The evolution of the game of tennis (20th Century); Part 2

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Dusty Payne

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  • The evolution of the game of tennis (20th Century); Part 2

The evolution of the game of tennis (20th Century); Part 2

Wimbledon and U.S. Open were the major tournament of tennis until 20th century. The early Wimbledon championships were highly influenced by the English players, Arthur gore and brothers Reggie and Laurie Doherty. Dorothea Douglass Lambert was the centre of attention in women’s side. She won the Wimbledon title seven times (1903, 1904, 1906, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914). During those years, Elisabeth Moore and Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman of America won many of the U.S. women’s championships. Norwegian-born Molla Mallory joined the winners’ group in 1915 and she won eight such titles afterwards.


In the twentieth century world saw British, American, and French players climbing up the stairs of success. The US player Bill Tilden was three times Wimbledon and seven times U.S championship winner. French players also marked their presence in the game. From 1924 to 1929, Wimbledon victory was revolved around these three French players: Jean Borotra, René Lacoste, and Henri Cochet. During the same period, the French Suzanne Lenglen and Helen wills of United States were the leading female players.


In the 1930s, U.S. player Don Budge and Ellsworth were the fame monsters. Fred Perry from England was also the champion of many titles during that time. For all these years, Hellen Vills Moody of United States continued her success with a great pace. She won eight Wimbledon titles (1927-1930, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1938), seven U.S. championship titles (1923-1925, 1927-1929, 1931), and four French championship titles (1928-1930, 1932).


American Pancho Gonzales and Jack Kramer were known as the tennis masters of the time. Pancho actually started his international career in 1940. Around the same years Pauline Betz, Louise Brough of U.S. started their careers. Pauline was the four times U.S. Open champion (1942-1944, 1946) and Louise had four Wimbledon titles to his name.


In the 1950s, Australia turned out to be a tennis power, and Australian men won the Davis Cup 15 times from 1950 to 1967, led by outstanding players such as Frank Sedjman, Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Roy Emerson, and Ashley Cooper. American Tony Trabert also became a premier player during this time. Maureen Connolly was the leading female player of the early 1950s, winning the grand slam in 1953.

Althea Gibson was the first black player who was crowned for Wimbledon and the U.S. Grand titles in 1957 and 1958. During next two years, Australian Rod Laver, Manuel Santana of Spain and Stan Smith of United States remained successful in the game. The women side was dominated by Maria bueno of Brazil, Virginia Wade of England, and great Billie Jean King of the United States. Billie Jean won the Wimbledon six times (1966-1968, 1972, 1973, 1975)


In 1968 the open era commenced when tournaments were opened to professionals as well as amateurs.  The American Jimmy Connors, whose career spanned from the early 1970s to the mid 1990s was a very successful player. He won five U.S. Opens (1974, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1983)

 One of the most thriving female players ever was Czech-born Martina Navratilova, whose career spanned from the early 1970s to the mid1990s. During her career, Navratilova won 167 singles titles, including nine Wimbledon titles (1978, 1979, 1982-1987, 1990). American Chris Evert was another dominant female player during the 1970s and 1980s, winning seven French Opens (1974, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1986) and six U.S. Opens (1975-1978, 1980, 1982). In 1988 Steffi Graf had an outstanding year, capturing the grand slam and the Olympic gold medal.


In the 1990s, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, and Michael Chang were among the best players. Pete Sampras spent 286 weeks at top of ATP ranking. In the last decade of the century, US players dominated the tennis world. Pete Sampras dominated the tennis world in the last decade of 20th century. He was thirteen times winner of Grand Slam titles and world number 1 for a record time. He spent 286 weeks at the top of list in world ranking.


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