old Oct 30th, 2003, 10:39 AM Thread Starter
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Love the bottom pic Gallofa.

I wonder what kind of shoes she is wearing.
Does anyone know when tennis shoes (what we call tennis shoes today) first came about?
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