Women's Tennis: A Historical Documentary of the Players and Their Game

Women's Tennis: A Historical Documentary of the Players and Their Game

Women's Tennis: A Historical Documentary of the Players and Their Game

Women's Tennis: A Historical Documentary of the Players and Their Game

Synopsis

A depiction of the evolution of American's Women's tennis from 1874 to 1974--from a leisurely amateur sport to a vigorous professional athletic competition.

Excerpt

During the over one hundred years that women in the United States have played tennis, the sport has changed dramatically. From the court-length dresses with their numerous petticoats of the 1870's to the short, pastel-colored tennis dresses of the 1970's, from patting a ball gently over a high sloping net to attacking baseline or net games, and from the pastime of the leisurely country-club set to a popular professional sport, women's tennis has come a long way. This transition was studied in order to identify and to record the contributions that women players, especially those from America, have made to tennis through their original or perfected styles of play, through their domination of or successes in tournament competition, through their liberation from the traditionalism in tennis attire, or through their enhancement of the popularity of the sport.

The careers of the various American players and some non- Americans who influenced tennis in the United States have been examined to determine what influence, if any, these women had on changing styles of play. Some originated techniques, others borrowed the men's strokes, while most simply accepted the current, popular playing styles. The fame of women in tennis often resulted only from their tournament domination over a number of years, while a few players became champions because of their introduction of new and different styles of play. Although not necessarily champions, some women players influenced tennis through their advocacy of changes in the traditionalism in tennis attire relative to length, color, or design. All these combined thrust women's tennis forward with the fitting acclaim that "it never looked so good."

Recognition of the accomplishment of certain women in the promotion of the sport usually has appeared to be superficial as men have always received more publicity and acclaim than have women. This was especially evident when examining histories of the sport. For example, the United States Lawn Tennis Association's (USLTA) . . .

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