Roland-Garros (7) – “The beautiful stories of the earth …” by Roland-Garros # RG22 #RolandGarros #Lenglen #FrenchOpen #France

On this occasion Roland Garros 2022, you will find in Tennis News every day”The beautiful stories of the earth … “ that invite you to travel through the history of Roland Garros and its backstage. An unprecedented lighting, sometimes unusual and full of emotions, that allows you to discover the very essence of a tournament that has thrilled generations of spectators for over a century!

The Roland-Garros and French Open 2022 teaser!

Suzanne Lenglen: divine star

Suzanne Lenglen was born in Paris in May 1899 a short walk from the stadium, rue du Ranelagh at 16e Paris district. He discovered tennis shortly before the age of 12, thanks to his father who gave him a racket so that he could play on the court of the family-owned Marest-sur-Matz in Oise.

A consummate sportswoman, she bet on tennis and made her appearance on the courts at the age of 14, reaching the final of the French championship, which she lost to Marguerite Broquedis. Three weeks later, all of Paris is on fire for the prodigy who wins the final of the World Clay Championship.

An unparalleled trajectory

Although World War I ended the competition, Suzanne continued to train tirelessly. Her return in 1919 was a triumph: she won the Wimbledon tournament against Dorothy Lambert Chambers, a seven-time winner of the tournament. For the first time, a Frenchwoman put her name on the list of winners of the prestigious grass tournament. The legend of “La Divina” is underway. This victory across the Canal is the first in a series of six! In France, she won titles at the French Championships from 1920 to 1926 (except in 1924, when she retired due to health reasons) and in 1920 at the Antwerp Olympics, a triple medalist, she won gold in the women’s individual .

Invincible, he only missed one match between 1919 and 1926, the year the “Party of the Century” was organized, pitting him against the young American champion, Helen Wills. 3,000 spectators, journalists from around the world and a few crowned heads attend the show! The Frenchman wins the game, but the player is exhausted.

That same year, tired of being an amateur, Suzanne Lenglen became a professional and signed a contract for an American tour. As the amateur and professional circuit is incompatible, it is canceled by the French Tennis Federation and the All England Club, organizer of Wimbledon.

A pioneering style

His game is unique: fast, acrobatic, combining precision, regularity and power, with impressive ball lengths for the time. The quality of his game is the result of his intense training led by his father, with male partners, sparring ahead of time, as well as intense physical preparation.

Performance-oriented, her game is revolutionizing women’s tennis. She also breaks her dress code by adapting her dress to suit the game: it’s no longer about wearing a corset, a long skirt, petticoats, long sleeves or bulky hats! The champion shortens her skirts, wears a tiara to hold her hair in a goat, and plays with her bare arms. A true “child”, she participated in the women’s emancipation movement of the roaring twenties.

First tennis star

Suzanne Lenglen is considered the first star of tennis, at a time when the star system made its appearance in the cinema of the 1920s, when the sports press and film news expanded the media’s coverage of the sport. Her nickname, “The Divine”, carried by another star, but from the cinema, Greta Garbo, consolidates her in this star status. She did the front page of newspapers, inspired artists like a muse, and paraded by the seamstress Jean Patou, of whom she became the muse.

a mentor

The champion’s 1919 victory at Wimbledon marked the beginning of the golden age of French tennis. He thus carries in his victorious star the young musketeers to whom he is very close, in particular René Lacoste as well as Jacques Brugnon, his faithful companion in doubles. As a mentor, she contributes to the development of this generation of champions. We imagine him in the front row of the Davis Cup Challenge Round in July 1928, at Roland-Garros, witnessing the victory of the Musketeers. Was it the guarantee of a guaranteed succession that prompted him to retire two months later?

Final applause

With fragile health, the player announced that she would finish her career in September 1928. She then invested in teaching, opened a tennis school in 1936, officially recognized by the FFLT, and published a teaching method that will become a benchmark. Suzanne Lenglen died of leukemia in July 1938.

If an alley in the Roland-Garros stadium already bore his name, a statue of the champion made in 1994 by Vito Tongiani immortalizes the player’s memory. The sculpture is in front of the “A” court, which three years later was named “Suzanne-Lenglen”, in the presence of Monica Seles. A tribute to this immense champion who has never played on the clay courts of Roland-Garros, for which she could have walked in 1928, before retiring, if she had not been “exiled” “because of you. Stealthy step in the professional circuit … Today she is still the most successful French player in the history of tennis!

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