Sport: Midge & Her Man

  • Share
  • Read Later

Thirteen years ago a pert, pretty 14-year-old California girl named Marjorie Gladman watched with interest her first tennis match. She thought it "an awfully nice game," coaxed her father for a racket. Four years later, under famed Coach Mercer Beasley, she wielded it with such proficiency that she won the National Girls' Championship. In 1928 she met John Van Ryn who, just out of Princeton, was winning recognition on the courts as a "giant-killer." By talking shop at tournament after tournament, they became fond of each other. In 1930 they were married.

Fortnight ago Mr. Van Ryn, now unranked in U. S. men's singles, and Mrs. Van Ryn, fifth ranking female tennist, deserted their cosy home outside Philadelphia and their fox terrier named "Wimby," junketed to Manhattan for the National Indoor Championships. "Midge" Van Ryn was well prepared for action. All winter she had practiced on the indoor courts of Socialite George D. Widener and Banker Fitz Eugene Dixon, onetime Davis Cup captain, who employs her husband.

The fact that it was Midge Van Ryn's first tournament on boards did not disturb her in the least. With characteristic coolness she romped through to the final without losing a set. Then she met Norma Taubele, No. 12 in national ranking, 1934 indoor titleholder. By softball tactics and a deceptive chop stroke, Mrs. Van Ryn braked her opponent's speed. It took her only 45 minutes to put Miss Taubele into submission, 6-4, 6-3.

Her match finished, Midge stood by to watch her man and Gregory Mangin (who later won the men's singles) play Karl Schroeder and James Gilbert Hall in the final of the men's doubles. Though a Davis Cup player for the past seven years, John Van Ryn's marked ability in doubles surprisingly vanishes in singles. Last week even his doubles form was way off. Having collected the silverware for the family, Mrs. Van Ryn sighed at her husband's defeat, remarked: "Tennis is great for domestic happiness."