Ellen Roosevelt

Ellen Roosevelt

Class of 1975

Master Player

Career Achievements

Grand Slam Results
3-time major champion and 2-time finalist

Citizenship: USA Born: August 20, 1868 in Hyde Park, New York Died: September 26, 1954 Played: Right-handed

While Serena and Venus Williams are widely regarded as the most accomplished sister combination in tennis history, they’re not the first such sensation; that distinction belongs to Grace and Ellen Crosby Roosevelt, the latter being the more accomplished player. At age 22 and playing in only her third U.S. National Championships in Albany, N.Y., Ellen captured the 1890 singles title defeating defending champion Bertha Townsend, 6-6, 6-2. She then teamed with Grace to win the doubles title that same year, over Townsend and Margarette Ballard, 6-1, 6-2, making them the first sisters to win a major championship. Fellow Americans Juliette and Kathleen Atkinson were the next sisters to win in 1897 and 1898.

Roosevelt returned to the 1891 U.S. National Championship final in singles and doubles, falling to Irishwoman Mabel Cahill in singles, 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 and in doubles with Grace to Cahill and Emma Leavitt-Morgan, 2-6, 8-6, 6-4. In 1893, Ellen won her last significant title, the U.S. Mixed Doubles Crown with Clarence Hobart, an adept doubles specialist who won three men’s and three mixed titles at the U.S. National Championships. The Roosevelt sisters, first cousins of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, were coached and groomed on private courts at home by their father John Roosevelt, a strict disciplinarian who required they went to bed early and ate properly, and accompanied them at events.

“Their father coached and treated them as if they were a pair of show ponies,” said Ellen Hansell, the first U.S. National Women’s Singles champion in 1887. “We silly, non-serious-minded players giggled at their early-to-bed and careful food habits.”

Grand Slam

Grand Slam Best Results


1 singles | 1 doubles | 1 mixed

U.S. Nationals: W 1890

U.S. Nationals: W 1890

Mixed Doubles            
U.S. Nationals: W 1893