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Dorothy Edith Round (13 July 1909 – 12 November 1982), was a British tennis player who was active from the late 1920s until 1950. She achieved her major successes in the 1930s. She won the singles title at Wimbledon in 1934 and 1937, and the singles at the Australian Championships in 1935. She also had success as a mixed doubles player at Wimbledon, winning a total of three titles. After her wedding in 1937, she played under her married name, Mrs D.L. Little. During the Second World War, she played in North America and became a professional coach in Canada and the United States. Post-war, she played in British regional tournaments, coached, and wrote on tennis for newspapers.

Dorothy Round
SLNSW 51949 Dorothy Round.jpg
Full nameDorothy Edith Round
Country (sports) United Kingdom
Born(1909-07-13)13 July 1909
Dudley, Worcestershire, England
Died12 November 1982(1982-11-12) (aged 73)
Kidderminster, Hereford and Worcester, England
PlaysRight-handed
Int. Tennis HoF1986 (member page)
Singles
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1934)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenW (1935)
WimbledonW (1934, 1937)
US OpenSF (1933)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
French OpenSF (1930)
US OpenF (1931)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French Open3R (1930)
WimbledonW (1934, 1935, 1936)

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Dorothy Round was born on 13 July 1909 in Dudley, Worcestershire, England,[1] the youngest of four children. She was the child of John Benjamin Round, a building contractor, and Maude Helena.[2] Her family home in Park Road, Dudley, included a hard tennis court laid down by her grandfather.[3] She was brought up as a Methodist and her religion remained important to her throughout her life.[3] According to an interview she gave in later life, she played tennis with her brothers at the court in the garden of the family home from an early age and entered a school tennis competition aged 10 or 11.[4] Round attended the Dudley Girls High School.[1]

CareerEdit

Early careerEdit

Round entered her first tennis tournament when she was 16 when she appeared at a competition held at Pwllheli, in Wales.[5][6] In September 1925, Round entered the junior Worcestershire championships, and on 7 September 1925 she won the title, defeating Miss Lily Darby of Smethwick in straight sets.[7] She retained the Worcestershire singles junior title the following year and added the doubles title at the same tournament.[4][8] In September 1926, Round competed in the Junior Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, where she reached the semi-finals.[9] In June 1927, Round won three titles at the Worcestershire County Lawn Tennis Tournament, becoming the singles, doubles and mixed doubles champion.[10]

First appearances at Wimbledon and other major tournamentsEdit

Round entered her first Wimbledon Championships in 1928, after coming through the qualifying event, and was knocked out in the first round[4] by Miss N. Trentham, the score being 6-2, 6-8, 8-6.[11] The following year she suffered from nerves as she was defeated by Betty Nuthall in the second round.[4] Later in 1929, her picture featured in the "Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News" where she was billed as "a rising player".[12] Round put in some impressive performances at the Wightman Cup trials held at Wimbledon in April 1930, defeating a number of established British players.[13] In the same month, one of the top British male players, "Bunny" Austin called Round "a Bright new star".[14]

In 1930 she made her first tennis trip abroad, to the French Championships where she entered the doubles event, partnered by Mrs. Holcroft Watson[15] and the mixed doubles event,[4] partnered by Mr H.G.N. Lee.[16] Her participation in the tournament resulted in a number of newspapers commenting on the possible difficulties caused by Round's refusal to play on Sunday because of her religious principles and the fact that the finals of the French Championships were played on that day.[17][18] She reached the semi-finals of the doubles, where the English pair were beaten by the French pair Mathieu and Barbier, 7-5, 7-5.[19] She also reached the third round of the mixed doubles.[20] In this year it was reported that she was being coached by Dan Maskell.[21]

At the 1931 Wimbledon Championships she reached the quarterfinal stage for the first time after defeating fifth-seeded Lili Álvarez in the third round and was rewarded with a spot on the British team for the Wightman Cup, the annual women's team tennis competition between Great Britain and the United States, which in 1931 was held in August at Forest Hills. She lost her singles match against Anna Harper in three sets after failing to convert any of her seven matchpoints.[4] Later in the same month, Round reached the doubles final of the U.S. National Championships at Forest Hill, where she was partnered by Helen Jacobs. The pair went on to lose to Miss Betty Nuthall and Mrs. Fearnley Whittingstall, the score being 6-2, 6-4.[22] In a newspaper article from 1935, Round stated that it was her Wightman Cup loss that prompted her have more tournament play and she increased the number of tournaments that she played in to around 12 per season.[23]

