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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 2014, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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The Doris Hart Thread

Doris Jane Hart
United States
Born 20 June 1925 in St Louis, Missouri


In the era of polio it was widely (and incorrectly) assumed her stiff and swollen looking knee was a result of the dreaded disease. An early newspaper story perpetuated that notion.

Hart took up tennis with her brother Bud at the age of 10. The family lived only a block away from public clay courts at Henderson Park.

Tall and lithe with curly brown hair, Hart usually wore pleated skirts just above the knees.

Quote:
"There's no doubt in my mind That Mo was the greatest player who ever lived, and I have seen them all except Suzanne Lenglen"-Hart in 1978 (World Tennis Magazine)

After years of trying to win at Forest Hills victory finally came on her 13th attempt. Even then Doris overcame 3 match points vs old rival Louise Brough. The perpetual "bridesmaid" had lost 4 US National finals up to then.

Hart remains only one of a 3 women to take all 12 of the slam titles at least once. Only Margaret Court and Martina Navratilova share that record.


World ranking (10 consecutive times in world top ten, never ranked below #4)

1946-#4
1947- #3
1948-#3
1949-#3
1950-#3
1951-#1
1952-#2
1943-#2
1954-#2
1955-#2

United States ranking (14 consecutive years in top ten)

1942-#6
1943-#3
1944-#6
1945-#6
1946-#4
1947-#3
1948-#3
1949-#3
1950-#2
1951-#2
1952-#2
1953-#2
1954-#1
1955-#1

Sources:

Hart, Doris. Tennis With Hart. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1955. 192 pages.

Tingay, Lance. "Fry and Hart." Tennis World (England), March, 1989. pages 34-35.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 2014, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hart on Hart-the Doris Hart Thread

Doris about her leg-from page 80 of We Have Come a Long Way: the story of Women's Tennis, by Billie Jean King.

"I had the bad leg all my life, so my movement was not as great as some of the girls. I worked very hard on anticipation. I worked hard on the drop shot, which really helped me in my career, and I worked on half volleys, stepping in and taking the ball right off the bounce. I knew I couldn't stay out there and rally fifty times a point.

"A lot of those half volleys were at the baseline. I never retreated. When my brother Bud, and I played sets, he'd mark the court maybe two feet behind the baseline, and if I moved back beyond that line, I's lose the point. So it made me stay up there and take deep balls on the half volley. People used to say, "That's such a chancy shot." but for me, it wasn't. I felt just as confident doing that as someone else would have been, hitting a regular forehand.

"My serve also helped me a lot. If I was down, 15-40, I could still put in a few good ones and pull it out. I had a good forehand. I hit it flat and could slice it too. I hit my backhand flat or with slice. The slice was very good on grass. Many of the tournaments were on grass then, not like today.

"The leg bothered me my whole life. It was painful, particularly in England, because it was so damp. I had surgery on it twelve years ago and it is so much better now. But I still can't bend my right knee to any extent, and I never could when I played. In England, I used to have the lady rub something on it and put the heat lamp on before I played to loosen it up. But it always bothered me.

"I never went to see a doctor about it, all the years I was playing, because I was afraid they would tell me I had to have surgery. Then, I had been teaching all those years and it just got so painful, and my leg was bowing in more. So I went to an orthopedic doctor. When he saw me in the office , he said. "I knew Some day you would be in to see me." As it turned out, I had torn cartilages and bone chips and arthritis, so he broke my leg deliberately, realigned it, and cleaned out the knee. I was in a cast for four months. Now it's stronger than it has been all my life. If I had known I was going to be lucky, I might have done it years ago."

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 2014, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hart on Hart-the Doris Hart Thread

World champion at last! With the 1951 Wimbledon trophy




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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 2014, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hart on Hart-the Doris Hart Thread

Here is a clip from the 1951 final

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4umjWFYaak

The 1952 US final

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYuKyo563zA

Points from the famous 1953 Wimbledon final

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLcxROHJUl8
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 2014, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hart on Hart-the Doris Hart Thread

Chasing a lob-it looks like Louise Brough in the background, so this may be the 1954 US final. Doris had to dodge a match point against her vs Louise in this match. Finally winning the US Championships that year was her second biggest title. In many ways winning her national title meant more than the 1951 Wimbledon.




