Pauline Betz Addie died on Tuesday.
You probably never heard of her. Addie was the great US women’s tennis champion of the 1940’s, the link between the brilliance of Alice Marble and the sheer dominance of Maureen “Little Mo” Connolly. She was one of the fastest women out there too.
Addie (then Pauline Betz) won the US Championship title four times and reached the finals every year from 1941-1946 (he nemesis was Sarah Palfrey Cooke). She also won Wimbledon in 1946 and reached the finals of the French Championship that same year.
Despite all that, she was extremely unlucky with regard to timing. Because of World War II, many of the major international tournaments that she would have won were cancelled. Because tennis blocked professionals from the circuit until the late 1960’s, she was banned merely for exploring the idea of turning professional (which she went on to do.)
Even in her old age, she could keep up with the kids. From Helen Wills Moody through the Williams sisters, the US has produced some of the world’s finest female tennis players. Pauline Betz Addie was among the best of the best.