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newmark401 Sep 12th, 2009 11:15 PM

Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
This is essentially the entry for Dorothy Round Little in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004):

Dorothy Edith Round was born on 13 July 1909 at 25 Grange Road, Dudley, Worcestershire, the daughter of John Benjamin Round, builder and contractor, and his wife, Maude Helena, née Williams. She was educated at Dudley Girls’ High School. Round played tennis from the age of twelve and practised both at school and at home, where her three brothers accustomed her from an early age to hard hitting. She first came to wider notice as a fifteen-year-old when she entered a small local tournament at Pwllheli in North Wales. Her parents were staying at the nearby hotel and Round appeared before the tournament organizer, a respected Wimbledon referee, in her school blazer with “a very ancient-looking racket under her arm”. There was only one place left in the draw and this pitted Round against Joan Strawson, a well-known Wimbledon player. Strawson’s “famous forehand drive”, though, “held no terrors for little Miss Round at all”, and she fought bravely in defeat. Strawson sagely predicted a bright future for the beaten youngster.

Round enjoyed a distinguished junior career and won her county colours in 1927. Next year, aged eighteen, she made her Wimbledon debut, but lost a close contest in the first round. In 1929 she reached the second round, but was summarily dismissed by Betty Nuthall, 6-1, 6-1. She was then a “steady rather than a mercurial player”, but always learned from her defeats and practised assiduously. She was helped by the Japanese star Ryuki Miki, who impressed upon her the importance of correct technique. In 1931 she reached the quarter-final at Wimbledon, where she lost to Hilde Krahwinkel. In an earlier round, though, she had secured a “brilliant victory” over Lili d’Alvarez, which demonstrated “the richness of her potential when all shots were flowing”.

In 1932 Round reached the final of the British hard court championships, and at Wimbledon the quarter-final, where she faced the seemingly invincible Helen Wills Moody. British hopes of an upset were soon dashed, the American “ruthlessly hitting her off the court”. Next year Round won both the singles and the doubles at the British Hard Court Championships, and again met Wills Moody at Wimbledon, this time in the final. The turning point in a memorable match came after Round won the second set on a controversial line call. She sportingly argued that this should be overturned in her opponent’s favour and appeared more troubled by the incident than Wills Moody. The latter approached the final set the more determined of the two and won it decisively to take the match 6-4, 6-8, 6-3. In 1933 Round also reached the semi-final of the ladies’ singles in the American championships, where she lost to Helen Jacobs.

With Moody absent from Wimbledon in 1934 the ladies’ singles title was thrown open. Round had proved her mettle earlier in the year at the British hard court championships, where she saved five match points to retain her title. At Wimbledon she faced a final against Helen Jacobs, who had won their last four encounters. From the outset Round took the game to her opponent, and never allowed Jacobs time to settle on the fast courts. She won the first set with flowing backhands and volleys, but overhit with new balls at the end of the second, and then allowed the American to square the match. At 4-3 up in the final set Round “staked everything on a volleying attack”; she won the next two games, and the contest 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. To a Wimbledon crowd accustomed to seeing Americans victorious it was a momentous occasion. With Fred Perry’s victory in the men’s singles it represented the first British “double” at the championships since 1909.

The next year Round became the first overseas player to win the Australian ladies’ singles title. At Wimbledon, though, she appeared nervous as the defending champion and was defeated in the quarter-final. She exited at the same stage in 1936. In 1937, seeded seventh, she played some of the best tennis of her career, and won her second Wimbledon singles title. After defeating Helen Jacobs 6-4, 6-2 in the quarter-final, she faced the Pole Jadwiga Jedrzejowska in the final. She countered her opponent’s formidable forehand with some dazzling cross-court backhands, but found herself 2-4 down in the final set. In the sweltering heat she went all-out: she broke her opponent’s serve with a love game and went on to take the match 6-2, 2-6, 7-5. A combination of “mental determination and perfect physical condition” had carried her through. Her success in the Wimbledon singles overshadowed her achievements in the mixed doubles, which she won three times in succession, once with Ryuki Miki, in 1934, and twice with Fred Perry, in 1935 and 1936. She also appeared in the British Wightman Cup team, 1931-6.

With her marriage to Douglas Leigh Little, a medical practitioner, on 2 September 1937, Round’s serious playing career ended; they had one son and one daughter, and lived at Cedar Gardens, Kinvert, Stourbridge in the West Midlands. She made her last Wimbledon appearance in 1939, when she was unseeded and went out in the fourth round. Her involvement in tennis continued as a coach, journalist, and later administrator. As president of the Worcestershire lawn tennis association for much of the 1960s and 1970s she made a valuable contribution to the British game.

