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Wightman, Hazel Hotchkisslocked

(20 December 1886–05 December 1974)
  • Frank V. Phelps

Extract

Wightman, Hazel Hotchkiss (20 December 1886–05 December 1974), tennis player, teacher, and patron, was born Hazel Virginia Hotchkiss in Healdsburg, California, the daughter of William Joseph Hotchkiss, a ranch owner and cannery founder, and Emma Lucretia Grove. In poor health as a child, Hazel became robust and athletic playing baseball, cricket, and field sports with her older brothers Miller, Homer, and Marius, and her friends. In 1900 her father moved his office to San Francisco, California, and the family’s residence to Berkeley, California, where his children played lawn tennis. Two years later her brothers took Hazel to watch the Pacific States (later Pacific Coast) championships in San Rafael, California. She thought a Sutton sisters baseline duel monotonous but, on a subsequent trip, thrilled to the spectacular volleying, smashing, and net attack of the brothers Samuel and Sumner Hardy, former Pacific champions. The youngsters played on the asphalt court at the University of California at Berkeley during early mornings; they later played on their home makeshift court, where erratic bounces on gravel forced them to volley constantly to sustain rallies. Hotchkiss also practiced solo against a barn wall. Self-taught, she quickly mastered grips, strokes, footwork, and proper balance, and her forte as a net and overhead attacker was established early....

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