View Full Version : Daphne Akhurst Articles

Jan 18th, 2011, 05:23 AM
I'm hoping that somebody will find some articles of which the Australian Open's trophy is named after. Here is one:


Daphne Akhurst
by Cathy Jones

On Australia Day, 26 January 2006, 1920s and 1930s tennis champion Daphne Akhurst was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame at a ceremony held at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. Akhurst was one of Australia’s greatest tennis champions, but her life was tragically cut short dying at age 29. At the time of her death, she lived in Strathfield with her husband Royston Cozens.

Akhurst trained as a music teacher at the State Conservatorium of Music but was a self-taught tennis player. She won the NSW schoolgirls singles championship in 1917-1920, the first in a long series of titles. Akhurst dominated Australian women’s tennis throughout the 1920s, winning the Australian Women’s Open in 1925 and 1926 and then, three in a row from 1928-1930. In the women’s doubles, she won five Australian titles with three different partners – Sylvia Lance [later Harper] in 1924 and 1925, Esna Boyd in 1928 and Louie Bickerton in 1929 and 1931. Akhurst won the mixed doubles four times, partnered by John Willard, Gar Moon and in 1928 by Frenchman Jean Borotra.

In 1925, Akhurst and team mates Esna Boyd and Sylvia Harper [formerly Lance] were the first Australian women’s tennis team to travel abroad. The trip was financed by a series of exhibition matches organised by tennis enthusiasts, rather than the Lawn Tennis Australian of Australia [now known as Tennis Australia] . Trips abroad for Australians to compete in events in Europe and America were often financed from fund-raising or sponsorship. The ability of Australians to compete for overseas sporting titles became more accessible in later decades by improvements in air travel.

When Akhurst competed at Wimbledon in 1925, she was considered an outsider. She reached the quarter finals taking a set off Joan Fry, the eventual runner-up. In 1928, the Australian women’s team was sent overseas winning all thirteen matches. In the same year, she reached the singles and women’s doubles semi-finals at Wimbledon. With Jack Crawford as her partner, she was runner up in the Mixed Doubles finals. Her achievements at the time earned her a ranking by Ayres’ Almanac of No.3 in the world. The Referee claimed she was the best all-round player in the world.

On 26 February 1930, Akhurst married Royston Stuckey Cozens of Strathfield. Cozens [1902-1998] was the son of Arthur Cozens, a tobacco manufacturer, who lived at Albert Rd Strathfield. Like his father, Royston Cozens was a tobacco manufacturer, employed by the British-American Tobacco Company. Following their marriage, they lived at ‘Wahgumgah’ 111 Homebush Road on the south-west corner of Albyn Road, Strathfield, which Cozens had purchased in October 1929 for £2900.

After her marriage, Daphne Akhurst continued to compete in competitive tennis and her name is occasionally recorded as Daphne Akhurst Cozens or Daphne Cozens. She won the Australian Women’s Open in 1929 and 1930 but retired from serious competition after winning the Australian women’s doubles championship in 1931.

Daphne Akhurst had one son, but died on 9 January 1933 aged 29 of an ectopic pregnancy. She was cremated following a funeral service at St Anne’s Anglican Church Strathfield. The death of Mrs R S Cozens of Homebush Road Strathfield was acknowledged at the meeting of Strathfield Council January 1933 .

Daphne Akhurst was also associated with the Strathfield Recreation Club, Morwick St Strathfield. In the 1950 Strathfield Recreation Club Jubilee Guide, Floris Conway recalled:

‘Who does not remember seeing, but yesterday, lovely Daphne Akhurst, acclaimed by England’s Press ‘the shy lady of Wimbledon’. Surely no finer tribute could be paid to a great champion, one who earned and held the love and affection of all with whom she came in contact, both on and off the Courts, until the sad hour of her early death. Strathfield was the scene of many of her triumphs’ .

The Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup was donated by the New South Wales Lawn Tennis Association and was first used by the Australian Tennis Open in 1934. This trophy is given to the winner of the Australian women’s singles each year. At the 2006 Hall of Fame Ceremony a bronze bust of Akhurst was unveiled. This bust will be installed alongside other tennis champions in Garden Square in Melbourne Park.

Jan 27th, 2011, 09:49 PM
"Mrs. Cozens Dead," The Brisbane Courier, 11 January 1933:

Tennis players throughout Australia will learn with sincere regret of the sudden death of Mrs. Roy Cozens, formerly Miss Daphne Akhurst, at a private hospital in Burwood. Mrs. Cozens competed with Miss L. Bickerton in the women's doubles championship at Pratten Park as late as January 2, and they won the event.

Mrs. Cozens established a wonderful record as a player. In addition, however, her charm of manner, her sunny disposition and smile, and her graciousness to her opponent won for her a wonderful name not only in Australia, but in Great Britain and Europe.

Mrs. Cozens, then a very small child in short frocks, won the schoolgirls' singles championship of New South Wales in 1917 at the old Double Bay ground. She repeated this success in 1918, 1919, and 1920. Her ability was unusual, and her future seemed assured. Her first major victory was her success in the Victorian women's doubles championship with Miss Sylvia Lance (now Mrs. R. Harper) in 1923, a feat they repeated in 1924. She achieved her ambition in 1925 when she won the Australian title at Sydney, and that year she also won the women's doubles and mixed doubles.

Mrs. Cozens left Australia in April, 1925, with the first Australian women's team to go to Europe. She did well on the tour, and was graded in the world's first 10. She went abroad again with the second women's team in 1928, and again performed with distinction, reaching the semi-finals of the women's singles and doubles and the final of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon. She also established a splendid record at Brussels, Cologne, and Deauville.

Mrs. Cozens won the Australian title for the fifth and last time in 1930, and shortly afterwords she was married. Thereafter she did not compete in singles, and played only in women's doubles and mixed doubles. Her place was never filled and her absence lowered the standard of play in Australia.

Jan 29th, 2011, 10:29 PM
The aptly named "Trove" website is a treasure trove of Australian newspapers stretching right back to the nineteenth century, before the dawn of lawn tennis, and onward through and past the career/life of Daphne Akhurst. All of the early newspapers can be accessed free of charge. The URL is http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper

Feb 1st, 2011, 12:31 AM
"Mrs. Cozens Dead," The Brisbane Courier, 11 January 1933:

Tennis players throughout Australia will learn with sincere regret of the sudden death of Mrs. Roy Cozens, formerly Miss Daphne Akhurst, at a private hospital in Burwood. Mrs. Cozens competed with Miss L. Bickerton in the women's doubles championship at Pratten Park as late as January 2, and they won the event.

Was January 2, the week before her death? If so, wow!

Feb 1st, 2011, 01:37 AM
Daphne's friendship with Louie Bickerton was very close. After Daphne's death Louie went on to become the second Mrs Cozens in 1995. She lived to a ripe old age of 95!


Feb 1st, 2011, 01:40 AM
Below is Daphne's biography as it appears in the online Australian Dictionary of National Biography.


Akhurst, Daphne Jessie (1903 - 1933)

AKHURST, DAPHNE JESSIE (1903-1933), tennis-player, was born on 22 April 1903 at Ashfield, Sydney, second daughter of Oscar James Akhurst, lithographer, and his wife Jessie Florence, née Smith. She showed promise as a pianist and won prizes at eisteddfods as a child. After schooling at Miss E Tildesley's Normanhurst until 1920 and at the State Conservatorium of Music (D.S.C.M., 1922), she became a music teacher and performed at concerts and music clubs.

