Re: Jane Lehane O'Neill - Underappreciated or Over-rated
Yes I tend to agree. You see a lot of the girls actually grew up playing on a combination of grass and dirt courts which are even more slippery to play on than the European clay courts. I grew up on them myself. So it explains why so many could handle the grass and clay so well. And it was the same for the men - they generally had a good handle on both surfaces eg. Rosewall, Laver, Roche spring to mind.
Yes you are right Iain, I think the Aussies probably led the way in terms of double handed play ... there was Vivian McGrath, John Bromwich (double handed off both sides), John Brown (I think that was his name ... made a Wimbledon final), and Jan Lehane the first of the women that I am aware of.
Lehane played her double hander very close to her body so it really would have restricted her somewhat and i think it was probably her undoing on grass to a degree. I also think it was a case of the baseliner develops their game quicker - they don't have as much to refine, but the all court player takes longer to develop. So although she had the wins over Court in the juniors, once Court developed her all court game (rather quickly mind you) she then turned the tables and started to dominate Lehane. Mind you, Turner posed more opposition on clay for Margaret, but as we know, Lesley was one of the greats on clay in the early to mid 60s.
Great post. You know what I was thinking? Lehane and Court must be the most frequent pair to play off for the same GS title. I mean how often was it that they played for the Australian title? And I think it is easy to forget that there were great players, such as Bueno and Truman, down under when it came to be a Lehane v Court final.