“The Best Tennis Instruction Book by a Parent/Coach Never Published”
Updated: May 24
By John Carpenter, USPTA Elite Pro, PTR Pro, Tennis Instruction Historian
Contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org or cell 805-200-6106 copyright Jan 2021
These six articles below by a tennis parent somehow seem to have been lost from tennis history. There are a lot of books written about Suzanne Lenglen, (born 1899) of France, known for flying through the air like a ballerina. As of 2020, I could find virtually no mention in book or internet media that her father, who claimed to be her sole trainer and coach, once published in his own words how he raised his child to become world champion. I discovered their existence when Mary K. Browne criticized Charles Lenglen by quoting from them.
Once I found them, I concluded Charles’ 1926 story of how he supervised his daughter’s rise to #1 might be a worthy case study for parents who want to be involved in coaching their children. History views Charles as the first overbearing tennis parent. He admitted, “I was a hard taskmaster, and although my advice was always well intentioned, my criticisms were at times severe, and occasionally intemperate." These articles published weekly in the Minneapolis Star Tribune would have made a good instructional book. I transcribed them verbatim so parents and coaches may benefit from the lessons and challenges history can teach us.
Alan Little, longtime Wimbledon librarian whose 2007 bio of Lenglen is excellent, documented her amateur record at 341-7, the best of any international player in history. It appears that he and the other biographers of Lenglen did not have access to these articles below which contain important history and facts about her.
Without a big serve, she came to the net often in the middle of a rally-- observers and opponents commented she volleyed like a man. When the 5’ 7” 20-year-old showed up for the Wimbledon 1919 final without a corset/girdle wearing short sleeves and a shorter skirt than previously seen, spectators gasped as she defeated 7-time defending Wimbledon champion Dorothy Lambert Chambers in a thriller, fighting off two match points in the third set. Suzanne may have felt pressure of being a champion going forward as her father was later observed passing her a flask with cognac in future matches.
Suzanne was famous worldwide, perhaps more so than Bill Tilden. Eight straight years 1919-1926 she was the acknowledged female world champ from 1919 The great tennis writer A Wallis Myers started rankings in 1921 and ranked her #1 through 1926. In late 1926, she disappeared from all amateur rankings and tournaments including the four majors. Her 1920 instructional book Lawn Tennis for Girls impressed me. The title is ironic because her father taught her techniques of male players while acknowledging differences in amount of force physically generated.
Women rarely became champions hitting forehands with a continental grip; yet Lenglen used it on her forehand with a one handed backhand eastern grip. Many wrote, including Suzanne and her father, that she hit “flat” shots. Chuck Tomlin’s Congruent Tennis Model (CTM) is called the “rosetta stone” of tennis instruction because it often explains through a higher resolution things players and tennis writers of the past did not see due to the limitations of their contextual paradigms. After studying film of her, through CTM, which looks at “flat” shots through the prism of trajectory and shape, I surmised she hit primarily “fades”, whose "flatter" trajectory to the untrained eye may look like "no spin" even when it has some degree of "spin." Mary K. Browne, after playing her 38 times in singles, stated Suzanne hit her shots a foot higher than the men and wrote, " 'What good is a brilliant thought behind the ball which ends in the net?" asks Suzanne. Obviously, the answer is: ‘No good.’ She rarely loses points by netting, and in many of her hardest matches the point score will show not more than half a dozen nets, compared with twenty or thirty for nearly any capable player you can mention.” My deduction Suzanne hit a lot of “fades” with diagonal axis topspin was confirmed when I later discovered Browne wrote Suzanne’s “cross court fade” (Mary's exact description) was nearly unhittable.
