Rosemary Casals

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For other uses of the name Casals, see Casals (surname).
Rosie Casals
Full name Rosemary Casals
Country  United States
Born (1948-09-16) September 16, 1948 (age 65)
San Francisco, California
Height 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Turned pro 1968
Plays Right-handed
Prize money $1,362,222
Int. Tennis HOF 1996 (member page)
Singles
Career record 595–325
Highest ranking No. 5 (September 13, 1976)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open SF (1967)
French Open QF (1969, 1970)
Wimbledon SF (1967, 1969, 1970, 1972)
US Open F (1970, 1971)
Doubles
Career record 508–214
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open F (1969)
French Open F (1968, 1970, 1982)
Wimbledon W (1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1973)
US Open W (1967)
Other Doubles tournaments
Championships W (1971, 1973, 1974)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Wimbledon W (1970, 1972)
US Open W (1975)

Rosemary "Rosie" Casals (born September 16, 1948) is a former American professional tennis player.

Rosemary Casals earned her reputation as a rebel in the staid tennis world when she began competing in the early 1960s. During a tennis career that spanned more than two decades, she won more than 90 tournaments and worked for the betterment of women's tennis. She was a motivating force behind many of the changes that shook the tennis world during the 1960s and 1970s. Many of these changes helped make tennis the popular sport that it is today.

Early life[edit]

Casals was born in 1948 in San Francisco to poor parents who had immigrated to the United States from El Salvador. Less than a year after Casals was born, her parents decided they could not care for her and her older sister, Victoria. Casals's great-uncle and great-aunt, Manuel and Maria Casals, took the young girls in and raised them as their own. When the children grew older, Manuel Casals took them to the public tennis courts of San Francisco and taught them how to play the game. He became the only coach Casals would ever have. But Nick Carter, former touring pro, father to Denise who was once nationally ranked, and made it to the fourth round at Wimbledon, gave her some lessons. He was the teacher of many ranking junior players, including Jeoff Brown, national junior doubles champ, and others at Arden Hills, Carmichael, California, where Mark Spitz trained. Casals used a continental forehand like he did, with the power in it that all his students had, using the "racket back, step, and hit" method.

While still just a teenager, Casals began to rebel on the court. She hated the tradition of younger players competing only against each other on the junior circuit. Gutsy and determined right from the start, Casals wanted to work as hard as possible to better her game. For an added challenge, she often entered tournaments to play against girls who were two or three years older.

Junior tennis was the first of several obstacles Casals faced during her tennis career. At five-feet-two-inches tall,[1] she was one of the shortest players on the court. Another disadvantage for her was class distinction. Traditionally, tennis was a sport practiced in expensive country clubs by the white upper class. Casals's ethnic heritage and poor background immediately set her apart from most of the other players. "The other kids had nice tennis clothes, nice rackets, nice white shoes, and came in Cadillacs," Casals told a reporter for People. "I felt stigmatized because we were poor."

Unfamiliarity with country club manners also made Casals feel different from the other players. Traditionally, audiences applauded only politely during matches and players wore only white clothes on the court. Both of these practices seemed foolish to Casals. She believed in working hard to perfect her game and expected the crowd to show its appreciation for her extra efforts. In one of her first appearances at the tradition-filled courts at Wimbledon, she was nearly excluded from competition for not wearing white. Later in her career, she became known for her brightly colored outfits.

Tennis career[edit]

The frustrations Casals endured due to her size and background affected her playing style. Despite her sweet-sounding nicknames, "Rosie" and "Rosebud," she was known as a determined player who used any shot available to her to score a point — even one between her legs. "I wanted to be someone," Casals was quoted as saying in Alida M. Thacher's Raising a Racket: Rosie Casals. "I knew I was good, and winning tournaments — it's a kind of way of being accepted." By age 16 Casals was the top junior and women's level player in northern California. At 17 she was ranked eleventh in the country and was earning standing ovations for her aggressive playing style.

More experience on the national and international levels of play helped Casals improve her game. In 1966 she and Billie Jean King, her doubles partner, won the U.S. hard-court and indoor tournaments. That same year they reached the quarter-finals in the women's doubles at Wimbledon. In 1967 Casals and King took the doubles crown at Wimbledon [2] and at the United States and South African championships. The two dominated women's doubles play for years, becoming one of the most successful duos in tennis history. (They are the only doubles team to have won U.S. titles on grass, clay, indoor, and hard surfaces.) Casals was also a successful individual player, ranking third among U.S. women during this period.

