Hillyard, Blanche Bingley (b. 1864)

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Hillyard, Blanche Bingley (b. 1864)

English tennis player. Name variations: Blanche Bingley; Mrs. George Whiteside Hillyard. Born Blanche Bingley in England in 1864; married Commander George Hillyard, a secretary of the All England (tennis) Club (1907–24).

Won six singles titles at Wimbledon (as Blanche Bingley, 1886; as Blanche Bingley Hillyard, 1889, 1894, 1897, 1899, 1900).

Born in 1864 and raised in an upper-class English family, Blanche Bingley Hillyard learned to play tennis in her own backyard. Her career at Wimbledon spanned almost 30 years—longer than any other woman in the history of the game. She first competed there in 1884, at age 20; her last game was played there in 1913, at age 49. Though Hillyard did not have much of a backhand, she had nerves of steel.

Her chief rival was Charlotte Dod , whom Blanche managed to beat only once. Hillyard could win the finals at Wimbledon only if Dod was sailing off the coast of Scotland or putting somewhere on the 14th green. In 1889, in a memorable final with Ireland's Lena Rice , Hillyard suffered a rare attack of nerves and turned to the umpire. "Mr. Chipp," she said, "What can I do?" "Play better, I should think," he replied. She did—and took her second Wimbledon.


King, Billie Jean, with Cynthia Starr. We Have Come a Long Way. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1988.

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Hillyard, Blanche Bingley (b. 1864)

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