Charlotte “Chattie” Reinagle Cooper was born in Ealing, Middlesex in 1870, the youngest of six children. She appears to have been a natural athlete, she ran to keep fit in winter when tennis was not played and represented Surrey at hockey.
Charlotte was one of the first woman tennis players to serve overhead, and it was often said that her success owed most to her steady nerve and her great tactical ability. She became one of the most popular players of her day.
Charlotte won the first of her Wimbledon Woman’s Singles titles in 1895 at the age of 24 and again in 1896 and 1898. Charlotte was also a very good doubles player. She won the All England mixed doubles with H.S. Mahony for five successive years from 1894 to 1898 and then with H.L. Doherty in 1900.
In 1900, at the Summer Olympic Games in Paris, Charlotte became the first woman Olympic tennis champion beating Hélène Prévost of France. She also won the mixed titled with Reggie Doherty. In 1900 the Olympians did not receive medals but trophies. The tradition of gold medals did not appear until the Olympic games of 1904 in Saint Louis. In retrospext Chattie is considered to be the first woman competitor to win an Olympic Gold medal.
In 1901, Charlotte married a solicitor, Alfred Sterry, and continued to compete in tennis tournaments using her married name Charlotte Sterry. Alfred and Charlotte had two children and she continued to play competitive tennis winning the Wimbledon Ladies title for a fourth time in 1901. Charlotte won her fifth Wimbledon singles title in 1908 at the age of thirty-seven and was the only British player to defeat Dorothea Lambert Chambers between 1903 and 1919.
Vital Statistics: At 37 years and 296 days old Charlotte remains Wimbledon’s oldest ladies’ singles champion.
Charlotte is one of only four women to have won the ladies’ singles titles at Wimbledon after becoming mothers, the other three being Blanche Hillyard (the first woman to win as a mother, in 1897), Dorothea Lambert Chambers and Evonne Goolagong Cawley MBE (the most recent winner as a mother, in 1980).
So, no pressure ladies………..!
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