Helen Hull Jacobs...where does she rank all time?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by boredone3456, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Helen Hull Jacobs is a player probably not often heard of or mentioned. She was a contemporary of Moody and later Alice Marble. She won 5 majors in Singles and was an 11 time runner up ( 6 times to Moody, 3 to Marble included in those). She did beat Wills once by. a retirement on the part of Wills that was booed at the time. Overall Wills dominated her 14-1 H2H wise.

    She entered 34 majors in her career from 1925-1941 and made the Quarters of 31 of them, the Semis of 24 of them, and 16 of the finals....which is pretty amazing in terms of consistency. She is arguable as the 3rd best female of the 1930s behind Moody and Marble.

    Where does she go all time? We give a lot of credit to Doris Hart and Ivan Lendl for their consistency of making major finals (despite the fact they both have losing records in major finals). However they could beat top players while Jacobs usually lost. She did beat Palfrey twice but thats kinda it.

    Does she deserve to be top 20 all time? Is she a lost talent doomed to the shadows cast by Moody and Marble...or did she just get lucky to win when Moody wasn't around?
     
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  2. BTURNER

    BTURNER Hall of Fame

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    Good thread, boredon, Here's a telling stat from wiki, "Jacobs was a member of the U.S. Wightman Cup team from 1927 through 1937 and again in 1939. Her lifetime record was 19–11. Both Marble and Wills were fellow Americans she could not have played in Wightman, sot she doesn't do that well against the British women she met either.
     
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  3. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    I have a book written by her and published in 1961 - Beginner's Guide to Winning Tennis. Dedicated to Hazel Wightman.

    Her suggested racquet weights:

    9-13 years - 11-11.5 oz
    14-17 years - 13-13.5 oz
    18 on - 13.5-14.75 oz

    We must all be sissies these days! :evil:
     
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  4. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Funny I just went to look up those years and at least on Wiki there is no data apart from the final scores. Many of those years were competitive scores of 4-3, and the United Kingdom at least at the onset of the competition had a lot of top players who were contenders. 19-11 is not the most impressive of records but its still a winning one so she was competitive on a world stage and not just on home soil. She made 5 Wimbledon finals and must have beaten some Brits there to do that...she did lost to a Brit in one final..but that Brit also took Moody to 3 so she was a quality Brit in some ways.

    I am not sure what to think of her...but I guess she deserves some credit.
     
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  5. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    She won Wimbledon singles once and US Open singles and doubles four times.
     
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  6. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Yup and her 4 US championships were all in a row which is a difficult feat to achieve.

    Her HoF page describes her as limited with her groundies but strong at the net with no stellar weapons. But to make 16 major finals something about her had to be stellar even when you factor in that many of the women back then get classified as out of shape or weak in one way or another.
     
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  7. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I think, Helen was coached by Bill Tilden for a while. Tilden liked her, and - always the Diva - disliked Lenglen and Wills immensely. Her rivalry with Wills, known as the Battle of the Helens, is famous and sometimes unpleasant. Wills wasn't called Ice Maiden for nothing. When Wills lost that US match, she simply walked of the court, because she didn't want to shake hands with her rival. At Wim, Jacobs had a big lead in one final, when she injured her leg and had to retire. Wills remarked somewhat like "She should have broken her leg".
     
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  8. boredone3456

    boredone3456 Legend

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    Do you mean the 1938 Wimbledon final? Jacobs hurt her ankle at 4-4 in the first and played the match out. She lost the match 6-4 6-0 and the 2nd set supposedly only lasted about 8 minutes. She never retired in a final because she said she wanted to give the opponent the full pleasure of victory. She said that after the match, an obvious dig at Wills after the 1933 US Championship final. As for the Wills remark, that is interesting...I have read she said she was sorry about Helens ankle and she thought the humane thing to do was beat her as quickly as possible haha.
     
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  9. newmark401

    newmark401 Professional

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