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Old Jan 27th, 2011, 10:36 PM   #1
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Molla Bjurstedt Mallory



"Miss Bjurstedt's Game Based on Speedy Drive," The New York Times, 27 February 1916:
http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive...649C946796D6CF

In the world of lawn tennis, Miss Molla Bjurstedt has accomplished that for which others have often striven but which none has ever before attained. She occupies a unique and envied place in the sphere of her athletic activity. Having spent less than a year and a half in this country, she is the holder of three women's national championships, a record that did not fall to the lot of even the redoubtable Mrs. May Sutton Bundy when she was at the height of her career. And more, this girl of Norway is the only foreigner to be chosen for the premier position by the ranking committee.

The last tennis year, aside from the national competitions, offered a ripe harvest of trophies to this new recruit, whose advent in to the American tennis field has proved as much of a sensation as that of the native sons and daughters of California. "Success" appears to have been the first English word she learned. She is the metropolitan champion, she won the Crescent Athletic Club invitation tournament, was first in the Pelham invitation, won the Middle States tournament, the Nyack tournament, the Tri-State, the Ohio State, and the Longwood, and this activity of lesser degree was crowned by her victories in the national events, the women's invitation at Forest Hills, the indoor at the Seventh Regiment, and the clay court at Pittsburgh. It is a record for the annals of tennis that will probably be unsurpassed for many years.

Miss Bjurstedt came to this country unheralded - almost unknown. In December, 1914, a short, sturdy girl stepped from a transatlantic liner to visit New York, and passed comparatively unknown into the confines of the big city. There was no applause for her then; she was just one of the many - but in less than three months her name was known wherever tennis is played.

Highly interested in tennis in her own Norway, she naturally inclined to that pastime when she arrived here. Some of those with whom she became acquainted told her that there was an opportunity for her to enter in the women's national indoor championship, which was to be played at the Seventh Regiment Armory. She was probably the only one to have any faith in her chances of ultimate success in the event, and even her enthusiasm was undoubtedly dimmed by subsequent happenings. The American women, when practice play began for the tournament, did not take seriously this foreigner who had entered. The good players could not see the merit of her game. The result was that Miss Bjurstedt had to get her practice as best she might, playing against the lesser lights of the women's tennis world.

After her defeat of Mrs. William Lesher in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, there was a change. Then the many as well as the few were ready to concede that the young lady, who came here bringing with her the title of champion of Norway, was really something more than an average player, and that it might have required real merit to win the honors in her home country. There began to be talk that Miss Marie Wagner, the then champion, who was in the lower half of the draw, might be called upon to face this Norse maiden in the finals.

As Miss Bjurstedt went through succeeding rounds with unvarying success, belief became certainty, and Miss Wagner and Miss Bjurstedt were the finalists for the national indoor championship. The result of that match was a triumph for Miss Bjurstedt, and it detracts from her honors no whit to say that Miss Wagner did not measure up to her accustomed playing ability. The champion of Norway won at 6-4, 6-4 by clearly outplacing her rival. This success started her on a path of wonderful accomplishment.

If one were to ask Miss Bjurstedt how she plays tennis she would probably answer that it were better to seek the information from some one who had seen her play, rather than from herself. She is not a theorist on tennis, only a practical demonstrator of how to play the game so effectually that it is comparatively easy to win championships. She doesn't know how she does it, she just plays and plays because she likes the game. Liking the game has been a dominant factor in her success.

Not by any flight of imagination could one believe that Miss Bjurstedt was a form player. Radically she is not. It's a remarkable thing that this champion displays fault after fault, some of them glaring, and yet she is the champion. Those who make form their hobby and playing a side issue, could demonstrate at great length that Miss Bjurstedt should not be a champion. They could tell you that in many respects she is a weak player and substantiate the argument. There is only one solution, and this is that the Norse girl does so wonderfully well that which she does well at all that her strong points far outweigh the weak ones. She knows her own deficiencies in the game and she is always playing to counteract their effect.

There is one outstanding feature of her play that is evident to even the untrained eye. That is her powerful forehand drive, and on this her whole game is based. It is not the usual stroke of the woman in tennis. It is the stroke rather of the man, the man from California, or the stroke that May Sutton Bundy used so effectually.

Molla Bjurstedt has mastered the stroke and she has become an adept, not only in making the drive, but in making it go to just the particular point that she wishes. She can play it to within an inch of the baseline and nick the corners as well as if the tennis ball followed a groove. Having played for twelve years on the open and covered courts of Norway, the champion has had ample opportunity to develop this drive to perfection, and it was this feature of her play that carried her through to the indoor championship of this country. She had no other asset of importance.

Realizing her inadequacies, she determined to develop her backhand, and this she has succeeded in doing until it is one of her valued strokes. After seeing her forehand drive there are those who call her backhand weak, but it is weak only by comparison. There is not the power that is developed with the forehand, but the stroke measures up to a high degree of excellence, better than that of almost any of the other players she will have to meet in any of the championship events this year.

One feature of Miss Bjurstedt's play that makes her formidable is a natural agility. She can cover the court with the freedom and ease of a man. She seems to be everywhere at once and far outclasses the other women players in this particular. If there is something of the grace of the finished tennis player lacking, Miss Bjurstedt does not mind. Her one object is to get the ball back over the net and it is seldom that she loses on long rallies. To her opponents it seems that the ball is eternally popping back at them until at last they are passed or forced into an error.