In 1932 she again reached the Wimbledon singles quarterfinal in which she was decisively beaten by first-seeded and three-time Wimbledon champion Helen Wills Moody, 6-0, 6-1.[24]

She declined to compete in the French Championships in 1933, as she did not want to play on a Sunday because of her religious convictions.[25]

First Grand Slam singles finalEdit

 
Helen Wills Moody was probably Round's most formidable tennis opponent

In May 1933, Round scored a victory over Helen Jacobs in the final of the British Hard Court Championships, the score being 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.[26] At the 1933 Wimbledon Championships she was seeded no. 2 and after a win against Helen Jacobs in the semifinal, she reached her first Grand Slam final. Wills Moody, now five-time Wimbledon singles title-holder, proved too strong but Round managed to take a set from her, which was the first set Wills Moody lost in a Grand Slam final since 1925.[a][28] She proceeded with a tour to the United States where she competed in the 1933 Wightman Cup and won the singles title at the Eastern Grass Court Championships in Rye, beating compatriot Mary Heeley in the final.[4][29] The result of the match, held on 12 August 1933, was: 6-2, 6-4.[30] Round competed in the 1933 Pacific Coast Championships, held in San Francisco, and was a runner-up to Alice Marble in the singles event but won the doubles event partnering Mary Heeley. In February and March 1934, Round travelled with a British team to the Jamaican Tennis Championships. She reached the singles final but was beaten by Helen Jacobs, 6-4, 6-1.[31] In the following May, Round retained her British Hard Court Championships single title in Bournemouth, beating Peggy Scriven in the final.[32]

Grand Slam successesEdit

 
Dorothy Round practising at the White City Stadium in Sydney during her tour of Australia in 1934/5

Seeded number 2 in the 1934 Wimbledon Championships, she went on to win the tournament, defeating the sixth seeded player, Lolette Payot, in the quarter-finals[33] and the eighth seed, Simonne Mathieu, in the semis,[34] before beating Helen Jacobs in three sets: 6–2, 5–7, 6–3 to take the title. She also won the mixed doubles competition, partnered by the Japanese player, Ryuki Miki.[35]

In late 1934, Round was part of a British team that sailed to Australasia, arriving at Auckland on 2 November 1934 on board the Mariposa.[36] After playing matches in New Zealand, the British team moved on to Australia in mid-November, where they were given a reception by the New South Lawn Tennis Association on 19 November 1934.[37]

Round won the Victorian Championships, held in Melbourne, in December 1934 after a two-sets win in the final against Joan Hartigan.[38] In January 1935, Round added the Australian Championships title to her Wimbledon one, beating her British compatriot, Nancy Lyle, in the three set final, the score being 6-1, 1-6, 6-1.[39] [40] With this victory, Round became the first overseas player to win the Australian Championships.[41]

Also in January 1935, her first instructional book on tennis, Modern Lawn Tennis, was published by George Newnes.[42]

Round lost her Wimbledon singles title in the summer of 1935, defeated in the quarter-finals by the Australian, Joan Hartigan, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6.[43] However, she retained her mixed doubles title in that year, partnered by Fred Perry. The pair beat the Australians, Nell Hopman and Harry Hopman, the score being 7–5, 4–6, 6–2.[44] In July 1935, it was reported that she had taken a post as a dress designer and sports wear adviser to a firm of outfitters.[45]

