Simonne Mathieu

The women’s doubles trophy at the French Open is named for Mathieu, Coupe Simonne-Mathieu and the new 5,000 seat Roland Garros court will be named after her.
But who was Simonne Mathieu? Alongside Suzanne Lenglen and Henri Cochet she is one of France’s greatest tennis champions. But she was much more than that.

Simonne Mathieu and Suzanne Lenglen

Married at 17, her baby laid in his pram courtside when she became French junior champion in 1926. At 20, she was a mother of two kids whom she rarely saw as she travelled the world, collecting titles in Egypt, the Netherlands, Greece, Switzerland or Belgium.

She bounced back from losing six French Open singles finals (including three consecutive against the same opponent, Hilde Sperling) to finally win her home Grand Slam event at the seventh attempt, in 1938. She defeated fellow countrywoman Nelly Landry 6-0 6-3.
She even completed a rare triple that year, sweeping Roland Garros singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles titles. Only Suzanne Lenglen (1925 and 1926), Maureen Connolly (1954) and Margaret Court (1964) have achieved that distinction.

Simonne Mathieu, Nelly Landry, Marlene Dietrich - Roland Garros 1938

Simonne defended her title in 1939, with a straight sets victory over Jadwiga Jedrzejowska 6-3 8-6. France would have to wait until 1967 to see another French-born winner, Françoise Dürr, win the home title. [1]

She never played in Australia and only twice at the US Championships where she reached the quarterfinals in 1938. And even though she never captured the title in London, she had tremendous success at Wimbledon, with six semifinals (1930, 1931, 1932, 1934, 1936, 1937) and four quarterfinals (1933, 1935, 1938, 1939).

Mathieu was ranked in the world top 10 eleven times and reached rank number 3 in 1932 behind the two Helens: Wills Moody and Hull Jacobs. She was French number one from 1928 until 1940.

A resolute baseliner, she played with great steadiness and determination, quite often in long drawn-out matches. She had an outstanding forehand drive.

“There was one great drawback to Simone’s game to which she was never able to overcome – or perhaps she did not think it necessary – the absence of any sort of effective volley or smash. This shortcoming did not prevent her from winning innumerable doubles championships, but it was a tremendous handicap in singles competition against players who had the tactical sense to draw her up to the net with short, low shots and then lob deeply. To win, she relied almost entirely on baseline duels, or upon drawing the opponent up, then making the passing shot or the lob, herself” – Helen Jacobs

Despite her weakness at the net, she was a fantastic doubles player: she won 11 Grand Slam doubles titles: three women’s doubles titles at Wimbledon (1933, 1934, 1937), six women’s doubles titles (1933, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939) and two mixed doubles titles (1937, 1938) at Roland Garros.

Simonne Mathieu and Toto Brugnon

A fighter on the court, Mathieu has also gone down in history as a fighter off the court.
She was playing a tournament in the United States when World War II broke out in 1939 and then decided to return immediately to France. Following France’s surrender in June 1940, she joined General de Gaulle in London, and offered him her services. She set up the Corps Féminin Français, a group of women volunteers serving in the Free French Forces.

She ended the war with a grade of Captain and marched down the Champs Elysées alongside de Gaulle when Paris was liberated in August 1944. She was finally reunited with her family, and with tennis.
She served as umpire for the “liberation match” between Henri Cochet and Yvon Petra at Roland Garros on September 17 1944 wearing her uniform as an officer in the French forces.

From 1949 to 1960 she was captain of the French womens team. She died in 1980, aged 72.
She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006… the year Amélie Mauresmo won two Grand Slams.

Notes:
[1]: Nelly Landry won the title in 1948, but she was Belgian-born and became a French citizen after marriage
[2]: Read more info on The War Illustrated

Pictures:
1: Simonne Mathieu, 1926
2: Simonne Mathieu and Suzanne Lenglen, 1926
3: Picture taken before the Roland Garros 1938 singles final. From left to right: Simonne Mathieu, Nelly Landry and Marlene Dietrich.
4: Mathieu playing with Mousquetaire Toto Brugnon
5: Henri Cochet, Simonne Mathieu, Yvon Pétra

Sources:
Wikipedia, International Tennis Hall of Fame, The golden days of tennis on the French Riviera by Alan Little, Roland Garros website

Federer leaves Nike for Uniqlo

There had been speculations for a few weeks, and we had the confirmation today: after 24 years with Nike, Roger Federer signed a clothing-contract with Japanese brand Uniqlo.

