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I have always believed greatness on a tennis court was my destiny

Tennis player Little Mo (actually 5’ 5”) was one of the biggest tennis stars of the mid-20th century.

Her real name was Maureen Connolly and she dominated women’s tennis in the first half of the 1950s. Aged just 16, the San Diego-born sports star became the youngest player to win the US national singles championship, a record that stood for over a decade. In 1953, she became the first woman ever to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in the same year.

Maureen’s other great passion was horse-riding. It was a love she shared with her husband, Norman Brinker who had been a member of the US 1952 Olympic Equestrian team.

Maureen was at the top of her game when she was badly injured in a riding accident in 1955. She had just won her third straight Wimbledon title and had only married the previous month, aged 20. “I knew I’d never play again,” she later said.

She wrote her own life story – Little Mo – which was made into a film after her premature death from cancer aged 34.

Her enduring legacy is the Maureen Connolly Brinker Foundation which she established to promote junior tennis in the state of Texas.