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Pauline Betz Addie, at 91; top US tennis player in ’40s

The career of Pauline Betz Addie was cut short at the height of her success in 1947 when she was declared a professional. The career of Pauline Betz Addie was cut short at the height of her success in 1947 when she was declared a professional. (Associated Press/File 1947)
Associated Press / June 3, 2011

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NEWPORT, R.I. — Tennis Hall of Famer Pauline Betz Addie, the top women’s player in the United States in the 1940s, died Tuesday. She was 91.

Mrs. Addie, who had Parkinson’s disease, died at an assisted-living facility in Potomac, Md., the International Tennis Hall of Fame said yesterday.

She reached the finals of the US National Championship (now the US Open) every year from 1941-46, winning the title four times. In 1946, she won the Wimbledon singles championship without losing a set.

Originally from Dayton, Ohio, she was raised in Los Angeles. Mrs. Addie was a longtime teaching professional in the Washington, D.C., area.

Her career was cut short at the height of her success in 1947 when she was declared a professional for exploring the possibility of making a pro tour. She was barred from future major competitions, which allowed only amateurs to enter until 1968.

Mrs. Addie embarked on a professional career, touring with fellow female pro Gussie Moran and top male stars including Jack Kramer and Bobby Riggs.

Mrs. Addie was inducted into the tennis hall in 1965 and continued playing into her 80s.

Mrs. Addie was the widow of Bob Addie, a sportswriter for the former Washington Times-Herald, now The Washington Post. She leaves five children, a brother, five grandchildren, and a great-grandson.