Those who watched R. Lindley Murray in the recent indoor tournament at the Seventh Regiment were impressed with the manner in which he went after everything, never conceding that he had been passed, until the ball had actually passed out of play. It is characteristic of the California type of tennis and it must also be a characteristic of Norwegian tennis, for Miss Bjurstedt plays with the same degree of energy. Most women tennis players are prone to be somewhat lackadaisical, conceding the point without too much effort, if it looks to be out of range. But not so with the Norwegian. She tries for everything and many a point that would be scored against a less ambitious player is saved by her.

Probably one reason for this difference is the fact that Miss Bjurstedt has wonderful endurance. Apparently she is tireless in playing the game and she does not have to conserve her strength as some others have to do if they are to meet with any success. In any case endurance turns out to be a big asset in favor of the Norse girl. No one has ever seen her thoroughly exhausted after playing a hard match. Fatigue is one English word to which she has not been introduced.

After recounting her good points, it may well be asked what are her weak points. First among them must be considered service. In this line Miss Bjurstedt is distinctly feminine. She has no service worth speaking of under that name. Service to her, instead of meaning a twist or a hard fast ball, is simply a method of beginning the play. The ball is almost lobbed over the net. There is little propelling force behind the racquet. Instead of the swift stroke far above the head on the descending ball, Miss Bjurstedt almost pushes the ball away from her, rather than striking at it. It seems strange that a woman with such a terrific drive should be so weak in this point of the game. In playing the drive she does it as the Californians do, taking the ball as it rises instead of as it descents after the bound. The racquet for this stroke is never more than shoulder high, and seldom that.

But for the serve there must be a shoulder stroke and Miss Bjurstedt cannot swing the racquet with that motion. Hence she can't serve. A strong forearm is handled by a shoulder weakness, and her entire overhead game suffers. It may be for this reason that Miss Bjurstedt plays a deep court game, seldom making the run for the net to kill. She can't kill any more than she can serve. What she does do in the case of a short lob is to place it almost by laying her racquet against the ball, never driving down on it. And this is many times a successful mode of attack when she is at the net.

Miss Bjurstedt is not the best tennis strategist among women players, perhaps not quite so good as May Sutton Bundy, the only player of similar force with whom she may fairly be compared. However, stratgegy is part of her game; she relies on outguessing her opponent and often does it successfully.

If one were to ask Miss Bjurstedt on what particular features of her game she most depends, she would probably say speed first - and the second point would be placement. Perfect in both of these elements, they make her the strongest player of the game among the women, with the possible exception of Mrs. Bundy, many times champion. These two met during this Winter in three matches played in California and Mrs. Bundy was strong enough to win two of them, while Miss Bjurstedt took the other. All were hard fought, closely contested events, and in a measure not conclusive as to the relative merit of the two, Mrs. Bundy, it is believed, will come East this Summer, and in that case the question of superiority will undoubtedly be settled conclusively.

It is generally true that natural ability is attributed to every champion, no matter what may be the line of athletic endeavor. Sometimes it is actually the case, and with reference to Miss Bjurstedt there seems to be little doubt. She has a natural aptitude for the game, believing in it not alone as a pastime, but as a health-giving exercise.

She started playing in her native city of Christiania [now known as Oslo] in 1903 as a member of the Christiania Lawn Tennis Club. At the start of her career she took a few lessons from a professional, thus getting the fundamentals of the game. A year later she played in her first tournament, and won. Every opportunity for play found her on a tennis court, and she determined that, as she liked the sport, she would apply herself to becoming a good player. From 1903 to 1915 she played regularly and won constantly. For ten years she was the champion of Norway. Then came the lure of greater conquest, and she visited the United States, with the success that has been recounted.

For tennis in her own country she has not a very high regard. There are few good players, according to her estimate; in fact, it is said that she could defeat most of the men. There was, however, one constant in Norway who could give her a hard battle, and this was her younger sister, Valborg Bjurstedt. The two played together a great deal, and the younger girl displayed almost as high a degree of skill as Miss Molly Bjurstedt.

Within a few weeks the women's national indoor championship will be constested at the Seventh Regiment Armory, and Miss Bjurstedt will endeavor to clain anew the title which was the first which she won in this country. She will probably play in the other national events, but is not certain that her tournament competition will be as general as it was last season.

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Old Jan 27th, 2011, 11:34 PM   #2
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory

"Molla 'Broke,' Gets a Job," Rochester Evening Journal, 24 June 1932:

Broke, Tennis Champion Molla Bjurstedt Mallory today was found in the sports shop of a Fifth Avenue department store selling tennis and golf dresses. Eight times women's national tennis champion in America, the wife of Franklin L. Mallory, broker, who is still recovering from an automobile accident of a year ago, summoned up her Norse courage and turned from rackets to work, proving that she "can take it."

The Valkyrlie of the courts who beat Elizabeth Ryan, Helen Wills and Susanne Lenglen always remained an amateur, she reminded visitors today. "I played for the game - not for money. I have no money, my husband's business failed, he is not well - so I got this job." For the past two years Mrs. Mallory has not played tennis since her knee began to hurt her.

