Lea Pericoli
Lea Pericoli.jpg
Country (sports) Italy
Born (1935-03-22) 22 March 1935 (age 87)
Milan, Italy
Career recordno value
Grand Slam singles results
Australian Open2R (1965)
French Open4R (1960, 1964)
Wimbledon4R (1965, 1967, 1970)
Career recordno value
Grand Slam doubles results
Australian Open1R (1965)
French OpenSF (1964)
WimbledonQF (1960)

Lea Pericoli (born 22 March 1935) is an Italian former tennis player and later television presenter and journalist from Milan.[1] She reached the last sixteen of the French Open two times and the Wimbledon Championships three times, and is also famous for her choice of clothing.[2][3]

Family background

Pericoli married Tito Fontana in 1964.[4]


Grand Slam

Pericoli reached the last sixteen of the French Championships singles in 1960 and 1964. She reached the fourth round of Wimbledon three times in 1965, 1967, and 1970.


Partnered by Helga Schultze, Pericoli won the doubles title at the 1974 WTA Swiss Open, defeating Kayoko Fukuoka and Michelle Rodríguez in the final in straight sets.

Fed Cup

Pericoli made her Fed Cup debut for Italy in its inaugural year, 1963, and represented Italy in nine years of the competition, winning 8 of her 16 singles matches and 7 of her 14 doubles matches.[4] Her last Fed Cup match was in 1975.

Italian international championships

She partnered with Silvana Lazzarino to reach five women's doubles finals in six years (1962–65, 1967) at the Italian International Championships, with four of those coming in consecutive years.


In 1955, Pericoli played at the Wimbledon Championships wearing clothes designed by Ted Tinling.[5] Her clothing generated so much interest in later years, that it was kept secret until her appearances on the court. In particular, her fur-lined clothing worn at the 1964 Wimbledon Championships caught the attention of observers.[2]

In 2001, the Sunday Mirror quoted Pericoli as saying "I became famous because of my clothes, not my playing." and "I didn't make any money from tennis, but if I'd been born 30 years later I would have become terribly rich like Anna Kournikova".[6]


On 7 May 2015, in the presence of the President of Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), Giovanni Malagò, was inaugurated in the Olympic Park of the Foro Italico in Rome, along Viale delle Olimpiadi, the Walk of Fame of Italian sport, consisting of 100 tiles that chronologically report names of the most representative athletes in the history of Italian sport. On each tile are the name of the sportsman, the sport in which he distinguished himself and the symbol of CONI. One of these tiles is dedicated to Lea Pericoli.[7]

Pericoli was awarded the Fed Cup Award of Excellence in 2007.[4][8]

Other activities

Pericoli had a contract with Superga for modelling shoes.[9]

Pericoli was popular on Italian television in the 1970s,[10] presenting the programs Paroliamo and Caccia al Tesoro in addition to commentating tennis.

Pericoli was introduced to journalism by Indro Montanelli.[9] She worked as a tennis and fashion journalist.[11] She was a journalist for Il Giornale.[12]

Pericoli wrote the autobiographical book Maldafrica, published in Italian in 2009.[13] ISBN 978-88-317-9889-1

Grand Slam singles performance timeline

(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 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 Win–loss
Australian Open A A A A A A A A A A 2R A A A A A A A A A A 1–0
French Open 3R A 1R 3R A 4R 1R 3R A 4R A A A 2R 1R 1R 3R A A 1R 1R 11–10
Wimbledon 2R A A A 3R 3R 2R 2R 3R 3R 4R 1R 4R 1R 3R 4R 2R A A A 2R 15–14
US Open A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0–0

See also


  1. ^ "Vente Façonnable au profit de La Lega contro il Tumore". Italie – Article bilingue anglais / français. Podcast Journal. 24 December 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Game, set and a flash; How the girls brought a new frill to Wimbledon". The Free Library – The Mirror. Farlex; Gale, Cengage Learning. 28 June 1999. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  3. ^ Craik, Jennifer (2005). Uniforms exposed: from conformity to transgression page xiv. Berg Publishers. ISBN 9781859738047. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  4. ^ a b c "Lea Pericoli of Italy to be Honored With the 2007 Fed Cup Award of Excellence". News. RacquetSportsIndustry. 17 September 2007. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  5. ^ "Tinling's Tutus For Tennis". SI.com. Turner – SI Digital, part of the Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital Network. 11 July 1955. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  6. ^ Crawford, Sue (1 June 2001). "Centre caught; Mink Skirts to Purple Knickers .. The Girls Who". Sunday Mirror. Archived from the original on 28 June 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  7. ^ "Inaugurata la Walk of Fame: 100 targhe per celebrare le leggende dello sport italiano" (in Italian). coni.it. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Italy's Lea Pericoli receives Fed Cup Award of Excellence". FedCup official site. ITF. 16 September 2007. Archived from the original on 11 February 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  9. ^ a b "Lea Pericoli, simbolo vincente dell'Italia. Eleganza e simpatia anche fuori dal tennis. Il ritratto di una vera campionessa. Lea Pericoli, Italian national symbol. Whose elegance and popularity transcended tennis. The epitome of a true champion". Article from Cino Marchese. Servizi Vincenti. 17 April 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  10. ^ "Italian Television in the 1970s". TV. Life in Italy. 13 September 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  11. ^ "Gambill Snared by Armani". ATP Insider. Rediff. 1 February 2002. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  12. ^ Lessona, Logan Bentley (10 October 1997). "And Now......Here's Gianni!". Fashion & Design Newsletter. Made*In*Italy*On*Line. Archived from the original on 26 November 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  13. ^ "Maldafrica". Book review. Liberweb. Retrieved 15 October 2010.[permanent dead link]