Dorothy Round was one of only two British winners of the Wimbledon ladies’ singles title between the wars; the other, Kathleen (Kitty) Godfree, also won the title twice. Round’s triumphs were the more remarkable in that they were achieved in the era dominated by the “two Helens”, Wills Moody and Jacobs. She was, though, an outstanding player in her own right, whose athleticism, grace and competitiveness invited comparison with the great Suzanne Lenglen.

A committed Christian, and for many years a Methodist Sunday school teacher, Round made headlines several times by refusing to play on a Sunday. Following her Wimbledon singles triumphs she published two books, “Modern Lawn Tennis” (1935) and “Tennis For Girls” (1938), cheerful and sensible guides to the game that she loved. She died of cancer at Kidderminster General Hospital on 12 November 1982. She was 83. Her husband predeceased her.

Indexed.

chris whiteside Sep 13th, 2009 12:05 PM

Re: Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
Pre-WWII tennis is something I know very little about and can only look at the "cold" statistics.

Ms Round if not the very best must at least be one of the three greatest British female players of all time.

In some ways it's difficult to judge in that she barely played a Slam outside of Wimbledon. Treading carefully around Australian toes any moderate world class player could have won the Aussie Championships in 1935.

She ventured twice to Forest Hills reaching 3r in 1931 and in losing to Helen Jacobs in the semi in 1933 had an excellent win over top 10 ranked Sarah Palfrey in the quarters.

No other British player since has reached 3 finals at Wimbledon but oddly in her other seven appearances there she never went beyond the quarter-final. She was perhaps lucky that Helen Wills-Moody was missing from the field in 1934 and 1937 but it was a magnificent result to beat "the other Helen" in the 1934 final considering she had lost her last 4 matches with her. Maybe the 1937 field was not the strongest ever.

But what catches the eye most is the magnificent performance she put up against Mrs Moody in the 1933 final.

We can only dream of a player of this quality in Britain today.

iainmac Sep 14th, 2009 04:26 PM

Re: Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chris whiteside (Post 16484421)
Pre-WWII tennis is something I know very little about and can only look at the "cold" statistics.

Ms Round if not the very best must at least be one of the three greatest British female players of all time.

In some ways it's difficult to judge in that she barely played a Slam outside of Wimbledon. Treading carefully around Australian toes any moderate world class player could have won the Aussie Championships in 1935.

She ventured twice to Forest Hills reaching 3r in 1931 and in losing to Helen Jacobs in the semi in 1933 had an excellent win over top 10 ranked Sarah Palfrey in the quarters.

No other British player since has reached 3 finals at Wimbledon but oddly in her other seven appearances there she never went beyond the quarter-final. She was perhaps lucky that Helen Wills-Moody was missing from the field in 1934 and 1937 but it was a magnificent result to beat "the other Helen" in the 1934 final considering she had lost her last 4 matches with her. Maybe the 1937 field was not the strongest ever.

But what catches the eye most is the magnificent performance she put up against Mrs Moody in the 1933 final.

We can only dream of a player of this quality in Britain today.

I know she was a remarkable woman Chris:wavey:- it was great to see her name at the International Tennis Hall of Fame when I was in Newport on Saturday. I am reading Fred Perrys new autobiography just now. What a year 1934 was- Perry and Round winning the singles at Wimbledon and the Davis Cup retained by Great Britain two weeks later. Those were the days my friend.............

chris whiteside Sep 14th, 2009 04:51 PM

Re: Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by iainmac (Post 16494269)
I know she was a remarkable woman Chris:wavey:- it was great to see her name at the International Tennis Hall of Fame when I was in Newport on Saturday. I am reading Fred Perrys new autobiography just now. What a year 1934 was- Perry and Round winning the singles at Wimbledon and the Davis Cup retained by Great Britain two weeks later. Those were the days my friend.............

Yes, unfortunately the AndyM result was so predictable although I was syrprised it was Cilic - I expected it to be Del Potro.

But wouldn't it be great to have a world class rivalry between Robson and Watson?

iainmac Sep 14th, 2009 04:56 PM

Re: Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chris whiteside (Post 16494450)
Yes, unfortunately the AndyM result was so predictable although I was syrprised it was Cilic - I expected it to be Del Potro.

