WILLS (MOODY) Helen (1905-98)
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American tennis player. She held the top position in women’s tennis for nine years: 1927-33, 1935-38.
SIG – Vintage signature with a few additional words in her handwriting, on a small card, dated 1942. Wills has also added a self-caricature. Light toning but, overall, very good. Could be mounted with Mylar hinges to a larger, acid-free, art board. Accompanied by a 5″x7″ black and white glossy reprint image of the tennis champ in the prime of her phenomenal career. For a nominal sum we can arrange to have your vintage autograph and photo professionally matted and framed with a presentation plaque. Please inquire.
Wills won 31 Grand Slam tournament titles (singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles) during her career, including 19 single titles. She was the first American woman athlete to become a global celebrity, making friends with royalty and film stars despite her preference to remain out of the limelight.
She was admired for her graceful physique and fluid motion. She was part of a new tennis fashion, playing in knee-length pleated skirts rather than the longer ones worn by her predecessors.
Usually, Wills practiced against men to hone her craft and played a relentless game, wearing down her female opponents with power and accuracy. In 1933 she beat the 8th-ranked male player in an exhibition match.
Her record of eight wins at Wimbledon was not surpassed until 1990 when Martina Navratilova won nine.