Darlene Hard
Althea-Gibson-Darlene-Hard-Wimbledon-1957.jpg
Hard (left) congratulates Althea Gibson at the 1957 Wimbledon Singles Championships.
Full nameDarlene Ruth Hard
Country (sports) United States
Born(1936-01-06)January 6, 1936
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedDecember 2, 2021(2021-12-02) (aged 85)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Turned pro1965
PlaysRight-handed
Int. Tennis HoF1973 (member page)
Singles
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1961, Miami Herald)[1]
Grand Slam singles results
Australian OpenQF (1962)
French OpenW (1960)
WimbledonF (1957, 1959)
US OpenW (1960, 1961)
Doubles
Grand Slam doubles results
Australian OpenF (1962)
French OpenW (1955, 1957, 1960)
WimbledonW (1957, 1959, 1960, 1963)
US OpenW (1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1969)
Grand Slam mixed doubles results
Australian OpenF (1962)
French OpenW (1955, 1961)
WimbledonW (1957, 1959, 1960)
US OpenF (1956, 1957, 1961)
Team competitions
Wightman CupW (1957, 1959, 1962, 1963)
Medal record

Darlene Ruth Hard (January 6, 1936 – December 2, 2021) was an American professional tennis player, known for her aggressive volleying ability and strong serves. She captured singles titles at the French Championships in 1960 and the U.S. Championships in 1960 and 1961.

With eight different partners, she won a total of 13 women's doubles titles in Grand Slam tournaments, and was the finest doubles player of her generation.[2] Her last doubles title, at the age of 33 at the 1969 US Open, came six years after she had retired from serious competition to become a tennis instructor. She also played the US Open singles tournament in 1969, losing in the second round to Françoise Dürr.

Career

Queen Elizabeth II presents the Wimbledon championship trophy to Althea Gibson as Darlene Hard, at left, looks on (July 6, 1957).
Queen Elizabeth II presents the Wimbledon championship trophy to Althea Gibson as Darlene Hard, at left, looks on (July 6, 1957).

According to Lance Tingay, Hard was ranked among the top 10 in the world from 1957 through 1963, reaching a career high of No. 2 in those rankings in 1957, 1960, and 1961.[3] The Miami Herald ranked her No. 1 for the 1961 season.[1] In 1957, she made her first Wimbledon finals appearance, losing to Althea Gibson.[4]

Hard was included in the year-end top-10 rankings issued by the United States Lawn Tennis Association from 1954 through 1963. Charles Friedman wrote in The New York Times that year that "as a doubles player, she has no peer."[5] She was the top-ranked U.S. player from 1960 through 1963.[6] With her younger doubles partner Billie Jean King, she helped the US team to victory in the 1963 Federation Cup.

Hard graduated from Pomona College in 1961,[7] and became the first woman inducted into the college's athletic hall of fame in 1974.[8]

She was part of the American Wightman Cup team that won the trophy against Great Britain in 1957, 1959, 1962 and 1963.[9][4]

In 1964, Hard won the singles title at the South African Championships, defeating Ann Haydon-Jones in the final in straight sets, and soon afterwards turned professional when she became a teaching pro.[9] She later owned two tennis stores.[10]

Hard was enshrined in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1973.[11]

According to a 2007 published report, she had been working for the University of Southern California since 1981 in the Publications Dept.[10]

Personal life

In later life, Hard lived in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles. She worked at the University of Southern California in the Publications Dept. for four decades, aiding in the design and fact-checking of the University Yearbook.[2]

Hard died at the age of 85 on December 2, 2021, from complications after a fall.[2][11][12]

Grand Slam finals

N.B. THIS TABLE IS INACCURATE SINCE IT SUGGESTS DARLENE HARD ONLY HAS 16 GRAND SLAM TITLES WHEREAS SHE IN FACT HAS 21. THIS APPEARS TO BE BECAUSE HER MIXED DOUBLE TITLES ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE BELOW LIST.

Singles: 7 (3 titles, 4 runners-up)

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Loss 1957 Wimbledon Grass United States Althea Gibson 3–6, 2–6
Loss 1958 U.S. Championships Grass United States Althea Gibson 6–3, 1–6, 2–6
Loss 1959 Wimbledon Grass Brazil Maria Bueno 4–6, 3–6
Win 1960 French Championships Clay Mexico Yola Ramírez 6–3, 6–4
Win 1960 U.S. Championships Grass Brazil Maria Bueno 6–4, 10–12, 6–4
Win 1961 U.S. Championships Grass United Kingdom Ann Haydon 6–3, 6–4
Loss 1962 U.S. Championships Grass Australia Margaret Smith 7–9, 4–6

Doubles: 18 (13 titles, 5 runners-up)