Context is important. Lenglen lost the finals of the French Championships on clay in 1914 at age 14, when only French residents were allowed to enter. A week later, Suzanne won the World Hard Court Championship barely age 15. The French Championship was not considered a “major” tournament until 1925 when all “amateurs” could enter. “Hard” courts in Europe referred to clay. Some list the World Hard Courts Championship pre-1925 as a “major” tournament since anyone could compete. It’s interesting that among his daughter’s great accomplishments, Charles doesn’t even list the six singles, six doubles, and six mixed doubles titles Suzanne won at the French Championships.
Charles held Suzanne out of the 1914 Wimbledon since she had not yet played on grass. World War 1 broke out and tournaments in Europe were canceled in 1915, 1916, 1917, and 1918. It was believed Suzanne would have added to her number of World Hard Court Championships, French Championships, and Wimbledon Championships the four years the tournaments were not played.
In an eight-year period from 1919 to 1926 Suzanne lost only one tennis match on court, to world #2 Molla Mallory at the 1921 US Championships. Lenglen had beaten Mallory 6-2, 6-3 earlier in 1921 at the World Hard Court Championships. They decided to play doubles together at the US Championships after Suzanne traveled to America, against her father’s advice. The long steamship trip across the ocean left Suzanne sick with almost no practice in the three weeks before her first match. There was no seeding for the US Championships in 1921, and the draw resulted in the two best players in the world scheduled to meet in the second round. Lenglen thought she would get a warm-up match before meeting Mallory, but Eleanor Goss, her first-round opponent, defaulted due to illness. Meanwhile Bill Tilden practiced intensely with Mallory telling her to tear the cover off the ball.
With 8,000 fans waiting to see Lenglen play Goss, officials moved the Lenglen vs Mallory match to later that same day. With virtually no warmup, Suzanne lost the first set 6-2 and was down love-30 in the next game before retiring due to illness and coughing. Lenglen also withdrew from the women’s doubles. The American press nicknamed Lenglen “cough and quit.” Scheduled to play a series of exhibition matches to raise money for France, which had been devastated by the war, she played twice raising $1,600 before two doctors confirmed she was ill and advised her to take a few months off. She got revenge on Mallory in 1922 Wimbledon finals 6-2, 6-0, and later 6-0, 6-0, in 1923 in Europe.
The 1921 US championships pitted the two best women in 2nd round and the two best men in the 4th round when Tilden and Johnston met. Seeding of players for the 1922 US Championships returned. 16-year-old American Helen Wills lost the 1922 final of the US Championships to Mallory and subsequently went on a winning tear much as Lenglen had done across the Atlantic. Wills beat Mallory to win the 1923 US Championships at age 17 and Lenglen, in a Sports Weekly (London) interview stated she would be happy to meet Miss Wills and if she lost, would be happy to go into coaching the next prodigy even if it was Wills.# In 1924, Helen Wills, now 18, traveled to London in to play her first Wimbledon where she hoped to meet 5-time defending champion Suzanne Lenglen.
Lenglen battled jaundice in 1924. In the Wimbledon quarters of 1924, feeling ill, she lost the second set to her doubles partner, Elizabeth Ryan before winning but was exhausted afterwards. Advised by doctors to rest, she withdrew before her semifinal match to Kitty McKane. In the second semifinal, Helen Wills won before losing to McKane in the finals. Taking off the rest of the year to rest, Suzanne missed the 1924 Olympics and teenager Helen Wills won two gold medals for singles and doubles. For 1925, Suzanne, though world #1, changed her game for the better, “I altered my pace more often and was hitting my volleys harder, particularly overhead. I managed continually to get a good deal of swerve and cut on my second service. It is the swerve in flight, that deceives your opponent as much or more than the break or kick after the bounce.”# Note how as champion, she still sought to improve.
