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Mary Heeley

tennis player
Full name: Gertrude Mary Heeley
Alias: Mrs Cartwright
Mrs Bosomworth
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Bio She was the British #1 in 1932-the year she reached the semis at Wimbledon. World #1 Helen Wills Moody crushed her 6-2 6-0 in the 1932 Wimbledon semifinal and 1933 Wimbledon mixed finalist.

Her game was best built for defence, clay, and long rallies. Her ground-strokes lacked the power to hit through foes on the grass. Her small stature and weak service were other barriers. Lowe's Almanck in 1933 stated "If only Miss Heeley could develop a little more attack her game would know no limitations. Her strong assets are great determination and splendid stamina. Miss Heeley cuts a pleasing figure on the court and is never dull to watch because of her splendid footwork and powers of return " (p. 130)

Her favourite shot: forehand off short ball across the court.

Critics first took serious note of her in 1928, when Mary won the British Junior Championships. In 1931 she won the British Indoors (then called the Covered Courts) and did well on the Riviera in France, where she a RU at Beaulieu.

Heeley got to the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1932. At the penultimate round, she was destroyed 6-2 6-0 by world #1 Helen Wills Moody, who concentrated her fire on Heeley's weaker backhand side. Nonetheless, Heeley was the #1 British player for 1932, had earned a win over Simone Mathieu and given a world ranking of #6 by Wallis Myers. From November 1932 to January 1933 she was part of a British team touring South Africa.

Mary and Norman Farquharson of South Africa lost a close final at Wimbledon in 1933 to the German pair of Gottfried Von Cramm and Hilde Krahwinkel. The score was 7-5 8-6.

Her 1932 success at Wimbledon earned her a place on the 1933 Wightman Cup team. This meant a sea voyage across the Atlantic to play in the United States at Forest Hills, where she lost in the quarters of the singles and semis of the doubles. The Brits then took the train to California to play on the Pacific Coast (where Mary won the Pacific Southwest doubles with Dorothy Round), the finally taking ship for home.

By 1934 here salad days of 1931-1933 over. Mary played on without any additional glory until late 1939 when war descended on Europe and ended her tennis days.

She was still alive when widowed in Capetown (1992) and passed away 2002.
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