Open main menu

Elizabeth Montague Ryan (February 5, 1892 – July 6, 1979) was an American tennis player who was born in Anaheim, California but lived most of her life in the United Kingdom. Ryan won 26 Grand Slam titles. Nineteen of those titles were in women's doubles and mixed doubles at Wimbledon, an all-time record for those two events. Twelve of her Wimbledon titles were in women's doubles and seven were in mixed doubles. Ryan also won four women's doubles titles at the French Championships, as well as one women's doubles title and two mixed doubles titles at the U.S. Championships.

Elizabeth Ryan
Elizabeth Ryan (tennis player).jpg
Full nameElizabeth Montague Ryan
Country (sports) United States
Born(1892-02-05)February 5, 1892
Anaheim, CA, USA
DiedJuly 6, 1979(1979-07-06) (aged 87)
Wimbledon, England
Int. Tennis HoF1972 (member page)
Singles
Highest rankingNo. 3 (1927)
Grand Slam Singles results
French OpenQF (1926, 1930, 1931)
WimbledonF (1921, 1930)
US OpenF (1926)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
French OpenW (1930, 1932, 1933, 1934)
WimbledonW (1914, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1930, 1933, 1934)
US OpenW (1926)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French OpenF (1934)
WimbledonW (1919, 1921, 1923, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1932)
US OpenW (1926, 1933)

Contents

CareerEdit

Although she reached the Wimbledon singles finals twice, Ryan never won the title. Eight of her losses at Wimbledon were to players generally considered to be among the best ever. Ryan had to play Dorothea Lambert Chambers in the all-comers final of 1920; Suzanne Lenglen in the 1919 semifinals (losing 6–4, 7–5), 1921 final, 1922 quarterfinals, 1924 quarterfinals (losing 6–2, 6–8, 6–4), and 1925 second round; and Helen Wills Moody in the 1928 semifinals and 1930 final.

In the 1926 singles final at the U.S. Championships, the 34-year-old Ryan led 42-year-old Molla Bjurstedt Mallory 4–6, 6–4, 4–0 and had a match point at 7–6 in the third set before losing the final three games of the match.[1]

Ryan and her longtime partner Lenglen never lost a women's doubles match at Wimbledon, going 31–0.[1] Only Billie Jean King (224 match wins) and Martina Navratilova won more matches at Wimbledon than Ryan (190 match wins): 47–15 in singles, 73–4 in women's doubles, and 70–9 in mixed doubles.[1]

The longtime tennis writer Ted Tinling has credited Ryan with inventing the volleying style later perfected by players such as Sarah Palfrey Cooke, Alice Marble, Louise Brough Clapp, Margaret Osborne duPont, Doris Hart, Darlene Hard, Margaret Court, Navratilova, and King. "Before World War I, women's tennis consisted primary of slogging duels from the baseline. There were a few volleying pioneers, notably ... Hazel [Hotchkiss] Wightman and Ethel [Thomson] Larcombe, but volleying as a fundamental, aggressive technique was first injected into the women's game by ... Ryan."[2] Tinling, however, also said about Ryan, "Elizabeth wasn't fast enough for singles. Too heavy."[3]

According to Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Ryan was ranked in the world top ten from 1921 (when the rankings began) through 1928 and again in 1930, reaching a career high of World No. 3 in those rankings in 1927.[4] Ryan was ranked second behind Mallory in the year-end rankings issued by the United States Lawn Tennis Association for 1925 and 1926.[5]

Ryan died on July 6, 1979, at age 87, on the grounds of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon, following the ladies singes final and the day before King broke her record number of Wimbledon wins by winning her 20th title.[6][7][8] When tennis writer and television commentator Bud Collins tried to arrange for Ryan and King to film an interview together at Wimbledon in 1979, Ryan refused.[3] King said, "I always liked seeing Miss Ryan at Wimbledon, and I'd try to be friendly, but she didn't seem to want it. For me, it wasn't personal. Sure, I wanted the record, but I wasn't trying to steal a possession of hers."[9] King also said, "[T]here is no doubt in my mind that she just didn't want to be alive to see her record broken. She was [87], she had held it for a long, long time and she wanted it for herself. But records are there to be broken."[10]

