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Old Apr 25th, 2014, 07:37 PM   #1
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Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

In the year 2002, a book was published to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of the German Tennis Association. This book is entitled “Tennis in Deutschland. Von den Anfängen bis 2002. Zum 100-jährigen Bestehen des Deutschen Tennis Bundes”/“Tennis in Germany. From its Beginnings to 2002. On the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the German Tennis Association.”

The book in question includes a chapter-by-chapter history of lawn tennis in Germany from the earliest years up until 2002 as well as short biographies of the main protagonists. These include the players whose biographies are reproduced below in English translation: Ilse Weihermann Friedleben, Nelly Bamberger Neppach, Cilly Aussem (later Countess Murari dalla Corte Brà) and Hilde Sperling-Krahwinkel.

The short biographies of these four players provide an insight not only into their lives, but also into lawn tennis in Germany in the interwar years and the changes their lives and the sport gradually underwent as a second world war approached.
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Old Apr 25th, 2014, 07:41 PM   #2
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

Ilse Friedleben – A Champion Driven From Her Homeland

By Christian Eichler

“She was a bit like the Steffi Graf of the inflationary years. Six victories at the International German Championships – that was an achievement only Hilde Sperling-Krahwinkel in the 1930s and Steffi Graf half a century later were able to surpass. ‘Frau Dr Friedleben’, as she was called in contemporary sports reports, which left out first names, had been born in Frankfurt-am-Main in 1893 as Ilse Weihermann. Before World War One both she and her sister Toni were ranked among the best German tennis players and, as the ‘Official Annual’ of the German Tennis Association for 1927 states, Ilse Friedleben was ‘the principal representative of post-war German tennis whose players were excluded from international competition until 1927’.

“During her best years as a tennis player she was not able to measure her talents against those of the top international players, against Suzanne Lenglen or Helen Wills, first because of the war and then because of Germany’s isolation and also because of the poverty of the inflationary years. Only in 1930, at the age of 37, did she play at Wimbledon for the first and last time, and had no chance on the unfamiliar grass courts. The following year, both of her successors at the top of German tennis, Cilly Aussem and Hilde Krahwinkel, contested the women’s singles final at Wimbledon, favoured by the absence of the invincible Helen Wills Moody, and Cilly Aussem became the first German to win a Wimbledon singles title, something Isle Friedleben never really had a chance at.

“The Weihermanns were a Jewish tennis-playing family. In 1926, Ilse Friedleben was ranked number one in Germany, as she had been every year since the end of the war; her sister, Toni Weihermann, with whom Ilse became doubles champion, was ranked number four; and another sister, Anna, now Frau Hemp, was ranked number seven (two years later Anna became a professional). At the SC 1880 Club in Frankfurt-am-Main, all three sisters were also successful hockey players. Ilse Friedleben played tennis at another club in Frankfurt-am-Main, the TC Palmengarten.

“The best German tennis player of the 1920s conquered her German opponents as she wished by means of her tenacity and her old-fashioned forehand, which she swung in a broad, circular manner. However, she was not the sort of person to whom everything came easily. Reporters again and again praised her willpower and energy, with which she turned many matches around, such as the final of the German Championships at the Hamburger Rothenbaum in 1926, where she won her sixth German singles title against her eternal opponent, Nelly Neppach, after being 6-8, 0-2 behind.

“Not only Ilse Friedleben’s outer reserve and inner tenacity, but some other characteristics also remind one of Steffi Graf, such as her tactical inclination to stay at the baseline, from where she dominated her opponents with her forehand. In the anniversary Tennis Annual, published to mark twenty-five years since the founding of the German Tennis Association, the following description of Ilse Friedleben’s game was included, along with perceptible amazement at her many successes despite the ‘one-sided technical nature of the Frankfurter’s game’; her game ‘is strong because she avoids (or lacks?) any volleying skills and simply as a result of her forehand with its broad swing, which is hit quickly and accurately, and obviously because of talents of a different and more than technical nature. Willpower, concentration, self-confidence – and, resulting from this, the ability to increase the power of her game when in an unfavourable or even hopeless position – all of this gives Ilse Friedleben the strength of a champion and her game its energy’.

