Phyllis Satterthwaite

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Phyllis Satterthwaite
Phyllis Satterthwaite 1914.jpg
Phyllis Satterthwaite in 1914
Full namePhyllis Helen Carr Satterthwaite
Country (sports) United Kingdom
Born(1886-01-26)26 January 1886
London, England
Died20 January 1962(1962-01-20) (aged 75)
London, England
Grand Slam Singles results
French Open2R (1930, 1933)
WimbledonF (1919, 1921) (All Comers')
Grand Slam Doubles results
WimbledonQF (1913, 1914, 1919, 1920)
WHCCW (1920)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
WimbledonQF (1921, 1923, 1925)

Phyllis Helen Satterthwaite (née Carr; 26 January 1886 – 20 January 1962) was a female tennis player from Great Britain who was active from the early 1910s until the late 1930s.

Tennis career[edit]

In 1911 she participated for the first time in the Wimbledon Championships.[1] In 1919 she reached the final of the All-Comers competition in which she was defeated by eventual champion Suzanne Lenglen in two sets.[2] Two years later, in 1921, she again made it to the final of the All-Comers competition, but this time lost to American Elizabeth Ryan in two straight sets.[3][4] In total she competed in 20 Wimbledon Championships between 1911 and 1935.[5]

In 1920 she won the women's doubles title at the World Hard Court Championships in Paris. Playing alongside her compatriot Dorothy Holman they defeated the French team Germaine Golding and Jeanne Vaussard. She was selected to play in the 1923 Wightman Cup but was unable to participate.[6] In 1924 she participated in the Olympic Games in Paris. Via a bye in the first round and a walkover in the second she reached the third round in the singles competition which she lost in straight sets to Helen Wills who would go on to win the Gold medal.

In 1919, 1920 and 1921 she won three consecutive singles titles at the Welsh Covered Court Championships.

Satterthwaite was a baseline player with a game based on safety and keeping the ball in play. In 1930 she played against Lucia Valerio in the final of the Bordighera tournament on the Italian Riviera. At match point her determination not to make an error resulted in a rally which lasted 450 strokes.[a] Satterthwaite won the point and the match.[8]

In 1931 she competed in several Riviera open championships, reaching the final on 13 occasions and winning eight titles, defeating among others Cilly Aussem and Betty Nuthall.[6] including the South of France Championships.

Personal life[edit]

She married Clement Richard Satterthwaite on 13 April 1912. Satterthwaite lived in London with her husband until April 1923 when she divorced and moved to Cannes and resided on the French Riviera thereafter. She wrote tennis reports to magazines for a living. In 1928 she visited England where he was charged by the King's Bench for tax evasion.[9]

In 1924 she published a book titled Lawn Tennis for Women.[10] The following year she published Tips for Tennis Players.

Death and legacy[edit]

Satterthwaite died on 20 January 1962, aged 72, in the London borough of Westminster.Upon her death, her estate was valued at £50,000 net .[11] She had instructed the executor of her estate to make her will on the basis that she “hated all human beings and would leave her money to animals”[12], and told him to write a list of animal charities selected from the phone book, between whom her estate should be divided. This led to litigation [13] (which concluded in the Court of Appeal), because one of the named beneficiaries, the London Animal Hospital, was not a charity. Competing claims to a share of the estate by a private individual who operated a business under that name, and by Blue Cross (who had operated a hospital known informally as “the London Animals Hospital”) failed, and Lords Justice Harman and Russell ordered that a scheme cy-pres be set up. (Lord Justice Diplock’s concurring judgment read in its entirety: “With that humility which is becoming in a common law lawyer when confronted with such an arcane branch of the Chancery law, I agree with the judgments which have been delivered”.[14])


  • Lawn Tennis for Women Renwick of Otley, London 1924.
  • Tips for Tennis Players 1925.


  1. ^ In Ayres' Lawn Tennis Almanack 1930 editor A. Wallis Myers mentions "the ball travelling over the net more than 200 times".[7]


  1. ^ "ITF – Player Profile". International Tennis Federation (ITF).
  2. ^ "Frenchwoman Defeats Miss Satterthwaite at Tennis" (PDF). The New York Times. New York, United States: Ochs-Sulzberger family. 3 July 1919.
  3. ^ Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis : An Authoritative Encyclopedia and Record Book (2nd ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. pp. 19, 428. ISBN 978-0-942257-70-0.
  4. ^ "Miss Ryan Takes British Net Final" (PDF). The New York Times. 30 June 1921.
  5. ^ "Wimbledon players archive – Phyllis Satterthwaite (Carr)". AELTC.
  6. ^ a b Lowe's Lawn Tennis Annual. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode. 1935. pp. 232, 233.
  7. ^ Wallis Myers, A., ed. (1930). Ayers' Lawn Tennis Almanack 1930. London, United Kingdom: F.H. Ayers Ltd. p. 289.
  8. ^ Jon Henderson (27 March 2005). "Two thousand strokes – one point". The Guardian.
  9. ^ "Mrs. Satterthwaite". The Straits Times. Singapore, Straits Settlements: Straits Times Press: 9. 2 August 1928.
  10. ^ Suzanne Lenglen and Helen Willis. The Living Age 27. March 1926 pp. 666–667. (online)
  11. ^ worth £1.06m in 2018. (
  12. ^ In re Satterthwaite's Will Trusts[1966] 1 W.L.R. 277, 280 per Harman LJ
  13. ^ In re Satterthwaite's Will Trusts[1966] 1 W.L.R. 277
  14. ^ In re Satterthwaite's Will Trusts[1966] 1 W.L.R. 277, 287 per Diplock LJ

External links[edit]