While Mo was later universally adored-cute and cuddly she was NOT in her prime.
From Time magazine July 14, 1952.
SPORT: Little Mo Grows Up
Britain was not quite prepared for lean, well weathered (57) Tennis Coach Eleanor ("Teach") Tennant and her apple-cheeked San Diego prodigy, Maureen ("Little Mo") Connolly. Expecting to greet the same girlish, hard-playing bobby-soxer who wept with joy last September over winning the U.S. Women's title, English tennis fans were soon puzzling over a change in Little Mo. By the time she walked on to Wimbledon's center court last week for the Women's Singles finals, it was obvious what it was: Little Mo had changed into Killer Connolly.
From the moment she landed at London's airport late last May, Maureen had settled down to work with an awesome determination. Smashing her way to victory, she swept unchecked through the Grass Courts Singles titles at Surbiton and Manchester. It was big news whenever she dropped a set. Playing the all-out attacking game--volleys, overheads, attack with the serve--that Coach Tennant had drilled her on all winter, she moved into the early rounds at Wimbledon with machine-like precision.
"You Have To Be Mean..." There was an unladylike grimness about Maureen's playing that shocked most proper Britons into grudging admiration--and a wish to see her roundly trounced. Cried London's Daily Telegraph: "The big thrill the center court crowd so eagerly awaits... the defeat of the 17-year-old, much-vaunted American champion... is still to come." Teach snorted scornfully in reply: "She's out to kill them. You have to be mean to be a champion. How can you lick someone if you feel friendly toward them?"
Nothing halted Maureen's progress. Two of her early-round British opponents crisply praised Maureen's cannonball abandon, but also felt compelled to chalk up their defeats to the heat. The heat made no difference to Killer Connolly. Cool and unperturbed, despite a painfully sore shoulder, she kept dancing her little baseline jig, running her rivals ragged with hard-hit placements, only occasionally coming to the net to volley.
In the top bracket of the All-American semifinals, Maureen blasted Akron's steady Shirley Fry off the court, 6-4, 6-3, with unreachable placements. Then, appearing in a purplish cardigan designed by London's Teddy Tinling (who also designed Gussie Moran's lace panties), she faced Louise Brough, three-time (1948-50) Wimbledon champion, who upset Maureen last May to win the Southern California crown.
"All Up in the Air."
Maureen went right to work. Again & again, her sharp-angled shots left Veteran (29) Brough standing flatfooted on the baseline. When Brough tried to slow Maureen up with a change of pace or drop shots, Maureen scampered all over the court, turning retrieves into unreturnable volleys, smashes and passing shots. In the first set she broke through Brough's service to win 7-5. After losing the first two games of the second set, she settled down to win five straight games before dropping one. Moments later, Maureen's unnerved opponent fluffed a serve into the net and the match was over, 7-5, 6-3. Crying "Whoopee!", Britain's new champion, its second youngest American titleist,* shook hands with Loser Brough and raced happily to take the trophy plate from the Duchess of Kent.
After hugging Teach in her dressing room, Maureen rushed off for a television appearance, a press conference, and to dress for the Wimbledon dance. "Everything is so wonderful," she burbled, sounding just like Little Mo again. "I'm all up in the air."