“From 1920 to 1924, and again in 1926, she won the International German Championships in Hamburg six times. Maybe, with her total of nine titles overall [?], she would be the record-holder at the most of important of German tournaments if it had not been cancelled for six consecutive years during Ilse Friedleben’s youth, from her twenty-first to her twenty-sixth year. She won a total of fifteen German championships in the years 1920-32, including four indoors, as well as the championships of Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Hungary.

“In 1926, Ilse Friedleben beat the new star in the constellation of German tennis, Cilly Aussem, in the final of the German Covered Court Championships in Bremen. The score was 6-3, 6-4. The following year, 1927, Cilly Aussem, who was sixteen years younger than Ilse Friedleben, ended the reigning champion’s dominance at the German Championships when she beat her in the final in Hamburg in front of 2,500 spectators.

“The official organ, ‘Tennis und Golf’, reported on this changing of the guard as follows: ‘By the score of 6-3, 6-3, Frl Aussem won her first German Championship against the one player who has been in a class of her own in German tennis, and whose successes in German tennis have until now been unprecedented. The spectators’ applause, which lasted several minutes, was therefore meant not just for the new, but was also meant in a heartfelt manner for the old champion, who has gained so many victories on the tennis court.’

“The safe game of the young, hard-running challenger, who made her opponent’s weapons her own, and in the whole final only came to the net once, wore down the 34-year-old defending champion. And maybe also the spectators – during one rally the ball passed over the net 68 times.

“However, Cilly Aussem embodied something new in women’s tennis in Germany, with her over-arm serve and her good volleys. The sport of tennis was changing, a fact that becomes obvious when old and new styles of play meet at the intersection of two careers. The contemporary writer in ‘Tennis und Golf’ saw a ‘masculinisation’ of women’s tennis in this change. In that year, 1927, Ilse Friedleben lost the top year-end ranking in German tennis for the first time since the end of the war. Cilly Aussem had overtaken her.
“However, Ilse Friedleben did not give up without a fight. In 1929, she was again ranked number one, and in 1932, when she won the women’s singles title at the Closed German Championships for the last time, she was ranked number three in Germany. As late as 1933, when she was almost forty, she was ranked number five in Germany. However, by then the politicians had come to power who believed that someone like her had no right to be ranked as a player in Germany. German tennis became ‘free of Jews’.

“It appears as if the Nazis almost succeeded not only in destroying the lives of millions of people, but also in wiping out any traces of those lives. Isle Friedleben escaped the annihilation of the Jews, as did both of her sisters. However, she left no trail. There are hardly any sources, hardly anything remains of her, scarcely even a photograph, at least not one in which she is smiling. In ‘Tennis und Golf’ one can find a rare photograph of her in profile, unsuitable for a sports magazine, rather like the photograph of a sad singer of torch songs displayed in front of a review theatre. Beneath the boyish haircut of the Charleston years she turns her slightly shaded face away with an expression of deep melancholy. As if she sensed what was coming.

“Unlike Nelly Neppach, she did not take her own life in 1933, but instead began a new life abroad. Ilse Friedleben ended up in Switzerland, where she is said to have worked as a teacher after World War Two. She died in London in December 1963.”
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Old Apr 25th, 2014, 07:44 PM   #3
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

Nelly Neppach – A Tragic Fate

By Christian Eichler

“On May 12, 1933, ‘Tennis und Golf’, the ‘only official organ of the German Tennis Association’, carried an unusual report. It was hidden between an article on the local tennis matches in Kassel, a varied view of ‘tactics and strategy’ (based on the example of the ‘tactician’ Jean Borotra and the ‘strategist’ Henri Cochet) and an illustrated advertisement for ‘Dr. Med. Gmelin, Nordsee Sanatorium, Südstrand/Föhr (bed and breakfast from 7.50 to 12.00 Reich marks, including use of the tennis courts’.

“The report in question consisted of a bland-sounding, nineteen-line text, which began as follows: ‘In the night of May 8, 1933, Frau Nelly Neppach brought her life to a speedy end by swallowing poison in her Berlin apartment...’