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

"Former Tennis Queen, Now Broke, To Run Tennis Dress Shop," The Sunday Sun, 22 July 1932:

The bright gleam of her fame as a many-times women's tennis champion has dimmed. And to make enough money to keep the wolf from coming up the elevator to the door of her apartment, she is going to start a little dress shop here [New York City]. A few weeks ago ... she was fired from her job as a saleswoman in a New York department store. "I guess I wasn't so much of a drawing card as they hoped I'd be. You're so soon forgotten. In no time at all! The crowd is fickle. They liked me at first. But I was champion too long. They were glad when I was beaten."

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

"Molla Mallory - Eight Times U.S. Tennis Champion, Can't Crack 100 at Golf - And Is She Sore?," Evening Post, New York City, 1933:

"Molla Mallory ... sat in her Park Avenue apartment being interviewed. It is four years since her retirement due to a bad knee, but the muscles in her right arm ripple like those of a woodchopper. 'I can't lose this tennis arm. It ruins my golf. I push. It nearly drives me crazy. If you have ever played golf, you know what it is to come near 100 but never quite break it. I take lessons constantly; I play every morning in summer, but I'm still plugging along in the 100s. That's what makes me mad.' Besides golf, she plays contract bridge, mah-jong, and diligently monkeys with immense jig-saw puzzles. She still wears her hair in the severe bob of her tennis days because when she tries to change it, nobody recognizes her. And it's less trouble, too. An outspoken woman, she has trouble whenever newspapers quote her. A couple years ago when she got a job in a department store, the newspapers made it seem as if she were destitute. This made her husband, a Wall Street broker, very angry because Wall Street brokers are never broke but only pressed for cash. And besides it wasn't true. ... What she misses most of all is the competition of the tennis days."

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Old Jan 27th, 2011, 11:38 PM   #3
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory

She automatically became a citizen of the United States when she married Franklin Mallory in 1919.

Franklin's injuries, referenced in the preceding post, occurred when a drunken driver hit a taxi in which Franklin and Molla were riding. The incident also injured Molla's knee and kept her from playing tennis.

Franklin died July 22, 1934, of angina pectoris and, according to The New York Times, left $49,646 (about $808,000 in 2010 dollars) to his family.
http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstra...8ED85F428385F9

While living in New York City and working as a saleswoman at a department store, Molla went to Stockholm in July 1959 to visit her sister Valborg Bjurstedt Hals. She never returned. Molla had shingles and respiratory problems when she left the United States, but the exact cause of death was not announced. "Molla Mallory's Hard Play Changed Women's Tennis," Charleston Daily Mail, 23 November 1959. She was buried on 21 December 1959 in the Skogskyrkogarden Cemetery in the Enskededalen district, south of central Stockholm. Grave number 13924, quarter 14E. Her burial name is Anna Margareta Mallory.
http://hittagraven.stockholm.se/Info...13924&upplnr=1

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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 02:43 AM   #4
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory





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Old Jan 28th, 2011, 02:50 AM   #5
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory



Wow, look at Mallory's right arm! This picture was taken just before the epic final of the 1926 U.S. Championships. Mallory came back from 0-4 down in the final set (and saved a match point at 6-7) to defeat Elizabeth Ryan 4-6, 6-4, 9-7. Mallory was 42, and Ryan was 34.
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Old Jan 29th, 2011, 11:04 AM   #6
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory

Tennis for Women, by Molla Bjurstedt and Samuel Crowther, Doubleday Page & Company, 1916:

THIRTEEN years ago [1903] some one asked me to fill out a game of doubles on the indoor tennis courts in Christiania [now known as Oslo, Norway]; I took a racquet and hit the ball. I think the ball went through a skylight but the point is that I hit the ball uncommonly hard.

That is why I liked tennis at once, and why I have played whenever I have had the chance, for I have always had a desire to run about and hit something. At school we had plenty of exercise. In the summer there was rowing and swimming, and frequent battles with my brothers, but, until I discovered tennis, I never had a real chance to fling myself about and hit.

Finding that I had a "tennis eye" and could hit the ball gave me unlimited confidence in my ability to play and beat others. In a month after starting I played in my first tournament. I have never passed a tournament since, for it is only by competitive play that one can improve. Of course I was beaten in my first match; I found that the other girls did not hit the ball so hard, but they did know more or less where it was going to land. I made up my mind right there that I would learn how to place.

The indoor courts in Christiania were poorly lighted; no one knew much about tennis, and when I secured a professional teacher in the spring I had to unlearn many bad habits. The professional taught me that tennis does not consist in a wild "swat'' at the ball; he grounded me in the elements of stroke. It is a great mistake not to take lessons from a professional before playing tennis; lessons are uninteresting, but they pay in the end.

I went on fast enough because of my strength and my eye. I was runner-up in the Norwegian championships that fall. I should have gone on faster had I known better players with whom to practise, or had I had the chance to enter more tournaments. We have little tennis in Norway, and very few good players. There were no girls, excepting my younger sister, to give me a game, and soon I became too fast for the men. We had a few players attached to the British Legation, and I also played frequently with the present Crown Prince of Sweden, Gustav Adolf. We entered the mixed doubles in the World's Indoor Championship at Stockholm in 1904, but were quickly beaten; I was also beaten in the first round of the singles.

