Gertrude "Gussie" Moran started it all in 1949 when as a seventh seed she took to the hallowed grass tennis courts of Wimbledon at the All-England Club in a skirt too short for the times. She lost her match, but caused a sensation as her frilly underwear could be seen under the skirt as she stretched and ran for balls.
Miss Moran became known as Gorgeous Gussie and her image was splashed in magazines all over the world. While it was the short skirt that made her famous, she was a skilled athlete. In 1948, she was the fourth-ranked women’s tennis player in the world and won the U.S. indoor championship.
Miss Moran died Jan. 16 of colon cancer at her apartment in Los Angeles. She was 89.
Despite the pioneering effort by Miss Moran, skimpy attire on the tennis courts didn't catch on at first. The New York Times reports that soon after the sensation caused by Moran, Wimbledon banned short dresses. The Washington Post reports that the Wimbledon tournament's governing body said that Moran had brought “vulgarity and sin” to tennis. And in 1952 the United States Lawn Tennis Association banned lace panties and low-neckline attire at the United States Open.
It took about a decade after Miss Moran for short skirts on women tennis players became the norm.
As a tribute to the foresight of Gertrude "Gussie" Moran, view the slide show of some of today's women on the courts at the 2013 Australian Open Tennis.
Thank you Miss Moran.