Fights for rights of professional and women players[edit]

Despite her victories on the courts, Casals continued to fight tennis traditions on several fronts. Amateur tennis players (those who are unpaid) had always been favored over professionals (those who were paid). Because many tennis players came from non-wealthy backgrounds, they were forced to accept money in order to continue playing. This, in turn, made them professionals and prevented them from entering major tournaments that allowed only amateurs to play, such as Wimbledon. Fighting against this discrimination, Casals worked for an arrangement that allowed both amateur and professional tennis players to compete in the same tournaments.

Casals's next challenge was to overcome the vast difference in prize monies awarded to male and female players. Even though they worked just as hard and played just as often as men, women earned much smaller prizes. In 1970 Casals and other women threatened to boycott traditional tournaments if they were not paid higher prize money and not given more media attention. The ruling body of U.S. tennis, the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA), refused to listen to their demands. In response, the women established their own tournament, the Virginia Slims Invitational. The attention generated by this successful tournament quickly brought about the formation of other women's tournaments and greater prize monies for women.

Joins tennis team[edit]

Casals soon became involved in another innovation: World Team Tennis (WTT). WTT involved tennis teams, each made up of two women and four men, from cities throughout the United States. Matches included both singles and doubles games. During her years with WTT, Casals played with the Detroit Loves and the Oakland Breakers and coached the Los Angeles Strings.

The strain of playing almost constantly took a physical toll on Casals. She underwent knee surgery in 1978 and was forced to change career directions. Since 1981 she has been president of Sportswomen, Inc., a California company she formed to promote a Women's Classic tour for older female players. She also began the Midnight Productions television company and has broadened her own sporting activities to include golf. Casals continues to search for new chances to improve the game of tennis. In 1990, she again teamed with Billie Jean King to win the U.S. Open Seniors' women's doubles championship. Casals won 112 professional doubles tournaments, the second most in history behind Martina Navratilova.[3] Her last doubles championship was at the 1988 tournament in Oakland, California, where her partner was Navratilova.[3]

Casals played in a total of 685 singles and doubles tournaments during her career.

Casals was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1996.

Grand Slam record[edit]

  • Wimbledon
    • Women's Doubles champion: 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1973 (all with King)
    • Women's Doubles runner-up: 1980, 1983 (both with Turnbull)
    • Mixed Doubles champion: 1970, 1972 (both with Ilie Năstase)
    • Mixed Doubles runner-up: 1976 (with Dick Stockton)
  • U.S. Championships/Open
    • Singles runner-up: 1970, 1971
    • Women's Doubles champion: 1967 (with King), 1971 (with Judy Tegart Dalton), 1974 (with King), 1982 (with Turnbull)
    • Women's Doubles runner-up: 1966 (with King), 1968 (with King), 1970 (with Virginia Wade), 1973 (with King), 1975 (with King), 1981 (with Turnbull)
    • Mixed Doubles champion: 1975 (with Stockton)
    • Mixed Doubles runner-up: 1967 (with Stan Smith), 1972 (with Năstase)

Grand Slam singles finals (2)[edit]

Runner-ups (2)[edit]

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1970 US Open Australia Margaret Court 6–2, 2–6, 6–1
1971 US Open United States Billie Jean King 6–4, 7–6

Grand Slam women's doubles finals (21)[edit]

Wins (9)[edit]