Roger Federer leves Nike for Uniqlo

“I am deeply committed to tennis and to winning championships,” Federer said via the press release. “But like Uniqlo, I also have great love for life, culture, and humanity. We share a strong passion to have a positive impact on the world around us and look forward to combining our creative endeavors.”

He may love humanity but I’m sure he really likes the money too: it’s rumored that the deal is worth $300 million and will run for over 10 years.

I read a comment on instagram stating: Federer wearing Uniqlo is like Cristiano Ronaldo wearing Li-Ning.

What do you think of Federer’s signing? As a Federer fan would you buy Uniqlo’s matchwear?

Roger Federer, Wimbledon 2017

Roger Federer defeated an injured Marin Cilic in straight sets 6-3 6-1 6-4, to win a record eight Wimbledon title, his 19th overall.

To honor his victory, Nike is releasing a limited number of all-white NIKELAB Oscillate Evolve RF shoes (the style pays homage to 1997’s Tinker Hatfield-designed Nike Air Oscillate, which is one of Federer’s favorite Nike Tennis silhouettes) customized with a laser-etched 8 on the heel. The shoe will be available July 17 at NikeTown London and 21 Mercer.

Roger Federer Nike Air Oscillate

Roger Federer Nike Air Oscillate

Roger Federer Nike Air Oscillate

Roger Federer Nike Air Oscillate

Additionally, Nike will release two commemorative T-shirts. The first proudly displays the Ro8er logo, representing his record-breaking eighth title at SW19.

Roger Federer shirt

The second, pictured below, celebrates Federer’s 19th major and features an RF logo crest on the chest surrounded eight ivy leaves (one for each of his London wins).

Roger Federer shirt

Both shirts will be available July 17.

Source: Nike

Kei Nishikori Wimbledon outfit

Check out Kei Nishikori‘s Wimbledon outfit. Kei’s kit is available in selected stores in Japan and on Uniqlo’s Japanese website.

Kei Nishikori Wimbledon outfit

Kei Nishikori Wimbledon outfit

Kei Nishikori Wimbledon outfit

Kei Nishikori Wimbledon outfit

Kei Nishikori Wimbledon outfit

Read more:
Roland Garros 2017: Kei Nishikori at practice
Kei Nishikori Roland Garros outfit

Follow our Wimbledon coverage.

Angelique Kerber Wimbledon outfit

adidas Tennis unveiled the London Line in anticipation of the 2017 Wimbledon Tournament. Players including Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, Kristina Mladenovic, Dominic Thiem and Sascha Zverev will debut this collection on the iconic grass courts of Wimbledon.

Inspired by insights of tennis players and the uniqueness of the game, the London Line Collection represents the personality shift that players experience when they step onto court; unleashing their ‘evil twin’ during Grand Slam performances.

When designing the collection, adidas started with the conflicting duel personalities of a tennis player – friendly off court but a fighter on court. Achieved through the inclusion of contrasting fabrics, as well as technical design features of the performance collection; the pieces in the collection have a solid opaque front and an open mesh construction back.
The London Line is the first of a striking two part collection. With the Wimbledon range reflecting the light and controlled personality on court, the traditional white apparel used athlete insight to produce a sleek and elegant collection. Part 2 and the dark side of the ‘Evil Twin’ range will be promoted on court later in the season, helping you unleash your evil on court.

The adidas London line is available online at http://www.adidas.com/tennis.

Angelique Kerber

“When you step on court, see the crowd and you hear your name, something happens. Something takes over and it’s all about the win. You know in that moment that you will do whatever it takes, give all you have for every point. It’s what gets you to the top.”

Angelique Kerber Wimbledon outfit

Angelique Kerber Wimbledon outfit

Angelique Kerber Wimbledon outfit

Simona Halep

Simona Halep Wimbledon outfit

Simona Halep Wimbledon outfit

Simona Halep Wimbledon outfit

Kristina Mladenovic

Kristina Mladenovic Wimbledon outfit

Kristina Mladenovic Wimbledon outfit

Kristina Mladenovic Wimbledon outfit

Follow our Wimbledon 2017 coverage.