Molla Mallory, a Navratilova-esque champion of the 1920's.
Molla B. Mallory (1884-1959)
Molla Mallory was an American tennis champion in the early part of the 20th century but few know of her mark on women’s tennis. Born in Norway, she became a naturalized US citizen. She won eight US tennis championships (1915–1918, 1920-1922, 1926) and was 42 years old when she won her last one.
Three years before her US Open dominance, she won a Bronze medal in the 1912 Olympics. She was known for being a mentally tough player that hit the ball with great strength. In a rare quote she said, “I find that the girls generally do not hit the ball as hard as they should. I believe in always hitting the ball with all my might, but there seems to be a disposition to ‘just get it over’ in many girls whom I have played. I do not call this tennis.”
Unlike Martina Navratilova, Mallory was a baseline player. She was known for her endurance and often
exhausted her opponents by hitting corner-to-corner, keeping them on the run.
From 1921-1927 Mallory was ranked in the top 10 for women’s tennis players, and was ranked #2 in the world in 1921 and 1922.
Top: 1928 Churchman's Cigarette trading card that was printed in the United Kingdom
Bottom left: 1921 Strip card. Strip cards included many athletes, including baseball greats Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. Cards were hand cut and were called “strip” cards because they were sold in a strip of several cards. Card Size: 1 3/4" x 2 5/8".
Bottom right: 1928, Kemmel. Mallory (left) pictured with another tennis champion, Suzanne Lenglen from France. Printed in France.