My game was improving, however, and in 1904 I won the woman's outdoor tennis championship of Norway. I have since won it every time that I have entered eight times.

Having finished school at home, I went to a boarding-school in Wiesbaden, principally to learn German, but I did not like the girls at all. I cried for six months, until I finally managed to have my parents take me home. Then I went to Paris for a year to perfect my French. Of course I did not get much tennis in either place.

That was six years ago [1910]; most of the girls that I knew were taking up massage we in Norway think that every girl ought to have a profession of some kind and I took a course at the Orthopedic Institute in Christiania. I am glad that I did, for otherwise I should probably never have come to America to live, and therefore I should never have won the championship.

In 1908 I thought I should try my luck in London as a masseuse; I joined the Queen's Club for tennis, and had plenty of fine practice with the professionals. I also found that there was a great deal more for me to learn about tennis. I had not been playing my strokes quite right, and my play was much below that of the English girls. I entered one or two tournaments, but was easily beaten; I had very little practice against women, and I did not quite know how to take their game.

Although the tennis was so good in England, the practice of my profession was not, and I came back to Christiania to my parents. I had learned tennis, and had had a good time learning it.

I had been anxious to play in some tournaments outside of Norway or Sweden; I wanted to try myself against better players. I can never really play hard unless my opponent is pressing me; when I have easy matches, my game goes down.

My sister and I were asked to play in a tournament at Hamburg and we accepted, promising our parents that we would not be gone over a week. I was beaten in the finals, one set to two by the champion of Germany.

The German girls told us that we would have a splendid time at the Braunschweig handicaps; we were due home, but we reasoned that it would be the last outing for the summer and we ventured Braun- schweig. We had great luck there; we won the doubles, owing thirty, and then we tossed for the singles.

There was another tournament on at Hamburg; my mother kept wiring us to come home, but since we were due for a scolding anyway, we thought it might as well be a good one; we went to Hamburg. I took the third prize in the singles. Finally at Baden-Baden we reached the end of our money and I had to send a wire home for more. My sister went on to Dresden to study music, so I had to face things at Christiania alone; my father was waiting to meet me at the boat!

That summer in Germany gave me more tournament play than I had ever had; in fact, I played more that summer than at any time before coming to the United States, and I learned a great deal of tennis. The German girls hit the ball much harder than do most of the girls here, and they play a splendid placing game from the base line; they hardly ever come to the net.

The Olympic games came the next year, 1912. The Norwegian Association would not enter me in the indoor games, because they did not like to be represented by only a woman! However, they entered me in the outdoor games.

I played much better in the Olympics than I had ever played before, but in the third round I lost to Mile. Broquedis, the French champion. The sets were 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 and most of the games went to deuce. She eventually took the first prize and I got the third, a bronze medal.

After the Olympics I played only in Norway and Sweden until I came to the United States in October, 1914, to practise my profession; I do not practise massage at home, and I was tiring of inaction. I was engaged for a while by a family in Canada. Then I came to New York.

I had little thought of tennis in America, until I saw the newspaper accounts of the men's indoor championships in February. Then I began to be restless. I looked in at the armory during several of the matches, and finally I asked if there would be any chance to practise after the tournament had finished. They told me of the woman's championship in March, and at once I entered, not that I had much idea of winning, but I wanted competition.

I found Haggett, a professional from Stockholm, at the courts. I told him that I was going to enter for the championship; and then I said, I am afraid somewhat plaintively: " I want to win." "Go ahead and do it," he replied cheerfully, but he had not the least idea that I would. I did not get into the game until the tournament started, but then I went through without losing a set. I confess that I was very much surprised.

* * * *

I cannot play "steady" tennis; I must try new strokes and new plays all the time, or the game loses interest. I often get into trouble trying styles which I do not know much about. For instance, I will sometimes practise them against a weaker player, and just manage to win, while I will be conservative against a good and probably win more easily. Then a good player thinks that I have tried to make her appear weak, and is correspondingly cross. I do not mean to make such a comparison it is just that I cannot help trying new plays whenever I have the chance.

When the outdoor season opened I entered nearly all the tournaments about New York and found that I could somewhat more than hold my own with the local players. Then I played through the Nationals in Philadelphia, winning in the final from Mrs. George Wightman by two sets to one, and again beating her at Pittsburg for the Clay Court Championship by the same number of sets. Mrs. Wightman was by far the best player whom I had met in the United States up to date. Between times I won the singles title in the Metropolitan, Pelham Invitation, Crescent Athletic Club Invitation, Middle States, Nyack, Tri-State, Ohio State and Longwood Invitation. I lost at Orange, N. J., to Mrs. Frederick Schmitz; at Alexandria Bay, N. Y., to Mrs. Marshall McLean, and to Mrs. George Wightman at Cedarhurst. These were the only matches I lost in the East during the year, and I have since beaten all these players.

I think that I am the first girl to hold all the national titles for women in singles in the one year, but it was great fun getting them, and I am afraid that I cannot be very conceited about them.

