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Sarah Palfrey Cooke

Sarah Palfrey Cooke

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Sarah Hammond Palfrey Fabyan Cooke Danzig (September 18, 1912, Sharon
Sharon, Massachusetts
Sharon is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 17,612 at the 2010 census. Sharon is part of Greater Boston, about 17 miles southwest of downtown Boston....

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, U.S.–February 27, 1996, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

) was a female tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

 player from the United States.

Cooke twice won the singles title at the U.S. Championships, the second time in 1945 at the age of 32. She was only the second mother to have won the title, with Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman
Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman
Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman was an American tennis player.-Personal life:Wightman was born in Healdsburg, California and married George Wightman of Boston in 1912. She died in Newton, Massachusetts...

 being the first. Cooke won the 1945 title after being down 4–3 in the third set to Pauline Betz Addie, with Betz Addie serving. Betz Addie was the three-time defending champion and would have won six consecutive titles had Cooke not defeated her in the 1941 and 1945 finals.

Cooke is one of the only women, if not the sole woman, to appear on a top-level male championship honor roll. Because of the manpower crisis during World War II, she and second husband Elwood Cooke
Elwood Cooke
Elwood Thomas Cooke was an outstanding amateur tennis player in the 1930s and 1940s....

 were permitted in 1945 to enter the men's doubles of the Tri-State Championships in Cincinnati. They reached the final, losing to Hal Surface and Bill Talbert
Bill Talbert
William Franklin "Billy" Talbert was an American tennis player and administrator.He was ranked in the U.S. Top 10 13 times between 1941 & 1954. He won nine Grand Slam doubles titles, and also reached the men’s doubles finals of the U.S. National Championship nine times. mainly with favorite...

.

Cooke won 16 Grand Slam championships in women's doubles (11) and mixed doubles (5). She teamed with Betty Nuthall Shoemaker to win the 1930 U.S. Championships and with Helen Jacobs
Helen Jacobs
Helen Hull Jacobs was a World No. 1 American female tennis player who won ten Grand Slam titles. She was born in Globe, Arizona, United States.- Tennis career :...

 to win the 1932, 1934, and 1935 championships. Cooke and Alice Marble
Alice Marble
Alice Marble was a World No. 1 American tennis player who won 18 Grand Slam championships : 5 in Singles, 6 in Women's Doubles, and 7 in Mixed Doubles.-Early life:Born in the small town of Beckwourth, Plumas County, California, Marble moved with her family at the age of...

 won the U.S. Championships 1937-40. At Wimbledon
The Championships, Wimbledon
The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply Wimbledon , is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, considered by many to be the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the other three Majors...

, Cooke and Marble won the 1938 and 1939 women's doubles championship. Cooke's final U.S. women's doubles championship was in 1941 with Margaret Osborne duPont
Margaret Osborne duPont
Margaret Evelyn Osborne duPont is a former World No. 1 American female tennis player.DuPont won a total of 37 singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, which places her fourth on the all-time list despite never entering the Australian Championships. She won 25 of her Grand...

. In mixed doubles, Cooke teamed with four different partners to win the U.S. Championships: Fred Perry
Fred Perry
Frederick John Perry was a championship-winning English tennis and table tennis player who won 10 Majors including eight Grand Slams and two Pro Slams. Perry won three consecutive Wimbledon Championships between 1934 and 1936 and was World No. 1 four years in a row...

 (1932), Enrique Maier (1935), Don Budge
Don Budge
John Donald Budge was an American tennis champion who was a World No. 1 player for five years, first as an amateur and then as a professional...

 (1937), and Jack Kramer (1941). Cooke also won the mixed doubles title at the 1939 French Championships, teaming with her future husband Elwood Cooke. Cooke and Marble were undefeated in doubles for four years (1937-40).

In 1947, Cooke turned professional and went on a "barnstorming" tour of one-night stands with Betz Addie, who had been stripped of her amateur status by the United States Lawn Tennis Association
United States Tennis Association
The United States Tennis Association is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the United States. A not-for-profit organization with more than 700,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds to promote and develop the growth of tennis, from the grass-roots to the professional levels...

 (USLTA) for merely inquiring about the possibility of creating a tour for professionals. They earned about US$10,000 each.

According to Wallis Myers and John Olliff of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail
Daily Mail
The Daily Mail is a British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust. First published in 1896 by Lord Northcliffe, it is the United Kingdom's second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. Its sister paper The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982...

, Cooke was ranked in the World Top Ten 1933-36 and 1938-39 (no rankings issued 1940-45), reaching a career high in those rankings of World No. 4 in 1934. Cooke was included in the year-end Top Ten rankings issued by the USLTA 1929-31, 1933-41, and 1945. She was the top-ranked U.S. player in 1941 and 1945.

