Love the Legends of Tennis
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Sydney, Australia
Re: Jane Lehane O'Neill - Underappreciated or Over-rated
Geoff Brown was the double-hander you're thinking of - John Brown came a generation later, and became better known as a tennis promoter.
I ballboyed for Jan Lehane at the Australian championships in 1961, and watched her play often. "Tenacious" was the word for her. Her game, as I recall, was really pretty similar to the double-handers we've seen in the past generation: fierce driving groundstrokes into the back corners of the court, not much variety or artistry, but quick on her feet, and as Adrian Quist said, played with a tigerish intensity. Against Margaret, though, that just wasn't enough. Margaret had such big weapons - that serve, superb volleys, and powerful, audacious groundstrokes - that she just blew Jan and pretty well everyone else off the court.
Re Australians on clay: in Melbourne at least, we grew up on clay, or en-tout-cas, as we called it, so it's no surprise that lots of Melbourne players got their best results on clay: Merv Rose, Peter McNamara, Nicole Provis Bradtke, to name a few.
Thanks Gumnut. Yes, you are correct it was Geoff Brown I was thinking of.
Pity there isn't any footage around of Jan playing ... I have footage of just about all the other great Aussie players except her. Just a few stills. You were lucky you got to see her play. She was unlucky to come up against the great Margaret Court as she was herself about to burst onto the world scene. Surely that must have dented her confidence. But I think she would have been a great claycourter in particular, and a very talented player regardless of surface as evidenced by her wins over such greats as Bueno, Hard, Jones etc.
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