I have played more and better tennis since coming to America than I ever played before. When I came here I could drive; I knew nothing of the volley and my service was very weak. Some said that my back-hand was weak, but I think they said that because my forehand was very strong; of course my backhand was not as strong as my forehand. I practised my backhand every day for two weeks with the professional at the West Side Club. By steady practice I have learned something of the volley, and in time I am going to volley strongly. As far as my backhand is concerned, I can only say that Mrs. Bundy preferred my forehand to my backhand. I never expect to know how to serve and I do not care to know the various cut strokes or services.

After the close of the Eastern season I went out to California with Mrs. George Wightman and played in a number of special events. I had three fine matches with Mrs. Thomas M. Bundy of which she won two and I won one. She is the best player that I have ever known, and has a wonderfully hard and accurate drive. She plays very much the same game as I do, and also has the same tendency to drive herself off her feet with the force of the stroke. I also lost to Miss Anita Meyers after having won the first set 6-0.

The play out in California is not under quite so comfortable conditions as in the Eastern clubs, although I had a splendid time. The courts are all asphalt and are very hard indeed on one's feet. But it is a delightful sensation to play in the open air in December.

My present program is to practise my profession through half the year and play tennis the other half. Perhaps that is not the most remunerative way of living that can be imagined, but it is the most fun.

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Old Jan 29th, 2011, 12:19 PM   #7
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory

"My sister and I were asked to play at a tournament in Hamburg and we accepted..."

The abovementioned tournament is obviously the 1911 German Championships, where Molla Bjurstedt lost the singles final, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, to Mieken Rieck, the defending champion. This tournament was held circa mid-August. Molla's younger sister, Valborg, had been runner-up (6-2, 6-0) to Hedwig Neresheimer at the 1911 Dresden tournament, held circa mid-June (Molla probably played in that tournament too).
-----

Circa 1877, somewhere in Norway, Axel Johan Bjurstedt married Anna Benedicte Jenssen. They had five children:

1. Benedict Bjurstedt, born September 10, 1878
2. Kirsten Augusta Bjurstedt, born September 13, 1880
3. Severin August Bjurstedt, born July 16, 1882
4. Anna Margaretha Bjurstedt, born March 6, 1884
5. Valborg Bjurstedt, born November 7, 1885

So, Anna Margaretha ("Molla") had two sisters, one younger and one older, and two older brothers.

Note: Molla's second name is spelt "Margrethe" in some sources. The source for the information on Molla's parents and siblings is a Norwegian-language website.

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Old Jan 29th, 2011, 12:39 PM   #8
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory

"... I also played frequently with the present Crown Prince of Sweden, Gustav Adolf. We entered the mixed doubles in the World's Indoor Championship at Stockholm in 1904, but were quickly beaten; I was also beaten in the first round of the singles."

Of course, there was no World's Indoor Tennis Championships in 1904. The tournament Molla Bjurstedt was probably thinking of was effectively the Swedish Covered Court Tournament (or Championships), held annually in Stockholm around mid-May. (In 1904, this tournament also featured a Championships of Europe men's singles event, but no separate singles event for women.)

Molla Bjurstedt did indeed take part in this Swedish tournament in 1904. After receiving a bye in the first round, she was beaten, 6-2, 6-3, by Else Wallenberg of Sweden in what was a quarter-final match.

It appears that, at this point in time, the mixed doubles event at this tournament was still "handicap" only. There was no women's doubles event. The Crown Prince of Sweden, Gustav Adolf, also tried his hand in some of the men's singles events, but didn't have any success.
-----

"My game was improving, however, and in 1904 I won the woman's [women's] outdoor tennis championship of Norway. I have since won it every time that I have entered [-] eight times."

According to the "Store Norske Leksikon", or "Great Norwegian Lexikon" (www.snl.no), the first tennis clubs in Norway were established in 1888, these being the Christiansands Lawn Tennis Club and the tennis section at the Christiania Football Club.

The same source states that the Norwegian Tennis Association was founded in 1909, while the Norwegian Outdoor Tennis Championships for both genders first took place in 1910. The women's singles event was won by Molla Bjurstedt, who won the same title again in 1911 and 1914. Valborg Bjurstedt won it in 1913, 1915 and 1916.

So, it appears that Molla must have won a slightly different tournament in the years preceding the founding of the Norwegian Tennis Association in 1909, although she states that the tournament she won eight times was held outdoors. This is somewhat unusual given the climate in Norway (the earliest main tournament in Sweden was always held indoors, on covered wooden courts). However, summer dates would have been likely for the tournament in question. Strangely enough, the Norwegian Indoor Tennis Championships were not held for the first time until 1927.

It appears that Molla did not play in the Norwegian Outdoor Tennis Championships in 1912 and 1913, and in one of the years between 1904 and 1909. However, the "Store Norske Leksikon" might be wrong in this regard because the website of the Norwegian Tennis Association (www.tennis.no) lists Valborg Bjurstedt as the winner of the Norwegian Outdoor Tennis Championships in the years 1913-15. It does not list a winner of the women's singles for 1911, but gives Molla and Valborg Bjurstedt as the winner of the women's doubles in both 1910 and 1911. So, if Molla played in the 1911 tournament, she almost certainly also won the singles title, as the "Store Norske Leksikon" states.

