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Sarah Palfrey Cooke

Sarah Palfrey Cooke American tennis player

American tennis player
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American tennis player
A.K.A. Sarah Palfrey, Sarah Hammond Palfrey, Sarah Danzig, Sarah Fabyan, Sarah Hammond ...
Was Athlete Tennis player
From United States of America
Type Sports
Gender female
Birth 18 September 1912, Sharon, USA
Death 27 February 1996, New York City, USA (aged 83 years)
Star sign VirgoVirgo
Family
Siblings: Polly PalfreyLee PalfreyMianne PalfreyJoey Oakes Palfrey
The details
Biography

Sarah Hammond Palfrey Danzig (née Palfrey; September 18, 1912 – February 27, 1996) was an American tennis player whose career spanned two decades from the late 1920s until the late 1940s. She won two singles, nine women's doubles, and four mixed doubles titles at the U. S. National Championships.

Career

She was 32 years old, married to Elwood Cooke, and a mother when she won her second singles title at the 1945 U. S. National Championships. Pauline Betz was her opponent in the final. Since she lost to Cooke in the 1941 final, Betz had won three consecutive titles and 19 consecutive matches at these championships. In 1945, Cooke lost the first set and squandered her 5–2 lead in the second set before recovering to win it 8–6. In the third set, Betz got close to winning yet another title when she served for a 5–3 lead. Cooke, however, broke her serve and then won the next two games to win the tournament. She became only the second mother to win this title, with Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman being the first.

Cooke is one of the few women, if not the sole woman, to appear on a top-level male championship honor roll. Because of the manpower crisis during World War II, she and husband Elwood were permitted to enter the men's doubles at the 1945 Tri-State Championships in Cincinnati. They lost in the final to Hal Surface and Bill Talbert.

Palfrey won 16 Grand Slam championships in women's doubles (11) and mixed doubles (5). She teamed with Betty Nuthall to win the 1930 U. S. National Championships and with Helen Jacobs to win the 1932, 1934, and 1935 championships. Palfrey and Alice Marble won the U. S. National Championships from 1937 through 1940. At the Wimbledon Championships, Palfrey and Marble won the 1938 and 1939 women's doubles titles. Palfrey's last U. S. women's doubles championship was in 1941 with Margaret Osborne. In mixed doubles, Palfrey teamed with four different partners to win the U. S. National Championships: Fred Perry (1932), Enrique Maier (1935), Don Budge (1937), and Jack Kramer (1941). Palfrey also won the mixed doubles title at the 1939 French International Championships, teaming with future husband Elwood Cooke.

Palfrey and Marble were undefeated in doubles from 1937 until Marble turned professional at the end of 1940.

In 1947, Cooke and Betz went on a "barnstorming" tour of mostly one-night stands in the U. S. and Europe, with each earning about US$10,000. They had been stripped of their amateur status by the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) in early 1947 because Elwood Cooke had written letters to several tournament organizers about creating a professional tour.

According to A. Wallis Myers and John Olliff of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Palfrey was one of the ten highest ranked women in the world from 1933 through 1936 and in 1938 and 1939. Her career high was fourth in 1934. (No world rankings were issued from 1940 through 1945.)

Palfrey was included in the year-end top ten rankings issued by the USLTA 1929–31, 1933–41, and 1945. She was the top-ranked U. S. player in 1941 and 1945.

Palfrey and Marble lobbied the USLTA to remove the color bar and allow Althea Gibson to play at heretofore whites-only tournaments beginning in 1950. "She [Palfrey] was calmly persuasive, had clout as an ex-champ, and got Althea into the U. S. [National] Championships in 1950," said Gladys Heldman, founder of the women's professional tennis tour in 1970.

Palfrey once said, "Tennis is the best game there is. It combines mental and physical qualities and is the sport for a lifetime. And there are many living examples at the age of 80 to prove it. So it is enough for us to know that tennis will remain, under whatever conditions, whether amateur or pro, the finest game there is for us, for our children, and our children's children."

Palfrey was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1963.

Personal life

She had two children and was married three times: to Marshal Fabyan, Elwood Cooke, and Jerome Alan Danzig. She married Fabyan on October 6, 1934, but divorced him in Reno, Nevada on July 20, 1940. She married Cooke on October 2, 1940, and their daughter was born in December 1942. She divorced him on April 29, 1949, on grounds of cruelty. She married Danzig on April 27, 1951, and remained married to him until her death of lung cancer in 1996. Their son was born in December 1952.

Her brother, John Palfrey, also an excellent tennis player and an expert on atomic energy, married Belle "Clochette" Roosevelt Palfrey, a granddaughter of Theodore Roosevelt and a daughter of Kermit Roosevelt.

She also had four sisters, who were all fine tennis players.

