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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
HENROTIN, SYLVIA (nee Sylvia Jung)
Born 10 July 1904 in Le Havre, France
Died 15 December 1970 in Lake Placid, New York, United States
Married (1) Raoul Lafaurie (1890-1960) in June 1922-divorced*
Married (2) Charles Fernand Henrotin on 22 March 1930 in Cannes, France
Married (3) Sernane “Bernie” Welton (1906-1974)
[Active 1920-1940]

Sylvia Henrotin-French Doubles Star of the 1930s

Doubles or Mixed Doubles runner-up in Grand Slams 7 times, she always fell short of winning a major. In singles Sylvia was 5 time French quarterfinalist in the 1930s.

Mrs Sylvia Henrotin was not your run of the mill French female player from the 1930s.

After the one of a kind genius of Suzanne Lenglen in the 1920s no woman could replace her. French pinned high hopes on the solid Simonne Mathieu; but Mme Mathieu was limited in not really having a serve nor volley to speak of. For the most part her French sisters followed suit.

Then there was Sylvia.

Born Sylvia Jung, she came from a tennis playing family. What makes her stand out from other French women of the era is her ability and affinity for the volley. She excelled on indoor courts-contested on lightening fast wood in those days.

Active from 1920, Mlle Jung was a rising star in October of 1921, when Le Figaro mentions titles at at Etretat, Le Havre and Deauville, where she beat Marguerite Billout-Broquedis.

Mlle Jung became Mme Lafaurie around 1922. The Lafaurie's were another prominent French tennis family. Her marriage to Raoul Lafaurie didnt last, and she moved on after a divorce in the mid 1920s. The pair had a son named Jacques Lafaurie, born in 1925.

Marriage to Charles Fernand Henrotin on 22 March 1930 in Cannes, France gave her the name she is best known by. As Madame Henrotin her tennis horizons expanded greatly, as she competed at Wimbledon in 1930 and then every year from 1933 to 1939. She reached the doubles final at Wimbledon in 1934 and semifinals 4 times (1930 and 1936-1938).

From the mid 1930s she also made the crossing by boat across the Atlantic Ocean to compete. She won the Bermuda Championships in 1936. The next year Mme Henrotin won her greatest title, the 1937 US Indoors on wood. She was in the United when her nation was invaded by Germany in 1940. In the summer of 1940 Henrotin entered her final major at the US Doubles event in Longwood.

Sylvia founded a husband in America as well, for by 1958 she was married to James Weldon and living in Lake Placid, New York. She was in a wheelchair but still teaching tennis, according to a 2013 article from the local newspaper.

Primary French and English sources cite her name as Sylvia, not Silvie or Silvia (as given by the Wimbledon site).

Quality Grand Slam Singles results
French Open QF (1929, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938)

Grand Slam Doubles Finals French Open F (1928, 1933, 1937)
Wimbledon F (1934)

Grand Slam Mixed Doubles Finals

French Open F (1935, 1936)
US Open F (1937)

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Discussion Starter #2
Newmark originally posted this at:

From ‘Le Figaro’, 24 October 1921:

A unique competition

“In the United States there is a lawn tennis championship where the teams have to be made up of a father and his son. Le Sporting Club de Paris, on its courts in Rue Saussure, annually organises the ‘Household Prize’ [Prix des Ménages], a husband and wife making up each team.

“An original competition, and probably unique in the annals of French lawn tennis, and maybe even of world lawn tennis, is the one held each year on the excellent courts of the Le Havre Athletic Club, between the members of one single family, the descendants in a direct line of Monsieur [August Karl] Friedrich Jung and Madame [Isabelle] Jung [née Latham], including sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law and grandchildren.

“Handicap in nature, this competition was established two years ago by Charles Lafaurie, a distinguished sportsman and fanatical defender of physical education through open-air sports, who wields a racquet with as much mastery on a lawn tennis court as on a jeu de paume court, and who is secretary general for French Expansion at the ministry of foreign affairs.