With the trophy at Forest Hills


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Re: Hart on Hart-the Doris Hart Thread

With good friend and doubles partner Shirley Fry.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old Nov 4th, 2014, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Hart on Hart-the Doris Hart Thread

With the winners cup. The "horseshoe" of Forest Hills is in the background. Note the wires in the bottom of the picture. In this era it was common to do radio commentary and post-match interviews. A good example of the look and feel of Forest Hills during this time is the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie, "Strangers on a Train", which has a major tennis sub plot connected to the murder.


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Re: Hart on Hart-the Doris Hart Thread

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/mo...icle-1.1925707

Help is on the way for tennis' forgotten champions

Doris Hart has never been invited back to the U.S. Open. Not a single time. Not even for the 60th anniversary of her title sweep this year. And Vic Seixas, a Hall of Famer himself, is appalled at how little the USTA and the ATP Tour do for the pioneers of the sport.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Published: Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 11:02 PM
By Wayne Coffey

You may have never heard of Doris Hart. It is time you did. She is 89 years old and blind and one of the great tennis champions in the history of the United States, a former world No. 1 and a Hall of Famer. She won the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles at the U.S. National Championships — the Open before prize money — in 1954. She won 35 Grand Slam titles in all.

She is one of only three women to win singles, doubles and mixed doubles at all four majors, capturing 11 of her titles at the U.S. Nationals. And she has never been invited back to the U.S. Open. Not a single time. Not even for the 60th anniversary of her title sweep this year. Forget airfare and a hotel room. Doris Hart, who is not difficult to find, has never even been offered a grounds pass.

She lives in Coral Gables, Fla., in failing health, and feels completely forgotten by the U.S. Tennis Association. Can you blame her?

“I think it’s terrible,” Hart said Tuesday afternoon by phone. “They forget everything we did. They do nothing.”

Wimbledon invites her back all the time, she said, offering first-class travel, a hotel suite and a place in the Royal Box. In her own country? Hart laughed and told about the time she was soaking in a tub in the West Side Tennis Club locker room in Forest Hills after winning the singles title one year, and asked an attendant for a Coke.

“She brought me the Coke, and a bill,” Hart said.

Vic Seixas, a Hall of Famer himself, was Hart’s doubles partner in 1954, winning the trifecta (singles, doubles and mixed), too. Seixas was welcomed back this year for a 60th celebration, and will be part of the Open’s “Final 8” club dinner Wednesday night in the President’s Suite, open to all competitors who have ever made it to an Open quarterfinal.

“They have so much money they don’t know what to do with it,” Seixas said of the USTA. “It’s not a question of money. It’s a question about not caring about what happened before the Open era.”

Seixas is 91, and has played in more U.S. championships (28) than anyone, including 24 straight (1946-69). He, too, is a former world No. 1, with 15 major titles, and like all of his fellow amateurs, made no money from the sport. He worked in his father’s plumbing supply business on the side, and later as a stockbroker, and late into his 70s near his home in Mill Valley, Calif. He still worked two bartending jobs to supplement his fixed income.

Seixas said he is glad to be back, but appalled at how little the USTA and the ATP Tour do for the pioneers of the sport. Football has its Gridiron Greats program to help former players who are in need. Baseball and basketball have programs in place, too. (The ATP has a benefits program that started in 1990, but doesn’t provide for players whose careers were over before 1968.)

“I just think tennis is the only sport that’s done nothing to help former players,” Seixas said. “I’m not complaining about myself. I don’t have too many years left, but there are lot of players who played before the Open era who could use help. You think with all the money in the sport that they would’ve done something a long time ago, but I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime.”

Hart has her doubts, too.

