Date: June 23
Venue: Societe de Sport, Ile de Puteaux, Paris
Mme P. Girod d. Mme de Fenelon default
Adine Masson d. Marquise de Bailleul 6-0 6-2
Adine Masson d. Mme P. Girod 6-3 6-1
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.
The Offical Lawn Tennis Bulletin wrote that Masson would have had a tougher time if Mlles Villard or Prevost had entered. Both were absent. Does this mean they defaulted? Tradition states that only 2 women were in the draw, but the Bulletin states, "This was the first ladies championships held in Paris, and there were only four entries, but it s hoped that next year many more ladies will compete. "
The event was open to Frenchwomen and foreigners residing in France.
The Marquise de Bailleul may have actually been the Marquise de Bailleut. As French sources lean towards de Bailleul we use it here.
The Official Lawn Tennis Bulletin,
volume 4, 1897, page 185.
Les Sports athlétiques et la Revue athlétique réunis, Issues 197-222. 1894, (page 399). [This Frenh source lists the Marquise as "de Bailleul"