“The ‘Jung Prize’ [Prix Jung] was created in memory of Mme F. A. Jung, [née Isabelle Latham] in order to carry on the family traditions, the sporting spirit and the taste for lawn tennis among young people who nowadays take up a lawn tennis racquet as soon as they are able to walk.

“Players of the most diverse ages and the most disparate of strengths energetically take part in fiercely-fought matches. Due to their physical fitness, the doyens involved, who are nearly sixty years of age, can take a very energetic approach. Among them, let us mention Mr Ronald Southey, one of the umpires at Wimbledon, and so popular on the courts of Etretat and Le Havre, whose game has lost none of its finesse and science. The youngest participant in the competition is currently Mlle Geneviève Lafaurie, who is only fourteen summers old.

“The big cracks in this family competition include the very best players from the Le Havre Athletic Club: Gérard Jung, Raoul Lafaurie, Roger Jung and Maurice Lafaurie; the female players include three champions or ex-champions from the same club: Mme Charles Lafaurie [née Ines Jung], Mme Jacques Hervey-Lafaurie [née Evelyne Lafaurie] and Mlle Sylvia Jung.

“In 1919, the ‘Jung Cup’ was won for the first time by Maurice Lafaurie, a finalist at the Normandy Championships in 1921. The second year saw the victory of Mlle Sylvia Jung, who this season has had great success on the Normandy coast, where she easily won the cups at Etretat, Le Havre and Deauville, even having the honour, during this last tournament, of beating Mme [Marguerite] Billout-Broquédis, no mean feat.

“It seems that this year, too, Mlle Jung will inscribe her name on the cup. In the semi-final she should beat Charles Lafaurie, who is too lacking in fitness to hope to rediscover his old form. Guy Lafaurie, a future hope who won the other semi-final against Mme [Ines] Lafaurie, is already one of the finalists.”

25,282 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
An article from the Lake Placid News in 2013. The author got a couple of tennis lessons from Sylvia in the late 1950s. I was pleased to see our forum cited as a source:)

The $1 tennis lesson

September 3, 2013

LARRY ADLER , Lake Placid News

It's funny how a familiar smell or maple-tree-dappled light on macadam can evoke a host of memories and details, yet I struggle to remember if I had taken my multi-vitamin or locked the car, or who played opposite James Arness in "Gunsmoke."

Walking down Greenwood Street past the refurbished bed and breakfast, I glimpse the back portion of the St. Moritz Hotel, recalling it well in decline in 1958, with its pitted asphalt driveway and gray, discolored delivery bay doors. Rusting equipment and baled wire lay outside the rear parking lot along with the vintage hotel shuttle - a Chevy panel van. Also in evidence was the barely intact clay court - a remnant of wealthier patrons and better times.

Jay Jay Rand and I arrived that day in July with antique rackets in hand, scrounged from our storage attic at 5 Grandview Ave. Grandma Meta had been a twice-a-week-player in Konstanz, Germany before 1936 threatened her affluent lifestyle and very existence. The rackets with their heavy presses, along with the dark, mahogany European furniture and china set for 20, made it across on the liner Rex. "Oma" had lost all interest in the game, but my parents would bring my brothers and me to shag the perimeters of the public courts near the town beach. My mother took long, straight-elbowed swings that she had learned in Hunter College phys. ed. class (a requirement then). Dad, 5 inches taller at 6 feet, 4 inches, curiously took small strides and used his reach to wrist balls from the baseline at odd angles. As a result, we spent most of our time chasing errant shots that skipped to adjacent courts or soared outside the fence. Occasionally I got to swing the heavy wooden racket to the amusement of my parents. Neither of them had enough interest in the sport to coach us, so when I saw the "tennis lady" giving lessons on the St. Moritz court, it planted the seeds of an idea.

Photo courtesy of Historic Images Inc.s
Sylvia Henrotin receives an award from Sir Astley Cubitt of the Bermuda Tennis Club in a 1936 press photo.