“You think the players of today would give us something? Are you kidding? You think the USTA would (help with benefits) when they don’t even invite me to the tournament?”
A man named Tim McArthur wants to help. McArthur, 35, of Oakdale, L.I., is a guest-services attendant in the President’s Suite, and founder of a charitable foundation called Fund Rounders, which has a mission of “actualizing altruism in America and abroad through cost effective and meaningful fund-raising campaigns.”

McArthur, in essence, wants to devote his life to supporting noble, life-affirming causes, and having become friends with Seixas, aims to start fund-raising to support tennis champions of yesteryear.


“In this day and age, when there are so many resources out there, it doesn’t make any sense not to have programs in place (to assist former players),” McArthur said. “People at the top of the sport are trying to grow the game. How can you not want to honor and be sure to take care of the legends of the game?”
McArthur is completely right, of course. Somebody needs to pitch in, starting with the tours, and the USTA, which is spending $50 million on a new player-developmental center outside Orlando, and some $550 million on a wholesale makeover of the National Tennis Center, including an Arthur Ashe Stadium roof. Why not throw a little seed money to a pre-Open era players’ fund? And send Doris Hart an invitation next year while you’re at it.

Chris Widmaier, chief USTA spokesman, said the organization wasn’t aware that Doris Hart has never been invited back.

“We always want to honor our former champions — especially a champion of Doris Hart’s stature,” Widmaier said. “We certainly intended no disrespect. This clearly was an oversight on our part, and we’re going to make things right.”
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old May 31st, 2015, 05:35 AM
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Doris Hart is gone...

Sad day for tennis yesterday, Doris HART died, aged 89.

Une grande dame du tennis s'en va...

RIP Doris...




Here is an article from thegardian.com :

Tennis great Doris Hart, who won each Grand Slam tournament at least once, and once won three Wimbledon titles in a single day, has died.

Hart died Friday at home at the age of 89, the International Tennis Hall of Fame confirmed to the Associated Press, citing close personal friends of Hart’s.

Hart was known for her smarts, crisp groundstrokes and drop shot mastery. She won titles in 1954-55 at the US Championships, which later became the US Open.

She won the French Open twice and Wimbledon and the Australian Open once each. She also totaled 29 major doubles titles and ranked No 1 in the world in 1951.

That year, Hart had her finest tournament at Wimbledon, when she won three titles. She defeated friend Shirley Fry in singles before they joined forces to win women’s doubles. She then teamed with Frank Sedgman to win mixed doubles.

All three matches were on the same day because of rain delays.

“That I think is unique in itself,” said 86-year-old friend Jacqueline Mulloy, who met Hart 12 years ago through husband and former tennis player Gardnar Mulloy. “I think she should be remembered as a unique and wonderful player. She had plenty of guts.”

Donna Fales, 74, an accomplished amateur tennis player, said she met Hart after moving to Florida in 1969.

“She is someone I looked up,” said Fales, 74. “She was a great champion and great competitor with great integrity; a wonderful representative of the sport.”

Hart was in the world top 10 for a decade starting in 1946. She retired in 1955 and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1969.

Success didn’t come without adversity.

Hart suffered an infection as a child that was serious enough for doctors to consider amputating her right leg. However, she started playing tennis at 6 and won 35 professional titles.

“Everybody thought she had polio, because she was a little bowlegged,” Fry told the Associated Press in 2004. “For her to do what she did was special because she couldn’t run as well as other people. And yet she had the smarts.”

Hart was born 20 June 1925 in St. Louis and grew up in Coral Gables. She attended the University of Miami, a few miles from where she lived in recent years.

As a player, her best weapon was the drop shot, which she practiced endlessly as a youngster. She would hit it even from behind the baseline, floating winners just over the net.

“I’d be criticized,” she told the Associated Press in 2004. “I can remember losing matches, and people would come up to me and say: ‘Girl, do you know how many times you missed that drop shot? If you hadn’t done that, blah blah blah.’ And I’d say: ‘Thank you.’ But I knew I had to do it. That’s what would win for me.”

After she retired, she worked as a teaching pro for 28 years at a club in Pompano Beach, but neck trouble forced her to give up tennis in 1993.