Anticipation grew over when Wills and Lenglen would finally meet. Wills didn’t return to Wimbledon for 1925 when Lenglen crushed Joan Fry in the final 6-2, 6-0. Helen, now 3-time defending US Champion, was never one to dodge a challenge. In early 1926 she traveled to France to train for the French Championship and Wimbledon. The matchup might have happened earlier except it was suspected Charles Lenglen waited for a large enough appearance fee (so much for amateurism) to host their first meeting. In February 1926 Suzanne, age 26, finally met 20-year-old Helen Wills in the finals of a tournament in Cannes, France in what was hailed as the “Match of the Century.” Special stands had to be constructed for the final as overflow crowds demanded tickets. The press covered this tennis match as front page news. Lenglen defeated Wills 6-3, 8-6 in a close and exciting match.
After the 1926 “match of the century”, it was expected the Lenglen-Wills rivalry would extend several years with potential upcoming matches at the French, Wimbledon, and US Championships in 1926 where they would be seeded #1 and #2. Wills and Lenglen never met again due to circumstances.
Wills and Lenglen were on opposite sides of the draw of the 1926 French, the second “major” tournament played in the calendar year. Before her second round match, Helen became ill with appendicitis, requiring emergency appendectomy surgery. The draw opened up and 35-year-old Mary K. Browne wound up losing to Lenglen in the finals 6-1, 6-0. Wimbledon was held one week after the French in 1926 and thus Wills, already slotted in the Wimbledon draw, had to withdraw, precluding a potential rematch with Suzanne. Wills did not defend her ’23, ‘24, and ‘25 US Championships in 1926 due to still recovering from surgery.
Lenglen never lost a match in singles on court at Wimbledon in eight visits and 1926 should have been her seventh title. Suzanne withdrew after winning her first two matches regarding a miscommunication over her third singles match. Suzanne thought her doubles match was first and missed the singles match, leaving the Queen waiting. After Suzanne experienced a pain in her arm, the crowd turned on Suzanne after the press shamed her. On Monday of the second week she withdrew due to neuritis (nerve inflammation) in her arm.# Because both Wills and Lenglen were forced to withdraw from Wimbledon, Kitty McKane Godfrey emerged as champion a second time.
The poor treatment of Lenglen at the 1926 Wimbledon likely figured in her decision to become the first tennis star to play for pay. Charles C. Pyle in 1926 announced he would start the first professional player’s tour. The USLTA was unwilling to change the rule that “pros” were banned from Davis Cup and sanctioned tournaments including the four “majors.” Playing for one’s country in Davis Cup the first half of the 20th century was usually viewed as more important than winning a major.
Pyle paid Suzanne a $50K guarantee but when Wills and Mallory refused to turn pro, Pyle offered Lili de Alvarez a fortune but she turned it down. Mary K. Browne, ranked world #6 in 1925, was signed for 35K guarantee to play Suzanne in forty cities. The Lenglen-Browne series ended four months later after 35 straight match wins by Lenglen though Browne won a one set match 6-3 in the 36th meeting. Suzanne pocketed a $50K gate receipts bonus so her $100K total for four months work was 30K more than Babe Ruth, baseball’s highest paid player, made in 1927. In today’s money, Suzanne made 1.5 million dollars in 1927. In July Lenglen played a short pro tour in England winning eight matches against two women before retiring from playing at age 28. Charles Lenglen, heartbroken his daughter turned pro, died of poor health in 1929 three years after he wrote these six articles.
In 1932, Lenglen began tennis training and applied for reinstatement as an amateur to resume playing, but was denied even though Paul Feret was reinstated after playing the pro tour with her. In 1933, Suzanne returned to tennis by coaching at Roland Garros, home of the French Open, where a 10,000 seat court honors her today. She taught children and adults. At age 35, appendix surgery and other health problems accumulated resulting in her death on July 4, 1938 at age 39. Her cause of death was related to anemia, which it was believed came right behind a diagnosis of leukemia.
