Hart, Doris (1925—)
Hart, Doris (1925—)
American tennis player who was a one-time champion at Wimbledon and two-time U.S. Open champion. Born Doris J. Hart in June 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Won the Australian singles title (1949); won the French Open singles title (1950 and 1952); won the French Open doubles championship with P.C. Todd (1948), and with Shirley Fry (1950, 1951, 1952,1953); won the singles championship at Wimbledon (1951); won the U.S. Open (1954, 1955); won the U.S. Open doubles championships with Shirley Fry (1951,1954); won the U.S. Open mixed doubles with Frank Sedgman (1951, 1952), and with Vic Seixas (1953, 1954, 1955); won the Italian singles (1951, 1953); won the South African singles and doubles (1952).
Doris Hart was placed on the tennis courts at age six, to counter an attack of what was thought to be polio (later diagnosed as osteomyelitis) which had permanently damaged her right knee. Hart went on to become one of the more graceful players in women's tennis and one of its best servers, winning all three major championships. The early knee damage caused her to shuffle more than run as she crisscrossed the court. "Her drop shots were especially cunning," wrote Billie Jean King . "She reasoned that if she could not run as fast as her opponents, she would make them do most of the running."
From 1944 to 1955, Hart was in the semifinals or finals of every U.S. championship. Her Wimbledon record includes doubles wins with Pat Canning Todd in 1947, as well as with Shirley Fry in 1951, 1952, and 1953, and mixed-doubles championships with partners Frank Sedgman and Vic Seixas from 1951 to 1955. Her singles title in 1951 made Hart a Wimbledon triple event champion. Until then, only three women had managed the same feat: Suzanne Lenglen, Alice Marble , and Louise Brough . Hart beat her good friend and doublespartner Shirley Fry in that 1951 singles final without losing a set. As Fry rushed to the net to congratulate Hart, she graciously offered to replay the match. Hart, who did not take her up on it, turned professional in 1955.
King, Billie Jean. We Have Come a Long Way, Baby. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1988.