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles: 3 runners-upsEdit

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1921 Wimbledon Grass   Suzanne Lenglen 2–6, 0–6
Runner-up 1926 U.S. National Championships Grass   Molla Bjurstedt Mallory 6–4, 4–6, 7–9
Runner-up 1930 Wimbledon Grass   Helen Wills Moody 2–6, 2–6

Women's doubles: 21 (17 titles, 4 runners-up)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1914 Wimbledon Grass   Agnes Morton   Edith Hannam
  Ethel Thomson Larcombe
6–1, 6–3
Winner 1919 Wimbledon Grass   Suzanne Lenglen   Dorthea Lambert Chambers
  Ethel Thomson Larcombe
4–6, 7–5, 6–3
Winner 1920 Wimbledon Grass   Suzanne Lenglen   Dorthea Lambert Chambers
  Ethel Thomson Larcombe
6–4, 6–0
Winner 1921 Wimbledon Grass   Suzanne Lenglen   Geraldine Beamish
  Irene Bowder Peacock
6–1, 6–2
Winner 1922 Wimbledon Grass   Suzanne Lenglen   Kathleen McKane Godfree
  Margaret McKane Stocks
6–0, 6–4
Winner 1923 Wimbledon Grass   Suzanne Lenglen   Joan Austin
  Evelyn Colyer
6–3, 6–1
Winner 1925 Wimbledon Grass   Suzanne Lenglen   Kathleen Lidderdale Bridge
  Mary McIlquham
6–2, 6–2
Runner-up 1925 U.S. National Championships Grass   May Sutton Bundy   Mary Browne
  Helen Wills
4–6, 3–6
Winner 1926 Wimbledon Grass   Mary Browne   Evelyn Colyer
  Kathleen McKane Godfree
6–1, 6–1
Winner 1926 U.S. National Championships Grass   Eleanor Goss   Mary Browne
  Charlotte Chapin
3–6, 6–4, 12–10
Winner 1927 Wimbledon Grass   Helen Wills   Bobbie Heine
  Irene Bowder Peacock
6–3, 6–2
Winner 1930 French Championships Clay   Helen Wills Moody   Simone Barbier
  Simonne Mathieu
6–3, 6–1
Winner 1930 Wimbledon Grass   Helen Wills Moody   Edith Cross
  Sarah Palfrey
6–2, 9–7
Runner-up 1931 French Championships Clay   Cilly Aussem   Eileen Bennett Whittingstall
  Betty Nuthall
7–9, 2–6
Winner 1932 French Championships Clay   Helen Wills Moody   Eileen Bennett Whittingstall
  Betty Nuthall
6–1, 6–3
Runner-up 1932 Wimbledon Grass   Helen Jacobs   Doris Metaxa
  Josane Sigart
4–6, 3–6
Winner 1933 French Championships Clay   Simonne Mathieu   Sylvie Jung Henrotin
  Colette Rosambert
6–1, 6–3
Winner 1933 Wimbledon Grass   Simonne Mathieu   Freda James
  Billie Yorke
6–2, 9–11, 6–4
Runner-up 1933 U.S. National Championships Grass   Helen Wills Moody   Freda James
  Betty Nuthall
default
Winner 1934 French Championships Clay   Simonne Mathieu   Helen Jacobs
  Sarah Palfrey
3–6, 6–4, 6–2
Winner 1934 Wimbledon Grass   Simonne Mathieu   Dorothy Andrus
  Sylvie Jung Henrotin
6–3, 6–3

Mixed Doubles: 14 (9 titles, 5 runners-up)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1919 Wimbledon Grass   Randolph Lycett   Dorothea Chambers
  Albertem Prebble
6-0, 6-0
Runner-up 1920 Wimbledon Grass   Randolph Lycett   Suzanne Lenglen
  Gerald Patterson
5–7, 3–6
Winner 1921 Wimbledon Grass   Randolph Lycett   Phyllis Howkins
  Max Woosnam
6–3, 6–1
Runner-up 1922 Wimbledon Grass   Randolph Lycett   Suzanne Lenglen
  Pat O'Hara Wood
4–6, 3–6
Winner 1923 Wimbledon Grass   Randolph Lycett   Dorothy Shepherd Barron
  Lewis Deane
6–4, 7–5
Runner-up 1925 Wimbledon Grass   Umberto de Morpurgo   Suzanne Lenglen
  Jean Borotra
3–6, 3–6
Winner 1926 U.S. National Championships Grass   Jean Borotra   Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman
  René Lacoste
6–4, 7–5
Winner 1927 Wimbledon Grass   Frank Hunter   Kathleen McKane Godfree
  Leslie Godfree
8–6, 6–0
Winner 1928 Wimbledon Grass   Patrick Spence   Daphne Akhurst
  Jack Crawford
7–5, 6–4
Winner 1930 Wimbledon Grass   Jack Crawford   Hilde Krahwinkel
  Daniel Prenn
6–1, 6–3
Winner 1932 Wimbledon Grass   Enrique Maier   Josane Sigart
  Harry Hopman
7–5, 6–2
Winner 1933 U.S. National Championships Grass   Ellsworth Vines   Sarah Palfrey
  George Lott
11–9, 6–1
Runner-up 1934 French Championships Clay   Adrian Quist   Colette Rosambert
  Jean Borotra
2–6, 4–6
Runner-up 1934 U.S. National Championships Grass   Lester Stoefen   Helen Jacobs
  George Lott
6–4, 11–13, 2–6