But wouldn't it be great to have a world class rivalry between Robson and Watson?

Hi friend. Hey do you not think that there is a chance there could be a Jones/Wade. Wade/Barker thing brewing with these two? I think her win at the Open juniors is one of the greatest in the annals of post 80s womens tennis here.

newmark401 Sep 18th, 2009 05:28 PM

Re: Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
I feel that Dorothy Round had the beating of Helen Wills Moody that day. Unfortunately the controversial line call at the end of the second set completely threw her off her game. In "100 Years of Wimbledon", Lance Tingay wrote the following piece on that 1933 ladies' single final:

“The strength of the British women’s game was displayed in 1933 when Dorothy Round, who had to learn to live with her popular description as ‘the Worcestershire Sunday School teacher’, reached the singles final. It was against Mrs Moody and the Californian had been less rigorously dominating than the year before, being almost hard pressed, by her standards, to win her semi-final against Fraulein Krahwinkel [6-4, 6-3]. Miss Round beat Miss Jacobs at the same stage to justify her status as the second seed. The final proved a patriotic occasion for although Miss Round did not win, she averted defeat in a manner which for long had seemed impossible against the all-conquering Mrs Moody.

“The American victory was measured 6-4, 6-8, 6-3. It was the first set lost by the Californian for six years and that was enough to make it a memorable occasion. It was not, though, an unalloyed British triumph for if Miss Round merited her success by the stalwart nature of her resistance, the actual manner of it owed something to luck. Even so it was an exacting fight, the like of which Mrs Moody had not endured for years. The sentiments of the crowd were inflamed when Miss Round had a 40-15 chance to lead 5-4 in the first set. In the second her mixture of short and long drives continued to harass the champion and the British girl got in front 7-6. In the next game, Miss Round, serving, was 30-40, having been 15-40. On the next rally she overdrove the baseline. Or, at least, so she thought, together with Mrs Moody and the umpire, who called the score seven games all. The linesman, though, stuck to his decision of a line ball which everyone though to be an error. The umpire acquiesced, as strictly he had to do, but the incident, coming at so vital a point, proved a terrible distraction. Miss Round got the next two points to win the set. The crowd applauded practically every shot she played in the last set but by then her concentration had been marred."

GeeTee Sep 20th, 2009 12:01 AM

Re: Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by chris whiteside (Post 16484421)
Treading carefully around Australian toes any moderate world class player could have won the Aussie Championships in 1935.

Round was probably lucky that Joan Hartigan (who had already beaten defending champion Round at Wimbledon and reached the semis there for the second consecutive year) had to withdraw with illness from the Australian.

LONDON, Tuesday.
Prolonged applause greeted Joan Hartigan, the Australian, when she defeated the British holder of the title, Miss Dorothy Round, in the quarter final of the ladies' singles on the central court at Wimbledon today.

The result of the match was a great surprise in the present Wimbledon series. The crowd was particularly impressed by the Australian's stoicism in recovering her best form and going after difficult shots, after an unfortunate line decision was given against her, and delayed her winning the second set.

Although captured by the English woman, the first set gave an indication of the strength of the Australian's opposition, and her determination to make a match of it. When a point was incorrectly given in her favour , Miss Hartigan was leading 4-2, and 30-0, and was loudly applauded when she served a double fault which may or, may not have been deliberate. After levelling at 4-all, Miss Round went on to take the next two games, and the set at 6-4.

In the second set Miss Hartigan led 2-0, Miss Round contributing to her success by two successive double faults. Miss Hartigan failed to hold the service, but led 3-1, slamming cross court drives to unplayable acute angles. Good serving and volleying gave the Australian a 4-1 lead. Miss Round again double faulted, helping Miss Hartigan to obtain a lead of 2-1, after admirable deep driving. Miss Hartigan, holding a set point, outed a backhand toss, and the English woman took the game.

Driving, tossing and volleying beautifully Miss Hartigan held two set points on Miss Round's service, but lost the game after a deplorable line decision. She was disheartened, and played badly, while Miss Round crept up to 4-5. At this stage, Miss Hartigan dropped another set point, but made no mistake when a further set point was offered.

As the match continued, the Australian showed further control of her drive, and finished with great coolness and determination, taking the match with a service which flew off the edge of Miss Round's racket.

Interviewed after the match, Miss Round said 'I just did my best. Miss Hartigan played too well for me.",

"The Daily Express" said "Nobody thought the modest, almost apologetic lassie from downunder could win."


