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Tennis at the 1900 Paris Summer Games

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Sports:

Host City: Paris, France
Date Started: July 6, 1900
Date Finished: July 11, 1900
Events: 4

Participants: 26 (19 men and 7 women) from 4 countries
Youngest Participant: FRA Katie Gillou (13 years, 137 days)
Oldest Participant: USA Spalding de Garmendia (40 years, 129 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 3 athletes with 3 medals
Most Medals (Country): GBR Great Britain (8 medals)

Overview

Until one week prior to the scheduled international tennis tournament held in conjunction with the Paris Exposition of 1900, it was not known where, or if, the tournament would be held. Only five days before the start of the events on 6 July did the Ile du Puteaux Club in the midst of the River Seine agree to allow their facilities to be used for the tennis tournament. The club president, Viscount Léon de Janzé, was responsible for giving permission to the Exposition authorities.

Reports note that the turnout of players was small, as it was, but that it was of exceptional quality. Mainly, the top British players were present, led by the Doherty brothers, Reggie and Laurie. Reggie had won four straight Wimbledon singles titles (1897-1900), and Laurie would alter win five in a row at Wimbledon (1902-06). It was stated that all the local players were present, with the exception of Mme. Aymé of France in the women’s events. In the men’s events, the American W. C. Grant entered but was delayed in transit and only made it to Ireland by the start of the events, but he would not have challenged the Dohertys.

The weather was noted to be good and slightly cool, which made it very comfortable for the players and spectators. France’s high society flocked to the small isle, which had a reputation for drawing such guests and royalty. Only a few days prior to the Olympic tournament, their Royal Highnesses the Crown Princes of Sweden and Greece were playing on the courts at the Ile de Puteaux. There were ten courts available at the club, but only five were used for the Olympic tournament, and one court (#5) was used primarily. There were several other non-Olympic events contested during the week’s festivities: handicap events in ladies’ singles, men’s singles, men’s singles, and mixed doubles. Viscount de Janzé was also noted to have brought together all the top professionals from the continent for a professional singles championship. This was a round-robin affair with the home clubs pro, Burke, winning the title, and 1,000 French francs. A professional doubles handicap also took place.

Medalists