Later in life, she shunned the pro tennis scene, though she did watch matches on television. She never married. In January 2010, she told the AP that she had lost most of her vision.

In 2004, watching the US Open in her apartment, Hart cringed at Serena Williams’ clothing ensemble, marveled at the smooth shot-making of Roger Federer and said she disliked the way most players try to hit everything so hard.

“There’s really not much strategy involved,” she says. “It’s not that appealing to watch, I don’t think.”

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old May 31st, 2015, 06:18 AM
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Re: Dorist Hart is gone...

Doris HART is one of three players ( the others are Margaret COURT and Martina NAVRATILOVA ) to have a "boxed" set of Grand Slam, winning every titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. She also won 3 triple crowns ( Wimbledon 1951, French Championships 1952 and U.S. Championships 1954 ).


CAREER HIGHLIGHTS IN GRAND SLAM

SINGLES : 6 times winner / 12 times runner-up
DOUBLES : 14 times winner / 16 times runner-up
MIXED DOUBLES : 15 times winner / 4 times runner-up

TOTAL G.S. TITLES : 35 (4 AO, 10 FO, 10 W, 11 USO)
TOTAL G.S. FINALS : 67 (6 AO, 16 FO, 18 W, 27 USO)




AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
SINGLES
WINNER : 1949
Runner-up : 1950

DOUBLES
WINNER : 1950
Runner-up : 1949

MIXED DOUBLES
WINNER : 1949,1950



FRENCH CHAMPIONSHIPS
SINGLES
WINNER : 1950,1952
Runner-up : 1947,1951,1953
Semifinalist : 1948
Quarter Finalist : 1946

DOUBLES
WINNER : 1948,1950,1951,1952,1953
Runner-up : 1946,1947

MIXED DOUBLES
WINNER : 1951,1952,1953
Runner-up : 1948



WIMBLEDON
SINGLES
WINNER : 1951
Runner-up : 1947,1948,1953
Semifinalist : 1950,1954,1955
Quarter Finalist : 1946,1952

DOUBLES
WINNER : 1947,1951,1952,1953
Runner-up : 1946,1948,1950,1954
Semifinalist : 1955

MIXED DOUBLES
WINNER : 1951,1952,1953,1954,1955
Runner-up : 1948
Semifinalist : 1947,1950



U.S. CHAMPIONSHIPS
SINGLES
WINNER : 1954,1955
Runner-up : 1946,1949,1950,1952,1953
Semifinalist : 1943,1945,1947,1951
Quarter Finalist : 1942,1944,1948

DOUBLES
WINNER : 1951,1952,1953,1954
Runner-up : 1942,1943,1944,1945,1947,1948,1949,1950,1955
Semifinalist : 1946

MIXED DOUBLES
WINNER : 1951,1952,1953,1954,1955
Runner-up : 1945,1950
Semifinalist : 1948
Quarterfinalist : 1944,1946,1949,1969



WIGHTMAN CUP
WINNER : 1947,1948,1949,1950,1951,1952,1953,1954,1955



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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old May 31st, 2015, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Dorist Hart is gone...

So sad-now all the best from the 1940s have passed. Bless you for the joy you brought to so many Doris.

Your courage was an inspiration to many.

For those of you that get the chance please read her book, Tennis With Hart. Billie Jean King mentioned this as one of books she treasured as a young player.

Thanks for letting us know Djoule.


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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old May 31st, 2015, 03:54 PM
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Re: Dorist Hart is gone...

Very admirable player, indeed. She had to compete against prime Brough, Betz, Palfrey and du Pont at the beginning of her career and Connolly at the end. Overall, accomplishment wise, she was one of the all time greats despite a physical disability.
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Re: The Doris Hart Thread

Doris' take on her defeat in the 1951 US semis to Maureen Connolly. Hart was seeded #1 for the tournament. From page 147 of Tennis With Hart

"In the semifinal I came up against a fairly new name in the tennis world. Maureen Connolly, the junior champion from California. I had played Maureen on a few occasions and won these matches without too much difficulty. I knew that Maureen was a player of outstanding ability and thought that one day she would be a great champion. But I honestly felt that she was not ready to win over a seasoned player. Not just yet. But I was wrong.

