Kathleen McKane Godfree
Kathleen McKane Godfree (left) and Suzanne Lenglen at the French Championships in 1925
|Full name||Kathleen McKane Godfree|
|Country (sports)||United Kingdom|
7 May 1896|
|Died||19 June 1992
|Int. Tennis HoF||1978 (member page)|
|Highest ranking||No.2 (1923, 1924, 1926)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|French Open||F (1923, 1925)|
|Wimbledon||W (1924, 1926)|
|US Open||F (1925)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|French Open||F (1925, 1926)|
|Wimbledon||F (1922, 1924, 1936)|
|US Open||W (1923, 1927)|
|Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results|
|Wimbledon||W (1924, 1926)|
|US Open||W (1925)|
|Wightman Cup||(1924, 1925)|
According to A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Godfree was ranked in the world top ten from 1921 (when the rankings began) through 1927, reaching a career high of World No. 2 in those rankings in 1923, 1924, and 1926.
Godfree won five Olympic medals in tennis at the 1920 Antwerp and 1924 Paris games, the most Olympic medals ever won by a tennis player until Venus Williams matched this record at the 2016 Olympics Games. In 1923 she captured the title at the World Covered Court Championships.
Godfree won the Wimbledon singles title twice. In the 1924 final, Godfree recovered from a set and 4–1 (40–15) down against Helen Wills Moody to win the title. This was the only defeat at Wimbledon for Moody who would go on to win eight titles. In the 1926 final, Godfree recovered from a 3–1 and game-point-against deficit in the third set to defeat Lili de Alvarez.
The 1924 Wimbledon final was not Godfree's only victory over Moody. Godfree also defeated Moody during the 1924 Wightman Cup 6–2, 6–2. On at least two other occasions, Godfree pushed Moody to the limit. Moody won their quarterfinal in the 1923 U.S. Championships 2–6, 6–2, 7–5 after Godfree recovered to 5–5 in the third set after trailing 5–2. And in the final of the 1925 U.S. Championships, Moody won in three sets.
In 1925, Godfree became the first person to have reached the singles finals of the French Championships, Wimbledon, and U.S. Championships during her career.
In 1922, Kitty and her sister Margaret McKane Stocks were the only sisters to contest a Wimbledon doubles final (until Serena and Venus Williams reached the final in 2000), losing to Suzanne Lenglen and Elizabeth Ryan 6–0, 6–4.
Godfree's lifetime record at Wimbledon was 38–11 in singles, 33–12 in women's doubles, and 40–12 in mixed doubles.
Godfree received a Centenary medallion on Wimbledon's Centre Court in 1977. She presented the winner's trophy to Martina Navratilova in 1986, in honor of the centenary year of play at Wimbledon. Godfree was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1978.
Grand Slam finals
Singles: 5 (2 titles, 3 runners-up)
|Runner-up||1923||Wimbledon||Grass||Suzanne Lenglen||2–6, 2–6|
|Winner||1924||Wimbledon||Grass||Helen Wills||4–6, 6–4, 6–4|
|Runner-up||1925||French Championships||Clay||Suzanne Lenglen||1–6, 2–6|
|Runner-up||1925||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Helen Wills||6–3, 0–6, 2–6|
|Winner||1926||Wimbledon||Grass||Lilí de Álvarez||6–2, 4–6, 6–3|
Doubles: 7 (2 titles, 5 runners-up)
|Runner-up||1922||Wimbledon||Grass||Margaret McKane Stocks|| Suzanne Lenglen
|Winner||1923||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Phyllis Howkins Covell|| Eleanor Goss
Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman
|2–6, 6–2, 6–1|
|Runner-up||1924||Wimbledon||Grass||Phyllis Howkins Covell|| Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman
|Runner-up||1925||French Championships||Clay||Evelyn Colyer|| Suzanne Lenglen
|1–6, 11–9, 2–6|
|Runner-up||1926||French Championships||Clay||Evelyn Colyer|| Suzanne Lenglen
|Runner-up||1926||Wimbledon||Grass||Evelyn Colyer|| Mary Browne
|Winner||1927||U.S. National Championships||Grass||Ermyntrude Harvey|| Joan Fry
|6–1, 4–6, 6–4|
Mixed doubles: 5 (3 titles, 2 runners-up)
|Runner-up||1923||U.S. National Championships||Grass||John Hawkes|| Molla Bjurstedt Mallory
|3–6, 6–2, 8–10|
|Winner||1924||Wimbledon||Grass||Brian Gilbert|| Dorothy Shepherd
|6–3, 3–6, 6–3|
|Winner||1925||U.S. National Championships||Grass||John Hawkes|| Ermyntrude Harvey
|Winner||1926||Wimbledon||Grass||Leslie Godfree|| Mary Browne
|Runner-up||1927||Wimbledon||Grass||Leslie Godfree|| Elizabeth Ryan
Grand Slam singles tournament timeline
|Australia||NH||NH||NH||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||0 / 0|
|France1||NH||A||A||SF||F||NH||F||QF||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||0 / 4|
|Wimbledon||QF||3R||2R||2R||F||W||SF||W||QF||A||A||A||4R||4R||2R||3R||2 / 13|
|United States||A||A||A||A||QF||A||F||A||1R||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||0 / 3|
|SR||0 / 1||0 / 1||0 / 1||0 / 2||0 / 3||1 / 1||0 / 3||1 / 2||0 / 2||0 / 0||0 / 0||0 / 0||0 / 1||0 / 1||0 / 1||0 / 1||2 / 20|
SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.
1Through 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 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.
Kitty and her husband Leslie remain the only married couple ever to win the mixed doubles championship at Wimbledon, winning the title in 1926. Kitty has also been referred to as Mrs. L. A. Godfree on sportscards and in reference material.
- "Kitty Godfree, Tennis Titlist, Is Dead at 96". The New York Times. June 20, 1992.
- 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.
- Kitty and King George V. at Wimbledon 1926 in The Illustrated London News
- Blue Plaque for Kathleen "Kitty" Godfree, Wimbledon Champion
- Collins, Bud (2008) p.565
- "Martina Keeps All England Under Her Rule". Los Angeles Times. July 6, 1986.
- "Plaque honours tennis great Kitty". BBC. 23 October 2006.
- The History of All England Championships Archived 26 June 2007 on Wayback Machine.
- Blue Plaque for Kathleen 'Kitty' Godfree, Wimbledon Champion