Tennis champion Bill Tilden hitting a return, circa 1920.
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Tennis champion Bill Tilden in motion, stretching  as he hits a return ball with his racket.

Credit: Courtesy Urban Archives, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia

Born to a well-to-do Philadelphia family, William Tatem Tilden II (1893 - 1953) led the United States team to seven consecutive Davis Cup victories between 1920 and 1926, won the United States amateur championship 6 times in succession, and was voted the World No. 1 tennis player for seven years, the last time when he was 38 years old. Sharing the spotlight with Babe Ruth and Red Grange as one of the five dominant sports figures of the 1920s, Tilden, although he was gay, also helped transform the game of tennis from a "sissy" country-club sport only played by the rich into a major international sport.

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