Charles Lenglen on 20 year old Helen Wills, “My opinion of the young American Champion is that she has before her a career of great promise and that she will develop into a more brilliant player than she is today.” Howard Kinsey, playing for Pyle’s tour, watched Browne, paid extra for making it close or taking a set, work to beat Lenglen. He proclaimed Mary had improved enough from playing Lenglen that Browne could finally beat Helen Wills.# The irony is later in 1927, Browne was the first pro allowed into Forest Hills when she was invited to practice with Helen. Browne wrote about it for UPI, expecting after winning a couple sets with Lenglen near the end of the tour, she might impress Wills. Mary admitted, “Helen smeared me,” noting Helen hit a lot of balls she couldn’t touch, beating her 6-0.She felt Wills had improved a lot since her loss to Suzanne and might have a chance to beat her now.
Though Wills was known for hitting her forehand extremely hard, most women who played against both Lenglen and Wills agreed Suzanne was superior due to her wider variety of shots. Browne wrote about Suzanne, “She is not, as everyone supposes, a prodigy at all. She is a product of intelligent coaching, persistent practice, and keen observation….. The most subtle feature of her game is a change of pace.” Browne also wrote that other women before Lenglen “did not have the same quality of coaching and systematic training in technique.” Charles and Suzanne studied instructional books. She used a backboard extensively. Her father took her wherever he thought she would get help.
15 years research taught me stories of events might not be true even if just honest mistakes. J. G. B. Morse wrote in 1921, after playing Suzanne on Riviera, he remembered seeing her at age 7 retrieving tennis balls on the Riviera and wrote she started tennis by 8. Her father claimed she started at age 11. Someone is misremembering or exaggerating. There are valid reasons to doubt Morse’s version.
Suzanne was no proper “lady” by 1920s standards. Sometime after 1919, she started smoking and drinking besides the occasional sip of cognac to calm her nerves on court. Franz Lidz, gave a great quote about her uniqueness as a rebel in Oct 16, 1991 Sports Illustrated. He refers to the famous writer Grantland Rice watching the Lenglen-Wills match. “Rice and his fellow Americans were mostly homers. The exception was Haywood Broun, a beefy Brooklyn-born columnist for the New York World. Lenglen was Broun’s kind of woman. She smoked, she drank, she kept her training to a minimum, she was a nervous wreck. ‘She moves through one of the most exacting of all strenuous games. And remains in appearance morbid,’ he wrote. ‘Suzanne is the finest of all champions, for she wins, and wins. And still avoids the reproach of being an ideal or a good example to anyone.’”
The importance of good coaching of technique that is congruent, simplistic, and aligned with history cannot be overemphasized. There are only so many ways a human can move to strike a ball today, as a century ago. In my upcoming book, The History of US Tennis Instruction: 1874-2020, I discovered Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena, like Charles Lenglen, studied, tested, and put a lot of thought into a plan that made sense to him based on best info available to him. One piece of bad data that is not “congruent” can limit any athlete’s potential. Congruency between coaches, parents and students in interpreting technique and tactics, burned into the player’s muscle memory in deliberate practice, allows the player to play their best by feel and instinct without thinking too much on court. Parents as well as coaches should heed the lessons of history. END
(Below six articles from 1926 were written by Charles Lenglen & transcribed word for word by John Carpenter for distribution. This transcription first appeared on Chuck Tomlin’s and John’s website introducing the Congruent Tennis Model: www.congruenttennis.com)
Article 1 of 6: Sunday June 13, 1926 Minneapolis Star Tribune p.44
Daughter's Possibilities Were Noted When She Was Infant
French Net Marvel Began Playing Game When She Was 11 Years Old, Using Toy Racquet Given to Her on Birthday-- Several Years Later Became Sensation by Defeating Some of the Leading Players of Europe.
(This is the first of a series of life stories of Suzanne Lenglen, the greatest woman tennis player that ever lived, as told by her own father.)
By Charles Lenglen. Copyright, 1926. by North American Newspaper Alliance.
It is almost necessary for me to write the truth about my daughter’s training to quiet the ridiculous legends which have grown up about her. I have heard that it has been said that when she plays she is under my hypnotic influence and that her movements and play are suggested by telepathy and suggestion. There are numbers of other stories, equally absurd.