“It is worth pointing out that the description is of a ‘speedy’ end. Not an early or a much too early end. Not a shattering end, an incomprehensible end or an inconceivable end – all words which would come to the mind of someone who had to report on the death of a woman who had not yet reached her fortieth year. But there was, indeed, nothing inconceivable about it, not at that time.

“And so the journalist continued the obituary notice in the same dry tone, as if he was not describing a tragic fate, but rather a problem that had solved itself. ‘She was one of the most well-known German tennis players, who had already enjoyed much success in her native city of Frankfurt-am-Main in the years before World War One, under her maiden name of Bamberger. After the war she married the well-known film architect Robert Neppach and moved to Berlin [...] Her greatest success was the winning of the women’s singles title at the International German Championships in 1925 against Frau Ilse Friedleben.’ And so on, to the pithy end of the spare text: ‘In recent years she was no longer able to maintain her position amongst the top German players, in 1932 she was ranked number 9 in Germany.’

“Those empty words are the last words that were heard of Nelly Neppach, née Bamberger, in German tennis circles. Not much for a woman who, after Ilse Friedleben, also a Jew from Frankfurt-am-Main, was the second-best player in Germany long before the arrival of opponents such as Paula von Reznicek and Toni Schomburgk. For one or two years it even seemed that she could take over the top spot from Ilse Friedleben. This she in fact did in 1925, when she beat the five-time champion in the final of the International German Championships in Hamburg, and when she won eight out of nine possible championship titles during the season, becoming joint German number one with Ilse Friedleben.

“At that time both Nelly Neppach and Ilse Friedleben were already in their thirties, and were about to be superseded by younger players like Cilly Aussem and Hilde Krahwinkel whose style of play was modern and international in nature. However, in 1927, in the final of the German Covered Court Championships, there was what one sports paper called ‘the now traditional duel’ between Ilse Friedleben and Nelly Neppach, both of whom played almost exclusively from the baseline, with solid ground-strokes, great running strength, quick thinking and tactical awareness. The official witness of the match noted his reflections on this old school type of game: ‘Both women serve underhand, which is seen as old-fashioned given the masculine game of many female foreign players. Both women also lack a natural, free-flowing, powerful smash.’

“Because their games were not very different, the decisive factors were mainly fighting spirit and willpower, characteristics with regard to which Ilse Friedleben was superior to her German rivals, including her eternal opponent Nelly Neppach who, according to the 1927 ‘German Tennis Annual’, ‘does not possess the same amount of willpower and concentration as Ilse Friedleben’. That is why the final of the German Covered Court Championships in 1927 ended almost typically the same way as most of the previous meetings between these two players. Just as she had won the final of the German Championships in 1926 after being 6-8, 0-2 behind, Ilse Friedleben won the covered court final against Nelly Neppach after a tough battle, 10-8, 6-3.

“Six years later Ilse Friedleben fled into exile and Nelly Neppach into suicide. No one can say why she saw no other way out – a new beginning would have been a possibility. Her husband, Robert, who had become famous as an architect and designer in expressionist German films of the 1920s, and who in 1929 had been involved in the making of the film ‘The Woman Whom Men Desire’ [‘Die Frau, nach der man sich sehnt’], starring Marlene Dietrich, had no chance of continuing his career under the Nazis.

“At the beginning of the 1930s he had established his own company, ‘R.N.-Filmproduktion’. His last production, the film entitled ‘The First Right of the Child’, which promoted the right to abortion, was banned from German cinemas on the orders of Heinrich Himmler. However, just like Nelly Neppach, he would certainly have been able to make a living in Hollywood or elsewhere.

“However, material survival was not everything. It is still in some way possible to understand how in a disorganised country such as Germany was in the weeks after Hitler’s seizure of power, certain tennis players for reasons of personal racism or opportunism could suddenly refuse to play matches against players who were ‘quarter-Jewish’ or ‘half-Jewish’ – and how such a country could drive someone despondently to their death. These were still individual cases, but the new men in power had long desired that anti-Semitism not be left to sheer chance or personal inclinations.

