Margaret "Peggy" Scriven

Margaret "Peggy" Scriven

Class of 2016

Master Player

Career Achievements

Grand Slam Results
4-time major champion

Highest Ranking
World No. 5 (1933)

Wightman Cup
Member of the British Wightman Cup Team 1933, 1934, 1938

Citizenship: GBR Born: August 17, 1912 in Leeds, England Died: January 25, 2001 Played: Left-handed

Only six British female players in history have won the French Singles Championship. Not only was Margaret "Peggy" Scriven the first to hoist the hardware over her head, but she captured consecutive French titles in 1933 and 1934, making her the last British female player to win the same major event in back-to-back years. In a country that cherishes its tennis heroes, Scriven’s accomplishments immortalize her.

Lasting Lefty Legacy

In today’s modern game, left-handed players are commonplace. In Scriven’s era they were rare, or at least a novelty. When she won the 1933 French National Championships with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Frenchwoman Simonne Mathieu, Scriven became the first lefty player to win a major tournament title. Adding to her lasting legacy was that Scriven battled through the draw as an unseeded entrant, the first such player to win a championship at Roland Garros. If her championship caught the tennis community by surprise in 1933, her championship in 1934 caught no one off guard. In many ways she went from a relative unknown to a marquee attraction. In 1934 Scriven successfully defended her title when she defeated the great American Helen Jacobs, 7–5, 4–6, 6–1.

Scriven’s victory over Jacobs came as daylight was fading in Paris. Both the men’s and women’s final were played on the same day, but the men’s championship between Australian Jack Crawford and German Baron Gottfried von Cramm went five long sets, pushing back the women’s final to 6:30 p.m. On two occasions Jacobs appealed to the referee to suspend the match, claiming impending darkness was a hindrance to her game. In both instances Jacobs’s pleas were denied. Sensing a crack in her opponent’s mental game, Scriven ratcheted up her game, playing with greater focus, resolve and determination, the collective sum leading her to a second title.

A Prodigious Beginning

Born in Yorkshire, England, Scriven’s parents played club tennis and those athletic genes were passed onto a naturally gifted prodigy. Scriven never took a formal lesson, yet in 1929 and at age 17, won the British Junior Championships. Noted for her play on clay courts, where her powerful groundstrokes, steely determination and competitive drive made her tough to beat, Scriven enjoyed great success on the fast wooden courts at The Queen's Club. She won the British Covered Court Championships five times between 1932 and 1938 and was a doubles champion at the same event in 1933 and mixed doubles champion in 1934 and 1935.

Grand Slam History 

Scriven enjoyed most of her success playing at the French Championships, winning two singles, one doubles, and one mixed doubles title in her six appearances there. In 1933, she won her first singles championship and in mixed doubles competition teamed with Crawford to defeat the famed British duo of Fred Perry and Betty Nuthall, 6-2, 6-3. Scriven was a semifinalist at Roland Garros in 1935. That year she paired with Britain’s Kay Stammers to capture the doubles title over Frenchwoman Ida Adamoff and German Hilde Krahwinkel Sperling in relative ease, 6-4, 6-0. 

Scriven played on the green grass at Wimbledon 12 times over a 17-year span (1930-47). She was seeded three times and advanced to the quarterfinals in 1931, 1933, 1934, and 1937. She played only once at the U.S. Nationals (1933, third round) and did not play at the Australian Nationals in either singles or doubles competition. Following the 1937 season when she was a quarterfinalist at the French Championships and Wimbledon, Scriven played sparingly over the next seven years, the war halting competition in six Grand Slams from 1940-1945.

According to the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail, Scriven was ranked among the world top-10 for three years. She earned the world No. 5 ranking in 1933 and 1934. Scriven was a member of Great Britain’s Wightman Cup team in 1933, 1934, and 1938. 

Always nattily dressed on court, Scriven was featured on a 1936 Player Cigarettes tobacco trading card, not an unusual advertisement for tennis players of the era. Depicted in a long white dress past her knees, Scriven demonstrated a forehand, the caption reading, “Unusual type of forehand drive carrying a pronounced top spin, which earned Miss. Scriven two French championships and British Wightman Cup honour. Note how player is stepping in to the shot.”

Grand Slam

Grand Slam Best Results

Titles

2 Singles, 1 Doubles, 1 Mixed Doubles

Singles
French Championships W 1933, 1934
Wimbledon QF 1931, 1933, 1934, 1937

Doubles
French Championships W 1935
Wimbledon SF 1934
U.S. Nationals QF 1933

Mixed Doubles
French Championships W 1933
Wimbledon QF 1937
U.S. Nationals SF 1933