Elizabeth Ryan

Intro US tennis player
A.K.A. Elizabeth Montague Ryan
Was Athlete Tennis player
From United States of America
Type Sports
Gender female
Birth 5 February 1892, Anaheim, USA
Death 6 July 1979, Wimbledon, United Kingdom (aged 87 years)
Star sign Aquarius

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, 19 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.

Career

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. Ryan and her longtime partner Lenglen never lost a women's doubles match at Wimbledon, going 31–0. 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. 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." Tinling, however, also said about Ryan, "Elizabeth wasn't fast enough for singles. Too heavy." 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. Ryan was ranked second behind Mallory in the year-end rankings issued by the United States Lawn Tennis Association for 1925 and 1926. 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 Billie Jean King broke her record number of Wimbledon wins by winning her 20th title. 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. 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." 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."

Grand Slam finals

Singles: 3 (3 runner-ups)

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

Women's doubles: 21 (17 titles, 4 runner-ups)

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

Mixed doubles: 14 (9 titles, 5 runner-ups)

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

Grand Slam tournament timelines

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)

Singles

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
Australian Open 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
French Championships 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
U.S. Championships 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. Ryan did not play. Her opponent got a walkover.

Women's doubles

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
Australian Open 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
French Championships 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 2R W NH NH NH NH W W W W W QF W W W SF SF W A F W W 12 / 16
U.S. Championships 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 doubles

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
Australian Open 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
French Championships 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
U.S. Championships ? 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

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