72 Years Ago In TIME

As impressive as America's current women's tennis stars are, none is as dominant as HELEN NEWINGTON WILLS was in her day. When TIME put her on the cover in 1929--for the second time in three years--Wills was in the midst of winning four straight Wimbledon singles titles. She won 31 major championships in all.

In 1918 Dr. Clarence A. Wills took his quiet pig-tailed daughter to a sunny tennis court in Berkeley, Cal., and handed her a racquet which she swung at first like a nightstick. She missed the first ball. She changed her grip and hit the next one. Within...

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