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Suzanne Lenglen
Suzanne-Lenglen-WeirdPrancing
Country France
Biographical Information
Died 4 July, 1938
Birthplace Compiégne, France
Physical Information
Gender Female
Tennis Information
Singles
Highest ranking No. 1
Grand Slam results
French Open W (1925, 1926)
Wimbledon W (1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925)
Olympic Games 1st place (Gold medal) (1920)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
French Open W (1925)
Wimbledon W (1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925)
Olympic Games 3rd place (Bronze medal) (1920)
Last updated on 23 August, 2011.

Suzanne Rachel Flore Lenglen (born May 24, 1899, Compiègne, France—died July 4, 1938, Paris) is a French tennis player and six-time Wimbledon champion in both singles and doubles competition, whose athletic play, combining strength and speed, changed the nature of women's tennis and positioned her as the dominant women's amateur player from 1919 until 1926, when she turned professional. She was also one of the greatest women players of hard-court tennis in her time. Her game, temperamental vagaries, and daring court dress were remarkable even in the 1920s, an era rich in colourful sports personages.

Personal LifeEdit

A daughter of Charles and Anaïs Lenglen, Lenglen was born in Compiègne, some 70 km north of Paris. During her youth, she suffered from numerous health problems including asthma. Because his daughter was so frail and sickly, Charles Lenglen decided that it would be good for her to compete in tennis and gain strength. Her first try at the game was in 1910, when she played on the tennis court at the family property. The young girl enjoyed the game, and her father decided to train her further in the sport. His training methods included an exercise where, the story goes, he would lay down a handkerchief at various places on the court, to which his daughter had to direct the ball.

CareerEdit

Chief among Lenglen's lawn-tennis titles were the Wimbledon singles (1919–23, 1925), women's doubles (1919–23, 1925), and mixed doubles (1920, 1922, 1925) as well as the French Open singles (1920–23, 1925–26), women's doubles (1925–26), and mixed doubles (1925–26). At the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium, she earned gold medals in singles and mixed doubles. In world hard-court championship play she won the singles four times (1914, 1921–23), the women's doubles three times (1914, 1921–22), and the mixed doubles three times (1921–23). Her career was interrupted twice, first by World War I and later (1924) by illness.

Suzanne Lenglen

A photo of Suzanne Lenglen.

In amateur lawn tennis Lenglen lost only one match: to Molla Bjurstedt Mallory at the 1921 U.S. Open in Forest Hills, New York. At Cannes, France, in 1926, she defeated the great American player Helen Wills 6–3 and 8–6 in their only meeting, a widely publicized match. Later that year she traveled to the United States to join a professional tennis tour.

On the courtEdit

Although admired for her athleticism, Lenglen was equally renowned for her daring fashion choices. While most players preferred the traditional costume of a corset, hat, blouse, and long skirt, Lenglen's athletic wardrobe consisted of perfectly coordinated short pleated skirts, sleeveless blouses, and short-sleeved calf-length dresses worn without a petticoat. She often wrapped her head in a bandeau fastened with a jeweled pin. Her glamorous image was adored by fans and even led to the creation of the Lenglen tennis shoe.

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