Cooke and Marble lobbied the USLTA to remove the color bar and allow Althea Gibson
Althea Gibson
Althea Gibson was a World No. 1 American sportswoman who became the first African-American woman to be a competitor on the world tennis tour and the first to win a Grand Slam title in 1956. She is sometimes referred to as "the Jackie Robinson of tennis" for breaking the color barrier...

 to play at heretofore whites-only tournaments beginning in 1950. "She [Cooke] was calmly persuasive, had clout as an ex-champ, and got Althea into the U.S. Championships in 1950," said Gladys Heldman
Gladys Heldman
Gladys Medalie Heldman was the founder of World Tennis magazine; she supported Billie Jean King and other female tennis players who formed the Virginia Slims Tour in the early 1970s...

, founder of the Women's Professional Tennis Tour.

Cooke once said, "Tennis is the best game there is. It combines mental and physical qualities and is the sport for a lifetime. And there are many living examples at the age of 80 to prove it. So it is enough for us to know that tennis will remain, under whatever conditions, whether amateur or pro, the finest game there is for us, for our children, and our children's children."

Cooke was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame
International Tennis Hall of Fame
The International Tennis Hall of Fame is located in Newport, Rhode Island, United States. The hall of fame and honors players and contributors to the sport of tennis and includes a museum, grass tennis courts, an indoor tennis facility, and a court tennis facility.-History:The hall of fame and...

 in 1963 and died of lung cancer in 1996.

She was married three times, to Marshall Fabyan, Elwood Cooke, and Jerome Alan Danzig and had two children. She married Fabyan on October 6, 1934, but divorced him in Reno, Nevada on July 20, 1940. She married Cooke on October 2, 1940, and had a daughter with him who was born on December 22, 1942. She divorced him on April 29, 1949, on grounds of cruelty. She married Danzig on April 27, 1951, and remained married to him until her death. She had a son with Danzig who was born December 19, 1952.

Her brother, John Palfrey, also an excellent tennis player and an expert on atomic energy, married Belle "Clochette" Roosevelt Palfrey, a granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

 and a daughter of Kermit Roosevelt
Kermit Roosevelt
Kermit Roosevelt I MC was a son of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt. He was an explorer on two continents with his father, a graduate of Harvard University, a soldier serving in two world wars, with both the British and U.S. Armies, a businessman, and a writer...

. She also had four sisters, who were all fine tennis players.

Grand Slam record

  • French Championships
    • Women's doubles runner-up: 1934
    • Mixed doubles champion: 1939

  • Wimbledon
    The Championships, Wimbledon
    The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply Wimbledon , is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, considered by many to be the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the other three Majors...

    • Women's doubles champion: 1938, 1939
    • Women's doubles runner-up: 1930, 1936
    • Mixed doubles runner-up: 1936, 1938

  • U.S. Championships
    • Singles champion: 1941, 1945
    • Singles runner-up: 1934, 1935
    • Women's doubles champion: 1930, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941
    • Women's doubles runner-up: 1936
    • Mixed doubles champion: 1932, 1935, 1937, 1941
    • Mixed doubles runner-up: 1933, 1936, 1939

Wins (2)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1941 U.S. Championships
U.S. Open (tennis)
The US Open, formally the United States Open Tennis Championships, is a hardcourt tennis tournament which is the modern iteration of one of the oldest tennis championships in the world, the U.S. National Championship, which for men's singles was first contested in 1881...

 
Pauline Betz Addie  7–5, 6–2
1945 U.S. Championships (2) Pauline Betz Addie 3–6, 8–6, 6–4

Runner-ups (2)

Year Championship Opponent in Final Score in Final
1934 U.S. Championships  Helen Jacobs
Helen Jacobs
Helen Hull Jacobs was a World No. 1 American female tennis player who won ten Grand Slam titles. She was born in Globe, Arizona, United States.- Tennis career :...

 
6–1, 6–4
1935 U.S. Championships Helen Jacobs 6–2, 6–4

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline

Tournament 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Career SR
Australian Championships
Australian Open
The Australian Open is the only Grand Slam tennis tournament held in the southern hemisphere. The tournament was held for the first time in 1905 and was last contested on grass in 1987. Since 1972 the Australian Open has been held in Melbourne, Victoria. In 1988, the tournament became a hard court...

A A A A A A A A A A A A A NH NH NH NH NH 0 / 0
French Championships A A A A A A 3R A A A A QF NH R R R R A 0 / 2
Wimbledon
The Championships, Wimbledon
The Championships, Wimbledon, or simply Wimbledon , is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, considered by many to be the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the other three Majors...

A A 2R A 4R A QF A 2R A QF SF NH NH NH NH NH NH 0 / 6
U.S. Championships 1R 3R 3R 3R 2R QF F F 1R 1R SF QF 3R W A QF A W 2 / 16
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 0 1 / 1 2 / 24


NH = tournament not held.

R = tournament restricted to French nationals and held under German occupation.

A = did not participate in the tournament.

SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

See also