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Ellen Hansell

tennis player
Full name: Ellen Forde Hansell
Alias: Mrs T.Allerdice
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Bio Ellen Forde Hansell Allerdice was a female tennis player from the United States who is best known for being the first women's singles champion of the U.S. Championships in 1887. She was also a losing finalist to Bertha Townsend the next year.

Hansell was born on September 18, 1869 in Philadelphia, USA, the daughter of Samuel Rob Hansell, an upholstery manufacturer, and Jane Martin. She battled anemia as a child and started playing tennis on advice of her doctor. She joined the Belmont Club in Philadelphia when she was 16 where she played, among others, with Margarette Ballard and Bertha Townsend.

At the Philadelphia Cricket Club in the summer of 1887, hometown girl Ellen Hansell became the first woman champion of the United States. The 17-year-old, who battled anemia as a child, gave up but a single game to Laura Knight in the final round of that event.
The event was played on the outdoor grass courts of the Philadelphia Cricket Club and started on 27 September. She was one seven contestants who all came from the greater Delaware Valley area. Hansell, playing in a full over-draped skirt with long sleeves and her customary red hat, won her opening round against Jessie Harding for the loss of just one game. In the semifinal she lost the first set against Helen Day Harris but won the match in three sets.
The final against Laura Knight was a one-sided affair which Hansell won in straight sets to become the first U.S. women's champion. According to a report she "employed sidearm serves, sliced ground strokes and never, but never went to the net"

The tournament used a challenge system whereby the defending champion automatically qualified for the next year's final in which she would play the winner of the all-comers tournament. This meant that Hansell did not have to play through the 1888 tournament and only had to play the challenge round. She played Bertha Townsend who had won the all-comer's event against Marion Wright in the final, and Townsend won the match in straight sets.
After losing her championship the following year to Bertha Townsend, Hansell was hardly heard from again in tennis, but she had secured what she really wanted.

Hansell did not win another tournament and retired from the game in 1890. She married Taylor Allerdice and the couple had six children.

Hansell was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1965.
Tournament AO RG W US Win-Loss
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