Lilí Álvarez : biography
Elia Maria González-Álvarez y López-Chicheri, also known as Lilí Álvarez () (9 May 1905 – 8 July 1998) was a Spanish multi-sport competitor, an international tennis champion, an author, feminist and a journalist.
She was born at the Hotel Flora in Rome, Italy, during a stay by her affluent Spanish parents.Cuando el fútbol no era el rey: Los deportes en el espacio público Page 192 Carles Sirera Miralles - 2011 "Un buen ejemplo de las múltiples contradicciones que esta dualidad podría haber generado es la controvertida biografía de la tenista, varias veces subcampeona en Wimbledon, Lilí Álvarez. Nacida en 1905 en Roma, su madre era la esposa .." She was raised in Switzerland and from an early age began competing in a variety of sports. At age eleven, she won her first ice skating competition, and then at age 16, she won the St. Moritz ice skating championship. She won her first tennis tournament at age fourteen. An all-around sportsperson, Álvarez was an alpine skier, equestrian, and an auto racer who won the "Campeonato de Cataluna de Automovilismo" at age nineteen.
Álvarez was a pioneer in women's tennis in Spain and was her country's most dominant player during the 1920s. Between 1926 and 1928, she reached three consecutive singles finals at Wimbledon. According to American Helen Wills Moody, who defeated Álvarez twice in Wimbledon singles finals, Álvarez' game was an "unusually daring one".
In 1929, Álvarez teamed up with the Dutch player Kea Bouman to win the women's doubles title at the French Championships. The following year, Álvarez won the singles title at the Italian Championships, an accomplishment that was not repeated by another female Spaniard for 63 years until Conchita Martínez won the Italian Open in 1993. Álvarez and Bill Tilden were the runners-up in the mixed doubles competition at the 1927 French Championships.
In 1927, Álvarez authored a book in English published in London under the title Modern Lawn Tennis.
In 1931, she shocked the staid tennis world by playing at Wimbledon in a divided tennis skirt specially made by designer Elsa Schiaparelli that was the forerunner of shorts (pictured).Béla Kehrling, ed. (June 24, 1931). "Külföldi hírek [International news]" (in Hungarian) (PDF). Tennisz és Golf (Budapest, Hungary: Egyesült Kő-, Könyvnyomda. Könyv- és Lapkiadó Rt.) III (13): 253. Retrieved December 15, 2012. That year, Álvarez began reporting on the political events in Spain for the British newspaper, the Daily Mail.
According to Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, Álvarez was ranked in the world top ten from 1926 through 1928 and in 1930 and 1931, reaching a career high of World No. 2 in those rankings in 1927 and 1928.
In 1934, Álvarez married Jean de Gaillard de la Valdène, the Count of Valdene,Air et cosmos 682-699 1977 "Le comte Jean de Gaillard de la Valdène, qui s'était distingué comme pilote durant la première guerre mondiale, est décédé à Lausanne dans sa 82" année "Mémorial aéronautique: qui était qui? p83 Marcel Catillon - 1997 "de GAILLARD de LA VALDÈNE Jean. Né le 2 septembre 1895. Décédé le 26 août 1977. AS 1914-1918 avec 5 victoires aériennes homologuées. Affecté à l'escadrille Spa 95. Repose dans le cimetière de Bollène (Vaucluse). " a French aristocrat and diplomat, and played for three years on the international tennis circuit as "Countess Valdène". In 1939, she lost her only child and the couple soon separated. She returned home to Spain in 1941 where she continued to be active in sports and began writing on religious and feminist topics, publishing her book Plenitud (Fullness) in 1946. She actively supported the worldwide feminist movement and in 1951 gave a speech entitled "La batalla de la feminidad" at the Hispanic-American Feminist Congress. Over the years, she wrote several more books.
Álvarez died in Madrid in 1998.
Grand Slam finals
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