Helen Newington Wills Moody


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A US tennis player who, following the dominance of the international circuit by Frenchwoman Suzanne Lenglen and then Lenglen's decision to turn professional, was the world's top woman player for much of a fifteen-year period from 1923 to 1938. Wills Moody attended the University of California, Berkeley, though she did not graduate, and was famous for her concentration and strength: her nickname Little Miss Poker Face embodied the first of these qualities, her strategy of training with male players consolidated the second. She won nineteen Grand Slam singles titles: the Wimbledon title eight times, a record until Martina Navratilova's ninth title in 1990; and seven successive US Open titles in which she competed (1923–31, not participating in 1926 and 1930). She took the singles and the doubles titles at the 1924 Paris Olympics (the last Olympics to include tennis until 1988). Wills Moody appeared on the cover of Time magazine in 1926 and 1929, making her the first US sportswoman to achieve such a level of national and international profile and celebrity.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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