In August 1939, Alice Marble graced the cover of Life magazine, photographed by the legendary Alfred Eisenstaedt. She was a worldwide celebrity, having that year won singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles titles at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, an unprecedented feat, then and now. Today, one of America's greatest female athletes and most charismatic characters is largely forgotten. Queen of the Court, by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Madeleine Blais, places her back on center stage.
Born in 1913, Marble grew up in San Francisco; her favorite sport, baseball. Given a tennis racket at age 13, she took to the sport immediately, rising to the top with a powerful, aggressive serve-and-volley style unseen in women's tennis. A champion at the height of her fame in the late 1930s, she designed a clothing line in the off-season and also sang love songs in the Sert Room of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, to rave reviews. World War II derailed her tennis career, at the end of which she claimed to have been recruited as a spy to help recover stolen art. Ever glamorous and connected, she had a part in the 1952 Tracy and Hepburn movie Pat and Mike and played tennis with the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, Clark Gable, and Carole Lombard. However, perhaps her greatest legacy lies in her successful efforts, working largely alone, to persuade the all-white U.S. Lawn Tennis Association to change its policy and allow African-American star Althea Gibson to compete for the U.S. championship, thereby breaking tennis's color barrier.
In sparkling prose, the author of the bestselling In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle tells a glittering life story.