Shirley Brasher

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Shirley Brasher
Full nameShirley Juliet Bloomer
Country (sports) Great Britain
Born (1934-06-13) 13 June 1934 (age 85)
Grimsby, England
Singles
Highest rankingNo. 3 (1957) (Tingay) [1]
Grand Slam Singles results
French OpenW (1957)
WimbledonQF (1956, 1958)
US OpenSF (1956)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
French OpenW (1957)
WimbledonF (1955)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French OpenW (1958)
Team competitions
Wightman CupW (1958, 1960)

Shirley Brasher (née Bloomer; born 13 June 1934) is a former tennis player from England who won three Grand Slam titles during her career and who was the top-ranked singles player in her country in 1957.

Early life[edit]

She attended Cleethorpes Girls' Grammar School (became Lindsey School in 1973) in Cleethorpes.

Career[edit]

Brasher (then known as Shirley Bloomer) won the singles title at the 1957 French Championships, defeating Dorothy Head Knode in the final in straight sets.[2] She was the runner-up in singles at the 1958 French Championships, losing to Zsuzsi Körmöczy 6–4, 1–6, 6–2, having defeated Maria Bueno in the semifinal.[3]

Bloomer teamed with Darlene Hard to win the women's doubles title at the 1957 French Championships, defeating Yola Ramírez and Rosie Reyes in the final 7–5, 4–6, 7–5. She teamed with Nicola Pietrangeli to win the mixed doubles title at the 1958 French Championships, defeating Lorraine Coghlan and Robert Howe in the final.[4]

Bloomer partnered Patricia Ward to reach the 1955 women's doubles finals at Wimbledon, where they lost to Angela Mortimer and Anne Shilcock 7–5, 6–1,[5] and at the French Championships, where they lost to Hard and Beverly Baker Fleitz 7–5, 6–8, 13–11. They had previously beaten Mortimer and Shilcock in the British Hard Courts final and defeated Hard and Fleitz in the Wimbledon semifinals.[6]

She reached the final of Monte Carlo in 1956, losing to Althea Gibson and with Pat Hird beat Gibson and Louise Snow in the doubles final. Having reached the final in 1956, beating Darlene Hard and losing in three sets to Angela Mortimer, she won the British Hard Court Championships at Bournemouth in 1957, beating Pat Ward, and in 1958, beating Christine Truman and Ann Haydon.[7] She beat Louise Brough to reach the semifinals of the U.S. Championships in 1956 and was the only player to take a set from Althea Gibson at Wimbledon in 1958, losing in three sets in the quarterfinals. According to Lance Tingay's end of year rankings, she reached no. 7 in the world in 1956, no. 3 in 1957 and no. 5 in 1958.[1] She won the Italian Championships in 1957, beating Dorothy Knode in a three-sets final.[2][7] She lost her title the next year to Maria Bueno in the semifinals after having match points.

Bloomer played on the British Wightman Cup team from 1955 through 1960, playing the no. 2 singles in 1955, the no. 3 in 1956 (beating Dorothy Knode), and the no. 1 in 1957 and 1958. The 1958 team that included Christine Truman and Brasher won the cup, which was the first time that Great Britain had won the competition since 1930. In 1960, she and Christine Truman won the final doubles match against Janet Hopps and Dorothy Knode to bring her team to another 4–3 victory over the U.S.

Bloomer played a hard baseline game, and her tennis was concerted rather than spectacular. She was a member of the Grimsby Town Tennis Club, which was located in College Street, Grimsby.

Personal life[edit]

In April 1959, she married Olympic champion athlete Chris Brasher who helped pace Roger Bannister to running the first sub-four-minute mile in 1954.[7] They had three children, including their daughter Kate who played on the women's professional tennis tour in the 1980s.[8]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles (1 title, 1 runner-up)[edit]

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Win 1957 French Championships Clay United States Dorothy Head Knode 6–1, 6–3
Loss 1958 French Championships Clay Hungary Zsuzsi Körmöczy 4–6, 6–1, 2–6

Doubles (1 title, 2 runner-ups)[edit]

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1955 French Championships Clay United Kingdom Pat Ward United States Beverly Baker
United States Darlene Hard
5–7, 8–6, 11–13
Loss 1955 Wimbledon Grass United Kingdom Pat Ward United Kingdom Angela Mortimer
United Kingdom Anne Shilcock
5–7, 1–6
Win 1957 French Championships Clay United States Darlene Hard Mexico Yola Ramírez
Mexico Rosie Reyes
7–5, 4–6, 7–5

Mixed Doubles (1 title)[edit]

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1958 French Championships Clay Italy Nicola Pietrangeli Australia Lorraine Coghlan
Australia Bob Howe
8–6, 6–2

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline[edit]

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
Tournament 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 Career SR
Australian Championships A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 0
French Championships A A 3R QF QF W F 4R A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A 1 / 6
Wimbledon 1R 3R A 4R QF 4R QF 2R 3R 2R A 2R A A 4R A 4R 2R 3R 2R 2R 1R 2R 0 / 18
US Championships A A A 3R SF QF A 3R A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 4
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 3 0 / 3 1 / 3 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 28

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Collins, Bud (2016). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (3rd ed.). New York: New Chapter Press. p. 763. ISBN 978-1-937559-38-0.
  2. ^ a b G.P. Hughes, ed. (1958). Dunlop Lawn Tennis Annual 1958. London: Ed. J. Burrow & Co. Ltd. p. 306.
  3. ^ British Lawn Tennis July 1958
  4. ^ British Lawn Tennis July 1958
  5. ^ My Waiting Game Mortimer, Angela Published by Frederick Muller (1962)
  6. ^ "Wimbledon players archive – Shirley Brasher (Bloomer)". www.wimbledon.com. AELTC.
  7. ^ a b c C.M. Jones, ed. (1960). Dawson's International Lawn Tennis Almanac. London: Dawson's of Pall Mall. p. 368.
  8. ^ Nick Mason (1 March 2003). "Chris Brasher". The Guardian.

Sources[edit]

  • Martin Hedges, 1978. The Concise Dictionary of Tennis. Mayflower Books Inc.

External links[edit]