2015 WTA season officially wrapped up. First 2016 tournament: January 3-9, Brisbane (Australia) and Shenzhen (China)
2015 ATP season officially wrapped up. First 2016 tournament: January 4-10, Brisbane (Australia), Chennai (India) and Doha (Qatar)
Cheney (from the International Tennis Hall
CLASS OF 2004
BORN: August 28, 1916
DIED: November 20, 2014 (at age 98)
PLACE OF BIRTH: Los Angeles, California
Photo: International Tennis Hall of Fame
On the surface, it was an unlikely pairing. John McEnroe, the brash boy of tennis, presenting the Grand Dame of the sport, Dorothy "Dodo" Bundy Cheney, into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004. But in reality, it made perfect sense. The two shared a bond of extreme competitiveness and success, and McEnroe had long championed her induction.
Photo: Wikipedia (1929)
In an interview with journalist Bud Collins, Cheney sounded a lot like McEnroe. "At first I just loved to play," Cheney explained in a 2004 Los Angeles Times article. "But the more I played, the more I loved to win."
She won a lot - nearly three times as many championships as her closest rival and enough to make her the winningest male or female player in tennis history. At age 95, Cheney was still playing and competing and in May 2012 won her 391st gold ball, the accolade awarded by the USTA to winners of its national events. Her last victory came in the 90-and-over doubles event at the National Senior Women's Hardcourt Championship.
Photo: AP (1946)
Given her tennis genes, Cheney was destined for greatness. Raised in Santa Monica, California, her Hall of Famer mother, Mary Sutton Bundy, was the first American player, male or female, to win a singles title at Wimbledon in 1905, and repeated again in 1907. Her father Tom was a U.S. National Doubles Champion playing alongside Hall of Famer Maurice McLoughlin in 1912, 1913 and 1914. Cheney won her first tournament at age 9, her first adult tournament at 11, and sometimes lost in the hundreds of singles, doubles and mixed doubles championships she won on every surface and in every age category from 35 to 90. In 1938 she became the first American woman to capture the Australian National Championship, defeating Aussie Dorothy Stevenson, 6-2, 6-3.
Photo: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images (1946)
Cheney earned her nickname "Dodo" because her younger brother couldn't pronounce "Dorothy." She had an engaging, effusive personality, always bubbly and smiling, but had fierce determination on the court. Her game drove opponents mad, and they hardly ever left the court feeling the same as Cheney. The 5-foot-3 redhead didn't have to power the ball to win matches; she had solid and reliable strokes that helped her advance to six major singles semifinals (French 1946, Wimbledon 1946, U.S. Nationals 1937, 1938, 1943, 1944). As she continued playing tennis as a USTA senior player, her game remained coy and cunning as ever.
Photo: International Tennis Hall of Fame
What made Cheney so good? She was athletic and quick, a stickler for running down every ball and her assortment of crafty drop shots, dinks, slices, cut shots, lobs and unbreakable spirit led her to victory time and time again.
Photo: Found on You Tube
Cheney had a homemade fashion style, not one manufactured by a major tennis apparel company. On court she wore pearl necklaces and charm bracelets, lace blouses, pleated skirts and bonnets that she made herself. "The girls today don't look like girls when they're on the court," Cheney told the Washington Post in 1982. "For me, there's never too much perfume or lace.
Photo: LA Times
"Cheney ranked among the Top 10 U.S. female players from 1936 to 1946, reaching No. 6 in the world in 1946. She was a finalist in three major doubles events (1938 Australian, 1940 and 1941 U.S. Nationals) and four times a finalist in mixed doubles (1946 French and Wimbledon, 1940 and 1944 U.S. Nationals). Her tennis career catapulted into massive success, however, after she turned 55 years of age. "I played Dodo in the Santa Monica Open when I was 10," Hall of Famer Tracy Austin tweeted upon hearing of Cheney's death. "Wow, that means she was 57 at the time. Now I understand why my dad was kinda rooting for Dodo." Cheney competed in two or three groups at the same time, and racked up hundreds of tournament victories over the next 40 years, none perhaps more meaningful to Cheney than when she and daughter Christie Putnam won the national mother-daughter doubles championship in 1976. In 1981 alone, Cheney won 13 national championships.
"Dodo Cheney was one of the most prolific champions in the history of tennis and the personification of tennis truly being a lifetime sport," USTA Chairman Dave Haggerty said in a statement. "She played competitively into her 90s, and her remarkable grace, singular class and competitive spirit made her one of our sport's greatest ambassadors."
Photo: TennisSource Images Archive
Cheney, a tennis player at Rollins College, class of 1945, was inducted into her alma mater's College Sports Hall of Fame in 1983 and the ITA Women's Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in 1988. She won the USTA's Sarah Palfrey Danzig Award in 1988. Sports Illustrated featured her in the August 9, 1982 magazine. After her induction ceremony ended, the 87 year-old Cheney and McEnroe hit balls on the Center Court at the Newport Casino. "I never practiced or trained," Cheney said. "I just had a darn good time."
GRAND SLAM BEST RESULTS
PR = protected ranking. This is used when a player has been out for a certain period of time due to injury (I think it's at least 6 months) and their ranking slips down to where they wouldn't get in on their current ranking.
Q = Qualifier.
A = Alternate. Used in qualifying when a player withdraws before their first match. Also used in main draw if there was no qualifying draw and the draw was full before the player withdrew.
LL = Lucky loser. A player that loses in qualifying (usually the final round unless none of the final round losers sign the lucky loser list) and gets into main draw when a main draw player withdraws before their first match.
SE = Special exempt. A player who signed into qualifying of a tournament, but was still playing in the previous week's tournament at the time the qualifying draw was done. This player can get a special exempt into the main draw the following week.