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HARDWICK, “MARY” (Ruth Mary Hardwick)
United Kingdom
Born 8 September 1913
Died 12 December 2001
Married Charles Edgar Hare, 30 January 1943
[Active 1931-1941]

She decided to become a tennis player after seeing Henri Cochet play at Wimbledon. Hardwick later received coaching from Dan Maskell, a noted teacher of the time.

With her attacking style of play Hardwick was at her best on grass or indoors. Gaining in singles as the 1930s went on, she made the prestigous Wightman Cup team from 1936 to 1938.

1939 and 1940 were her best years. Mary made the quarterfinals at both the French and Wimbledon in 1939. She ended the year ranked #7 or #8 in the world rankings posted by various experts. Stuck in the United States when war broke out, she decided to stay and toured North America in 1940. Hardwick reached the semifinals at the US Championships in Forest Hills, extending #2 seed Helen Jacobs to 3 sets in a 2-6 6-1 6-4 defeat. She then signed a pro contract as foil to Alice Marble, who beat her in 72 out 75 pro matches in late 1940 through 1941.

Hardwick (Mrs Hare from 1943) taught and gave exhibitions for the war effort until 1945. After her active tennis career she stayed involved with the sport as a writer for Lawn Tennis and Badminton and World Tennis Magazines.

In 1962 Mrs Hare produced a report for the ILTF demonstrating the support for a women's version of the Davis Cup. The Federation Cup came to fruition the next year.


1933-Welsh Championships
1935-London Covered Court Championships
1938-Scandinavian Indoors
1940-Hot Springs

"Mary Hardwick 1935" by Unknown (Bassano Ltd) - National Portrait Gallery.

In 1936


Mary Hardwick Hare (a Blast From the Past Thread)

A British Pathe clip from 1935:

"New Woman Tennis Star", The Argus, 20 April 1935.

Her obituary from the Daily Telegrapgh:

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Discussion Starter #2
Her obituary in 2001 from the Daily Telegraph

Mary Hare

MARY HARE, the tennis player who has died aged 88, was one of the last links with the halcyon days of British tennis in the 1930s, when the social and competitive aspects of the game entwined far more easily than today.
Ruth Mary Hardwick was born on September 8 1913 into a well-established lawn tennis family. From childhood, tennis was her enduring passion, first as a player, later as a touring international coach and always as an effervescent and dedicated ambassador for the game.

In her playing days Mary Hardwick's many successes included her membership of Britain's Wightman Cup teams in 1936, 1937, and 1939.

She won the Scandinavian title three times, the French indoor title, was a semi-finalist at Forest Hills in what is now the U S Open and reached her ranking peak in 1937 when she was listed number two in Britain and seventh in the unofficial world rankings.

That year she lost a final set 11-9 against Alice Marble, who in 1939 was the Wimbledon singles champion.

With the advent of war, Mary Hardwick turned professional and was appointed a touring representative by Wilson Sporting Goods.
That took her to the United States, where she met Charles Hare, a former British Davis Cup player and U S Open referee, whom she later married. They lived in Chicago for many years, as well as keeping a house in Wimbledon.

Mary Hare was a great stylist with a long stroking forehand and an equally full sweep of the backhand. She toured in America, giving exhibitions first with Alice Marble and later with Bill Tilden, Bobby Riggs, Don Budge and Jack Kramer. She was also a supporter and fund-raiser for military charities.
After the war, when both were instrumental in organising the first post-war tennis match at The All England Club between American and Allied Forces, Charles and Mary Hare, both members at Wimbledon and the West Hants Club in Bournemouth, became a familiar, respected team in the world of tennis.

Mary's brother Derek, meanwhile, became a leading international tennis administrator as chairman of the Lawn Tennis Association and later President of The International Tennis Federation.

Nancy Jeffett, president and co-founder of the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation, established to commemorate the successes and ideal of Maureen Connolly ("Little Mo") renewed what became a long-standing friendship with Mary Hare after one of her coaching-clinic tours had taken her to Tyler in Texas, close to the Jeffett and Brinker homes in Dallas.

"Few people," Nancy Jeffett recalled, "really believed as much as she did about giving something back to the sport, and she was the one who motivated and pushed me into staging the first Maureen Connolly match."

In her latter years, before illness confined her to a nursing home, Mary Hare, who had been instrumental in the formation of the Fed Cup - the women's equivalent of the Davis Cup - in 1953, attended almost every event organised by the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Federation.

She was far more than just an enthusiastic spectator. During presentation ceremonies or team dinners, she never missed the opportunity to impress upon the under-21-year-old girl players how much they owed lawn tennis.

"You will never fully be able to repay the game for what it is now doing for you," she would stress.

Sportsmanship was equally important to her, and if someone had transgressed during a junior match that she was watching, the grim look which it provoked would be translated into a quiet word later with the player's coach or team captain - and sometimes the player herself.

Mary Hare was a regular contributor to the now defunct Lawn Tennis and Badminton, as well as the American publication World Tennis, which guaranteed that her often forthright views were widely known. She was, as Nancy Jeffett observed, "quite a girl".
She married Charles Hare in 1943.
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