It was a curious sight. She seemed to be in her 60s or 70s (hard to judge for a 10-year-old), giving instructions from a wheelchair to my neighbor, Terry Dennin, whose father was a town lawyer and a very good player. Fred, the dad, always played in whites and could be seen practicing his powerful serve with a bag of balls, his own two boys retrieving. Even without Fred's big neck and shoulders, Terry would go on to be a steady high school varsity player at Northwood School.

Standing next to the ancient coach, her husband (I assumed) tossed balls to Terry, who was perched at the service line "T," practicing volleys. The woman, in loose, summer slacks and pullover blouse, gave instruction in a clipped, lightly accented English. I was used to hearing different languages and lilts in Lake Placid, a town that attracted European emigres (including my grandparents) and French-Canadians. I deemed it to be a British accent, to my untrained ear, as she enunciated her consonants clearly and flourished long "a"s like the 1930s movie stars.

The pudgy man at her side called out to us, "Come on in, boys!" He was of medium height, had a round face and owlish glasses and receding brown hair, and his relatively unlined face made him appear younger than his companion. He was the one actually tossing balls to Terry while the woman shouted out instructions. She paused. Jay Jay and I greeted them cordially. (Remember to shake hands and look people in the eye, my dad always said.) They smiled, impressed with our village manners.

"Boys, this is Sylvia Henrote, a great tennis champion. She played at Wimbledon." We nodded. We had not heard of this place. We followed the Yankees and the Dodgers, and also had our local heroes, gold medalists at the '32 Olympics, who walked along Main Street as the local judge, the insurance agent and the lawyer. We even knew recent winter champions like our own Art Devlin, Jay Jay's dad Jay Sr., and the immortal Helmut Recknagel (world ski jumping champ).

"Let me see you hit," said Ms. Henrote. A few wild swings later left our observers chortling, much to Terry's amusement.
"You boys could benefit from a lesson," said the man. (We later found that he was, indeed, her husband.) The fee was a dollar each for one hour. We were used to dealing in pennies, gathering empty bottles on the side of the road in Jay Jay's sister Judy's little red wagon to trade for bags of candy at Lemoy's general store. This was a major transaction. In return for various duties around the house and yard, we each procured the funds for our morning lesson.

Upon arrival at the court, we approached the wheelchair. Sylvia's companion, whom I vaguely remember as "Bill," reached into a large canvas bag and retrieved a racquet that he handed to Sylvia.

"Come closer; you need to see the grip," she said.

"Pretend you are shaking hands," said Ms. Henrote. The handle was placed in my hand at a careful angle, and I immediately noticed its unusual construction. It was blond, natural wood with a clear varnish patina. The handle split in two as it reached the frame; one piece wrapped around the oval.

"This is the one Ms. Henrote used in the French Open. It's handmade, bamboo." I was amazed at the lightness. What also struck me that Ms. Henrote's hands, so swollen and disfigured, could barely grip her own racquet as she demonstrated the correct form.

The backhand grip, with a quarter-turn and the thumb turned out, came next. We spent the rest of the hour hitting from the "T." Our shots went from pop-ups to "Texas Leaguers" to arcs that skimmed the net. All the time, in our ears was, "Be sideways to the net! Keep your racquet face open! Keep your arm straight! Aim for the center of the net; it is the lowest point." Jay Jay was tiny and four years younger than me, but his athleticism, already evident, allowed him to take good licks with his oversized antique. Neither of us was allowed to use the sacred bamboo relic.
I vaguely remember at the end of this lesson, or possibly there was a second, when she explained "the serve." We were told to make a healthy toss, straight up so that the throwing hand was above our head allowing the back shoulder to fully come through with force.

That was it. As a fickle 12-year-old I sought other, less demanding pursuits, like fishing with my dad or hanging out at the beach with mom and my baby brothers. The rest of my tennis education boiled down to buying a $12 Wilson racquet at Lake Placid Hardware (they had a toy and sporting section) the following summer. Marc Hess, roughly my age, would play sets with me at the public courts. I couldn't help noticing the better players, particularly an older man and his adult daughter, sporting standard tennis gear and hitting the ball baseline to baseline with velocity. All the while, the gent kept a lit pipe in his mouth. I was impressed with his casual ease and technique.