Due to extra long matches scheduled before our encounter in the stadium court, our match did not get underway until five-thirty, and then the weather was very cloudy and overcast, with rain clouds in the distance. Actually, the match should never have been started, as it was quite obvious that no matter how well either one of us played, it would be impossible to complete the match before the skies opened up. But the committee instructed us to get the match underway. I am not trying to produce an alibi for what followed, but the conditions that prevailed were definitely not in my favour...I ran up a 4-0 lead quickly and felt that I could win this match if I just kep the pressure up on this Junior player. At 4-1 the rain started to drop, not hard, but a soft, drizzly fall which was most annoying. I glanced towards the Umpire, waiting for him to stop play until the rain ceased. But he gave no indication that he was going to halt the match. I should have proceeded to the net and told him that I was not going to proceed under the conditions, but I didn't....It all happened quickly. I lost six games in a row and, of course, the set 6-4. Then the tournament officials came on court and said that the match would have to postponed until tomorrow! Maybe I should have spoken to the umpire at the crucial stage of the match, but I was the Number 1 seeded player of the tournament, playing against a young Junior who was definitely in the public's favour, and you can imagine the result had I made a protest against continuing the match!"


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Re: The Doris Hart Thread

What Doris didn't know at the time was how "Teach" Tennant, Connolly's coach, made up stories about Hart to kill any good feelings Maureen had towards Hart, who up til then was her idol.

The Machiavellian Tennant, who understood the impact of reserve psychology better than most, went to work on young Connolly in the lead-up to the 1951 US Nationals.

From Connolly's book Forehand Drive

"Here I was to meet the real champion, Doris Hart, the Wimbledon winner, the one girl in tennis whom I worshipped, who could do no wrong, and whom I wanted to emulate as person and player more than anyone else in the world. And it was here that Eleanor Tennant, certain I would be beaten, gambled boldly on devious strategy. Eleanor told Sophie Fisher [a mutual friend] that Doris, under the surface of her charm, disliked me intensely and had said: 'Maureen is a spoiled brat....I'm gunning for her...and I'm going to give her a tennis lesson'. This, of course, was a complete fabrication, and Sophie, who knew Doris, did not believe it. But she understood the motivation and knew Eleanor counted on her to tell me. For Sophie it was an extremely difficult position and hers was a hard decision to make. But she felt as Teach did that I could not beat Doris unless my hero-worship was broken. So, she told me.

No idol fell faster or with a more shattering crash than Doris Hart. I was shocked, stunned, then saw a blinding red. I phoned Teach immediately, but one galvanizing gambit wa not enough for Miss Tennant. She jolted me further by saying she was too busy to see me that evening, she couldn't car less about my prospects. She topped that off by telling me she was trying to get a reservation for a plane to Boston in the morning. I spent a storm-tossed night, but I phoned Eleanor the next morning and she agreed to see me. (The Boston trip, of course, had been as fictional as Doris's remarks.)

I hurried to see Teach, asked her if she would go with me to see Doris Hart and straighten things out. She flatly refused.
'Do you want Doris as a friend?' she asked
'Yes, I do'
'Do you want her respect?'
'Yes'
'There is only one way to get it. Go out and beat her this afternoon. If you do that...I will stay here and you can win the title'"

The rest, as they say, is history....


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Re: The Doris Hart Thread

An article from 2004 looking back on Hart's 1954 triumph at the US Nationals

50 years later, champ Hart remembers breakthrough well

Steven Wine (AP)
Coral Gables, Florida, September 3, 2004

Women's tennis was less colorful in 1954, and not just because the balls and dresses were white. Entourages, demanding parents and outrageous outfits came later. There was no prize money but plenty of camaraderie, with opponents sometimes meeting after their match for sodas.

Still, the US Championships were serious business, and Doris Hart was annoyed to find herself one point from defeat in the final - especially since she had settled for runner-up four of the previous five years.