Grand Slam finals

Singles (2 titles, 2 runner-ups)

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Loss 1934 U. S. National Championships Grass Helen Jacobs 1–6, 4–6
Loss 1935 U. S. National Championships Grass Helen Jacobs 2–6, 4–6
Win 1941 U. S. National Championships Grass Pauline Betz 7–5, 6–2
Win 1945 U. S. National Championships Grass Pauline Betz 3–6, 8–6, 6–4

Doubles (11 titles, 3 runner-ups)

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1930 U. S. National Championships Grass Betty Nuthall Edith Cross
Anna McCune Harper
3–6, 6–3, 7–5
Win 1932 U. S. National Championships Grass Helen Jacobs Alice Marble
Marjorie Morrill
8–6, 6–1
Loss 1934 French Championships Clay Helen Jacobs Simonne Mathieu
Elizabeth Ryan
6–3, 4–6, 2–6
Win 1934 U. S. National Championships Grass Helen Jacobs Carolin Babcock
Dorothy Andrus
4–6, 6–3, 6–4
Win 1935 U. S. National Championships Grass Helen Jacobs Carolin Babcock
Dorothy Andrus
6–4, 6–2
Loss 1936 Wimbledon Championships Grass Helen Jacobs Kay Stammers
Freda James
2–6, 1–6
Loss 1936 U. S. National Championships Grass Helen Jacobs Marjorie Gladman Van Ryn
Carolin Babcock
7–9, 6–2, 4–6
Win 1937 U. S. National Championships Grass Alice Marble Marjorie Gladman Van Ryn
Carolin Babcock
7–5, 6–4
Win 1938 Wimbledon Championships Grass Alice Marble Simonne Mathieu
Billie Yorke
6–2, 6–3
Win 1938 U. S. National Championships Grass Alice Marble Simonne Mathieu
Jadwiga Jędrzejowska
6–8, 6–4, 6–3
Win 1939 Wimbledon Championships Grass Alice Marble Helen Jacobs
Billie Yorke
6–1, 6–0
Win 1939 U. S. National Championships Grass Alice Marble Kay Stammers
Freda James Hammersley
7–5, 8–6
Win 1940 U. S. National Championships Grass Alice Marble Dorothy Bundy
Marjorie Gladman Van Ryn
6–4, 6–3
Win 1941 U. S. National Championships Grass Margaret Osborne Dorothy Bundy
Pauline Betz
3–6, 6–1, 6–4

Mixed doubles (5 titles, 5 runner-ups)

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1932 U. S. National Championships Grass Fred Perry Helen Jacobs
Ellsworth Vines
6–3, 7–5
Loss 1933 U. S. National Championships Grass George Lott Elizabeth Ryan
Ellsworth Vines
9–11, 1–6
Win 1935 U. S. National Championships Grass Enrique Maier Kay Stammers
Roderich Menzel
6–4, 4–6, 6–3
Loss 1936 Wimbledon Championships Grass Don Budge Dorothy Round
Fred Perry
9–7, 5–7, 4–6
Loss 1936 U. S. National Championships Grass Don Budge Alice Marble
Gene Mako
3–6, 2–6
Win 1937 U. S. National Championships Grass Don Budge Sylvie Jung Henrotin
Yvon Petra
6–2, 8–10, 6–0
Loss 1938 Wimbledon Championships Grass Henner Henkel Alice Marble
Don Budge
1–6, 4–6
Win 1939 French Championships Clay Elwood Cooke Simonne Mathieu
Franjo Kukuljević
4–6, 6–1, 7–5
Loss 1939 U. S. National Championships Grass Elwood Cooke Alice Marble
Harry Hopman
7–9, 1–6
Win 1941 U. S. National Championships Grass Jack Kramer Pauline Betz
Bobby Riggs
4–6, 6–4, 6–4

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
Tournament 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Career SR Win-Loss
Australian National Championships A A A A A A A A A A A A A NH NH NH NH NH 0 / 0 0–0
French Championships A A A A A A 3R A A A A QF NH R R R R A 0 / 2 2–2
Wimbledon Championships A A 2R A 4R A QF A 2R A QF SF NH NH NH NH NH NH 0 / 6 16–6
U. S. National Championships 1R 3R 3R 3R 2R QF F F 1R 1R SF QF 3R W A QF A W 2 / 16 40–14
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 1 1 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 0 1 / 1 2 / 24
Win-Loss 0–1 2–1 3–2 2–1 2–2 3–1 10–3 5–1 0–2 0–1 8–2 9–3 2–1 5–0 0–0 2–1 0–0 5–0 58–22

R = tournament restricted to French nationals and held under German occupation.

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Reference sources
References
http://www.tennisfame.com/hall-of-famers/inductees/sarah-palfrey
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_19960229/ai_n14036838
https://archive.org/details/matchaltheagibso00scho/page/65
https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=qL4tAAAAIBAJ&sjid=rZgFAAAAIBAJ&dq=sarah%20palfrey%20fabyan%20married&pg=4245,1186719
https://www.nytimes.com/1940/07/20/archives/decree-to-sarah-fabyan-tennis-player-obtains-a-divorce-in-reno.html
https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=oFYyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=M7YFAAAAIBAJ&dq=sarah%20palfrey%20cooke%20married&pg=5886,4720557
https://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/courant/access/863268642.html?dids=863268642:863268642&FMT=CITE&FMTS=CITE:AI&type=historic&date=Dec+23,+1942&author=&pub=Hartford+Courant&desc=Daughter+Is+Born+To+Elwood+Cookes&pqatl=google
https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=VZ0yAAAAIBAJ&sjid=b-kFAAAAIBAJ&dq=sarah%20palfrey%20cooke%20divorced&pg=6212,5081861
https://web.archive.org/web/20121022170814/http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4779525.html
https://www.nytimes.com/1951/04/28/archives/mrs-cooke-bride-of-jerome-danzig-former-sarah-palfrey-tennis-star.html
https://www.newspapers.com/clip/25457579/palfreydanzig_engagement/
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