Ryan died in 1979 at the age of 87, 24 hours before Billie Jean King finally broke her longstanding record of 19 Wimbledon titles. In 1941, when Ryan was a teaching pro at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu, sports-writer Bob Considine sought her out there and asked her the old question—who was the best?
"Why, Suzanne, of course," Ryan replied. "She owned every kind of shot, plus a genius for knowing how and when to use them. She never gave an opponent the same kind of shot to hit twice in a row. She'd make you run miles...her game was all placement and deception and steadiness. I had the best drop shot anybody ever had, but she could not only get up to it but was so fast that often she could score a placement off of it. She had a stride a foot and a half longer than any known woman who ever ran, but all those crazy leaps she used to take were done after she hit the ball. Sure, she was a poser, a ham in the theatrical sense. She had been spoiled by tremendous adulation from the time she was a kid.... But she was the greatest woman player of them all. Never doubt that."