Now 79, Hart has the large hands, erect posture and graceful bearing of a champion athlete. And her memory's so sharp she can vividly describe match point when she trailed Louise Brough 50 years ago.

"I missed my first serve, and I sort of poofed in the second serve to her backhand," Hart recalls, rolling her eyes. "Louise had a terrific backhand. I thought, 'Oh, my God. I'm in trouble.' "But she hit it right in the bottom of the net." If Hart was a little lucky, she was also very good. She rallied to beat Brough that day in 1954 for the first of two successive titles at the US Championships, which later became the US Open. She won the French Open twice, won Wimbledon and the Australian Open once each, totaled 29 major doubles titles and ranked No. 1 in the world in 1951.

As Hart sits in her Coral Gables apartment watching this year's US Open, she cringes at Serena Williams' latest ensemble, marvels at the smooth shotmaking of Roger Federer and dislikes the way most players try to hit everything so hard.

"There's really not much strategy involved," she says. "It's not that appealing to watch, I don't think."

Hart's game was finesse rather than power. A childhood infection nearly forced doctors to amputate her right leg, and she had to compensate for sluggish foot speed throughout her career. "Everybody thought she had polio, because she was a little bowlegged," says her best friend of more than 60 years, former doubles partner Shirley Fry. "For her to do what she did was special because she couldn't run as well as other people. And yet she had the smarts."

Hart's best weapon was the drop shot, especially effective in an era when three of the four major tournaments took place on grass. She practiced the shot endlessly as a youngster and would hit it even from behind the baseline, deftly floating winners just over the net as if she were using a sand wedge.

"I'd be criticized," she says with a laugh. "I can remember losing matches, and people would come up to me and say, `Girl, do you know how many times you missed that drop shot? If you hadn't done that, blah blah blah.' And I'd say, `Thank you.' But I knew I had to do it. That's what would win for me."

Hart attended the University of Miami, a few kilometers from where she lives now, and played her first Grand Slam tournament in 1946 at Wimbledon.

"We got there right after the war, and the English people had nothing," she says. "A bomb had hit Wimbledon, and part of the stadium was gone. That was a cold reminder of the war. But they still had a lot of people and royalty at the tournament." Hart made her first trip to the Australian Open in 1949. "I flew, and it took forever," she says. "There were no jets, and we had to stop at every little island to refuel." The arduous journey was worth the trouble: Hart left Melbourne with her first Grand Slam title. She won the French Open for the first time in 1950, and the following year came her greatest achievement _ three Wimbledon titles in one day.

First Hart beat Fry in singles, 6-1, 6-0. Even today, only one final in tournament history has been more lopsided. "I couldn't do anything wrong, and she couldn't do anything right," Hart says.

After drubbing her pal, they teamed up to win the women's doubles final. Then Hart won the mixed doubles title with Frank Sedgman. "It's the greatest feat, I think, in women's tennis," says Gardnar Mulloy, one of the top US men in the early 1950s. "Because of rain delays, she had to play all three matches in one day, and she won them all. Today's players would say, `My God, I've got to have a day's rest."'

Says Hart: "I wasn't tired. I was on Cloud Nine." After winning the US Championships for the second year in a row in 1955, Hart retired and became a teaching pro. She worked for 28 years at a club in Pompano Beach and enjoyed helping youngsters and weekend hackers. While she still plays golf, neck trouble forced her to give up tennis 13 years ago.

Hart's playing career kept her on the road - she once played 13 consecutive tournaments in Europe _ but these days she prefers to stay home. Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1969, she declined to return for the Hall's recent 50th anniversary celebration. She last visited Wimbledon 20 years ago and turned down an invitation to this year's US Open.

Hart lives alone, never married ("Came close," she says) and developed a reputation as a recluse. But she's warm and gracious when asked about her glory days, and her eyes twinkle when she talks about the era when she ranked among her sport's biggest stars. "At Wimbledon, I can remember walking down the street," she says, "and cab drivers would yell out, `Oh, Miss Hart! Good luck tomorrow!"'


Visit us at the Blast From The Past: Where Tennis History Lives!

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