“In the same edition of ‘Tennis und Golf’ that dealt with Nelly Neppach’s death in nineteen dry lines of text in the back pages, the front pages featured an in-depth piece on the ‘restructuring’ of the German Tennis Association. This change had first been announced a few weeks earlier when, during the Davis Cup tie pitting Germany against Egypt in Wiesbaden, for which the top German tennis player Daniel Prenn, who was Jewish, could no longer be nominated, the new ‘Reich Sports Commissioner’, Hans von Tshcammer und Osten, spoke at the meeting of the executive committee of the German Tennis Association and announced that ‘the whole German Tennis Association had been integrated into the overall apparatus of state-centralised German sport’.

“In this respect, according to the official press release, the ‘Aryan question’ had also been dealt with. The German Tennis Association, whose five Jewish executive committee members had simultaneously announced their resignation, and received ‘warmest thanks for the work they had carried out up until now’, issued the following as part of a binding statement: ‘Non-Aryans may not be nominated for participation in representative events (e.g. for the Davis Cup, competitions between German states, other types of competitions in Germany [Medenwettspiele]) or in other types of events officially sanctioned by the German Tennis Association’.

“Like other popular sports, tennis was now being used to further policies by other means. To further murderous policies. Nelly Neppach did not survive the Aryan question in German tennis.”
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Old Apr 25th, 2014, 07:47 PM   #4
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

Cilly Aussem – The Cheerful Champion

By Dieter Koditek

“In her tender, fragile-looking, but very agile body there dwelled a strong will. And with this will she was able to move mountains when playing tennis. Thus did Cilly Aussem, the high-spirited Rhinelander, become the first German Wimbledon champion. However, before she achieved this goal, the photogenic lady with the big dark eyes had had to overcome many obstacles. She was not born with talent, she had to acquire it during many hard hours of training prescribed by her mother. ‘Mummy’ Aussem was not only as pretty as her daughter, she was also exceptionally ambitious where her tennis career was concerned.

“Cilly Aussem, who was born in Cologne on April 4, 1909, had her first experience with a tennis racket and tennis balls at a very early age. At the oldest club in her native city, the Rot-Weiss Köln, she found in Willy Hannemann a renowned coach who helped her make rapid progress. At the age of 15 she became German Junior Champion, at 17 she won the senior title for the first time, and at 19 she was number in the German ranking list. In those years she also had her international breakthrough – she won the women’s single title at the International German Championships at the Hamburger Rothenbaum club in 1927, 1930 and 1931.

“One of her most important fellow travellers and helpers was the great Bill Tilden, who was not only the best player of his era, but is still today considered one of the greatest players of all time. The American, who was worshipped in tennis circles, but in those days was also controversial because of his homosexuality, made no secret of his liking for the dainty Rhinelander. In his book ‘Aces, Places and Faults’, he wrote the following flattering words about her: ‘Together with the Englishwoman Kay Stammers, Cilly was the most exciting girl who has ever played tennis. She was my best mixed doubles partner.’ From this one can conclude that in Tilden’s era the mixed doubles was also an important event for the top players.

“However, Tilden was more to the young German woman than just a partner and admirer. He was also the person who probably set her on the most important course of her career. He recognised that Cilly had to free herself from her dependence on her domineering mother if she wanted to become a real champion. Her respect for her mother had resulted in some questionable reactions, for example, after a defeat against Paula Heimann, the future Paula Stuck, Cilly Aussem burst into tears, explaining: ‘I’m not crying because I lost, but because I’ve disappointed my mother.’

“During one of the then very popular series of tournaments on the Côte d’Azur, Bill Tilden grasped the opportunity to take the decisive step. When Frau Aussem asked how her daughter could be made into a really great player, the champion answered: ‘By you getting on the next train and beginning the journey home.’ Those words sunk in. Frau Aussem did what was right, and her little daughter had her free space at last.

