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Maureen Connolly Biography

Parents Couldn't Afford Riding, Fallout With Coach, Career Ends Tragically, Chronology, The Connolly LegacySELECTED WRITINGS BY CONNOLLY:


American tennis player

Maureen "Little Mo" Connolly's career ended prematurely with a freakish accident, and cancer cut short her life. But Connolly, who won all nine of her Grand Slam women's tennis events, still played long enough to make an indelible mark on the game. "Whenever a great player comes long you have to ask, 'Could she have beaten Maureen,'" wrote Lance Tingay, tennis correspondent for the Daily Telegraph of London. "In every case the answer is, I think not."

Connolly won her major titles as a teenager. She was the first woman to sweep all four major Grand Slam events in one year, 1953. She took the Wimbledon and U.S. Open three straight years apiece in the early 1950s. She became the youngest U.S. Open champion at 16 years, 11 months, until Tracy Austin broke the record in 1979. She arrived East from San Diego in 1949 and, according to the Hall of Fame, "would soon have the world under her right thumb while technically a junior, not yet 19, an obstreperous intruder overthrowing the established order of older women." A bizarre accident, however, ended Connolly's career. In 1954, a truck struck the back of her leg while she was riding horseback in San Diego, shortly after winning Wimbledon. She died of cancer in 1969, at age 34.


Power Tennis. New York: Barnes, 1954.

Sketch by Paul Burton

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Famous Sports StarsTennis