At school Daphne had shown natural ability at tennis. Although self-taught, she won the New South Wales schoolgirls' singles championship in 1917-20. Her first major win in the County of Cumberland ladies' singles in 1923 was the beginning of a long series of victories at State and national levels. In 1925 she defeated her Victorian rival Miss E. F. Boyd in the Australasian championships; women's matches were not usually popular, but her determined play in the final brought cheers which delayed the men's championship event on an adjoining court. She dominated this event for the next five years, winning in 1926, 1928, 1929 and 1930, when she retained permanently the Anthony Wilding Memorial Cup. She won the Australasian ladies' doubles title five times and the mixed doubles four times, partnered in 1928 by the Frenchman Jean Borotra.

Although described as shy and self-effacing, Daphne Akhurst was a keen competitor with a 'temperament that treats tennis as purely a game'. Her consistency in match play was no doubt developed in practice with local players Norman Peach, Jack Crawford and J. O. Anderson at her home club, The Western Suburbs Association, Pratten Park.

In 1925 the New South Wales Lawn Tennis Association had financed the first overseas tour by an Australian women's team. They succeeded against Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Holland but could not match the experience of England and the United States of America. Akhurst, rated as an outsider at the All England Lawn Tennis Club championships at Wimbledon, reached the quarter-finals of the ladies' singles, losing to English player Miss J. Fry 6-2, 4-6, 3-6. The Times noted her effort against a hard-hitting opponent by recalling 'those early Australian stonewallers who seemed to have no strokes, but who never got out'. Another Australian women's team was sent overseas in 1928; this time they won all thirteen matches. At Wimbledon, Akhurst outdid her previous success and reached the singles and doubles semi-finals and, partnered by Crawford, the mixed doubles final. She performed better than any of the Australian men and was ranked by Ayres' Almanac third in the world after Helen Wills and Senorita E. dé Alvarez. The Referee, more generous, claimed she was the best all-round player in the world.

On 26 February 1930 at St Philip's Church of England, Sydney, Daphne Akhurst married Royston Stuckey Cozens, a tobacco manufacturer, and retired from serious competition soon after winning the Australian ladies' doubles championship in 1931. They had one son. She died on 9 January 1933 of an ectopic pregnancy and, after a service at St Anne's, Strathfield, was cremated.

Her capacity to retrieve and 'ability to run about like a gazelle untiringly' had been responsible for her success and for an Australian-title record that lasted until broken by Nancy Bolton in 1951.
Select Bibliography

New South Wales Lawn Tennis Assn, Tennis Handbook (Syd, 1933); New South Wales State Conservatorium, Prospectus (Syd, 1963); J. Pollard, Ampol's Australian Sporting Records, 2nd ed (Syd, 1969); Woman's World, 1 Mar 1926; Argus (Melbourne), 2 Feb 1925; 'Lawn Tennis: The Championships', Times (London), 30 June 1925, p 6, and 5 July 1928, p 7; Referee (Sydney), 1 Feb 1928; private information.

Author: Kerry Regan

Print Publication Details: Kerry Regan, 'Akhurst, Daphne Jessie (1903 - 1933)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, Melbourne University Press (http://www.mup.unimelb.edu.au/catalogue/0-522-84185-6.html), 1979, pp 25-26.

Feb 1st, 2011, 01:45 AM
Akhurst's Grand Slam record

Daphne's wiki entry has a performance timeline:

She won the Australian 5 times in 7 attempts, falling only in her first attempt in 1924, when she reached the semis, and falling in the 2R in 1927. The second round result is misleading, as Akhurst actually defaulted due to illness rather than going down to defeat.

A detailed summary of her Aussie results may be found at:

In singles she was 19-1 (Winning 5 times overall)
In doubles she was 12-2 (Winning 4 times overall)
In Mixed she was 17-2 (Winning 4 times overall)

She competed once at the French, reaching the QF in 1928.

At Wimbledon she reached the QF (1925) and the semis in 1928.

