Elizabeth Ryan

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For other people named Elizabeth Ryan, see Elizabeth Ryan (disambiguation).
Elizabeth Ryan
Elizabeth Ryan (tennis player).jpg
Full name Elizabeth Montague Ryan
Country  United States
Born (1892-02-08)February 8, 1892
Anaheim, CA, USA
Died July 8, 1979(1979-07-08) (aged 87)
Wimbledon, England
Int. Tennis HOF 1972 (member page)
Singles
Highest ranking No. 3 (1927)
Grand Slam Singles results
French Open F (1932)
Wimbledon F (1914, 1920, 1921, 1930)
US Open F (1926)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
French Open W (1914, 1922, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1934)
Wimbledon W (1914, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1930, 1933, 1934)
US Open W (1926)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French Open W (1913, 1914)
Wimbledon W (1919, 1921, 1923, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1932)
US Open W (1926, 1933)

Elizabeth Montague Ryan (February 8, 1892 – July 8, 1979) was an American tennis player who was born in Anaheim, California but lived most of her life in the United Kingdom. Ryan won 30 Grand Slam titles. Nineteen of those titles were in women's doubles and mixed doubles at Wimbledon, an all-time record for those two events. Twelve of her Wimbledon titles were in women's doubles and seven were in mixed doubles. Ryan also won six women's doubles titles and two mixed doubles titles at the French Championships, as well as one women's doubles title and two mixed doubles titles at the U.S. Championships.

Career[edit]

Although she reached the Wimbledon singles finals twice, Ryan never won the title. Eight of her losses at Wimbledon were to players generally considered to be among the best ever. Ryan had to play Dorothea Lambert Chambers in the all-comers final of 1920; Suzanne Lenglen in the 1919 semifinals (losing 6–4, 7–5), 1921 final, 1922 quarterfinals, 1924 quarterfinals (losing 6–2, 6–8, 6–4), and 1925 second round; and Helen Wills Moody in the 1928 semifinals and 1930 final.

In the 1926 singles final at the U.S. Championships, the 34-year-old Ryan led 42-year-old Molla Bjurstedt Mallory 4–6, 6–4, 4–0 and had a match point at 7–6 in the third set before losing the final three games of the match.[1]

Ryan and her longtime partner Lenglen never lost a women's doubles match at Wimbledon, going 31–0.[1] Only Billie Jean King (224 match wins) and Martina Navratilova won more matches at Wimbledon than Ryan (190 match wins): 47–15 in singles, 73–4 in women's doubles, and 70–9 in mixed doubles.[1]

The longtime tennis writer Ted Tinling has credited Ryan with inventing the volleying style later perfected by players such as Sarah Palfrey Cooke, Alice Marble, Louise Brough Clapp, Margaret Osborne duPont, Doris Hart, Darlene Hard, Margaret Court, Navratilova, and King. "Before World War I, women's tennis consisted primary of slogging duels from the baseline. There were a few volleying pioneers, notably ... Hazel [Hotchkiss] Wightman and Ethel [Thomson] Larcombe, but volleying as a fundamental, aggressive technique was first injected into the women's game by ... Ryan."[2] However, Tinling also said about Ryan, "Elizabeth wasn't fast enough for singles. Too heavy."[3]

According to Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Ryan was ranked in the world top ten from 1921 (when the rankings began) through 1928 and again in 1930, reaching a career high of World No. 3 in those rankings in 1927.[4] Ryan was ranked second behind Mallory in the year-end rankings issued by the United States Lawn Tennis Association for 1925 and 1926.[5]

Ryan died at age 87 on the grounds of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon, the day before King broke her record number of Wimbledon wins by winning her 20th title.[1] Ryan was not eager to see the record broken, saying about King, "That woman is trying to break my record."[6] When tennis writer and television commentator Bud Collins tried to arrange for Ryan and King to film an interview together at Wimbledon in 1979, Ryan refused.[3] King said, "I always liked seeing Miss Ryan at Wimbledon, and I'd try to be friendly, but she didn't seem to want it. For me, it wasn't personal. Sure, I wanted the record, but I wasn't trying to steal a possession of hers."[7] King also said, "[T]here is no doubt in my mind that she just didn't want to be alive to see her record broken. She was [87], she had held it for a long, long time and she wanted it for herself. But records are there to be broken."[8]

