ON THIS DAY: September 7

connollyON THIS DATE IN TEENAGE HISTORY (1953), eighteen-year-old Maureen Connolly completed the first women’s Grand Slam in tennis with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Doris Hart at the U.S. Open. Connolly had previously won the 1953 Australian and French championships and Wimbledon, and she made it look easy with straight set wins in all four finals. Cheerful and engaging off the court, “Little Mo” confessed in her 1957 memoir Forehand Drive to playing tennis with “a blazing, virulent, powerful, and consuming hate” of her opponents. Others noticed: In 1952 TIME described “an unladylike grimness about Connolly’s playing that shocked most proper Britons” during that year’s Wimbledon tournament. Seventeen days after winning her third straight Wimbledon title in 1954, Connolly was thrown from a horse and slammed against a cement truck, resulting in a broken fibula that ended her career at age nineteen.

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