Feb 1st, 2011, 01:53 AM
From the Aussie Open website:



Daphne Akhurst---Australian Champion 1925, 1926, 1928, 1929, 1930
Born in Sydney on 22 April 1903, Daphne Akhurst achieved much during her tragically short life, winning five Australian singles titles and nine Australian doubles titles between 1924 and 1931.
Making her debut at the tournament in 1924, Akhurst reached the second round where she fell to Esna Boyd. That match saw the dawning of a rivalry that spanned five years until Boyd's retirement in 1928.

Akhurst exacted revenge over her adversary the following year, claiming her first Australian Championship title after a nervous start 1-6 8-6 6-4 in the pre-tiebreak era.

The New South Welshwoman backed up her win in 1926 with a more straightforward 6-1 6-3 victory, illness partially to blame for her three-set concession of the 1927 final that afforded Boyd her only Australian title.

The pair's 1928 final showdown was described by the Argus newspaper as "as fine an exhibition of women's tennis as has been seen in Australia for some time." Akhurst's steady style of play comprehensively outfoxed hard-hitting Boyd, earning her a 7-5 6-2 victory and her third Australian title. She became the first Aussie woman to reach the world top 10 the same year, peaking at No.3.

Scoring finals victories over Louie Bickerton in 1929 and Sylvia Harper in 1930, Akhurst cemented her status as Australia's most prolific champion of the era. Today she ranks third on the Australian all-time singles champion list behind Margaret Court and Nancye Wynne Bolton.

Married, Akhurst won her last Australian title - the women's doubles with Bickerton - in 1931 as Mrs Roy Cozens. Two years later, in 1933, she suffered an ectopic pregnancy and died aged 29.

The Australian Open women's singles trophy is named the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup in her honour.

Feb 1st, 2011, 01:58 AM
This action photo is at Wimbledon in 1928


Feb 1st, 2011, 02:01 AM

British National Portrait Gallery photo from 1925

Feb 1st, 2011, 04:41 AM
We have another thread about her:

Feb 1st, 2011, 05:47 PM
Thanks for bringing the other thread to our notice AR. I have indexed this thread as it is the larger one.

This image from the other thread was found by Sam L. The male in the middle is Jack Crawford, with Akhurst on the right. The lady on the left could be Esme Boyd.


Feb 2nd, 2011, 04:32 PM
From the "Sydney Morning Herald", August 13, 1923:

"The Akhurst-Smith recital

"Miss Daphne Akhurst, a one-time popular juvenile piano prodigy, who has now secured her Conservatorium diploma, and Miss Molly Smith, a young violinist favourably regarded in concert circles, will join in Beethoven's 'Sonata in F' and Schubert's 'Rondeau Brillant' at their concert in the Conservatorium tomorrow evening. Both players will contribute attractive solos, and Mr Clem Williams (baritone) will sing."

From the "Sydney Morning Herald", August 15, 1923:


"The Akhurst-Smith recital

"A great deal of interest was taken in the recital given at the Conservatorium last night by Miss Daphne Akhurst and Miss Molly Smith. Outside admirers were largely reinforced thereat by musicians and students ardent in the support of those talented young players. Miss Akhurst, at one time an infant-prodigy pianist, much applauded by the public, has now sobered down, under Miss Myrtle Meggy's teaching, into a diploma'd student with serious claims to attention. Miss Molly Smith has similarly acquired a goodly proportion of Miss Jenny Cullen's cultivation as a violinist, besides knowledge as an orchestral player.

"Their concert last night was highly appreciated, and the more so because they relied on the old classic repertoire, and showed acquaintance with its traditions. Miss Smith and Miss Akhurst opened with Beethoven's 'Sonata for Violin and Pianoforte in F' (Op. 24), and proved at once that a celebrity standard is not necessary in order to charm an audience with such music. The very first theme of the allegro is so enchanting that it seems (if the paraphrase may be excused) 'to bind up the unravelled sleeve of care' by the grace of its melody; and each time it recurred the violinist voiced it with caressing animation, and the pianist made sparkling response. Each movement in turn was rendered with taste right up to the spirited termination of the final allegro.