Without writing a technical treatise, I hope to set forth in these articles the exact manner in which she became champion of the world. I will tell only of the methods I have used for there are many books on tennis in general. Coupled with Suzanne's remarkable aptitude and her great will to succeed these methods have made her the player she is today.
The method is very simple and not at all mysterious. Anyone can follow it and any young player with perseverance can become, it not a champion, at least a player of rank. The time required for training is not long. A player develops day by day. Tennis is a difficult sport which is constantly perfecting itself by the appearance of new and interesting methods.
No one can hope to become and remain a champion without constant and regular practice which includes the mastery of all the newly discovered methods of play.
Must Fight Hardest at Top. For those young people who are devoted to the sport and who are ambitious to become champions, I have a few words of advice. They are the same that I have often preached to my own daughter.
Do not forget that It requires tenacity of purpose and hard work to arrive.
When you have developed into a first-class player, you will have to fight, not only against your opponents, but against yourself. You will have to lead a calm, temperate life in order to acquire and to retain your form. The higher in the scale you go the harder your work will become and the more difficult it will be for you to retain your place. Finally, you may become champion. You will then be a legitimate prey to all those beneath you who are trying to push their way up. Sometimes this will give way to mean jealousies and these you must overlook. Your weaknesses will be grossly exaggerated and the hour of your failure eagerly looked forward to. The slightest variation in your play will be Interpreted as a signal of your decline.
In June, 1910, Suzanne Lenglen, who was then 11 years old, received as a present her first tennis racquet, if that dubious instrument could properly have been called a racquet. It was one of these toy affairs that can be found in any shop, and at the time I did not think that she would make better use of it than other children of her age, Ordered Special Racquet.
At first I paid little attention to her, allowing her to play with her little friends on the tennis court which I had constructed in my garden. "At the end of about a month, however, I was so pleased by the dexterity which she showed with her toy racquet that I ordered from one of the Paris manufacturers a racquet which was both light and well balanced, made especially to suit a girl of her age.
Then, in order that I might get a more definite idea of what she was capable of, I often played with her. The progress she made was as rapid as it was surprising. Even at that youthful age she showed signs of her developing genius for tactical execution.
In the month of September, that Is to say only three months after she started, we visited a friend of mine, Dr. Cizelly, who lived at Coize near Chantilly. The doctor was a great tennis enthusiast and owned a court-- a rare thing those days in France. It was there that Suzanne played her first game before a gallery.
The annual Chantilly tournament was about to commence and I decided to enter my daughter, then aged 11. I was prompted to make this decision by the fact that some of the best French players of that time, among whom were William Laurentz and Marguerite Broquedis, were going to take part. Suzanne was entered in the handicap ladies' singles with the handicap of plus 15, 3-6. (i. e., she received one point every game and two points every other game). She came through four rounds and took second prize, to the great astonishment and amusement of all the contestants.
Permitted to Play at Nice. A few months later when I returned to Nice, where I used to spend my winters, I applied for her admission to the Nice Lawn Tennis club of which I was a member, and by special dispensation, because children were not allowed at the club, I obtained permission for her to play on Thursdays and Sundays, the days when she had no school. The Nice club and the other clubs of the Riviera were frequented by some of the best racqueteers of the world, among whom were the celebrated brothers Doherty. Ritchie, Anthony Wilding, the Allen brothers, the American champion, Alexander, the Australian Doust, Max Decugis, Maurice Germot and others of equal note. Among the women were Mrs. Lambert Chambers, Miss Eastlake Smith, Mrs. J. Tripp, Mrs. Winch, the Countess von Schulenberg, and Fraulein von Kron.