In 1934, Hartigan (despite complaining of 'rheumatism' in her left leg and arm) won four tournaments in the UK (and was runner-up in three more) and made the Wimbledon semis.

In 1935, she won another three UK tournies (and another final) and made the Wimbledon semis.

Even forgetting her Australian successes in these years, her overseas success showed she was of much more than 'moderate ability' herself.

Hartigan was clearly the best Australian player, ahead of Emily Westacott. But another four women (Hopman, Bickerton, Molesworth and Le Messurier) had all played overseas - including Wimbledon - with some success. Entries in the 1935 Australian also came from South African and New Zealand players.

Young improvers Nancye Wynne and Thelma Coyne (who within a year would challenge Hartigan'#1 Aussie status - and presumably be considered of top 10 or 15 world standard) and Dot Stevenson added to the depth. And then we had the British team of Round, Dearman and Lyle.

This AUS v GBR match played in Sydney shows how even the AUS and GBR teams were, although Westacott had never played overseas and Bickerton had been out of top-level tennis for a few years.

DAY ONE
Emily Westacott AUS d Evelyn Dearman GBR 63 108
Joan Hartigan AUS d Nancy GBR Lyle 26 63 61
Dorothy Round GBR d Louie Bickerton 64 62
Doubles - AUS d GBR scores??

DAY TWO
Evelyn Dearman GBR d Louie Bickerton 64 57 61
Dorothy Round GBR d Joan Hartigan 62 26 63
Emily Westacott AUS d Nancy Lyle 46 63 62
Round/Dearman GBR d Hartigan/Bickerton AUS 16 64 97

FINAL SCORE: AUS 4/11/108 GBR 4/11/107

Tennis guru Wallis Myers travelled to Australia during this season. Some of his quotes on returning to London:

“Australia had more young players of championship mettle than any country in the world, with the possible exception of the United States.

Referring to the Junior Championships:."the play was of remarkably high standard. No decisions were ever questioned and their was no gestures following a winning or losing stroke.

Girl players did not get the same opportunities to travel as they did in Europe but, like the men, their courage and calmness was noticeable.

iainmac Sep 20th, 2009 01:22 PM

Re: Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by GeeTee (Post 16521452)
Round was probably lucky that Joan Hartigan (who had already beaten defending champion Round at Wimbledon and reached the semis there for the second consecutive year) had to withdraw with illness from the Australian.

LONDON, Tuesday.
Prolonged applause greeted Joan Hartigan, the Australian, when she defeated the British holder of the title, Miss Dorothy Round, in the quarter final of the ladies' singles on the central court at Wimbledon today.

The result of the match was a great surprise in the present Wimbledon series. The crowd was particularly impressed by the Australian's stoicism in recovering her best form and going after difficult shots, after an unfortunate line decision was given against her, and delayed her winning the second set.

Although captured by the English woman, the first set gave an indication of the strength of the Australian's opposition, and her determination to make a match of it. When a point was incorrectly given in her favour , Miss Hartigan was leading 4-2, and 30-0, and was loudly applauded when she served a double fault which may or, may not have been deliberate. After levelling at 4-all, Miss Round went on to take the next two games, and the set at 6-4.

In the second set Miss Hartigan led 2-0, Miss Round contributing to her success by two successive double faults. Miss Hartigan failed to hold the service, but led 3-1, slamming cross court drives to unplayable acute angles. Good serving and volleying gave the Australian a 4-1 lead. Miss Round again double faulted, helping Miss Hartigan to obtain a lead of 2-1, after admirable deep driving. Miss Hartigan, holding a set point, outed a backhand toss, and the English woman took the game.

Driving, tossing and volleying beautifully Miss Hartigan held two set points on Miss Round's service, but lost the game after a deplorable line decision. She was disheartened, and played badly, while Miss Round crept up to 4-5. At this stage, Miss Hartigan dropped another set point, but made no mistake when a further set point was offered.

As the match continued, the Australian showed further control of her drive, and finished with great coolness and determination, taking the match with a service which flew off the edge of Miss Round's racket.

Interviewed after the match, Miss Round said 'I just did my best. Miss Hartigan played too well for me.",

"The Daily Express" said "Nobody thought the modest, almost apologetic lassie from downunder could win."


In 1934, Hartigan (despite complaining of 'rheumatism' in her left leg and arm) won four tournaments in the UK (and was runner-up in three more) and made the Wimbledon semis.

