20 June 2011 4:07 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Top Us tennis player who won five Grand Slam titles in the 1940s

Pauline Betz, who has died aged 91, was a leading tennis player of the 1940s, winning five Grand Slam singles titles, including Wimbledon in 1946, the first time she competed in the tournament. But she was never able to defend the title. The next year she became the victim of one of the worst examples of ruthless pomposity by amateur officials in the days when "professional" in sport was a dirty word.

Until the arrival of open tennis in 1968, anyone signing a contract with a professional promoter was immediately banned from all the world's great tournaments, such as Wimbledon and Roland Garros. But Betz was banned without even having signed a contract. In fact, it was only on the evidence of a letter written by a third party – Elwood Cooke, who was the husband of another player, Sarah Palfrey »

- Richard Evans

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