Here was an opportunity for me to make a profound study of the game for, at the time, I myself had only a very superficial knowledge of the tactics and technique of advanced tennis. This knowledge was absolutely worthless from the point of view of the super-tennis played at the Nice club, where even players of the second class ranked high in general tennis.
Develops Man's Style. I used to come to the club every day in order to study the strokes and the mannerisms of play of these great masters of the sport, with the ultimate purpose in mind of being able to teach my little Suzanne the best points of each player and to make of her tennis a composite of their finest tennis qualities.
The play of the English women consisted mostly of long rapid drives placed accurately along the lines, and impressed me by its great regularity and calm, reasoned placing. But I must admit that I had eyes only for the play of the men who astounded me by the remarkable superiority of their methods. Why then, I asked myself, should not women adopt the masculine method? Is there any good reason why they do not do so, or is it merely a matter of custom and precedent? It seemed to me that with a well directed course of training any woman could be taught the game as it was played by the men though naturally she would be unable to play it with the same degree of force.
With this idea in mind, I waited expectantly for my daughter to gain a little more experience, in order to start her training in masculine methods.
It was necessary for my daughter to do an enormous amount of work before she could show any appreciable results in this direction. She had need of all her tenacity of purpose and all the help given her by her comrades at the Nice club.
I was well seconded in my endeavors by Mr. Alvardo Rice, the secretary of the Nice club, who took a great interest in Suzanne and to whom I would here like to pay tribute, for he was one of the finest men the sport has ever known.
Represents Club at 13. At 13 years of age Suzanne was chosen by the committee of the Nice club to represent it in an inter-club match played against the club of Bordighera, Italy. for the possession of the Challenge Shield offered by Mr. Rice. The Bordighera club was composed largely of English players who wintered on the Riviera. When the day of the match arrived Suzanne, accompanied by her mother, left for Bordighera. They were warmly welcomed by the women of the club, who thinking that my wife was the opponent sent by the Nice club, attempted to direct her to the dressing room to change into her tennis costume. I will not try to describe their surprise when my wife, pointing to the diminutive Suzanne, informed them that there stood the chosen representative of the Nice club.
Was the Nice club so poor in players that it had to resort to infants to represent them in interclub matches? Or was it a practical joke? Surprise and curiosity gave way to amusement which soon changed to chagrin as my little daughter carried off the victory in the two matches in which she played. The year after in the month of January, (1914) G. M. Simond, the well known English tournament manager and umpire, entered Suzanne in the Carlton club of Cannes tournament with the hope of seeing her meet Mrs Winch who was at that time one of the best English players. She was also entered in the mixed doubles in which she won the first prize with the great Anthony Wilding who had expressed a desire to have her as a partner.
She encountered Mrs. Winch in the finals which lasted three long and grueling sets. The victory fell to Suzanne, 14 at the time, who was warmly congratulated by her English opponent. At the beginning of the third set, Suzanne was so fatigued that she wanted to default. I pointed out to her that her opponent was equally tired.
"It is not good tennis then," she replied, "it is courage that will win this match"-- that was how she won. From that day to this, all opinions to the contrary notwithstanding, I maintain that my daughter has proved to all unbiased spectators, that she is as courageous a player as any that ever stepped on a tennis court.
This victory, which no one would have dared to forecast, caused quite a flurry in tennis circles on the Riviera and England, where the high standing of Mrs. Winch was well known. The directors of the Nice club frankly admitted that they had thought the victory an impossible one for Suzanne and began to interest themselves greatly in my infant prodigy. For me, it was the direct factor which decided me to devote myself entirely to her training. Since the career of Suzanne is somewhat wonderful throughout, I would like to tell of the following incident which took place during a vaudeville performance given at the Casino Municipal de Nice, in 1912. Among other vaudeville turns, there was a hypnotist accompanied by a medium who served as his subject.
Predicts Great Fortune. They performed experiments in mental telepathy, thought reading and fortune telling. The woman, her eyes blindfolded, asked the spectators first to hide something on their persons, which she, without knowing the nature of the hidden object, would endeavor to find. That succeeding, she would try to answer a question in the mind of the person for whom she had found the hidden object.
