Helen Wills

Helen Newington Wills (October 6, 1905 – January 1, 1998), also known by her married names Helen Wills Moody and Helen Wills Roark, was an American tennis player. She became famous for holding the top position in women's tennis for a total of nine years: 1927–33, 1935 and 1938. She won 31 Grand Slam tournament titles (singles, doubles, and mixed doubles) during her career, including 19 singles titles.

Helen Wills
Helen Wills in 1932
Full nameHelen Newington Wills
Helen Wills Moody
Helen Wills Roark
Country (sports) United States
Born(1905-10-06)October 6, 1905
Centerville, CA, United States
DiedJanuary 1, 1998(1998-01-01) (aged 92)
Carmel, CA, United States
Height5 ft 7.5 in (1.71 m) [1]
Retired1938
Int. Tennis HoF1959 (member page)
Singles
Career record398–35 (91.9%) [2]
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1927)
Grand Slam Singles results
French OpenW (1928, 1929, 1930, 1932)
WimbledonW (1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1938)
US OpenW (1923, 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1931)
Doubles
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1924)
Grand Slam Doubles results
French OpenW (1930, 1932)
WimbledonW (1924, 1927, 1930)
US OpenW (1922, 1924, 1925, 1928)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
French OpenF (1928, 1929, 1932)
WimbledonW (1929)
US OpenW (1924, 1928)
Team competitions
Wightman Cup(1923, 1927, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1938)
Medal record
Representing  United States
Olympic Games – Tennis
1924 ParisSingles
1924 ParisDoubles

Wills was the first American woman athlete to become a global celebrity, making friends with royalty and film stars despite her preference for staying out of the limelight. She was admired for her graceful physique and for her fluid motion. She was part of a new tennis fashion, playing in knee-length pleated skirts rather than the longer ones of her predecessors, and was known for wearing her hallmark white visor. Unusually, she practiced against men to hone her craft, and she played a relentless predominantly baseline game, wearing down her female opponents with power and accuracy. In February 1926 she played a high-profile and widely publicised match against Suzanne Lenglen which was called the Match of the Century.

Wills had a 180 match win streak from 1927 until 1933. In 1933, she beat the eighth-ranked US male player in an exhibition match. Her record of eight wins at Wimbledon was not surpassed until 1990 when Martina Navratilova won her ninth. She was said to be "arguably the most dominant tennis player of the 20th century", and has been called by some (including Jack Kramer, Harry Hopman, Mercer Beasley, Don Budge, and AP News) the greatest female player in history.