Optical connections: Game, set and re-match

David Baker details the career of optometrist turned professional tennis player and transgender sports pioneer Renée Richards

As the 2018 US Open tennis tournament gets into full swing, those of a certain age may just recall the media storm around an ophthalmologist who entered the 1977 competition, staged at Forest Hills for the last time before the move across New York to Flushing Meadows. She lost comfortably in the first round of the singles to Virginia Wade, the reigning Wimbledon champion; so why all the fuss?

According to Renée Richards, the player in question, she had never intended to enter the competition but was spurred on to make a point after being denied entry the previous year. The problem for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) was that Richards was formerly Richard Raskind, having transitioned in 1975 at the age of 40.

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