Lottie Dod - the best ever ?
From reading about her in the German book 'Sternstunden des Tennis', she must have been an amazing sportswoman.
I can't look up the article right now, but from what I remember, she won Wimbledon 5 times in the late 19th century. She must have been completely dominant, because she was often given disadvantages at tournaments, like being 0-15 down in every game, to make competition more interesting; but she still won. On the other hand, she had an advantage because she wasn't as restricted in what she had to wear on court, as she was still very young. She would probably have won anyway, though. It's also interesting to hear that she served underarm throughout her career.
She stopped playing tennis because she was bored of winning all the time.
What is even more amazing is that the story didn't end here. Later she became one of the world's best in many other sports, like Golf, ice-skating, sailing (?) and a few others which I can't remember right now. She even won Olympic medals, I think.
I always think it's unfair to leave out these 'early' women when talking about 'the best ever'. Lottie Dod was hardly able to win 24 Grand Slams or 167 tournaments at that time. But there is no doubt that she could have been a successful athlete in our days as well.