Despite being the top seed in the singles of the Wimbledon Championships of summer 1936, Round went out at the quarter-final stage, beaten by the German player, Hilde Sperling.[46] This match generated some controversy, when, during play, Round broke a shoulder strap. When Round requested permission to leave court to change, her opponent Sperling replied that she would prefer to keep on playing in case she got cold whilst waiting, forcing Round to carry on with the strap held by a safety pin.[47] Despite the singles loss, Round retained her mixed doubles title, again partnered by Fred Perry. The pair defeated Don Budge and Sarah Fabyan, 7–9, 7–5, 6–4.[48] In July 1936, a "lawn tennis experiment" was staged in the form of a match between Round and a top male player Bunny Austin. The match undertaken on "handicap terms" ended even at one set all.[49]

In early 1937, Round was appointed to the National Advisory Council of Physical Fitness, tasked with improving the fitness of the nation.[50]

Her second and final Wimbledon singles title came on 3 July 1937 when she defeated the Polish player Jadwiga Jędrzejowska 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.[51]

According to A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Little was ranked in the world top ten from 1933 through 1937, reaching a career high of World No. 1 in 1934.[52]

Final Wimbledon appearanceEdit

Following her marriage in September 1937 and birth of her son in July 1938, Round took a break from tennis competition. In January 1938, Round's second instructional book, Tennis for Girls was published.[42] In August 1938, Round presented a trophy that she, herself, had donated to the winner of the women's singles of the Pwllheli tennis tournament.[53] In December 1938, it was reported that Round was planning a come-back to competitive tennis, although she stated that her participation at Wimbledon would be dependent on the progress she made during the year.[54] She returned to tennis in 1939,[55] appearing at the Herga Club's Tournament in Harrow at the end of March.[56] She won her first tournament after her comeback on 13 April 1939, winning the Tally Ho! club's Easter tournament.[57] Later in the year she reached the fourth round in the singles and the third round of the doubles at Wimbledon.[58][59] In August 1939, playing as Mrs Little at the Pwllheli Tennis Tournament, she won the Dorothy Round Challenge Cup.[60]

In May 1940, Round won the doubles, partnered by Mrs. S. H. Hammersley, at the Priory Lawn Tennis Tournament held at Edgbaston, Birmingham.[61] In July 1940, Round announced that she was planning to go to Canada with her young son and that she was considering turning "pro" and doing some coaching.[62]

Playing and coaching in North AmericaEdit

In July 1940, Round went to Canada with her two-year old son, Ian, and whilst there she became a professional tennis coach.[62][63] She also took part in competitions, exhibition matches and raised money for charity in Canada and the USA[64] as well as promote the sale of War Bonds in the U.S.[65]

In August 1940, Round won both the singles and doubles (partnered by Mrs Ross Harrington) in the Eastern Canada Championships held at Halifax, Novia Scotia.[66]

Round turned professional in 1941, when she accepted a summer coaching position at the Seigniory Tennis Club in Canada.[63] On 19 November of the same year, Round appeared in an exhibition match together with Mary Hardwick at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.[67]

In February 1942, Round was living on the campus of Lake Erie College where she was coaching tennis players.[68] She took over the coaching post from Mary Browne, who had decided to carry out civil defence work.[69]

In June 1942, Round appeared with Mary Hardwick, Bobby Riggs and Wayne Sabin in a tennis exhibition held at the Edgemoor Club, Washington D.C. The event was to raise money for the British and American Ambulance Corps.[64] At the event, Round was introduced to Dwight Davis, founder of the Davis Cup.[70]

Her later playing careerEdit

In 1944, Round returned to the UK, where she performed exhibition matches.[71]. She was reinstated as an amateur in 1945 by the Lawn Tennis Association.[72] There was speculation that she would make a return to Wimbledon in 1946,[73] although, according to the contemporary player and sports journalist, John Olliff, former professionals could not appear at the Wimbledon Championships or at national championships organised under the jurisdiction of the International Lawn Tennis Association.[74] However, Round remained an active tennis player, and after a break in 1946 when she had her second child,[75] she continued to appear in British tournaments to the end of the 1940s and beyond.[76] In June 1947 it was announced that she would be covering the Wimbledon Championships for the regional paper, the Liverpool Daily Post.[77] In August 1947, she appeared at the Scottish Hard Court Championships reaching the final of the singles and winning the doubles and mixed doubles titles.[78] In July 1948, she appeared at the Midlands Counties Championship in Birmingham where she lost the singles final to Barbara Knapp.[79] In September 1949, Round was part of the Worcestershire team playing in the Inter-Counties Hard Court Tournament against a South Wales team.[80] Round reached the third round of the singles in the Midland Counties Championships held in Birmingham, in 1950.[81]

