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Hilton Head Woman Captaining 35 and over Team in Australia

February 17, 2005 08:58 AM

Jolene Watanbe-Giltz of Hilton Head, South Carolina, has been selected by the United States Tennis Association as playing captain for the 2005 Suzanne Lenglen Cup competition for women 35 and older. The matches will be played in Perth, Australia, March 27th through April 1st.

Jolene is a head teaching pro at the Van Der Meer Tennis Academy. She played on the Women's Tennis Tour (WTA) for eleven years and gained a career high singles ranking of no. 71 in the world. She has career victories over Jennifer Capriati, Amy Frazier, Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, and Chanda Rubin. A graduate of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, she holds eleven USTA titles, four with her mother who is ranked no. 5 in the U.S. in her age group.

Background Informationon on the Lenglen Cup Competition
International competition for the U.S. Lenglen Cup team this year is in Perth, Australia, March 27th through April 1st. Competition is for women who are at least thirty-five years old. The American team has four members, including a playing captain. The USA is the defending champion, having defeated the Netherlands in the 2004 finals held in Antalya, Turkey.

The competition is named for Suzanne Lenglen who, as a twenty-year old tennis prodigy, created a sensation at Wimbledon in 1919. For the first time in the history of the game, a female player came on court wearing make-up, no corset, and no petticoat! The young French girl defeated Mrs. Manbert-Chambers, seven times the Wimbledon Champion, to win the title.

Suzanne Lenglen became known as "the Divine" both because of her game, often described as light-as-air and graceful, and because of her love of society gatherings and dresses that were the talk of the fashion magazines. The French champion opened doors for women players by getting rid of all constraints that might have hindered play (stocking-holders, petticoats, long-sleeve blouses, and the like).

Lenglen remained a pioneer to the end of her renowned career, becoming the first "professional player" in the history of tennis! Despite her on-court successes, Lenglen suffered from fragile health and died of leukemia in 1938, at only 39 years-old.




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