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Dorothy Round

tennis player
Full name: Dorothy Edith Round
Alias: Mrs D.L.Little
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Bio She was the child of John Benjamin Round, a building contractor, and Maude Helena. Her family home in Park Road, Dudley, included a hard tennis court laid down by her grandfather. She was brought up as a Methodist and her religion remained important to her throughout her life. According to an interview she gave in later life, she played tennis with her brothers at the court in the garden of the family home from an early age and entered a school tennis competition aged 10 or 11. She attended the Dudley Girls High School. The daughter of a clergyman and herself a Sunday school teacher, Round was notorious for refusing to play on the Sabbath.

Dorothy played of formidable power and developed her game from that of a sports-minded schoolgirl to a Wimbledon champion, making that transition almost seamlessly. Although she often refused to play on Sundays, she was nevertheless entirely dedicated to making the most of herself. She made two singles championship runs at Wimbledon and was once the victor at the Australian Championships.
An Englishwomen with a large heart and agile mind, she volleyed well and was not afraid to compete under pressure.
Round won at least 42 tournaments-Warwick in 1928 being her first known title, the last at Wimbledon in 1937.
Twice Wimbledon champion (1934 and 1937) she was the last British person to take a singles crown at Wimbledon until Angela Mortimer in 1961. She has been evacuated to Canada during WWII with infant son (Glasgow Herald, 2 Jan 1942)

In July 1940, Round went to Canada with her two-year-old son, Ian, and while there she became a professional tennis coach. She also took part in competitions, exhibition matches and raised money for charity in Canada and the USA as well as promote the sale of War Bonds in the U.S.
In August 1940, Round won both the singles and doubles (partnered by Mrs Ross Harrington) in the Eastern Canada Championships held at Halifax, Novia Scotia.
Round turned professional in 1941 when she accepted a summer coaching position at the Seigniory Tennis Club in Canada. On 19 November of the same year, Round appeared in an exhibition match together with Mary Hardwick at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.
In February 1942, Round was living on the campus of Lake Erie College where she was coaching tennis players. She took over the coaching post from Mary Browne, who had decided to carry out civil defence work.
In June 1942, Round appeared with Mary Hardwick, Bobby Riggs and Wayne Sabin in a tennis exhibition held at the Edgemoor Club, Washington D.C. The event was to raise money for the British and American Ambulance Corps. At the event, Round was introduced to Dwight Davis, founder of the Davis Cup.
In 1944, Round returned to the UK, where she performed exhibition matches. She was reinstated as an amateur in 1945 by the Lawn Tennis Association. There was speculation that she would make a return to Wimbledon in 1946, although, according to the contemporary player and sports journalist, John Olliff, former professionals could not appear at the Wimbledon Championships or national championships organised under the jurisdiction of the International Lawn Tennis Association. However, Round remained an active tennis player, and after a break in 1946 when she had her second child, she continued to appear in British tournaments to the end of the 1940s and beyond. In June 1947 it was announced that she would be covering the Wimbledon Championships for the regional paper, the Liverpool Daily Post. In August 1947, she appeared at the Scottish Hard Court Championships reaching the final of the singles and winning the doubles and mixed doubles titles. In July 1948, she appeared at the Midlands Counties Championship in Birmingham where she lost the singles final to Barbara Knapp. In September 1949, Round was part of the Worcestershire team playing in the Inter-Counties Hard Court Tournament against a South Wales team. Round reached the third round of the singles in the Midland Counties Championships held in Birmingham, in 1950.

She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1986.

On 20 September 2013 her hometown of Dudley commemorated her by erecting a bronze statue in Priory Park, Dudley. The lifesize bronze statue, unveiled by her daughter, was created by the British sculptor John McKenna and depicts Dorothy Round making a return play of the ball. Also a portrait in oil on canvas by Dudley artist Philip Guest is part of the permanent collection of Dudley Museum and Art Gallery.
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