Tennis-linked activities after finishing her playing careerEdit

In the 1953 and 1954, Round wrote articles for regional British newspapers, including a regular column named "Dorothy Round on Tennis".[82][83]

In 1963, Round coached tennis at Camp Aloha in Vermont.[84] In the following year, she was coaching tennis at Halesowen Grammar School.[85]

Awards and honoursEdit

 
in 2003, a statue of Dorothy Round by sculptor, John McKenna, was erected in Priory Park, Dudley

She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1986.[86]

On 20 September 2013 her hometown of Dudley commemorated her by erecting a bronze statue in Priory Park, Dudley. The lifesize bronze statue, unveiled by her daughter, was created by the British sculptor John McKenna and depicts Dorothy Round making a return play of the ball.[86] Also a portrait in oil on canvas by Dudley artist Philip Guest is part of the permanent collection of Dudley Museum and Art Gallery.[87]

Personal lifeEdit

Dorothy Round's Methodist beliefs were very important to her and she continued to teach at a Methodist Sunday School in Dudley even at the height of her fame when she became Wimbledon champion in 1934.[88] It was also reported in 1934 that she was regularly at the baby welfare centre at Dudley, where she helped local mothers with babies.[89] On 2 September 1937 she married Dr Douglas Leigh Little, a medical practitioner, at the Wesley Methodist Church in Dudley.[90][91] The bridesmaid was the tennis player Mary Heeley and the wedding dress was designed by Ted Tinling, who later became famous for creating sportswear for many of the post-war ladies' tennis champions.[92] [93]In July 1938, Round gave birth to a boy in Dudley.[94] She went to Canada with her baby son in 1940, returning to the UK in 1944.[72] She gave birth to a daughter, Patricia, in 1946.[75] After Round's tennis playing career ended in 1950, she became a keen golf player and played in golf tournaments during the 1950s.[95] On 4 April 1958, Round's husband died at their home in St. James Road, Dudley.[96] In August 1958, she was appointed a J.P. in her home town of Dudley.[97] Dorothy Round died on 12 November 1982, aged 74, in Kidderminster.

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles: 4 (3 titles, 1 runner-up)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Loss 1933 Wimbledon Grass   Helen Wills Moody 4–6, 8–6, 3–6
Win 1934 Wimbledon Grass   Helen Jacobs 6–2, 5–7, 6–3
Win 1935 Australian Championships Grass   Nancy Lyle Glover 1–6, 6–1, 6–3
Win 1937 Wimbledon Grass   Jadwiga Jędrzejowska 6–2, 2–6, 7–5

Doubles: 1 runner-upEdit

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1931 U.S. National Championships Grass   Helen Jacobs   Betty Nuthall
  Eileen Bennett Whittingstall
2–6, 4–6

Mixed doubles: 3 titlesEdit

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1934 Wimbledon Grass   Ryuki Miki   Dorothy Shepherd Barron
  Bunny Austin
3–6, 6–4, 6–0
Win 1935 Wimbledon Grass   Fred Perry   Nell Hopman
  Harry Hopman
7–5, 4–6, 6–2
Win 1936 Wimbledon Grass   Fred Perry   Sarah Fabyan
  Don Budge
7–9, 7–5, 6–4

Grand Slam singles tournament timelineEdit

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 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 Career SR
Australian Championships A A A A A A A W A A A A 1 / 1
French Championships A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 0
Wimbledon 1R 2R 3R QF QF F W QF QF W A 4R 2 / 11
US Championships A A A 3R A SF A A A A A A 0 / 2
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 1 / 1 1 / 2 0 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 1 3 / 14

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ After the final her hometown Dudley accorded her with a civic reception where she was presented with a platinum and diamond wristlet.[27]

ReferencesEdit

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  37. ^ "CONFIDENT". The Sun. 19 November 1934. p. 11. Retrieved 3 June 2019.
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