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Old Feb 10th, 2011, 09:22 PM   #9
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory

Mallory was inducted into what is now known as the International Tennis Hall of Fame on August 17, 1958, 15 months before her death.
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 04:30 AM   #10
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory

Some pictures of Molla Bjurstedt Mallory at Wimbledon in 1921, where she lost to Elizabeth Ryan in the quarterfinals 0-6, 6-4, 6-4.



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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 05:29 AM   #11
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory

Molla Bjurstedt Mallory won her eighth and final singles title at the U.S. Championships in 1926, defeating Elizabeth Ryan in the final 4-6, 6-4, 9-7. Bjurstedt Mallory won on her fourth match point after having survived a match point in favor of Ryan.

Mary K. Browne, a frequent competitor of both players, wrote in the Providence News on 24 August 1926 (http://tinyurl.com/3f9q6pr):
It was an afternoon of dramatic intensity at Forest Hills, and of unusual happenings. Second only to Mrs. Mallory's remarkable victory in the singles was the amazing reception she got from the gallery, not only after the final point had been won and lost, but all through the gruelling struggle. It was a hitherto unknown experience for the recrowned national champion. In all the years she was ruling American courts, ... Mrs. Mallory has never been the favorite in the final round match. The thumbs of those in the stands have always been turned down against her.

Very few critics and practically none of the public credit Mrs. Molla Mallory with the fine tennis she can produce, because she is not versatile, but her opponents know how hard she is to defeat. Why? Mainly because back of her only two strokes, she has an indomitable will to win. The most determined and ever present of any player I have played in my many years experience.

Molla has only two strokes, a forearm and back hand drive, but what few stop to consider is that Tilden and Suzanne Lenglen win nine-tenths their points from the back court, with placements from the forearm and back hand strokes. To be sure, they mix their shots by the occasional use of a chop or change of pace, while Mrs. Mallory drives with continuous pace and wins on fine regular placements. She is herself absolutely tireless and patient, so that she can and does stay with a rally from back court longer than her opponent can or will.

I have rarely seen Mrs. Mallory nervous. She plays with extreme confidence, stroking with abandon and ease, with never a moment's indecision as to what stroke to play, she has only two and only one pace. I sometimes think it is a handicap to have variety of things to do, for "he who hesitates is too often lost." She goes out for her shots and if that day they are going, she is apt to win from anyone.

Her victory at Forest Hills in 1921 over Suzanne Lenglen was accomplished through sheer determination alone. She hit hard and her two strokes were going, but what was more important, she had made up her mind that if she could annex the first few games that Lenglen would "quit" and Mrs. Mallory put her whole strength and concentration into accomplishing that one feat and she did. ... It was in this instance that she acquired the epithet of "Marvelous Molla."

The Brooklyn New York Daily Eagle on 24 August 1926 described the match as follows (http://tinyurl.com/3cfkk72):
For sheer courage, the last stand of the gallant Norsewoman has never been equaled in the annals of the 39 years of history that this championship tournament has behind it. Each of these hard-hitting tennis stars had taken a set, fighting for points with nerve-racking intensity. The welcome 10-minute rest period had sped its fleeting course. Coming back with refreshed vitality, Miss Ryan ran through four straight games with keen and amazing speed. Even Molla's most stout-hearted supporters were ready to throw up the sponge. The title seemed lost.

But this Norse champion never quits. She looked disaster in the face and knew it for an imposter. Gathering her forces for her final drive, she unleashed such a furious succession of drives and passing shots as the West Side courts have never seen leap from a woman's racket. Suddenly her control was unerring and her tactics uncanny in their sly anticipation.

Watching Mrs. Mallory turn the tide, the method by which she did it seemed so simple that one wondered why she did not pursue it sooner. It was not until she faced the glassy stare of defeat that Molla rose to the occasion and demonstrated that genius is the ability to make hard things look easy.

Her big problem was to render that vicious Ryan chop stroke impotent. The first step in achieving this end was a marked increase in the pace of all of her strokes, Driving with force that was really terrific, angling her shots so that Miss Ryan was constantly on the run, she succeeded in keeping the Californian from getting set to deliver her most telling stroke.

By this means, she took the attack away from her rival. Once this big aim had been realized, she played consistently to Miss Ryan's backhand, pounding away at its stonewall defense. Only unfailing control enabled Molla to exert this pressure, but during that final set her command of the ball never left her.

Realizing that she was being put through the run-around by her Norse foe, Miss Ryan tried to regain command of the net. in the first set, this had been an unfailing resource, but now a charge at the barrier was a liability. For Molla, with her suddenly acquired knack of finding the sidelines, shot the ball past her as she was rushing forward. The effect was disconcerting in the extreme. All that the Californian could do then was try to outspeed the new champion. When she succeeded, she won the point. When she failed, Mrs. Mallory scored.

Even the tantalizing drop shots that had scored so often for Miss Ryan in that grueling second set were no longer effective. Where they had caught Molla on the baseline previously, now she met them as she came to the net, and turned them to her advantage as she angled them sharply into the opposite court.