Pickup games with others continued up into my adulthood and indoor and outdoor tennis ladders. I am a "B" player with a solid serve and forehand, but a suspect net game. My lack of quick hands also impeded my ability to hit a curveball, relegating me to the bench during my four years at Northwood School. Would that I had gone out for tennis instead.

I continued to see Bill at the wheel of a blimp-like green DeSoto with Sylvia slouched in her seat, the wheelchair in the back. This continued for several summers, until they seemed to disappear from the scene. I hadn't thought of her until this day, under the sway of childhood memories, on this street. The St. Moritz still stands, with a fresh coat of paint, but is now boxed in by the Greenwood Apartments, an adjacent five-story assisted-living residence. The site of the court is just that, a site, with newly poured concrete and a plywood flooring ready to receive the studs of perhaps a two-bedroom summer home. The Dennins' house has new siding but looks the same, unlike other "Adirondackized" local homes with birch balustrades and darkly stained new shingles, green shutters throughout and an old-timey front porch.

I was curious. Was there really a Sylvia Henrote of note? I am a reluctant Web searcher, convinced that such resources are: 1. unreliable, 2. memory disabling (why remember anything if you can look it up?) and 3. socially impolite, interfering with eye-to-eye discourse. Any serious research I had done involved the "Reader's Guide to Periodicals," card catalogues at the university library and microfiche. This did not qualify as real research, just a twinge of curiosity to see if there was any basis to this story. Ms. Henrote did not laud her own history, wanting to concentrate fully on her pupils, all business. It was her husband who made these claims with a gleam of admiration in his eye. I hit gold when the Google screen asked, "Do you mean Sylvie Henrotin?" From there, a cascade of interesting facts emerged.

Sylvia was not a Brit but the French national. Born Sylvie Jung on July 10, 1904, in Le Havre, France she took her playing name from her second husband, C. Fernan Henrotin. "Bernie" Welton was her third husband, the man we saw at her side, assisting in the lessons. She is described as "very prominent as a doubles specialist." (footnote 1) In fact, Sylvie was a finalist in six grand slams between 1933 and 1937 that included the French Open, the U.S. Open and Wimbledon - either in women's doubles or mixed doubles. Sadly, she never won any of those titles. In 1935 she reached the quarterfinals of the women's singles at Wimbledon.

Ms. Henrotin, though faded from my childhood memory, had not left the local scene. She taught tennis at the Lake Placid Club, the Keene Valley Club and the AuSable Club, and hosted a number of local tournaments until her death in 1970 in Lake Placid. (2)

That my early memories were off the mark didn't bother me. Her record as a serious player came to me as a pleasant surprise, tinged with sadness. We know that people exaggerate their achievements, but here was a woman reduced by circumstance and health, lauded by a loving husband who could only voice faint echoes of a glorious past. Of course, there are the clippings, the photos and the roster of tournament records that will remain for archivists to explore and assemble. Meanwhile, when I take my two grandchildren out to the Cambridge courts at River Park, I hear myself saying, "Be sideways to the net, keep your racquet face open, keep your arm straight, and aim for the center of the net." The service game will come later.

Larry Adler grew up in Lake Placid from 1947 to 1964 and after college taught at Northwood School in Lake Placid for three years. Currently he works as an
educational consultant and college teacher in the
Boston area.


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Jacqueline HORNER, Simone AMAURY GORONITCHENKO, Arlette NEUFELD and Sylvie HENROTIN (on far right), Paris Tennis Club 1936​

Correct the order in the picture.
From left to right: Sylvie HENROTIN, Simone AMAURY GORODNITCHENKO, Arlette NEUFELD and Jacqueline HORNER

25,282 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Great research, Rollo!

Added performance timelines to her wiki article.
Thanks Wolbo. I love those timelines!

I was saddened to hear about Sylvia being in a wheelchair for so many years. But there she was giving lessons, so her spirit wasn't crushed.

Would like to know more about her marriages too-did her second husband die or was there a second divorce? and how did she meet Bernie?
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