Helen Wills - Related Biography: Tennis Player Hazel Wightman
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Related Biography: Tennis Player Hazel Wightman
Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman thoroughly dominated American tennis at the height of her career. She was best known for her famous triple threepeat—winning the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles at the U.S. championships three years in a row, from 1909 to 1911—although her scandalous (for the time) tennis uniform of an ankle-length skirt and a short-sleeve shirt that bared much of her arms also brought her some attention. Like Wills, Wightman was from Berkeley, California, but in 1912 she married a man from Boston, George Wightman, and moved to Massachusetts. Wightman slowed down a bit after 1912, since bearing and caring for five children took much time and energy, but she did not abandon competition entirely. She was U.S. singles champion again in 1919, and in 1924, at the age of thirty-eight, Wightman, playing with Wills, won in doubles at the U.S. championships, at Wimbledon, and at the Olympics. Wightman continued to play tennis well past the age when most athletes retire: she dominated the U.S. women's over 40 doubles championships for much of the 1940s and '50s, winning her final title in that event in 1954, at the age of sixty-seven. In all, Wightman won forty-five U.S. championships in her forty-five year career.
Today, Wightman is best remembered for instituting the Wightman Cup, which was intended to be the women's equivalent of the men's Davis Cup. Wightman died in 1974, at the age of eighty-seven.