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Round, Dorothy (Mrs Douglas Little)
1909-1982

Born in Dudley on 13 July 1909, she was one of only two British tennis players to win the women's singles title at Wimbledon between the wars - in both 1934 and 1937. Her talent was spotted during a family holiday at Pwllheli when she was in her mid-teens. She first played at Wimbledon in 1928.

In 1932 she was defeated 6-0, 6-1 by the reigning champion, Mrs. Wills-Moody. In 1933 she reached the final, beating Helen Jacob by her superior fitness and sounder stroke-play, but was again defeated by Mrs. Moody, the five-times champion, after a hard-fought battle. Near the end of the second set there was a doubtful line call in her favour, which she asked the umpire to reverse. But his verdict stood and she lost the third set 'suffering from what Wesley once called "that blessed sense of guilt"'. In 1934 she beat Helen Jacob by her superior volleying in the third set. In the Coronation year, 1937, she played Miss Jedrzejowska ('Jed') of Poland in the final and in the last set fought back from 2-4 to win 7-5. She also won the mixed doubles, partnering Miki (Japan) in 1934 and Perry (1935 and 1936). In 1935 she became the first overseas player to win the Australian open championship. Between 1931 and 1936 she represented Britain in the Wightman Cup contests. She wrote two books on the game, Modern Lawn Tennis (1935) and Tennis for Girls (1938).

She would not play on a Sunday and during the weekend in the middle of Wimbledon made a point of going home in order to take her Sunday School class. Finding that the finals of the French championship would be on a Sunday, she chose not to make an issue of it because that might imply that she expected to reach the final. In the event, though she was willing to be scratched, the game was played on the Monday. She and the fast bowler Harold Larwood were among the speakers at the youth rally in the Royal Albert Hall as part of the celebration of Methodist Union in 1932. After her marriage to Dr. Douglas Little she gave up the game in favour of a family life. She lived at Kinver, Worcs. and died in Kidderminster on 12 November 1982.

Quotations

'She had an unusual composure under stress, which may have arisen from her religious convictions. Miss Round was a Methodist Sunday School teacher and her firm if polite refusal to play tennis on Sundays was sometimes inconvenient for tournament organizers, as well as losing her an opportunity to compete in the French tournament and on one occasion in the Wightman Cup.'

The Times, 15 November 1982

Sources

  • Times, 15 & 20 Nov. 1982
  • A.D.C. Macaulay, Behind the Scenes at Wimbledon (1965)
  • John Arlott (ed.), The Oxford Companion to Sports and Games (1975) p.850
  • The Guiness International Who's Who of Sport (1993) p.534
  • Oxford DNB

Entry written by: JAV
Category: Person

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