van Someren, Janine
Women’s sporting lives: a biographical study of elite amateur tennis players at Wimbledon.
University of Southampton, Education,
The history of amateur tennis pre and post the Second World War is dominated by the sporting biographies of male players with women’s stories largely ignored. This research addressed the issue of women tennis players’ marginalisation through a biographical analysis of the women’s amateur circuit with particular emphasis on the previously untold story of four British tennis players: Mrs. Phyllis King (née Mudford, who competed at the Wimbledon Championships 1928-1953), Mrs. Joan Hughesman (née Curry, Wimbledon 1939-1960), Mrs. Joy Michelle (née Hibbert, Wimbledon 1947- 1957), Mrs. Christine Janes (née Truman, Wimbledon 1957-1974). The lives of the women were investigated utilising biographical methods of life story interviews and analysis of life documents including published biographies and archival and media sources. Gender and social class emerged as key themes which were explored through the microcosm of women’s tennis shedding new light on a wide range of issues from the influence of family, gender role expectations and life on the amateur tennis circuit. The findings reveal the significance of fashion in British tennis whereby it is argued that choice of clothing was a form of gender compliance. Further to this the contributions of fashion designer Teddy Tinling is recognised as a key factor in changing the shape of women’s tennis post the Second World War. The research reveals the key role sport played in shaping the women’s identity from the onset of their playing careers through to their retirement from sport
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