Suzanne Rachel Flore Lenglen was a French tennis player who won 31 Championship titles between 1914 and 1926. She dominated womens tennis from 1914 until 1926 when she turned professional, a flamboyant, trendsetting athlete, she was the first female tennis celebrity and one of the first international female sport stars, named La Divine by the French press. Lenglens 241 titles,181 match winning streak and 341-7 match record are hard to imagine happening in todays tennis atmosphere, Lenglen is regarded by some to be the greatest female tennis player in history. A daughter of Charles and Anaïs Lenglen, Suzanne Lenglen was born in Paris, during her youth, she suffered from numerous health problems including chronic asthma, which also plagued her at a later age. Because his daughter was so frail and sickly, Charles Lenglen and her first try at the game was in 1910, when she played on the tennis court at the family property in Marest-sur-Matz. The young girl enjoyed the game, and her 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, only four years after her first tennis strokes, Lenglen played in the final of the 1914 French Championships, aged only 14. She lost to reigning champion Marguerite Broquedis in the final 5–7, 6–4 and that same year, she won the World Hard Court Championships held at Saint-Cloud, turning 15 during the tournament. This made her the youngest winner of a championship in tennis history. The match, which one of the hallmarks of tennis history, was played before 8,000 spectators, including King George V. After splitting the first two sets, Lenglen took a 4–1 lead in the set before Chambers rallied to take a 6–5 lead. Lenglen saved the first match point when her service return trickled off the wood of her racket, Lenglen survived the second match point when Chambers hit a drop shot into the net. Lenglen then went on to win the match 10–8, 4–6 and it was not only her performances on the court which were noted, however. The staid British also were in shock at the boldness of the French woman who also casually sipped brandy between sets, at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Lenglen dominated the womens singles. On her path to the medal, she gave up only four games. She then teamed up with Max Décugis to win gold medal in the mixed doubles. She was eliminated in a womens doubles semifinal and won the medal after their opponents withdrew. From 1919 through 1925, Lenglen won the Wimbledon singles championship every year with the exception of 1924, health problems due to jaundice forced her to withdraw after winning her quarterfinal match
Image: Suzanne Lenglen 02
Despite her flamboyant and sometimes controversial appearance on the court, Suzanne Lenglen was also known as a very graceful player.