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Hazel Wightman
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Tennis Player
    (December 20, 1886-December 5, 1974)
    Born in Healdsburg, California
    Birth name was Hazel Hotchkiss
    At the US National Championships, won four singles titles (1909-11,1919), six women’s doubles titles (1909-11,1915,1924,1928) and six mixed doubles titles (1909-11,1915,1918,1920)
    At Wimbledon won one women’s doubles title (1924)
    At the Paris Summer Olympics won gold medals in women’s doubles and mixed doubles (1924)
    Founded the Ladies International Tennis Challenge (better known as the Wightman Cup), an annual team competition between American and British women (1923)
    Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (1957)
    Nicknamed ‘the first lady of tennis’ and ‘queen mother of American tennis’
    She was responsible for convincing the All-England Club to make its tradition of all-white clothing at Wimbledon into a formal rule (1949) after a couple of players showed up in Ted Tinling-designed dresses with color trim.
    She divorced George Wightman after three decades of marriage.
    The Wightman Cup was eventually discontinued due to a lack of interest following years of American dominance (1990).
    She was one of the first female players to attack the net at a time when the women’s game was predominantly baseline rallies.
    At the US National Championships, she swept the singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles competitions in three consecutive years (1909-11).
    She was the first woman to return to competitive sports after having children (1915).
    She was named an honorary Dame Commander of the British Empire for establishing the Wightman Cup (1973).
    Billie Jean King called her ‘the most beloved tennis figure of all time.’

Credit: C. Fishel


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