Grand Slam tournament timelinesEdit

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)

SinglesEdit

Tournament 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 Career SR
Australia NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 0
France [a] A A A NH NH NH NH NH A A A A NH A QF A A A QF QF 1R 1R 1R 0 / 7
Wimbledon QF 1R ACF NH NH NH NH SF ACF F QF SF QF 2R 3R SF SF 3R F A 1R A A 0 / 16
United States A A A A A A A A A A A A A QF F A A A A A A A QF 0 / 3
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 26

ACF = All comers final, with the winner to play the defending champion.

Women's doublesEdit

Tournament 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 Career SR
Australia NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 0
France [a] A NH NH NH NH NH NH NH A A NH A NH A SF A A A W F W W W 4 / 6
Wimbledon NH ? W NH NH NH NH W W W W W QF W W W SF SF W A F W W 12 / 16
United States A A A A A A A A A A A A A F W A A A A A A F SF 1 / 4
SR 0 / 0 0 / 0 1 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 1 / 1 1 / 1 1 / 1 1 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 2 2 / 3 1 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 2 / 2 0 / 1 1 / 2 2 / 3 2 / 3 17 / 26

Mixed doublesEdit

Tournament 1912 1913 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 Career SR
Australia NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH NH A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 0
France [a] A A A NH NH NH NH NH ? ? ? ? NH ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? F 0 / 1
Wimbledon NH ? ? NH NH NH NH W F W F W 2R F SF W W SF W A W QF QF 7 / 15
United States ? A A ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? W ? ? ? ? ? ? W F 2 / 3
SR 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 0 1 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 2 1 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 0 1 / 1 1 / 2 0 / 3 9 / 19

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Through 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 1912 through 1914 and 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.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Bud Collins (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York, N.Y: New Chapter Press. p. 618. ISBN 0-942257-41-3.
  2. ^ Ted Tinling (1980). John Gilchrist Barrett (ed.). "World of Tennis 1980: A BP Yearbook - The King-Ryan Connection". London: Queen Ann Press: 56.
  3. ^ a b Bud Collins (1989). My Life With the Pros. New York Ciry: E.P. Dutton. p. 261. ISBN 0-525-24659-2.
  4. ^ Bud Collins (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York City: New Chapter Press. pp. 695, 701. ISBN 0-942257-41-3.
  5. ^ United States Tennis Association (1988). 1988 Official USTA Tennis Yearbook. Lynn, Massachusetts: H.O. Zimman, Inc. p. 260.
  6. ^ Will Grimsley (July 8, 1979). "King's Rejoicing Subdued Following 20th Wimbledon Title". Ocala Star-Banner. Associated Press. p. 1C – via Google News Archive.
  7. ^ "Ryan Dies at Wimbledon". The Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. July 7, 1979. p. 12 – via Google News Archive.
  8. ^ John Barrett, ed. (1980). World of Tennis 1980: a BP yearbook. London: Queen Anne Press. pp. 43, 376. ISBN 9780362020120. OCLC 237184610.
  9. ^ Collins, Bud (1989). My Life With the Pros. New York: E.P. Dutton. pp. 259–60. ISBN 0-525-24659-2.
  10. ^ Brace, Reginald; King, Billie Jean (1981). Play Better Tennis: With Billie Jean King and Reginald Brace. Octopus. p. 21. ISBN 0-7064-1223-0.

External linksEdit