Shirley Brasher

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Shirley Brasher
Full name Shirley Juliet Bloomer
Country (sports)  Great Britain
Born (1934-06-13) 13 June 1934 (age 82)
Grimsby, England
Highest ranking No. 2 (1957)
Grand Slam Singles results
French Open W (1957)
Wimbledon QF (1956, 1958)
US Open SF (1956)
Grand Slam Doubles results
French Open W (1957)
Wimbledon F (1955)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French Open W (1958)
Team competitions
Wightman Cup W (1958, 1960)

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

Early life[edit]

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


Brasher (known at the time as Shirley Bloomer) won the singles title at the 1957 French Championships, defeating Dorothy Head Knode in the final 6–1, 6–3. 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.[1]

Brasher teamed with Darlene Hard to win the women's doubles title at the 1957 French Championships, defeating Yola Ramírez Ochoa 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 Robinson and Robert Howe in the final 8–6, 6–2.[2]

Brasher partnered Patricia Ward Hales to reach the 1955 women's doubles finals at Wimbledon, where they lost to Angela Mortimer Barrett and Anne Shilcock 7–5, 6–1,[3] 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.[4]

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 3 sets to Angela Mortimer, she won the British Hard Court Championships at Bournemouth in 1957, beating Pat Ward, and 1958, beating Christine Truman and Ann Haydon. She beat Louise Brough to reach the semifinals of the American Championships in 1956 and was the only player to take a set from Althea Gibson at Wimbledon in 1958, losing 6-3,6-8,6-2 in the quarterfinals after leading 2-0 in the final set. 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. She won the Italian championships in 1957, beating Dorothy Knode 1-6, 9-7 6-2 in the final. She lost her title the next year to Maria Bueno in the semifinals after having match points.

Brasher 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 Janes 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 Janes won the final doubles match against Janet Hopps and Dorothy Knode to bring her team to another 4–3 victory over the USA.

Brasher 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 athlete Chris Brasher who helped pace Roger Bannister to running the first sub-four-minute mile in 1954. They had three children, including their daughter Kate who played on the women's professional tennis tour in the 1980s.[5]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

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

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1957 French Championships Clay United States Dorothy Head Knode 6–1, 6–3
Runner-up 1958 French Championships Clay Hungary Zsuzsi Körmöczy 4–6, 6–1, 2–6

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

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1955 French Championships Clay United Kingdom Pat Ward United States Beverly Baker
United States Darlene Hard
5–7, 8–6, 11–13
Runner-up 1955 Wimbledon Grass United Kingdom Pat Ward United Kingdom Angela Mortimer
United Kingdom Anne Shilcock
5–7, 1–6
Winner 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]

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

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline[edit]

(W) Won tournament; reached (F) final, (SF) semifinal, (QF) quarterfinal; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; competed at a (RR) round-robin stage; reached a (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; or (NH) tournament not held.
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

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ British Lawn Tennis July 1958
  2. ^ British Lawn Tennis July 1958
  3. ^ My Waiting Game Mortimer, Angela Published by Frederick Muller (1962)
  4. ^ "Wimbledon players archive – Shirley Brasher (Bloomer)". AELTC. 
  5. ^ Nick Mason (1 March 2003). "Chris Brasher". The Guardian. 


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

External links[edit]

Shirley Brasher at the International Tennis Federation