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'Gorgeous' Gussy Moran dies

"Gorgeous" Gussy Moran, a pioneer of professional women's tennis whose lacy underwear caused a sensation at Wimbledon in 1949, has died at the age of 89.

Mark Winters, director of communications of the Southern California Tennis Association, told AFP on Thursday that Moran had passed away on Wednesday but did not provide further details.

Gertrude Augusta Moran was born in Santa Monica in suburban Los Angeles on September 8, 1923. She had the kind of baseline game that became a staple in women's tennis 50 after her playing days, but her compact, powerful forehand didn't make her famous.

At Wimbledon in 1949, she sported a daringly short dress and lace-trimmed panties that the staid All-England Club found brought "vulgarity and sin into tennis".

Amid the uproar the press dubbed her "Gorgeous Gussy" and while she reached the doubles final at Wimbledon that year from then on she was known more for her clothing than her game.

In 1950, Moran turned professional, a move that then barred her from the elite Grand Slam events.

She took part in a six-month tour that pitted her against Pauline Betz, with male pros Jack Kramer and Bobby Riggs also playing.

After her playing days, she held a variety of jobs. She maintained ties with the Los Angeles Tennis Club, which reportedly planned a memorial service.


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