“As early as 1930 the Rhinelander, who later switched to the Rot-Weiss Club in Berlin and was coached by Roman Najuch, had announced her intentions with regard to the most coveted of all titles at Wimbledon. She reached the semi-finals by defeating the world number two, the American Helen Jacobs. But there she lost in very unfortunate circumstances to another American, Elizabeth Ryan who, with 19 titles in singles [?], doubles and mixed doubles set a Wimbledon record surpassed only by Martina Navratilova more than half a century later [?]. In her semi-final against Elizabeth Ryan, Cilly Aussem fell so heavily that she temporarily fainted from the pain and had to be stretchered off court.

“However, one year later there was no stopping her at Wimbledon. When the semi-finals were over it was clear that there would be a German champion because, in addition to the player from Cologne, the tall Essen native, Hilde Krahwinkel, had also qualified for the final. Cilly Aussem won the match against her compatriot, 6-2, 7-5, making herself immortal with this triumph. A few weeks earlier she had also won the women’s singles title at the International French Championships, held on clay in Paris – proof of her all-court game.

“By this time the cheerful woman, the star with no airs and graces, had been experiencing problems with her eyesight. She often spent the time before her sporting endeavours in darkened rooms. She wanted to protect her eyes in this way. The sunshade she wore during the latter stage of her career and which became her trademark was also used to this end.

“Her eye problems signalled an early end to her great career because she was always in delicate health anyway. After a long break from taking part in tournaments, caused by an appendix operation and an exhausting South American trip, Cilly Aussem featured in the world rankings for the last time in 1934. Then she disappeared from the tennis scene and found her happiness in her marriage to an Italian aristocrat, Count Murari della Corte Brà, with whom she spent the rest of her short life in his homeland. She had met the aristocrat while skiing in Garmisch Partenkirchen.

“When Cilly Aussem died in 1963, nothing had been heard of her for a long time. Almost completely blind, she had withdrawn from the public eye. Her death would probably have gone unnoticed in Germany if, when reading the daily newspapers, a German journalist had not seen an obituary notice with the sad news about someone with the name of Murari dalla Corte Brà.

“Cilly Aussem’s final resting place is the San Giorgio graveyard in Portofino.”
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Old Apr 25th, 2014, 07:50 PM   #5
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

Hilde Sperling-Krahwinkel – The Quiet Champion

By Dieter Koditek

“Before Steffi Graf arrived on the scene, she was the most successful tennis player in the history of German tennis. Hilde Sperling-Krahwinkel was ranked in the world’s top ten for ten consecutive years, from 1930 to 1939, and in 1936 and 1937 was even ranked as high as number two. And still, at least where popularity was concerned, she had to leave the number one position to another German player. Wimbledon is the tournament with the greatest reputation and there, in 1931, in what is so far the only singles final to feature two German women, Hilde Krahwinkel was beaten by Cilly Aussem from Cologne. From then on Hilde Sperling-Krahwinkel had to stand somewhat in the shadow of the Rhinelander whose career did not last very long.

“The girl from a good middle-class, wealthy, respectable home in Essen achieved a great deal. For three consecutive years, from 1935 to 1937, she won the International French Championships in Paris, the most coveted and most valuable of all clay court titles. And in 1936 she reached the Wimbledon singles final for a second time, but once again finished as runner-up. After a fierce battle she lost to the great Helen Jacobs, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, and in the process reduced her American opponent to a state of near physical collapse. When the final point had been won, Helen Jacobs had to be helped to the changing room supported by two assistants.

“In that final Hilde Sperling-Krahwinkel had to battle not only against her opponent, but also against the spectators, who had severely criticised her for an incident which occurred during her quarter-final against the English hope Dorothy Round. The English player had requested that their match be interrupted because a strap on her bra had broken. However, the player from Essen referred to the rules and refused her opponent the timeout. This behaviour was indeed permissible, but was considered to be extraordinarily unfair.

“The fact that she never won a title at Wimbledon – with the exception of the mixed doubles in 1933, with Gottfried von Cramm – but did manage to win the French singles title on three occasions, was ultimately the logical consequence of the way in which Hilde Sperling-Krahwinkel was in the habit of playing tennis. The gangly woman with the long arms and spindly legs was a tireless fighter with tremendous running power at the baseline which, as a rule, she left only to shake her opponent’s hand at the end of the match.