After the score was tied at 4-all in the deciding set, the games began to alternate with service once more. Mrs. Mallory had been favored by many net cord shots that fell safely for placements, but this luck was more than equalized by the number of faulty decisions that went against her. With the crowd so thoroughly partisan as it was, one marvels at its self-restraing in refraining from voicing its disapproval. Once only, in the 12th game, with Miss Ryan leading at 6-5 did a flagrant error arouse its vocal wrath. The outburst was prolonged, until finally Mrs. Mallory turned and quieted the crowd with a preemptory gesture. She did not care to have any points donated to her, for that did not coincide with her sportsmanlike idea of how to win. It was a splendid thing for her to do, especially in the face of the discouragingly inefficient officiating that was on tap all afternoon.

The last three games were thrilling in their intensity. The stands were painfully silent. In the 14th game, Miss Ryan actually reached match point. But after a fierce rally, Molla forced her to net the ball. Passing that crisis caused the Norse girl to dance with joy and enabled her to carry on with renewed courage. Two fluky placements won the 15th game for her. One of them bounced safely over the net off the wood of her racked as she was returning service, while the second hopped from the top of the net right over Miss Ryan's bat as she was poised to volley.

But her childish delight at these happenings was as nothing to the wild war whoop that she let forth when she finally won the deciding game. Three times she had had match point. Only a solitary telegrapher broke the afternoon quiet. But each time her Irish foe, fighting with the courage that has characterized her race since time immemorial, fought her off. Once the game had been deuced, it seemed that the match would become interminable, but again Mrs. Mallory rallied and forced two errors by her speed to win the match.

By comparison with the exhilarating climax, the first two sets appeared tame. In the opener, Miss Ryan had her deadly chops functioning perfectly. Try as she would, Mrs. Mallory could not dig them up. Those that did not go for clean placements flew wildly from her bat as she tried to send them back.

It was not until the second set that her efforts attained much success. Then her speed of stroke began to tell. She sent the ball into Miss Ryan's court faster than that grim foe could run to return it. But in spite of the fact that she took the set and squared the match, few people believed that she would win. They were still mindful of the magnificent way in which Miss Ryan had come back after the intermission of her quarter final match with Eleanor Goss.

An odd feature of the final result was that Miss Ryan won one more point than did the winner. The fact that only a single point separated them in the total score shows just how close the battling was at all times.

First set point scores by game:
Ryan 4-1-6-6-4-2-1-4-3-4 = 36
Bjurstedt Mally 1-4-4-4-1-4-4-0-5-1 = 28

Second set point scores by game:
Ryan 4-0-4-2-4-4-3-4-2-2 = 29
Bjurstedt Mallory 2-4-2-4-1-6-5-1-4-4 = 33

Third set point scores by game:
Ryan 4-4-4-4-2-2-0-2-4-1-4-2-4-5-3-3 = 48
Bjurstedt Mallory 1-2-2-1-4-4-4-4-1-4-1-4-1-7-5-5 = 50

Aces:
Ryan 2
Bjurstedt Mallory 0

Double faults:
Ryan 7
Bjurstedt Mallory 6

Placements / earned points:
Ryan 63
Bjurstedt Mallory 70

Errors:
Ryan 75
Bjurstedt Mallory 79
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 05:49 AM   #12
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory

The U.S. lost the Wightman Cup in 1925 at Forest Hills. Molla Bjurstedt Mallory said in the Brookly New York Daily Eagle on 16 February 1926 (http://tinyurl.com/3co5hlt),
In view of the fact that the U.S.L.T.A. is now selecting a team of women players to compete for the Wightman Cup at Wimbledon next June [1926], it may interest you to know that we never would have lost the trophy to England at Forest Hills last year if the powers that be had not put the gate receipts ahead of our team's welfare. I think it is not unfair to say that the Wightman Cup was sacrificed on the golden altar of hard cash.

You will remember that the schedule arranged by the tennis committee compelled Helen Wills and myself to play our two hardest matches on the same day. For example, Miss Wills, paired with Miss Browne, had to meet England's number one doubles combination - McKane and Collier - right after playing Kitty McKane that hectic match in the singles. If the schedule had been correctly planned, Helen would have met Kitty on the first day and Joan Fry on the second. I ought to have been permitted to play Miss Fry the first afternoon and Miss McKane the second. Such an arrangement would have brought Helen Wills and myself fresh and fit to our crucial contests.

Why wasn't this common sense plan carried out? Why was Helen asked to play her two toughest matches on the same day? The answer is simple - because of the gate receipts. When Miss Browne protested against this ill-conceived schedule, she was told by an official that it was necessary to have the number one singles match and the number one doubles match played on the same afternoon in order that the cash customers might be induced to turn out in sufficient quantities. As soon as Mary and I heard the mystic words "gate receipts," we knew that there was no use arguing the matter any futher. That stadium must be paid for, you know. Gate receipts come first in modern tennis. Not one of the officials ever consulted any of the American players. Mary Browne was ostensibly captain of our side, but nobody asked her advice as to the order in which the matches should be played. ... Well, they got their gate receipts, but we lost the cup.

