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In his regular sports commentary column entitled "Both Sides," Harrold Parrott wrote the following on September 7, 1943, for the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper.

"Mary Hardwick and Dorothy Roiund, British girls and two of the best ... in the last 20 years, were chatting at Forest Hills about champions. It was apparent that they rated Alice Marble .... several levels higher than Pauline Betz.

But even so, it was apparent that they consigned Miss Marble to a sort of sub-Heaven, compared to Helen Wills ... the real queen.

Hardwick said, "Alice Marble would never have bern able to get to the net on Helen because Helen drove too deep and too steadily."

The question of serve came up. It's been said that Louise Brough serves a harder ball than Alice did.

Pish and tosh the girls said.

Well, then, what about Helen Wills' serving? Surely it could not have been as hard as Alice's? "Perhaps not quite as severe," Round interjected, "but it was better placed. Helen always served to your weakness, and never missed."

The important thing to remember is that this praise for "La Wills, ... a lofty, frosty, amateur" came from professionals. Another point is that none of them ever liked Wills much. "She moved in her own refrigerated orbit, always kept the halo properly adjusted." She was definitely not "one of the girls."

And they do like Alice Marble - all of them. Marble plays great tennis now, perhaps better than she did as an amateur.

"Alice would go to the net on these kids who are playing now and volley them silly," said Dorothy Round.

I gathered that they thought Marble would punch ... Pauline Betz full of holes at the net.

Round continued, "Why do they say all Alice had to beat when she was champion was Helen Jacobs and Sarah Palfrey? What about Jadwiga Jedrzejowska, Anita Lizana, and those girls? They were good, too."

[The question] of court covering came up. Doris Hart cannot get around the court very well, and Doris's boosters say that "Neither could Helen Wills!" Dorothy Round laughed and said, "It's easy to say that!"

These girls knew Wills like a book. They know that she was a peculiar type who could not bear to lose.

Well, these girls could not beat "Little Poker Face," but they can praise her, which is even better, I think.
 

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Thanks Djo-Coeur :)

It's a good read and very inexpensive to buy online.

Alice pretty much skips over how her letter pushed to USTA to allow Althea Gibson to play Forest Hills. I suspect the new biography will cover this in detail. It deserves coverage as Alice was heroic in pushing tennis in the right direction.

In Courting Danger Alice came out with a few things that the press and tennis writers have parroted hook, line, and sinker. None of the assertions below have ever been confirmed by another source.

1. She claims to have married Joseph Crowley in 1942. According to Alice he was shot down and killed in late 1944. She then had a miscarriage and attempted suicide by swallowing pills.

The problem? No one has ever found a Joseph Crowley who died in World War II who would be a realistic candidate to be her husband.

2. Just weeks after attempting suicide the US government (which seems to know a lot about Alice) hires her as a spy to get information on a former lover in Switzerland in the closing weeks of the war. Her cover is a series of Swiss tennis exhibitions. In the course of spying she get shot in the back and survived after several weeks in the hospital.

The problems? Where do we start?

1. Hans (a made up name) was her supposed lover. Alice met him briefly in Le Touquet in 1938 after Wimbledon. They have sex on the beach and don't meet again for several years. According to Alice they made the French gossip columns in 1938. If we can place Alice in Le Touquet in the summer of 1938 and find the publicity about her we have Hans.

2. If the OSS really knew that much about Alice wouldn't they know about her suicide attempt? And knowing that, would they really hire a potentially unstable woman (and a famous person) and put her in danger? So she sort of maybe would hook up with a former lover to get information on him? I don't see the logic of it.

3. Lets assume I'm wrong. There still a HUGE problem-as there is no evidence, not a sliver, that Alice ever went to Switzerland in 1945. No mentions of it in the New York Times, no mentions in American Lawn Tennis, no mentions in Swiss newspapers. Zippo. A puplicity tour with no publicity. Hmm......

4. Roan checked everywhere in the government for any spy activity. She came up with nothing. The government has stated they have no evidence she was a spy, but this didn't make a lot a news because it wasn't as exciting as "Alice the spy". Contrast that with Julia Child for example, which the CIA is happy to declare was agent.

https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2007-featured-story-archive/julia-child.html
There is a Joseph D. Crowley buried in a U.S. military cemetery in Belgium.
 

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There is a Joseph D. Crowley buried in a U.S. military cemetery in Belgium.
Nice find, but he was an infantryman killed in France, not a pilot who was shot down over Germany, so he could not have been the person Marble claimed she was married to.
 

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Have had a copy of Courting Danger sitting on the shelf for a few years and finally decided to read the chapters about her marriage and the spy mission. Admittedly I read it with skeptical eyes, based also on Rollo's comments, but nevertheless my conclusion is that both stories are, in all likelihood, fabrications. They just don't feel right. She conveniently leaves out information and details which could have sunk her story. Also the few people who could have corroborated her stories, like Mary K Browne, Teach Tennant or Will du Pont, were no longer alive to do so. Don Budge might have known about her marriage but I don't recall him ever mentioning it.
 
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