Suzanne Lenglen had just turned 20 when she won her first Wimbledon title. It was 1919 and the legendary tournament, organised by the hugely popular All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, was still played on Worple Road, just two miles away from today’s Centre Court. The championships, which were not played during the war, were back after a four-year hiatus.
At the time, Suzanne Lenglen needed no introduction and spectators flocked to see the young French phenomenon in action.
In the first round, the schedule was disrupted and the organisers decided to have Suzanne Lenglen play on the Tuesday, a day which was usually reserved for the men. On Court 4, more than 1,000 spectators rushed to the stands to watch her match.
Completely unfazed, Suzanne came out on court looking surprisingly relaxed and sailed through her first encounter, and all of her following matches, right up to the Challenge Round. There, she came up against Britain’s Dorothea Lambert Chambers, who was 40 years old and the defending champion, with seven Wimbledon titles already under her belt.