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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:12 AM   #1
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French Open

Remarks on event:

From 1890 until 1924 a French National event was held. This was open to French nationals only, though a couple of the finalists appear to be British. Apparently foreigners could enter if they belonged to a French Club. The women's event didn't get started until 1897. It was not a success, as entries were so limited that a couple of times the winner did not have to play a match!

From 1912 a major event was held in Paris, with the exception of one year in Brussels.
The "World Hard Court Cahmpionships" was the official World title on clay. Hard courts was the British term for clay, modern hard cement courts as we know them today being limited to California and South Africa.

The World Hard Courts were the forerunner for the French Open. When the ITF admitted the US in 1923 it was demanded that the "World" titles be dropped. The French decided to let the 1924 Olympics in Paris replace the Hard Court title for that year. After that the way was clear for what is now know as "the French Open".

Many thanks to Newmark for his work on the pre-war French Nationals. This may be found at:
http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=443328

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:14 AM   #2
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1897

Venue: Ile de Puteaux, Paris

Singles

FI: Adine Masson d. Mme P. Girod 6-3 6-1


Summary:

This first women's singles event at what was the French Closed Championships (open only to French players and overseas players who were members of French clubs) took place on one day, Wednesday, June 23, 1897. It was played separately from the men's singles event, the semi-finals and finals of which were played the following Sunday at a different venue, the Tennis Club de France. It was not until later years that all of the different events were played at the same venue and at the same time (from 1910 onwards the venue was the Racing Club de France, in Paris). There was a men's doubles event at this point in time, but no women's doubles event until 1907. The first mixed doubles event was held in 1902.

Adine Masson appears to have been a French-Canadian who settled in France. She was the best of the earliest female tennis players in France. The runner-up was a married woman, so the P. might stand for Pierre or Paul. Her identity is well hidden anyway. A report in "Le Figaro" said it was a very hard-fought contest, this despite the score-line.

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:14 AM   #3
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1898

Venue: Racing Club de France, Paris

Singles

Adine Masson was champion.

Adine entered the event. As there were no other entries she was declared the champion.

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:14 AM   #4
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1899

Venue: Ile de Puteaux

Singles
Adine Masson was champion.

Adine Masson enters again but is again unchallenged as champion.

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:15 AM   #5
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1900

Venue: Racing Club de France

Singles
Helene (or Yvonne) Prevost was champion.

The champion was the only entrant for the third consecutive year.

Helene Prévost, or at least a Mlle Prévost, won the women's singles title at the Closed French Championships in 1900. Together with Adine Masson, Prévost was the best of the early French female lawn tennis players. According to "Lawn Tennis at Home and Abroad", "Mlle Prévost plays a hard, steady game, and possesses a very severe forehand stroke, and places well. She is very quick about the court and if she could only improve her backhand she would be very hard to beat."

There is little doubt that Yvonne Prévost existed. In 1900, she was also runner-up at what is now recognised as the first women's singles event at the Olympic Games held that year at the lawn tennis club located on the Ile de Puteaux in Paris.

However, more than one reliable contemporary source also mentions a Hélène Prévost playing lawn tennis in France at this time. Yvonne and Hélène could have been sisters, or related in some other way.

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:15 AM   #6
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1901

Venue: Ile de Puteaux, Paris

Final

Mme P. Girod d. Mlle Leroux 6-1 6-1

Mlle Leroux (first name unknown) in what appears to have been the All-Comers' Final. "Le Figaro" newspaper mentions that the score was 6-1 6-1 and that "Mlle Prévost" was not defending her title. Mme P. Girod had been runner-up in the inaugural women's singles event four years earlier.

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:15 AM   #7
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1902

Dates: Circa June 18-28
Venue: Racing Club de France, Paris

Singles

SF: Adine Masson d. Helene Prevost 5-7 7-5 6-3
SF: Mme P Girod d. Katie Gillou 0-6 6-2 6-0

FI: Adine Masson d. Mme P Girod 6-0 6-1
------------------------------------------

Mixed Doubles

SF: Helene Prevost/Reginald Villiers Forbes d. Mme P. Girod/Fouchier-Magnan 6-3 6-2
SF: Adine Masson/W Masson d. L. Schopfer/Jean Schopfer 6-8 7-5 7-5

FI: Helene Prevost/Reginald Villiers Forbes d Adine Masson/W Masson
------------------------------------------

Draw note:

An Armand Masson is mentioned as founder of an early French Club. Could he be connected to Adine Masson?

Summary:
The semifinals took place circa June 23, with the final due to take place "at a later date" ("Le Figaro", June 24, 1902).

This was the inaugural mixed doubles event at the French Closed Championships. Several reliable sources gives the Forbes/Prevost team as the winners, but no score. Note that Jean Schopfer (1868-1931) was famous under his pen name Claude Anet. One of Anet's books was a biography of Suzanne Lenglen.