Year Championship Partner Opponents in Final Score in Final
1967 Wimbledon United States Billie Jean King Brazil Maria Bueno
United States Nancy Richey Gunter
9–11, 6–4, 6–2
1967 U.S. Championships United States Billie Jean King United States Mary-Ann Eisel
United States Donna Floyd Fales
4–6, 6–3, 6–4
1968 Wimbledon (2) United States Billie Jean King France Françoise Dürr
United Kingdom Ann Haydon-Jones
3–6, 6–4, 7–5
1970 Wimbledon (3) United States Billie Jean King France Françoise Dürr
United Kingdom Virginia Wade
6–2, 6–3
1971 Wimbledon (4) United States Billie Jean King Australia Margaret Court
Australia Evonne Goolagong Cawley
6–3, 6–2
1971 US Open (2) Australia Judy Tegart Dalton France Françoise Dürr
France Gail Lovera
6–3, 6–3
1973 Wimbledon (5) United States Billie Jean King France Françoise Dürr
Netherlands Betty Stöve
6–1, 4–6, 7–5
1974 US Open (3) United States Billie Jean King France Françoise Dürr
Netherlands Betty Stöve
7–6, 6–7, 6–4
1982 US Open (4) Australia Wendy Turnbull United States Barbara Potter
United States Sharon Walsh
6–4, 6–4

Runner-ups (12)[edit]

Year Championship Partner Opponents in Final Score in Final
1966 U.S. Championships United States Billie Jean King Brazil Maria Bueno
United States Nancy Richey Gunter
6–3, 6–4
1968 French Open United States Billie Jean King France Françoise Dürr
United Kingdom Ann Haydon-Jones
7–5, 4–6, 6–4
1968 US Open (2) United States Billie Jean King Brazil Maria Bueno
Australia Margaret Court
4–6, 9–7, 8–6
1969 Australian Open United States Billie Jean King Australia Margaret Court
Australia Judy Tegart Dalton
6–4, 6–4
1970 French Open (2) United States Billie Jean King France Françoise Dürr
France Gail Lovera
6–1, 3–6, 6–3
1970 US Open (3) United Kingdom Virginia Wade Australia Margaret Court
Australia Julie Tegart Dalton
6–3, 6–4
1973 US Open (4) United States Billie Jean King Australia Margaret Court
United Kingdom Virginia Wade
3–6, 6–3, 7–5
1975 US Open (5) United States Billie Jean King Australia Margaret Court
United Kingdom Virginia Wade
7–5, 2–6, 7–6
1982 French Open (2) Australia Wendy Turnbull United States Anne Smith
United States Martina Navratilova
6–3, 6–4
1980 Wimbledon Australia Wendy Turnbull United States Kathy Jordan
United States Anne Smith
4–6, 7–5, 6–1
1981 US Open (6) Australia Wendy Turnbull United States Kathy Jordan
United States Anne Smith
6–3, 6–3
1983 Wimbledon (2) Australia Wendy Turnbull United States Pam Shriver
United States Martina Navratilova
6–2, 6–2

Grand Slam mixed doubles finals (6)[edit]

Wins (3)[edit]

Year Championship Partner Opponents in Final Score in Final
1970 Wimbledon Romania Ilie Năstase Soviet Union Olga Morozova
Soviet Union Alex Metreveli
6–3, 4–6, 9–7
1972 Wimbledon (2) Romania Ilie Năstase Australia Evonne Goolagong Cawley
Australia Kim Warwick
6–4, 6–4
1975 US Open United States Richard Stockton Australia Fred Stolle
United States Billie Jean King
6–3, 6–7, 6–3

Runner-ups (3)[edit]

Year Championship Partner Opponents in Final Score in Final
1967 U.S. Championships[4] United States Stan Smith United States Billie Jean King
Australia Owen Davidson
6–3, 6–2
1972 US Open (2) Romania Ilie Năstase Australia Margaret Court
United States Marty Riessen
6–3, 7–5
1976 Wimbledon United States Richard Stockton France Françoise Dürr
Australia Tony Roche
6–3, 2–6, 7–5

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline[edit]

Tournament 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 Career SR
Australia A A A SF QF QF A A A A A A A A / A A A 1R 1R A A A A 0 / 5
France A A A 4R 4R QF QF A 3R A A A A A A 1R A 2R A A A A 0 / 7
Wimbledon A A 4R SF 4R SF SF 2R SF QF 4R 4R QF QF A 3R 2R 1R 2R 3R 1R A 0 / 18
United States 3R 1R SF 4R 3R SF F F QF QF QF 1R QF 4R A 1R 1R 4R 2R 3R 2R 2R 0 / 21
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 0 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 51

A = did not participate in the tournament

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

Note: The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December.

Casals was originally seeded 14th for the 1978 Wimbledon Championships, but a knee injury forced her withdrawal before the draw was made[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]