Dorothy Round Little

Dorothy Round Little

Class of 1986

Master Player

Career Achievements

Top Ranking     
World No. 1 (1934)

Grand Slam Results
6-time major champion, 3-time runner-up

Wightman Cup
Member of the British Team 1931-1936

 

Citizenship: GBR Born: July 13, 1908 in Dudley, Worcestershire, England Died: November 12, 1982 Played: Right-handed

In the 1930s, when American Helen Wills Moody ruled the courts, Dorothy Edith Round Little wasn’t far behind, staking her claim as the top British female player of her generation. Wimbledon was her playground of choice, and she won five of her six total major championship titles playing on the hallowed grass courts.

Little won the 1934 and 1937 Wimbledon titles, becoming the first Englishwoman to do so since Kathleen McKane Godfree in 1926. After falling to Moody in the 1933 Wimbledon Ladies final, 6-4, 6-8, 6-3, Little earned her first title the following year, knocking over American star Helen Hull Jacobs, 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. Little garnered her second Wimbledon title in 1937, defeating Poland’s Jadwiga Jedrzejowska in a competitively-played three-set match, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5. At home on the Wimbledon grass, Little won Mixed Doubles titles in 1934, 1935, and 1936, the latter two victories paired with the incomparable Fred Perry.

Little ventured to the Australian Championships only once in her 11-year major-playing career but made it a fortuitous adventure, winning the 1935 title over Nancy Lyle Glover, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3. She never played the French Championships and appeared at the U.S. Nationals only twice, reaching the semifinals in 1933, falling to eventual champion Jacobs, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.

Little played the Wightman Cup for England 1931 through 1936, and was ranked in the World Top 10 from 1933-1937, reaching the top position in 1934.  Following her marriage to civil engineer Dr. Douglas Little, she retired from serious active play in 1938. She did make one last appearance at the 1939 Wimbledon Championships, where she lost in the fourth round to Sarah Palfrey, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2. Little remained steeped in the game, however, as a coach, journalist, and later administrator.

Beloved in her hometown of Dudley, England, a statue of Little was commissioned for placement in Priory Park, adjacent to the park tennis courts. The statue is named “The Return of Dorothy Round” and depicts the champion about to return a serve while posed atop a tennis ball.

Grand Slam

Grand Slam Best Results

Titles

3 singles | 3 mixed doubles

Singles
Australian Championships: W 1935
Wimbledon: W 1934, 1937
U.S. Nationals: SF 1933

Doubles
Australian Championships: SF 1935
Wimbledon: QF 1933, 1934, 1937
U.S. Nationals: F 1931

Mixed Doubles
Australian Championships: F 1935
Wimbledon: W 1934, 1935, 1936
U.S. Nationals: SF 1933