Mathieu, Simone (1908–1980)

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Mathieu, Simone (1908–1980)

French tennis champion . Born Simone Passemard in 1908; died in 1980; married name was Mathieu.

Won the French junior championship (1926); won French mixed doubles with Damien Mitic (1927) and Yvon Petra (1938); won Wimbledon doubles with Elizabeth Ryan (1933, 1934) and with Billie Yorke of England (1937); won the French doubles championship with Elizabeth Ryan (1933, 1934), with Billie Yorke (1936, 1938), and with Jadwiga Jedrejowska of Poland (1939); runner-up for the French singles title (1929, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1936, 1937); runner-up in the U.S. doubles with Jedrejowska (1938).

One of the few married women to win the French junior title at age 18, Simone Mathieu inherited the French tennis crown from Suzanne Lenglen , and was France's stellar player before World War II. In women's doubles, she was a six-time French champion. In women's singles, she was a five-time runner-up, including three losses to Hilde Sperling , before finally taking the French singles title at age 30 in 1938 (she would win again in 1939). Known as a baseliner with a formidable temper, Mathieu also made the semifinals at Wimbledon six times. She once whacked a ball so hard in frustration that she nearly hit Queen Mary of Teck in the Royal Box. Mathieu would later use her energy and rebelliousness working with the French Resistance during World War II, creating a women's auxiliary group.

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