While waiting for them to come near us I stuck a pin in a newspaper, which I folded and hid in one of the inside pockets of my coat.
The medium in a very short time, drew the newspaper from my pocket, unfolded it and withdrew the pin.
I then concentrated on the following question: "Will my daughter one day become "champion of France?"
In a few seconds the medium answered--Better than that-- Better than that.”
Suzanne is today champion of the world. (Next Sunday-How I Trained Suzanne)
Article 2 of 6: June 20, 1926 Minneapolis Star Tribune p.33
Father Alone Supervised Training of Court Queen
Physical Fitness and Technical Development of Strokes
Made Mlle. Lenglen Tennis Player She Is Today, Her Dad Claims--Asserts Quality, Not Quantity of Practice Is What Counts-- Players Her Professors.
(Life story of Suzanne Lenglen as told by her father and sole trainer, Charles Lenglen.)
By Charles Lenglen. Copyright of North American Newspaper Alliance
Who, was the trainer of your daughter?
Who was her professor?
How many times these and similar questions have been put to me. I am going to answer them very briefly. I was her sole trainer and anyone can follow my methods, which I believe are direct and simple. In the first place I was very careful to keep her under my exclusive direction and I laid out a program -which we followed with the greatest care. No one else had a hand in her training as I believe that too many cooks spoil the broth.
As for her professors, they consisted of every male player whose play appealed to me, willing and kind enough to help me. A great deal of time was spent in watching these players, for that in itself is an excellent lesson and is often worth more than playing lessons with professional teachers. These latter, although excellent trainers, often show but slight aptitude or inclination when it comes to the demonstration of the different strokes.
From the tactical point of view Susanne always learned more from the amateur than she did from the professional. It was the tournament play that develops tactical technique and professionals rarely have a chance to compete in tournaments.
Always Played Against Men.
In her actual practice Suzanne always played against men, as I felt that the ladies' game lacked the amount of hard practice necessary for her. I made her learn every stroke in the game, without exception, and she practiced particularly those strokes upon which she showed weakness.
For profitable training the essential in an adversary is steadiness and regularity rather than brilliance. The more often the ball is sent back and forth, the better. I may add that such an adversary was not always easy to secure. Each player in order to better his game seeks a stronger opponent and on the other band it is only natural for the good players to avoid the weaker ones.
This reminds me of an amusing little incident, which goes to prove that this spirit exists even among the most veritable tyros, as well as among the players whose distinction gives them a right to pick and choose their opponents.
When Suzanne was 15, she was still small and frail for her age and her tastes, habits and behavior were those of a very little girl. It was in the month of August 1914, a few months after she had won the hard courts championship of the world, at St. Cloud. Driven from our home in the north by the German invasion, we had just arrived at Royan, a seaside resort near Bordeaux, where we had no acquaintances.
Barred From Game. Suzanne used to play alone on the beach, but she found her game lonesome and monotonous. Seeing some tennis nets stretched on the beach, she approached the young players, hoping to be permitted to play with them. When she had made her purpose known they adopted a high and mighty air with her.
“In the first place." they asked, "have you a racquet?"
"Oh, yes," she answered.
This surprised them, but they evidently were sure that in any event she could not be an opponent worthy of their steel, for one of them in a rather haughty manner informed her that they could not be bothered with people who did not know how to play. Without insisting,
Suzanne, amused, in spite of the lump in her throat, left them.
The next day one of their friends, who had seen Suzanne play at the Royan club, recognized her on the beach.
"Look," said he, "there is Suzanne Lenglen."
Incredulous, they began to laugh at him, but he Insisted, just to make sure, one of these young people approached Suzanne and said to her; "Mademoiselle, can you play tennis?"
"Yes," she answered, "but I am going to play at the clu