Major finals[edit]

Grand Slam tournaments[edit]

Singles: 4 (4 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1921 Wimbledon Grass France Suzanne Lenglen 2–6, 0–6
Runner-up 1922 World Hard Court Championships Clay France Suzanne Lenglen 3–6, 2–6
Runner-up 1926 U.S. Championships Grass United States Molla Bjurstedt Mallory 6–4, 4–6, 7–9
Runner-up 1930 Wimbledon Grass United States Helen Wills Moody 2–6, 2–6

Grand Slam tournament timelines[edit]

Singles[edit]

Tournament 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 Career SR
Australia NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 0
France [a] A A A NH NH NH NH NH A A F A NH A QF A A A QF QF 1R 1R 1R 0 / 7
Wimbledon QF 1R ACF NH NH NH NH SF ACF F QF SF QF 2R 3R SF SF 3R F A 1R A A 0 / 16
United States A A A A A A A A A A A A A QF F A A A A A A A QF 0 / 3
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 26

ACF = All comers final, with the winner to play the defending champion.

NH = tournament not held.

A = did not participate in the tournament.

SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

Women's doubles[edit]

Tournament 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 Career SR
Australia NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 0
France [a] A NH W NH NH NH NH NH A A W A NH A SF A A A W F W W W 6 / 8
Wimbledon NH  ? W NH NH NH NH W W W W W QF W W W SF SF W A F W W 12 / 16
United States A A A A A A A A A A A A A F W A A A A A A F SF 1 / 4
SR 0 / 0 0 / 0 2 / 2 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 1 / 1 1 / 1 1 / 1 2 / 2 1 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 2 2 / 3 1 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 2 / 2 0 / 1 1 / 2 2 / 3 2 / 3 19 / 28

NH = tournament not held.

A = did not participate in the tournament.

SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

Mixed doubles[edit]

Tournament 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 Career SR
Australia NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 0
France [a] A W W NH NH NH NH NH ? ? ? ? NH ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? F 2 / 3
Wimbledon NH  ?  ? NH NH NH NH W F W F W 2R F SF W W SF W A W QF QF 7 / 15
United States ? A A ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? W ? ? ? ? ? ? W F 2 / 3
SR 0 / 0 1 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 1 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 2 1 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 0 1 / 1 1 / 2 0 / 3 11 / 21

NH = tournament not held.

A = did not participate in the tournament.

SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Through 1923, the French Championships were open only to French nationals. The World Hard Court Championships (WHCC), actually played on clay in Paris or Brussels, began in 1912 and were open to all nationalities. The results from that tournament are shown here from 1912 through 1914 and from 1920 through 1923. The Olympics replaced the WHCC in 1924, as the Olympics were held in Paris. Beginning in 1925, the French Championships were open to all nationalities, with the results shown here beginning with that year.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Collins, Bud (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York, N.Y: New Chapter Press. p. 618. ISBN 0-942257-41-3. 
  2. ^ Tinling, Ted (1980). "The King-Ryan Connection". In Barrett, John Gilchrist. World of Tennis 1980: A BP Yearbook. London: Queen Ann Press. p. 56. 
  3. ^ a b Collins, Bud (1989). My Life With the Pros. New York: E.P. Dutton. p. 261. ISBN 0-525-24659-2. 
  4. ^ Collins, Bud (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York, N.Y: New Chapter Press. pp. 695, 701. ISBN 0-942257-41-3. 
  5. ^ United States Tennis Association (1988). 1988 Official USTA Tennis Yearbook. Lynn, Massachusetts: H.O. Zimman, Inc. p. 260. 
  6. ^ Collins, Bud (1989). My Life With the Pros. New York: E.P. Dutton. p. 259. ISBN 0-525-24659-2. 
  7. ^ Collins, Bud (1989). My Life With the Pros. New York: E.P. Dutton. pp. 259–60. ISBN 0-525-24659-2. 
  8. ^ Brace, Reginald; King, Billie Jean (1981). Play Better Tennis: With Billie Jean King and Reginald Brace. Octopus. p. 21. ISBN 0-7064-1223-0.