Maud Barger-Wallach made tennis history in an unusual way; when there were numerous child prodigies in tennis history, it is rare to have late bloomers among the pros. Wallach is one such player. She started playing when she was about 30 years old. She became the oldest champion at 38 years old, when she won the Grand Slam in 1908.
She was born in June 15, 1870 in New York. At her best when playing right-handed, Maud affirmed that she did not have a great tennis career; instead, she was known to have said that she had ‘a happy one.’
Playing against Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman in 1909, it was noted that the older but equally stronger athlete had a good forehand, but a weak backhand. Wightman commented that she relied on this weakness to snatch the title from Wallach, who was defeated 6-1, 6-0 in the Grand Slam event.
She contributed greatly for women’s tennis when she consistently lobbied for the inclusion of women in the national rankings. Finally in 1913, women were considered equal competitors for the said rankings, an achievement that was highly contributed to Maud. She occupied the No. 5 spot in the world rankings by 1915.
She faced young and strong adversaries in her career, including tennis legends Evelyn Sears, Marie Wagner, and Hazel Wightman. Amazingly, at 46 years old, she made it in the 1916 U.S. quarterfinals. She then ranked No. 10 in the world rankings, being the oldest player to be in such a position.
Maud died in April 2, 1954, in Baltimore, Maryland. She was buried at Newport. Four years later after her demise, she was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.