In 1935, she won another three UK tournies (and another final) and made the Wimbledon semis.

Even forgetting her Australian successes in these years, her overseas success showed she was of much more than 'moderate ability' herself.

Hartigan was clearly the best Australian player, ahead of Emily Westacott. But another four women (Hopman, Bickerton, Molesworth and Le Messurier) had all played overseas - including Wimbledon - with some success. Entries in the 1935 Australian also came from South African and New Zealand players.

Young improvers Nancye Wynne and Thelma Coyne (who within a year would challenge Hartigan'#1 Aussie status - and presumably be considered of top 10 or 15 world standard) and Dot Stevenson added to the depth. And then we had the British team of Round, Dearman and Lyle.

This AUS v GBR match played in Sydney shows how even the AUS and GBR teams were, although Westacott had never played overseas and Bickerton had been out of top-level tennis for a few years.

DAY ONE
Emily Westacott AUS d Evelyn Dearman GBR 63 108
Joan Hartigan AUS d Nancy GBR Lyle 26 63 61
Dorothy Round GBR d Louie Bickerton 64 62
Doubles - AUS d GBR scores??

DAY TWO
Evelyn Dearman GBR d Louie Bickerton 64 57 61
Dorothy Round GBR d Joan Hartigan 62 26 63
Emily Westacott AUS d Nancy Lyle 46 63 62
Round/Dearman GBR d Hartigan/Bickerton AUS 16 64 97

FINAL SCORE: AUS 4/11/108 GBR 4/11/107

Tennis guru Wallis Myers travelled to Australia during this season. Some of his quotes on returning to London:

“Australia had more young players of championship mettle than any country in the world, with the possible exception of the United States.

Referring to the Junior Championships:."the play was of remarkably high standard. No decisions were ever questioned and their was no gestures following a winning or losing stroke.

Girl players did not get the same opportunities to travel as they did in Europe but, like the men, their courage and calmness was noticeable.

That was a great post. Hartigan by my quick research won the Australian three times and that is great. I think it is important to remember that distance stopped players going to Australia and vice versa. It was a very different world. But IMO nobody who won a GS title should be denied it becasue of what ifs!!!:)

Rollo Sep 25th, 2009 01:06 AM

Re: Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
This pic on Beckenham's site does not identify her-but it is Round, presumably at the Kent Chmpionships sometime in the 1930s. Dorothy won the Beckenham event in 1933 and 1935.


iainmac Sep 25th, 2009 01:52 PM

Re: Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
That is a fantastic action photograph. Isnt it amazing that all great players of whatever era always have a level of concentration that is so much more intense than the average tour player? Looks like Beckenham was attracting great crowds back then. Cheers for the photo Rollo.

Rollo Nov 11th, 2009 05:01 AM

Re: Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
Here is a cigarette card of Dorothy. These tennis cards were popular in the 1930s and are collector's items


iainmac Nov 11th, 2009 11:30 AM

Re: Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rollo (Post 16800750)
Here is a cigarette card of Dorothy. These tennis cards were popular in the 1930s and are collector's items


To think that people would have bought their smokes and thrown these away most of the time- and now worth a fortune!!!!!

iainmac May 22nd, 2010 11:15 PM

Dorothy Round
 
Would love to start some discussion on this legendary British player

Rollo May 24th, 2010 08:20 PM

Re: Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
Here is film of Round beating Scriven at the 1934 British Hard Courts at Bournemouth. It's a real shame Round didn't contest the French, as peggy Scriven won it twice-the last time in 1934-weeks after this very match!

The capacity crowd illustrates how popular these women were in their day.

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=4943

iainmac May 27th, 2010 06:34 AM

Re: Dorothy Round Little - One of Britain's greatest champions
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rollo (Post 17823113)
Here is film of Round beating Scriven at the 1934 British Hard Courts at Bournemouth. It's a real shame Round didn't contest the French, as peggy Scriven won it twice-the last time in 1934-weeks after this very match!

The capacity crowd illustrates how popualr these women were in their day.

http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=4943

Rollo:wavey:Thanks so much for that link and yes isnt it impressive the crowds that they generated, I would imagine particularly in the case of Round who was a national heroine by this stage. I think it is a shame she didnt win the French as it would have cemented her even more as one of the GOAT British players. As for Scriven, for someone who never received a lesson in her life and didnt start to play till she was mid or late teens it is an astonishing achievement that she won the French twice. Only her relative lack of success at Wimbledon denied her a bigger profile here in Britain.


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