Tennis: Who Is Suzanne Lenglen In 5 Questions

As the Roland-Garros tournament is in full swing, you have surely heard the name Suzanne Lenglen several times. But do you know the tennis champion who gave her name to one of the courts at the Roland Garros stadium? We invite you to discover this star of the discipline in 5 questions.

1- Who was Suzanne Lenglen?

Suzanne Lenglen is a French tennis player born on May 24, 1899, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. From childhood, this young girl is an accomplished athlete, practicing various sports such as golf, swimming, horseback riding, archery, and of course, tennis.

It was in 1911 that her father gave her her first tennis racket so she could play on the family clay court in Marest-sur-Matz in the Oise region. Noticing her ease and fondness for this sport, her father decided to become her coach.

In 1911, Suzanne competed in her first tournament in Chantilly and reached the final. She won her first matches in the following years and became the world champion on clay in Saint-Cloud in 1914. This was just the beginning of a long series of victories.

2. What are Suzanne Lenglen's achievements?

Suzanne Lenglen has an unmatched record in the history of women's tennis. Even though her career was short, as she retired from competition in 1928, she holds several records that are impossible to equal.

The French champion won 241 titles. She achieved a streak of 181 consecutive victories and boasts an incredible winning percentage of 98%.

Between 1919 and 1926, she lost only once in singles. And even then, she had to forfeit due to illness… During this golden age, the one known as the Divine won the Wimbledon tournament 6 times and the French Championships, which would later become the Roland Garros tournament, 6 times.

She also won three Olympic medals at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp: a gold medal in women's singles, a bronze medal in women's doubles, and a gold medal in mixed doubles.

3- Why is Suzanne Lenglen famous?

Of course, Suzanne Lenglen entered the legend for her incredible track record. But above all, she stands out as a pioneer in women's tennis. Beyond her sporting achievements, she imposed her original style on this sport.

This champion was the first to play tennis wearing skirts, created for her by the couturier Jean Patou... In 1921, the Frenchwoman made a sensation at Wimbledon by wearing a silk dress by this designer, shortened to the knees.

This pioneer with a strong character and a good dose of audacity invented a chic and practical style on the tennis courts. To practice her discipline more comfortably, she gave up wearing a corset, revealed white stockings, and tied a tulle headband on her short bob.

4- How did Suzanne Lenglen die?

When one looks at the biography of Suzanne Lenglen, one cannot help but be astonished by the brevity of her life. Indeed, this immense champion died before the age of 40.

After ending her sports career in 1928, she collaborated with a major fashion house for which she designed sports models. In the 1930s, the first international star of women's tennis made appearances in films, advertisements, and short films.

In 1936, she inaugurated a tennis school that bore her name and put all her efforts into it even though her health was already fragile... The champion, who had rarely been defeated on the courts, was struck down by a sudden illness in 1938. She died of leukemia at the age of 39.

5- What is Suzanne Lenglen's legacy?

After her disappearance, the tennis world paid numerous tributes to this extraordinary woman and athlete.

In 1978, forty years after her death, she became the first Frenchwoman to enter the prestigious Tennis Hall of Fame, an American museum dedicated to the great champions of this discipline.

At Roland Garros since 1979, the trophy awarded to the winner of the women's singles is called the Suzanne-Lenglen Cup, in honor of the champion who won the first edition of the French Open in 1925.

In 1997, this tournament also renamed the former Court A to Court Suzanne-Lenglen. By giving her name to the second largest court at Roland-Garros, after the Philippe-Chatrier court, the French Open perpetuates the memory of this legendary player.

Author: Audrey
Copyright image: Bibliothèque nationale de France
Tags: tennis, Suzanne Lenglen, singles, court, sports, French Open, Wimbledon, 6 times, Roland-Garros, Roland Garros, Frenchwoman, gold medal, French, athlete, doubles, clay, Chic, Dose, silk, Jean Patou, corset, stockings, American, FAME, leukemia, HEALTH, fashion house, brevity, die, bob, memory, Headband, tulle, couturier, legend, tennis racket, Archery, horseback riding, Swimming, Golf, Young Girl, Paris, arrondissement, family, oise, bronze medal, Antwerp, French Championships, Golden Age, Saint-Cloud,
In French: Tennis : qui est Suzanne Lenglen en 5 questions
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