May Sutton

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May Sutton
May Sutton1.jpg
Full name May Godfrey Sutton
Country  United States
Born (1886-09-25)September 25, 1886
Plymouth, England
Died October 4, 1975(1975-10-04) (aged 89)
Santa Monica, CA, USA
Plays Right-handed
Int. Tennis HOF 1956 (member page)
Singles
Grand Slam Singles results
Wimbledon W (1905, 1907)
US Open W (1904)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
US Open W (1904)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
US Open F (1904)
May Sutton (between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915)
May Sutton

May Godfrey Sutton (September 25, 1886 - October 4, 1975) was a tennis champion and the first American to win the singles title at Wimbledon.

Biography[edit]

May Sutton was born in Plymouth, England, but when she was six years old, Sutton's family moved to a ranch near Pasadena, California. It was there that she and her sisters played tennis on a court built by her father.[1] As young ladies, May and her sisters, Violet Sutton, Florence Sutton, and Ethel Sutton, dominated the California tennis circuit. In addition to being accomplished tennis players, the girls were excellent basketball players. May, Florence and Violet were all on the Pasadena High School basketball team, which went undefeated in 1900.[2] In 1904 at age 18, May Sutton won the singles title at the U.S. Championships. She also teamed with Miriam Hall to win the women's doubles title and came close to making it a clean sweep by advancing to the mixed doubles final.[3]

In 1905, she became the first American and first non-British woman to win the Wimbledon singles title when she beat British star and reigning two-time Wimbledon champion Dorothea Douglass Chambers. She did it while shocking the British audience by rolling up her sleeves to bare her elbows and wearing a skirt that showed her ankles. For the next two years, she and Chambers met in the final, with Chambers recapturing the title in 1906 and Sutton winning it back in 1907.[4]

May Sutton was the 1908 Rose Parade Queen in Pasadena.

In 1912, she married Tom Bundy, who was a three-time winner of the men's doubles title at the U.S. Championships, and semi-retired to raise a family. However, in 1921 at the age of 35, she made a comeback and became the fourth-ranked player in the U.S. In 1925, she was a women's doubles finalist at the U.S. Championships and, although almost forty years of age, her game was strong enough to be selected for America's Wightman Cup team. She was a Wimbledon quarterfinalist in 1929 at the age of 42, which was the first time she had played Wimbledon since 1907. In 1928 and 1929, she and her daughter Dorothy Cheney became the only mother/daughter combination to be seeded at the U.S. Championships. Her nephew, John Doeg, won the U.S. Championships in 1930, and in 1938 daughter Dorothy won the Australian Championships.

In 1956, Sutton was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.[5] She never stopped playing tennis and was still playing regularly well into her late eighties.

Sutton died in 1975 and was interred in the Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery in Santa Monica, California.[6]

Playing style[edit]

Eight-time U.S. National Championship winner Molla Bjurstedt Mallory indicated that Sutton was the best player she had met. "Her drive was the fastest and the ... most difficult ... to handle, because it dove suddenly to the ground and then jumped up unexpectedly with queer curves. When she could keep her drives near the baseline, they either forced me back farther than I had been accustomed to play or compelled me to make errors. She was also strong overhead when she came to the net and altogether had more power and effectiveness than any other woman tennis player of her time". Sutton played with an extreme Western grip and had a powerful topspin forehand that made the ball dip and bound high.[7]

Grand Slam singles finals[edit]

Wins (3)[edit]

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score
1904 U.S. Championships United States Elisabeth Moore 6–1, 6–2
1905 Wimbledon United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers 6–3, 6–4
1907 Wimbledon United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers 6–1, 6–4

Runner-up (1)[edit]

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score
1906 Wimbledon United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers 6–3, 9–7

Grand Slam doubles finals[edit]

Titles (3)[edit]

Year Championship Partner Opponents Score
1904 U.S. Championships United States Miriam Hall United States Elisabeth Moore
United States Carrie Neely
3–6, 6–3, 6–3

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Cecilia Rasmussen (28 Mar 1999). "May Bundy Rewrote the Tennis Record Books". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Hult, p. 144
  3. ^ "Miss Sutton Tennis Champion". The New York Times. 26 Jun 1904. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (2nd ed. ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. p. 427. ISBN 978-0942257700. 
  5. ^ "Hall of Famers - May Sutton Bundy". ITF. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "May Sutton Bundy - Oldtime Tennis Queen". St. Petersburg Times. 7 Oct 1975. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Ohnsorg, Roger W. Robert Lindley Murray: The Reluctant U.S. Tennis Champion; includes "The First Forty Years of American Tennis". Victoria, BC: Trafford On Demand Pub. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-4269-4514-4. 

References[edit]

  • Hult, Joan S.; Trekell, Marianna (1991). A Century of women's basketball : from frailty to final four. Reston, Va: National Association for Girls and Women in Sport. ISBN 9780883144909. 

External links[edit]