Meet the Women’s Wimbledon Champion Who Was Also a Spy

TIME

Alice Marble’s tennis career was enough to make her a legend. She was the No. 1 female player in America between 1936 and 1940, a winner of 18 Grand Slam championships, an International Tennis Hall of Famer and the first woman to adopt the serve-and-volley style of play. Her aggressive nature on the court led some to say (critically) that she played like a man.

But it’s the fascinating life Marble lived off the court that makes her more than just a memorable athlete. By the time her career got underway, Marble had overcome a great deal of adversity. In her second autobiography, Courting Danger, she recounted being raped by a stranger when she was 15, a trauma that she hid from her mother out of shame. Then, as her career was taking off in her early 20s, she fell ill with tuberculosis and required a year of recuperation.

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