News Who was Simonne Mathieu, whose new Roland-Garros court is...

Who was Simonne Mathieu, whose new Roland-Garros court is named after him?

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THE SCAN SPORT – Former champion, Simonne Mathieu (1908-1980) is not as famous as other glories of hexagonal tennis. She had yet one of the biggest winners of the little yellow ball in France.

Simonne Mathieu is the name chosen by the organizers to name the brand new court of the Porte d'Auteuil, inaugurated for this 2019 edition of Roland-Garros. Located in the heart of the greenhouses of Auteuil, it will eventually replace Court No. 1 as the third main court for the French Open.

One of the biggest French Grand Slam winners

Simonne Mathieu is the name of one of the greatest champions of French tennis. She began her sporting ascension at the end of the 1920s, then became a definite fixture in world tennis in the 1930s. Between 1929 and 1937, she reached the Roland Garros women's singles final six times without ever reaching win. Over this period, she is also number one French. It was finally in 1938 that she won her first title Porte d'Auteuil. That year, she also won the double ladies and mixed doubles tournament, achieving an exceptional and unprecedented treble. It confirms its performance by winning the 1939 edition of Roland-Garros singles and doubles ladies.

Committed to the Resistance

When the Second World War broke out, Simonne Mathieu, then at the peak of his sports career, decided to commit to free France and joined the Resistance. After the armistice of 1940, she joined General de Gaulle in London. It is entrusted with the mission of forming a Corps of French Volunteers in which it commands the first women to serve under military status in the army. During the Liberation, she will parade alongside General de Gaulle, with the rank of captain.

After the war, Simone Mathieu will no longer play high level tennis. But tennis will never really leave it. From the end of the summer of 1944, she is back on the clay of the Porte d'Auteuil to kick off the first game played in Paris released. Five years later, in 1949, she took the reins of the French Women's Tennis Team, which she managed until 1960. She also joined the committee management of the French Tennis Federation (FFT). In 2006, 26 years after her disappearance, she was inducted intoInternational Tennis Hall of Fameas a tribute to his career. At the inauguration of the court that now bears his name, Bernard Giudicelli, president of the FFT, said in particular: "She was above all a great champion. (…) She embodied the will, she never gave up an exchange, nor one of her choices ".

With thirteen Grand Slam titles, ten of which won at Roland Garros between 1933 and 1939, Simonne Mathieu is the second most-titled Frenchman of all time, behind legend Suzanne Lenglen (twenty-one trophies). The cup awarded to the winners of the double ladies event at Roland-Garros is now named after him. Just like the third main court now.

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