ITHF mourns the loss of Cheney

November 25, 2014

NEWPORT, R.I. — Dorothy “Dodo” Cheney, an icon of American tennis and a 2004 inductee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, passed away surrounded by her family in Escondido, Calif. on November 23, following a brief illness. She was 98 years old.

Born into an accomplished tennis family, Cheney first started playing as a young child and was an active competitor well into her 90s. During her lengthy career, Cheney won an extraordinary 391 gold balls – the accolade that is awarded by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to winners of its national titles, amateur or professional, junior or senior. Among her 391 national titles, Cheney was a champion numerous times in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, across various age levels, and on all surfaces. She was highly regarded for her strong baseline game.

In 1938, Cheney became the first American woman to win the Australian Championships (now known as the Australian Open). She was a runner up three times in women’s doubles at Grand Slam tournaments and four times in mixed doubles. In addition to her Australian Championships title, Cheney produced solid results in singles at the major tournaments, reaching four semifinals at the U.S. Championships and one semifinal each at Wimbledon and the French Championships.

Cheney was ranked in the world top-10 in the late 1930s through mid 1940s. She reached a career high of World No. 6 in 1946. She was the No. 3 ranked player in the United States in 1937, 1938, and 1941. She competed against peers including Hall of Famers Helen Wills Moody, Alice Marble, Sarah Palfrey Cooke, and Pauline Betz Addie, among others.


Cheney was enshrined in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2004 at the age of 87. She was introduced at the enshrinement ceremony by tennis legend John McEnroe, and during the weekend events, the two enjoyed a brief hit on the Hall of Fame’s grass courts.

Cheney was the daughter of Wimbledon and U.S. Nationals Champion, Hall of Famer May Sutton Bundy and U.S. Nationals Doubles Champion Tom Bundy. In 2002, at age 85, Cheney and her daughter Christie Putnam won the USTA National Grass Court Super-Senior Mother Daughter Championships.

Cheney was preceded in death by her husband, Arthur. She is survived by two daughters, Christie Putnam and May Cheney; a son, Brian Cheney; eight grandchildren; and fourteen great-grandchildren.

Cheney was passionate about the development of junior tennis players. In lieu of flowers, her family has suggested gifts to the junior tennis program of one’s choice in her memory.

A private memorial service will be scheduled at a future date.