[Illustration: “MY SISTERS AND MYSELF” A picture postcard sent to Mrs. Lambert-Chambers by Miss May Sutton from her home in California.]
It is an excellent plan for members of the committee to drop in at some of the tournaments and see how things are done there. Developments may have occurred of which they know nothing, and they could pick up many a wrinkle by a tour of inspection. Before one secretary of a fairly large tournament went to Wimbledon he had never seen a canvas background.
SOME PERSONAL REMINISCENCES
I have been asked to write what I can remember of my earliest tennis days. This is rather difficult, as it is now thirteen years since I entered for my first tournament in 1896. It is never easy or pleasant to write one’s own biography, but I have been assured that readers will be interested to hear something of my career in court.
I have said that 1896 was the first year I entered for a tournament, which is quite true; but I always reckon that my tournament experience did not really start until the year 1898, because in the two previous years I only entered for one tournament (The Gipsy), and only in the handicap at that, and I came out first round. In 1898 I played in three tournaments, and in more events at each one.
My earliest recollections of a racket and tennis ball go back to when I was quite small. My greatest amusement was to play up against a brick wall, with numerous dolls and animals of all kinds as spectators—really as big a gate as we get now at some tournaments! Each toy in turn was chosen as my opponent. Needless to say, I always won these matches. My adversaries took very little interest in the proceedings. This was some years before I even played in a court, and I think it was a very good way of starting the game.
I then played in a court we had at home, which was not very good; gooseberry bushes prevented our running outside the court at all. I next joined a club at Ealing Common, and at the age of eleven won my first prize, the Handicap Singles at our club tournament. Of course I was receiving enormous points, and I remember to this day how bored the best lady players in the club were when they had to play me. My game then, from all accounts, involved a sequence of very high lobs. I am now quite envious of the accuracy of my lobbing in those days. I had absolutely no pace, but was active and very steady, and desperately serious and keen about the game. At this time also I used to play at college, preferring tennis to cricket, which was the exception. Cricket was the great game. Tennis was pushed into the background, and very little interest was taken in it, even when the matches were played to decide the winner of the racket presented each year to the best player in the school by some kind parent. I won this racket one year, but could never use it, as it was heavily weighted with an enormous silver shield on which was a lengthy inscription. Of course the balance of the racket was absolutely upset.