“The young woman from the Ruhr, who married a Danish businessman by the name of Sven Sperling and then lived with him in his native country, was a fanatic when it came to playing safe. With her positional play and inexhaustible tenacity, she forced her opponents to engage in endless, gruelling rallies. Risky shots or approaches to the net were not her thing. The nickname she was known by – ‘the spider’ – was in no way meant as a compliment. She was given this nickname for two reasons: because of her great reach, and also because of the way she played, which always involved her weaving a web in which her opponents at some point or other ended up being caught.

“The former German tennis champion Paula Stuck von Reznicek, who later made a name for herself as a writer, once wrote the following about her contemporary: ‘Hilde lived in constant fear of defeat, she was not able to play in a carefree manner or to take any risks. This is why in the world of tennis she became the symbol of tenacity, of tireless running and of ruthless stonewalling. And yet her game did not lack a certain amount of harmony.’

“Hilde Sperling-Krahwinkel was certainly respected, but she was not particularly popular. She was a quiet, reserved champion – different from Cilly Aussem who, due to her Rhenish good nature, found open doors wherever she went. The Essen native who became a Dane by choice would much rather have been a successful pianist. She had the talent for it, but an accident with serious consequences prevented this. During a run-of-the-mill celebration in a clubhouse – the sort of celebration Hilde Sperling-Krahwinkel rarely appeared at – she cut the sinews of two fingers on her right hand on a broken champagne glass. Her dream of a career as a piano player was over. The paralysis in her two fingers also hindered her when she was playing tennis, and possibly contributed to her preferring her unspectacular style of play.

“Hilde Sperling-Krahwinkel, who was born on November 26, 1908, even enjoyed some success after World War Two. In 1950, she won the women’s singles title at the International Covered Court Championships of Scandinavia. But after this success she gradually withdrew from tennis and turned to a new love – golf. She also demonstrated great skill at this second sport.

“When Hilde Sperling-Krahwinkel died in her adopted homeland of Denmark in 1988, Steffi Graf was just getting ready to become the first – and up until now still the only – player to win the Golden Slam.”
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Old May 5th, 2014, 07:23 PM   #6
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

Great pieces here Mark.

The story of Nelly Neppach is just so sad. What a pity she didn't have the heart to get out of Germany and tell the Nazis where to stick it. Perhaps the shock of it all was too much to handle and drove her over the edge. Lord knows she wasn't the only one to commit suicide-a route taken by many in 1933.

Below is a picture of here with a link to an article in German.

http://geschichten.tebe.de/eine-mutige-frau/

photo dating from 1925

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Old May 5th, 2014, 07:35 PM   #7
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

Cilly Aussem. Pictures of her generally concur with the tag of "the Cheerful Champion'. She's as cute as a chipmunk.

Her controversial mother decidedly pushed her forward and, at some point, also became a hindrance. I loved the quote regarding an early loss--

Quote:
Her respect for her mother had resulted in some questionable reactions, for example, after a defeat against Paula Heimann, the future Paula Stuck, Cilly Aussem burst into tears, explaining: ‘I’m not crying because I lost, but because I’ve disappointed my mother.’
The trouble with Paula went even further than that. Frau Aussem didn't accept Cilly's excuse. Instead she famously accused Paula of "hypnotizing" young Cilly after a loss to the veteran. Paula confronted Mama Aussem on the grounds of a tennis club, demanding a retraction. When Mama refused Von Reznicek "boxed her ears twice."-in other words punched her!

The date for Tilden confronting the mother on the Riviera and telling her to go home to Germany was in 1930. That year he partnered her to many titles on the Riviera. Bill Tilden reportedly told Cilly that she needed to become more aggressive, arguing that any additional loses in the short run would be more than made up for later. Tingling writes that Bill told her, in effect, "No one in Germany cares if you win or lose here"--meaning the Riviera. The suggestion is that the fear of losing made her freeze up and become a self-fulfilling prophecy, much like her loss to Paula Stuck.


Cilly in 1927.

