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May Sutton

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Title: May Sutton  
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Subject: 1904 U.S. National Championships (tennis), Cincinnati Masters, 1905 Wimbledon Championships, Helen Jacobs, Margaret Osborne duPont
Collection: 1886 Births, 1975 Deaths, American Female Tennis Players, American People of English Descent, Burials at Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery, Santa Monica, English Emigrants to the United States, English Female Tennis Players, Grand Slam (Tennis) Champions in Women's Doubles, Grand Slam (Tennis) Champions in Women's Singles, International Tennis Hall of Fame Inductees, People from Plymouth, Sportspeople from Pasadena, California, Tennis People from California, United States National Champions (Tennis), Wimbledon Champions (Pre-Open Era)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

May Sutton

May Sutton
Full name May Godfrey Sutton
Country (sports)  United States
Born (1886-09-25)September 25, 1886
Plymouth, England
Died October 4, 1975(1975-10-04) (aged 89)
Santa Monica, CA, USA
Height 5 ft 4.5 in (1.64 m)
Plays Right-handed
Int. Tennis HoF 1956 (member page)
Grand Slam Singles results
French Open 2R (1929)
Wimbledon W (1905, 1907)
US Open W (1904)
Grand Slam Doubles results
US Open W (1904)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
US Open F (1904)
May Sutton (between ca. 1910 and ca. 1915)
May Sutton

May Godfrey Sutton (September 25, 1886 – October 4, 1975) was a female American tennis champion who was active during the first decades of the 20th century. At age 17 she won the singles title at the U.S. National Championships and in 1905 she became the first American player to win the singles title at Wimbledon.


  • Biography 1
  • Playing style 2
  • Grand Slam finals 3
    • Singles : 3 titles, 1 runner-up 3.1
    • Doubles : 1 title, 1 runner-up 3.2
    • Mixed doubles : 1 runner-up 3.3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


May Sutton was born on September 25, 1886 in Plymouth, England, the youngest daughter of Adolphus DeGrouchy Sutton, a Captain in the Royal Navy and Adeline Esther Godfray.[1] When she was six years old, Sutton's family moved to a ranch near Pasadena, California. It was there that she and her sisters played tennis on a court built by her father.[2] As young ladies, May and her sisters, Violet Sutton, Florence Sutton, and Ethel Sutton, dominated the California tennis circuit. In addition to being accomplished tennis players, the girls were excellent basketball players. May, Florence and Violet were all on the Pasadena High School basketball team, which went undefeated in 1900.[3] In 1904 at age 17, May Sutton won the singles title at the U.S. Championships. She also teamed with Miriam Hall to win the women's doubles title and came close to making it a clean sweep by advancing to the mixed doubles final.[4]

She was unable to defend her U.S. title as she traveled to England in May 1905 to compete in the Wimbledon Championships. In June she won the grass court Northern Tournament in Manchester, defeating Hilda Lane in the final.[5] Sutton became the first American and first non-British woman to win the Wimbledon singles title when she beat British star and reigning two-time Wimbledon champion Dorothea Douglass Chambers in the challenge round. She did it while shocking the British audience by rolling up her sleeves to bare her elbows and wearing a skirt that showed her ankles. For the next two years, she and Chambers met in the final, with Chambers recapturing the title in 1906 and Sutton winning it back in 1907.[6]

May Sutton was the 1908 Rose Parade Queen in Pasadena.

On December 11, 1912, she married Tom Bundy, who was a three-time winner of the men's doubles title at the U.S. Championships, and semi-retired to raise a family. However, in 1921 at the age of 35, she made a comeback and became the fourth-ranked player in the U.S. In 1925, she was a women's doubles finalist at the U.S. Championships and, although almost forty years of age, her game was strong enough to be selected for America's Wightman Cup team. She was a Wimbledon quarterfinalist in 1929 at the age of 42, which was the first time she had played Wimbledon since 1907. In 1928 and 1929, she and her daughter Dorothy Cheney became the only mother/daughter combination to be seeded at the U.S. Championships. Her nephew, John Doeg, won the U.S. Championships in 1930, and in 1938 daughter Dorothy won the Australian Championships.

In 1956, Sutton was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.[7] She never stopped playing tennis and was still playing regularly well into her late eighties.

Sutton died in 1975 and was interred in the Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery in Santa Monica, California.[8]

Playing style

Eight-time U.S. National Championship winner Molla Bjurstedt Mallory indicated that Sutton was the best player she had met. "Her drive was the fastest and the ... most difficult ... to handle, because it dove suddenly to the ground and then jumped up unexpectedly with queer curves. When she could keep her drives near the baseline, they either forced me back farther than I had been accustomed to play or compelled me to make errors. She was also strong overhead when she came to the net and altogether had more power and effectiveness than any other woman tennis player of her time". Sutton played with an extreme Western grip and had a powerful topspin forehand that made the ball dip and bound high.[9]

Grand Slam finals

Singles : 3 titles, 1 runner-up

Result Year Championship Opponent in final Score in final
Winner 1904 U.S. Championships Elisabeth Moore 6–1, 6–2
Winner 1905 Wimbledon Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers 6–3, 6–4
Runner-up 1906 Wimbledon Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers 3–6, 7–9
Winner 1907 Wimbledon Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers 6–1, 6–4

Doubles : 1 title, 1 runner-up

Result Year Championship Partner Opponents in final Score in final
Winner 1904 U.S. Championships Miriam Hall Elisabeth Moore
Carrie Neely
3–6, 6–3, 6–3
Runner-up 1925 U.S. Championships Elizabeth Ryan Mary K. Browne
Helen Wills
4–6, 3–6

Mixed doubles : 1 runner-up

Result Year Championship Partner Opponents in final Score in final
Runner-up 1904 U.S. Championships F.B. Dallas Elisabeth Moore
Wylie Grant
2–6, 1–6


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  3. ^ Hult, p. 144
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External links

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