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1955 French Championships Clay United States Beverly Baker United Kingdom Shirley Bloomer
United Kingdom Pat Ward
7–5, 6–8, 13–11
Loss 1956 French Championships Clay United States Dorothy Head United Kingdom Angela Buxton
United States Althea Gibson
8–6, 6–8, 1–6
Win 1957 French Championships Clay United Kingdom Shirley Bloomer Mexico Yola Ramírez
Mexico Rosie Reyes
7–5, 4–6, 7–5
Win 1957 Wimbledon Grass United States Althea Gibson Australia Mary Bevis Hawton
Australia Thelma Coyne Long
6–1, 6–2
Loss 1957 U.S. Championships Grass United States Althea Gibson United States Louise Brough
United States Margaret Osborne
2–6, 5–7
Win 1958 U.S. Championships Grass United States Jeanne Arth Brazil Maria Bueno
United States Althea Gibson
2–6, 6–3, 6–4
Win 1959 Wimbledon Grass United States Jeanne Arth United States Beverly Baker
United Kingdom Christine Truman
2–6, 6–2, 6–3
Win 1959 U.S. Championships Grass United States Jeanne Arth Brazil Maria Bueno
United States Sally Moore
6–2, 6–3
Win 1960 French Championships Clay Brazil Maria Bueno United Kingdom Pat Ward
United Kingdom Ann Haydon
6–2, 7–5
Win 1960 Wimbledon Grass Brazil Maria Bueno South Africa Sandra Reynolds
South Africa Renée Schuurman
6–4, 6–0
Win 1960 U.S. Championships Grass Brazil Maria Bueno United Kingdom Ann Haydon
United Kingdom Deidre Catt
6–1, 6–1
Loss 1961 French Championships Clay Brazil Maria Bueno South Africa Sandra Reynolds
South Africa Renée Schuurman
default
Win 1961 U.S. Championships Grass Australia Lesley Turner West Germany Edda Buding
Mexico Yola Ramírez
6–4, 5–7, 6–0
Loss 1962 Australian Championships Grass Australia Mary Carter Reitano Australia Robyn Ebbern
Australia Margaret Smith
4–6, 4–6
Win 1962 U.S. Championships Grass Brazil Maria Bueno United States Karen Hantze
United States Billie Jean Moffit
4–6, 6–3, 6–2
Win 1963 Wimbledon Grass Brazil Maria Bueno Australia Robyn Ebbern
Australia Margaret Smith
8–6, 9–7
Loss 1963 U.S. Championships Grass Brazil Maria Bueno Australia Robyn Ebbern
Australia Margaret Smith
6–4, 8–10, 3–6
Win 1969 US Open Grass France Françoise Dürr Australia Margaret Court
United Kingdom Virginia Wade
0–6, 6–3, 6–4

Grand Slam singles performance timeline

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# DNQ A NH
(W) winner; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (NH) not held; (SR) strike rate (events won / competed); (W–L) win–loss record.
Tournament 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 – 1968 1969 1970 Career SR
Australian Championships A A A A A A A A A QF A A A A 0 / 1
French Championships A A 2R 3R QF A A W 4R A 2R A A A 1 / 6
Wimbledon A A SF 3R F A F QF A QF SF A A A 0 / 7
U.S. Championships/US Open 2R SF 3R QF SF F SF W W F QF A 2R 2R 2 / 13
Strike rate 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 2 2 / 3 1 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 1 3 / 27

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Fullmer, Tittle, Sellers Star, But None Measure Up to Maris". The Miami Herald. 1961-12-28.
  2. ^ a b c Smith, Harrison (2021-12-08). "Darlene Hard, Tennis Hall of Famer and 'best doubles player of her generation,' dies at 85". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ Collins, Bud (2008). The Bud Collins History of Tennis: An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book. New York, N.Y: New Chapter Press. pp. 695, 703. ISBN 0-942257-41-3.
  4. ^ a b "International Tennis Hall of Fame". www.tennisfame.com. Retrieved 2021-12-05.
  5. ^ Friedman, Charles (1963-12-30). "Darlene Hard Heads U.S. Women's Tennis Rankings Fourth Year in Row; Two California Women Top Lawn Tennis Rankings". The New York Times.
  6. ^ United States Tennis Association (1988). 1988 Official USTA Tennis Yearbook. Lynn, Massachusetts: H. O. Zimman, Inc. p. 261.
  7. ^ "1960". Pomona College Timeline. 7 November 2014. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Darlene R. Hard". ITA Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Darlene Hard…Tribute To A Little Known Great Player". WLM Tennis. 8 December 2021. Retrieved 10 December 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Hard is fine far from Centre Court". Los Angeles Times. July 3, 2007.
  11. ^ a b "Three-time tennis major winner Hard dies at 85". ESPN. 2021-12-04. Archived from the original on 2021-12-04. Retrieved 2021-12-04.
  12. ^ Harris, Beth (2021-12-04). "Darlene Hard, 3-time major tennis champion, dies at 85". WDIV-TV. Associated Press. Retrieved 2021-12-04.