Beverly Baker Fleitz bigraphy, stories - Tennis player

Beverly Baker Fleitz : biography

March 13, 1930 -

Beverly Baker Fleitz (born March 13, 1930 in Providence, Rhode Island), was a women's tennis player from the United States. According to John Olliff and Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Fleitz was ranked in the world top ten in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1958, and 1959, reaching a career high of World No. 3 in those rankings in 1954, 1955, and 1958. Fleitz was included in the year-end top ten rankings issued by the United States Lawn Tennis Association from 1948 through 1951 and in 1954, 1955, 1958, and 1959. She was the top ranked U.S. player in 1959. She was ambidextrous and played with two forehands.


Fleitz began playing tennis at age 11 and played mostly on public courts in Lincoln Park in Santa Monica, California. Her father, Frank Baker, was her only coach and was the assistant director of recreation for the city of Santa Monica. She married John Fleitz in 1951. They had five daughters together. John died in Long Beach, CA on November 14, 2011 at age 82.

She played Grand Slam singles tournaments outside the United States only six times during her career. At Wimbledon, Fleitz reached the singles final in 1955, losing to Louise Brough Clapp 7–5, 8–6. In 1956, Fleitz reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals but was forced to retire from the tournament when she became ill. She was pregnant with her second child at the time.

Her only Grand Slam title was in women's doubles. Darlene Hard and Fleitz teamed to win the title at the 1955 French Championships.

In U.S. national championships, Fleitz was the runner-up at the 1949 U.S. Women's Clay Court Championships, losing to Magda Rurac of Romania in the final. Fleitz won the 1958 U.S. Hard Court Championships, defeating Karen Hantze Susman in the final. At the U.S. Championships, Fleitz reached the semifinals in 1950 and 1958 and the quarterfinals in four of her five other attempts.

In other events, Fleitz won the singles title at the Pacific Southwest Championships in Los Angeles four times, in 1947, 1955, 1958, and 1959. She defeated Hard in the 1958 final and Maria Bueno in the 1959 final. At the tournament in Cincinnati, Fleitz won the singles title in 1950 (defeating Rurac in the final) and was the runner-up in 1949 (losing to Rurac in the final). Fleitz won the Southern California Championships four times, in 1954, 1955, 1956, and 1958.

In doubles, Fleitz paired with Rurac to win the doubles title in Cincinnati in 1950.

Fleitz retired permanently from tennis in 1959 and was inducted into the Southern California Tennis Association Hall of Fame in 2005.

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline

Tournament 19471 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 Career SR
Australia A A A A A A A A A A A A A 0 / 0
France A A A A QF A A A SF A A A A 0 / 2
Wimbledon A A A A SF A A A F QF A A 4R 0 / 4
United States 3R QF QF SF 3R A A QF QF A A SF A 0 / 8
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 3 0 / 0 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 14

A = did not participate in the tournament.

SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

1In 1947, the French Championships were held after Wimbledon.

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