Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Myrtle McAteer--Cincinnati's first champion

In 1899, a new tennis tournament emerged in Cincinnati--the Cincinnati Open. The Open was played at the Avondale Athletic Club (now the site of Xavier University), and featured both female and male players. All matches were best of three except for the finals--singles and doubles--which were best of five. The surface was described as "elastic clay and brick dust."

The singles champion in 1899 was Myrtle McAteer of Pittsburgh, who--at the time--was 20 or 21 years old, and was the reigning U.S. doubles champion.  In the final, she defeated future Hall of Fame member Juliette Atkinson of Brooklyn. McAteer and Atkinson also won the doubles title that year, defeating two players from Cincinnati. The crowd for the final day of play was estimated at 2,000.

McAteer's prize was a Brookwood vase, valued at $100. For their doubles achievement, McAteer and Atkinson were awarded a three-piece Silver Berry set.

The next year, McAteer won the U.S. National Championships (now the U.S. Open). In 1901, she won a second doubles championship at the U.S. Nationals.

McAteer died in Los Angeles in 1952, at the age of 74.

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