Doris Hart

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Doris Hart
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Doris Hart (June 20, 1925 – May 29, 2015) was a World No. 1 American tennis player who was active in the 1940s and first half of the 1950s and was ranked No. 1 in 1951. She won a Career Grand Slam in singles and is one of three players to have a "boxed set" of Grand Slam titles—every possible title (singles, doubles, and mixed doubles) from all four Grand Slam events.

Tennis career

As a child, she suffered from osteomyelitis, which resulted in a permanently impaired right leg. She started playing tennis when she was 10 years old, greatly encouraged by her brother Bud.

Hart's first Grand Slam title was in women's doubles at Wimbledon in 1947, when she was still a student at the University of Miami (Florida).

Hart's first Grand Slam singles title came at the 1949 Australian Championships. She also won singles titles at the French Championships in 1950 and 1952, Wimbledon in 1951, and the U.S. Championships in 1954 and 1955. In 1951, she beat her long-time doubles partner, Shirley Fry Irvin, in the Wimbledon final. In 1954, she saved a match point while defeating Louise Brough Clapp in the final of the U.S. Championships. Hart is the second woman in history to complete a career Grand Slam in singles (1954) after Maureen Connolly (1953), and is the first to complete the career boxed set.

Hart reached at least the quarterfinals in 32 of the 34 Grand Slam singles tournaments she played, failing to reach that round only in her first two tournaments (when she was 15 and 16 years old). She won 6 of the 18 Grand Slam singles finals she contested. She was the champion of the last Grand Slam singles tournament she played, the 1955 U.S. Championships. Her last Grand Slam doubles tournament was the 1969 US Open, where she and partner Carole Graebner lost in the first round.

In 1951, Hart won the singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles championships at Wimbledon, playing the finals of all three events on the same day. She also won the "triple crown" at the French Championships in 1952 and the U.S. Championships in 1954.

During her Wightman Cup career from 1946 through 1955, Hart was a perfect 14–0 in singles matches and 8–1 in doubles matches.

Hart is one of only two women to have defeated Maureen Connolly in a Grand Slam singles tournament. Hart won their second round match at the 1950 U.S. Championships 6–2, 7–5. (The other woman was Barbara Scofield Davidson, who defeated Connolly in the second round of the 1949 U.S. Championships, 6–4, 6–3.) Connolly won a total of nine Grand Slam singles tournaments during her career, defeating Hart in the final of four of them.

Hart won 35 Grand Slam titles during her career, tying with Brough Clapp for fifth on the all-time list. Six of her titles were in women's singles, 14 in women's doubles, and 15 in mixed doubles. Hart is one of three players, all women, to have a "boxed set" of Grand Slam titles—every possible title (singles, same-sex doubles, and mixed doubles) from all four Grand Slam events. The others are Margaret Court and Martina Navratilova. Hart won nine consecutive Grand Slam women's doubles titles from 1951 through 1953, with her streak of 43 consecutive match wins in Grand Slam women's doubles tournaments finally ending in the 1954 Wimbledon final.

According to John Olliff and Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Hart was ranked in the world top ten from 1946 through 1955 (no rankings issued from 1940 through 1945), reaching a career high of World No. 1 in those rankings in 1951. Hart was included in the year-end top ten rankings issued by the United States Lawn Tennis Association from 1942 through 1955. She was the top ranked U.S. player in 1954 and 1955.

Hart retired from the tour in 1955 to become a tennis teaching professional. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1969. She died on May 29, 2015 at her home in Coral Gables, Florida.



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