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post #9 of (permalink) Old Oct 2nd, 2014, 04:08 PM
country flag Rollo
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Re: May Sutton - The First Overseas Wimbledon Champion, by Alan Little

Wimbledon has a "Throwback Thursday" post on May-I love the little ditty!

From the Wimbledon site:

Throwback Thursday: ‘O May, May, May! The girl from the great USA’

1905 Wimbledon final. Dorothea Douglass (later Chambers) is in mid swing-while Sutton awaits the shot across the net.

by Malin Lundin

Thursday 2 October 2014
This week's Throwback Thursday from the Wimbledon Museum looks at May Sutton...
Following The Championships 1905, the popular sporting magazine Lawn Tennis and Badminton noted that the year’s tournament at Wimbledon would ‘long be remembered, and deservedly so, as an epoch-making one, and as a brilliant page in the history of lawn tennis’.

Making the year so memorable was the 18-year old American player, May Sutton, who for the first time in the history of The Championships took the Ladies’ Championship title away from Britain. Indeed, she was the first ever foreign player to become Wimbledon Champion and came to epitomise the decline of the British domination of the game and the rapid growth in the success of players from countries such as America and Australia.

British-born May grew up in California, spending much of her childhood playing tennis with her siblings on the family’s private tennis court at their home in Pasadena. Along with her three sisters, May came to dominate the Californian tennis scene in the first decade of the twentieth century and reached national success after winning the United States Championships in 1904.

The following year, May crossed the Atlantic to challenge her British opponents, becoming only the second American woman to compete at Wimbledon. Playing at The Championships, she defied current rules of fashion, shocking the British spectators by wearing a shorter skirt revealing her ankles and rolling up the sleeves of her blouse showing bare wrists.
May reached the Ladies’ Singles final without the loss of a single set. On Saturday 8 July 1905, a huge audience gathered at the All England Club on Worple Road to watch the American meet the British player Dorothea Douglass (later Chambers) who had won The Championships for the past two years. Throughout the match May displayed absolute confidence and with a strong forehand she defeated the previous Champion 6-3, 6-4.
Dorothea Douglass later remarked of her opponent, ‘If anyone had pluck it was Miss Sutton. To come to a strange country and to play and defeat one after another of the best players in this country, was a feat which filled us all with unbounded admiration’.

The unprecedented success of the young American even inspired a song published in Lawn Tennis and Badminton at the end of July 1905.

There’s a lady from over the way,
From the West of the great USA,
Drive, volley and service
With puzzling curve, is
To her but the merest child’s play!
The name of this lady is May;

O May, May, May!
The girl from the great USA,
With the muscular force that outrivals a horse,
And the dash of a light coryphée [a type of ballet dancer],
She aspires, like her nation, to lick all creation,
Does May, May, May!

O May, May, May!
The girl from the great USA,
She mocks at the sun, and until she has won,
The thunder keeps out of the way;
For its bolts are a joke when compared with
The stroke
Of May, May, May!

May returned to play at The Championships for the next three years; losing her title to Miss Douglass in 1906 and winning it back again in 1907.
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