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:15 AM   #8
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1903

Venue: Ile de Puteaux, Paris

Singles

Final

Adine Masson d. Katie Gillou 6-0 6-8 6-0
------------------------------------------

Mixed Doubles

Won by Helene Prévost/Reginald Villiers Forbes

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:16 AM   #9
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1904

Venue: Racing Club de France, Paris

Singles

Final

Katie Gillou d. Adine Masson ????

------------------------------------------

Mixed Doubles

Won by Kate Gillou/Max Decugis

The years 1904-1908 are probably the most obscure in the history of the women's singles event at the Closed French Championships. However, it is clear that Kate, or Katie, Gillou won the event in question every year during this period, except in 1907. "Le Figaro" mentions Kate Gillou several times during these years and includes a short report on her wedding to a René Fenwick in March 1906. Kate had a lawn tennis-playing sister called Antoinette, who was not quite as good as her.

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:16 AM   #10
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1905

Venue: Ile de Puteaux, Paris

Singles

Final

Katie Gillou d. Yvonne de Pfoeffel 6-0 11-9
------------------------------------------

Mixed Doubles

Won by Yvonne de Pfeffel/Max Decugis


In 1905, Kate Gillou defeated Yvonne de Pfeffel, 6-0, 11-9, in what appears to have been the last match of the women's singles event at the Closed French Championships. Kate was the defending champion. Yvonne de Pfeffel was one of two lawn tennis-playing sisters, the other being Marie-Louise de Pfeffel. Their father was German-born, hence the occurrence of "von Pfeffel" in some sources.

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:16 AM   #11
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1906

Venue: Racng Club de France, Paris

Singles

Final

Katie Fenwick d. Virginia MacVeagh (US)
------------------------------------------

Mixed Doubles

Won Yvonne de Pfeffel/Max Decugis
------------------------------------------

Draw note

Fenwick=married name of Gillou.

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:16 AM   #12
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1907

Venue: Ile de Puteaux, Paris

Singles

Final
Countess Thérèse Villard de Kermel d. Catherine d'Aliney d'Elva 6-1 retired

------------------------------------------

Doubles

Won by Adine Masson/Yvonne de Pfeffel
------------------------------------------

Mixed Doubles

Won by A Péan/Robert Wallet


The other winner of the women's singles event at the Closed French Championships during this period was the Countess de Kermel, born Thérèse Villard on 15 June 1874. She married Count Olivier de Kermel in Paris, France, on 30 September 1899. ("Le Figaro" had announced their engagement a few months earlier.) In the final match at the Closed French Championships in 1907, the countess won the first set, 6-1, against a Mlle d'Elva before the latter retired. It appears that Katie Fenwick was not defending her singles title in 1907.

Mlle d'Elva, the runner-up, is one of the most obscure players to have taken part in the Closed French Championships. She did not play much competitive lawn tennis at all.

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:16 AM   #13
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1908

Venue: Racing Club de France, Paris

Singles

Final

Katie Fenwick d. A Pean 6-2 6-2
------------------------------------------

Doubles

Won by Katie Fenwick/Cécile Matthey
------------------------------------------

Mixed Doubles

Won by Katie Fenwick/Max Decugis


"Lawn Tennis and Croquet" says that this event suffered from a lack of English participants because of its place in the calendar, which meant that it clashed with some of the tournaments in Britain. It was hoped that a change in the calendar might encourage more foreign participants. The event in question was held on the Ile de Puteaux, more or less on the Seine.

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:17 AM   #14
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1909

Venue: Société Athlétique de la Villa Primrose Club, Bordeaux

Singles

Final

Jeanne Matthey d. Abeille Gallay 10-8 6-4
------------------------------------------

Doubles

Won by Jeanne Matthey/Daisy Spéranza
------------------------------------------

Mixed Doubles

Won by Jeanne Matthey/Max Decugis


It is relatively easy to say with certainty who won the women's singles event at the Closed French Championships from 1909 onwards. In 1909, the Closed French Championships as a whole were held outside Paris for the first and only time, the venue being the Société Athlétique de la Villa Primrose Club in the port city of Bordeaux, on the south-west coast of France.

It was in Bordeaux that Jeanne Matthey won the women's singles title at the Closed French Championships for the first time. In the last match, which might have been an All-Comers' Final, she beat Mme Abeille Gallay, 10-8, 6-4.

Jeanne Matthey had a lawn tennis-playing sister called Cécile, but Jeanne was by far the better player of the two.

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Old Jun 1st, 2002, 05:17 AM   #15
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1910

Venue: Racing Club de France, Paris
Surface:Clay

Singles

Final
Jeanne Matthey d. Germaine Regnier 1-6 6-1 9-7
----------------------------------------------

Doubles

Won by Jeanne Matthey/Daisy Speranza
----------------------------------------------

Mixed Doubles

Won by Mme M Meany/Edouard Meny

Draw Notes:

Edouard Marie Marc Mény de Marangue (November 30, 1882 – January 23, 1960) was a competitor at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm. Thanks to Charles Friesen for noting that Germaine Regnier, the RU for this year, is the maiden name of Germaine Golding

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