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Eleanora Sears

tennis player
Full name: Eleanora Randolph Sears
Born September 28, 1881 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Died March 16, 1968 in Palm Beach, FL, United States
Class of HOF 1968
Plays Right-handed
Bio Eleonora Randolph Sears was an American tennis champion of the 1910s. In addition, she was a champion squash player, and prominent in other sports; she is considered one of the leading all-round women athletes of the first half of the 20th century.

Sears was the daughter of Boston businessman Frederick Richard Sears, a cousin of Henry Cabot Lodge, and a great-granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson. Sears' father was also known for playing the first tennis game in the United States, his opponent being his cousin James Dwight who brought the game from Europe.

Sears was raised in wealth and privilege. She was acquainted with Corinne Douglass Robinson, Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt, all related to President Theodore Roosevelt. She played tennis at a competition organized by Ava Lowle Willing, the wife of John Jacob Astor IV, and she attended the wedding of tennis champion Robert Wrenn. For a while she dated Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, the sporty scion of the Vanderbilt fortune.

Sears won the women's doubles at the US Women's National Championship four times, including three consecutively (1915–1917). In singles, she was a finalist in 1912, where she was beaten in straight sets by Mary Kendall Browne. She teamed with Willis E. Davis to take the national mixed doubles championship in 1916.

She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1968, joining her cousin Richard (inducted 1955).

Eleonora Sears rode horses competitively and was elected to the US Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 1992. She also owned and raced Thoroughbred horses. She was the first woman to play polo on a men’s team.

Sears was the first female national squash champion, a founder of the Women’s Squash Racquets Association, and coach of the U.S. Women’s International Squash Team.

An ardent sportswoman who distinguished herself as an athlete in many capacities—as an equestrian, in golf, as an energetic walker and on the tennis court—Eleonora Sears was a woman of considerable vitality who came from an accomplished tennis family. Her father, Fred Sears, was one of the first to play tennis in the United States and her uncle, Dick Sears, was the inaugural U.S. National Champion. Eleonora excelled in doubles, securing four U.S. National Championships in women’s doubles and one more in mixed.

Eleanor has been inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame in 1968.
Misc She gained media attention for her long distance walks and hikes. As well, she was one of the first American women to drive an automobile and fly a plane. Her habit of wearing trousers, both when competing in sports and in public, was criticized in media and social circles.
Tournament AO RG W US Win-Loss
1911 A A A F 4-1
1912 A A A F 4-1
1913 A A A A 0-0
1914 A A A A 0-0
1915 A A A QF 3-1
1916 A A A F 5-1
1917 A A A SF 4-1
1918 A A A QF 3-1
1919 A A A R16 2-1
1920 A A A A 0-0
1921 A A A R32 1-1
1922 A A R64 R32 1-2
1923 A A R64 R64 1-2
1924 A A R64 R16 2-2
1925 A A A R64 0-1
1926 A A A R32 1-1
1927 A A A A 0-0
1928 A A A R32 1-1
1929 A A A R64 0-1
Win-Loss 0-0 0-0 1-3 31-15 32-18