Speaking of unfair treatment, it seems to me that Mrs. [Marion Hall Zinderstein] Jessup has been discriminated against. Miss Eleanor Goss has never defeated Mrs. Jessup, yet Eleanor made the Wightman team and Marion was left out in the cold. Mrs. Jessup is the only American girl who has ever beaten Miss Ryan since Elizabeth returned to these shores. What's more, Mrs. Jessup, a beautiful doubles player with superb volleying skill, was passed up by the tennis solons who picked our doubles teams in favor of Mrs. Bundy, who has long since passed her tennis prime. Mrs. Bundy absolutely lacks aptitude for the modern game of doubles.
Bjurstedt Mallory had a similar complaint concerning the draw at the U.S. Championships in 1925. She said:
To me it looked very much as if the seeded draw in the last National Championship was fixed with an eye to the gate receipts in mind. Apparently the officials were taking no unnecessary chances on Helen Wills' failing to reach the finals. At all events, she was seeded in a ridiculously soft half of the draw, while her three presumably most dangerous rivals - Kitty McKane, Elizabeth Ryan, and myself - were all grouped in the lower section. It tests credibility too far to believe that this was a coincidence. Either Miss Ryan, Miss McKane, or myself should have been seeded in the same half with Miss Wills. I firmly believe that Miss McKane, playing as she did against Miss Ryan and me, would have beaten Miss Wills. I further believe that Miss Ryan's crafty chop strokes might have taken Helen's measure. Miss Ryan beat Miss Wills at Seabright so conclusively as to raise the question whether Helen could fathom Elizabeth's style on a dry, fast court.

Even as it was, Helen sent shudders coursing up and down the spines of the tennis moguls by dropping a set to plucky Joan Fry. The English girl gets amazing results from an utterly unorthodox style. Her backhand is positively grotesque, but she can hit a sizzling shot from this side, under her racket like a shovel.

While Helen Wills was experiencing what should have been a joy ride in the upper half, Miss Ryan, Miss McKane, and I were forced to "kill ourselves off." Poor Miss McKane had to meet Elizabeth, me and Helen one after another! No wonder her stamina ran low. Against Miss Ryan, Kitty played with sparkling dash and verve. She was chock-full of pep, storming the net persistently to cut off those tantalizing chops before they had a chance to bounce. ... Miss McKane was almost as fresh and sprightly against me the next afternoon. I have seldom played better in my entire career. It was a return to my old form - the form that gave me six National Championships. Never in any of my matches with Miss Wills have I been able to reach the standard of play that used to be mine, but against Kitty, I flashed a return to my old time form. I was able to keep going at top speed most of the way, something that I haven't been capable of in recent years. Only against Suzanne Lenglen did I play better tennis. After Miss McKane had won the final point, I felt no chagrin, nothing but admiration for her compelling game. I knew that I had played my best tennis in four years, and I told Kitty so. We talked the match over together on the clubhouse veranda. Kitty agreed that we both had touched the peak of our games. "I never played so well in my life," she said.

Those two terrific three-set matches on successive afternoons sapped Kitty's reserve strength. She was but a shadow of herself against a well-rested Helen Wills in the finals, yet, tired as she was, Miss McKane gave Helen a stubborn battle. Call me conceited if you like, but after watching that match, I felt down in my heart that I could have beaten Miss Wills that afternoon. I met Miss McKane in the dressing room following the match. "Your strength was gone, Kitty." I said, "Now I'm sorry that I didn't beat you yesterday. I feel that I could have done better than you did today." "I think so too, Molla," Kitty replied. "Those hard matches with you and Miss Ryan left me completely exhausted."

As splended a player as Helen Wills certainly doesn't need to have her path to the finals smoothed in advance.
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Old Oct 26th, 2011, 03:40 PM   #13
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory

Quote:
The answer is simple - because of the gate receipts. When Miss Browne protested against this ill-conceived schedule, she was told by an official that it was necessary to have the number one singles match and the number one doubles match played on the same afternoon in order that the cash customers might be induced to turn out in sufficient quantities. As soon as Mary and I heard the mystic words "gate receipts," we knew that there was no use arguing the matter any futher. That stadium must be paid for, you know. Gate receipts come first in modern tennis. Not one of the officials ever consulted any of the American players. Mary Browne was ostensibly captain of our side, but nobody asked her advice as to the order in which the matches should be played. ... Well, they got their gate receipts, but we lost the cup.

The answer is simple - because of the gate receipts. When Miss Browne protested against this ill-conceived schedule, she was told by an official that it was necessary to have the number one singles match and the number one doubles match played on the same afternoon in order that the cash customers might be induced to turn out in sufficient quantities. As soon as Mary and I heard the mystic words "gate receipts," we knew that there was no use arguing the matter any futher. That stadium must be paid for, you know. Gate receipts come first in modern tennis. Not one of the officials ever consulted any of the American players. Mary Browne was ostensibly captain of our side, but nobody asked her advice as to the order in which the matches should be played. ... Well, they got their gate receipts, but we lost the cup.
Gate receipts---some things are still the same more than 80 years later....
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Old Nov 9th, 2011, 07:28 PM   #14
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory

Some of you may enjoy watching this short clip of Molla Mallory playing Helen Wills in the 1929 Forest Hills semis - Wills won the match 6-0 6-0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEP7dbesk2o
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Old Nov 20th, 2011, 06:53 AM   #15
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Re: Molla Bjurstedt Mallory


Bill Tilden with Molla Bjurstedt Mallory, 1929.
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