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Old May 5th, 2014, 07:59 PM   #8
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

Ilse Frideleben-third from the right

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Old May 5th, 2014, 08:00 PM   #9
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

A couple of other action pictures of Ilse. According to Binoxial she won at least 55 events from 1921 to 1931. No doubt he used all the results threads where you posted so many events Mark.





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Old Jun 7th, 2014, 07:57 AM   #10
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

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Great pieces here Mark.

The story of Nelly Neppach is just so sad. What a pity she didn't have the heart to get out of Germany and tell the Nazis where to stick it. Perhaps the shock of it all was too much to handle and drove her over the edge. Lord knows she wasn't the only one to commit suicide-a route taken by many in 1933.

Below is a picture of here with a link to an article in German.

http://geschichten.tebe.de/eine-mutige-frau/

photo dating from 1925

Hi all,

my name is Jan. Thanks for posting the story of Nelly. I'm the author of my club's (hi)story(ies) pages, the TeBe Geschichten, and I wrote the piece about Nelly. I'm highly interested in this period of Tennis. I wondered if anyone can help me out. I bought a press photo from the early 1920s showing four female Tennis players, supposedly including Cilly Aussem (far left) and Nelly Neppach (second from right). There are no image captions and because I'm far from being an expert of female Tennis I'm not sure. So please, can anyone confirm and give a hint on the indentities of the four women? When may have the image been taken?

Thanks in advance & have a nice weekend

Jan
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Old Jun 9th, 2014, 09:26 PM   #11
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

Hi, Jan,

I translated the above four biographical pieces from German for this website. I've had a look at the photo you mention in your message, but don't recognize either Cilly Aussem or Nelly Neppach in it. Funnily enough, the player on the far right of the photo looks a bit like Ilse Friedleben. However, I find it very difficult to accurately identify players from the era in question.

Do you have access to the publications "Der Lawn-Tennis-Sport" and "Lawn-Tennis und Golf"? They have a lot of photos of players from that era.

Mark



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Originally Posted by Jan B. View Post
Hi all,

my name is Jan. Thanks for posting the story of Nelly. I'm the author of my club's (hi)story(ies) pages, the TeBe Geschichten, and I wrote the piece about Nelly. I'm highly interested in this period of Tennis. I wondered if anyone can help me out. I bought a press photo from the early 1920s showing four female Tennis players, supposedly including Cilly Aussem (far left) and Nelly Neppach (second from right). There are no image captions and because I'm far from being an expert of female Tennis I'm not sure. So please, can anyone confirm and give a hint on the indentities of the four women? When may have the image been taken?

Thanks in advance & have a nice weekend

Jan
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Old Jun 10th, 2014, 07:03 PM   #12
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

Hello Jan,

It's fantastic to share with others who have a love for tennis history.

I am no help at all when it comes to identifying your players. The person on the far left does resemble Aussem-she has that sort of Oriental look Cilly did, plus the folds in her cheeks when she smiled. Funny enough the women on the far right looks like Nelly to me-but I am not familiar with Neppach at all.

Maybe I can help more with the date. Are you sure of the photo date being from the early 20s?

Women usually wore stockings for most of the 1920s. Notice your picture of Nelly Neppach at: http://geschichten.tebe.de/eine-mutige-frau/

Nelly is in stockings in your photo from 1925. The Aussem picture also shows Cilly in stockings and a bandeau--both typically 1920s.

The women from your picture are all barelegged. This leads me to date the photo from perhaps anywhere from 1929 to 1933, when Neppach died. It could be slightly earlier, but it was really in the late 1920s that women started to play without stockings. The dress styles and lack of a bandeau also suggest the later dates to me.

Could the "Dunlop" backstop be a clue? Maybe some of those tennis magazines Mark suggested could help to place the photo location.

It's a great photograph Jan-lucky you to have it! I hope we hear more about it and from you.

Cheers

Rollo

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Old Nov 10th, 2014, 07:26 PM   #13
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

This is a really interesting thread. It's great to know more about these german players
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Old Dec 13th, 2014, 03:43 AM   #14
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

A good photo of Neppach


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Old Dec 13th, 2014, 03:44 AM   #15
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Re: Four Great Early German Female Lawn Tennis Players

Neppach again in an action shot



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