"Miss Molly Smith's principal solo was Vieuxtemps' 'Ballade and Polonaise' (Op. 38), in which an excellent tone was revealed, with freedom of style, correct execution of the bravura passages, and sympathy with the varying nature of the matter in hand. Applause and heaps of flowers led to the addition of Cesar Cui's mysterious echo from the deserts and steppes, 'Orientale'. Miss Ada Brook accompanied with skill.

"Miss Daphne Akhurst's chief success was in Brahm's 'Rhapsodie in E Flat', the impressive character of which was well realised, and floral gifts and sustained enthusiasm resulted in a double encore, remarkable for the pianist's sparkling neatness of technique in Lavelle's 'The Butterfly'.

"Mr Clem Williams used his light baritone with cultivated buoyancy and restraint in Lemaire's graceful gavotte-song 'Vous Dansez, Marquise' and his refined and musical timbre added to the charm of de Fontenaille's 'Obstination'. The encore was Homer's fine setting of R.L. Stevenson's 'Requiem', rendered with tender buoyancy, and admirable restraint."

From the "Sydney Morning Herald", November 5, 1923:


"Mr Clem William's recital

"An interesting programme of songs was presented by Mr Clem Williams at his recital in the Conservatorium Hall on Saturday night.


"Assisting Mr Williams were Miss Daphne Akhurst, who played the inevitable Chopin Scherso in C sharp minor, showing power in the rugged octaves, but occasionally falling into vagueness in the lighter treble work..."

From the "Sydney Morning Herald", May 23, 1924:

"University Concert

"There was a large audience in the Great Hall of the University on the occasion of the War Memorial Gala Concert, the proceeds of which will be devoted to the University carillon. The concert was under the patronage and held in the presence of the Chancellor and Lady Cullen, the Premier [of New South Wales], Sir George Fuller, and the Attorney-General, Mr T.R. Bavin. Miss Daphne Akhurst played a number of piano solos, and 'The Water Wagtail' (Cyril Scott) was particularly well received..."

Feb 2nd, 2011, 05:31 PM
From the "Sydney Morning Herald", October 20, 1924:

"Lawn Tennis

"Strathfield Open


"Not for many years has there been a better attendance of spectators at a Strathfield than that of Saturday, which saw the completion of the Metropolitan Championships of this year.


"Miss Daphne Akhurst won the ladies' singles championship from Miss Marjorie Cox in a match which, although contested mainly by groundstrokes, was never wearisome, for the severity of the drives of Miss Cox, and the manner in which Miss Akhurst retrieved them were equally admirable. Miss Akhurst has greater tactical knowledge than her adversary, and this helped her to win [6-3, 6-3]..."

Daphne Akhurst followed up this win in Strathfield by taking the singles title at the 1924 Victorian Championships, held in Melbourne at the end of November/beginning of December (this was her first singles title in a state championship; she beat Sylvia Harper 6-1, 0-6, 7-5 in the final). In early 1925, Akhurst retained her singles title at the Cumberland County Championships, held at Pratten Park in Sydney, beating Marjorie Cox 9-7, 7-5 in the final (in January of 1924, Akhurst had won her first significant singles title at this Cumberland County Championships, beating Patricia Meaney 6-0, 6-1 in the final).

Daphne's next big tournament would be the 1925 Australasian Championships, also held in Sydney.

Feb 2nd, 2011, 05:48 PM
From the "Sydney Morning Herald", February 2, 1925:

"Lawn Tennis


"Miss Akhurst's Success

"In the presence of the largest gathering of spectators that has yet assembled at the Rushcutter Bay ground, the Australasian lawn tennis championships were completed on Saturday under conditions as favourable as they were unexpected, because the rain clouds of the preceding day had given place to a clear sky, the courts were firm and true, and the atmosphere resembled that of a spring or autumn day.

"In such circumstances, and with so attractive a list of events as that set down for decision, it is not surprising that the large new grandstand and that on the western side were filled. Many spectators obtained a splendid view by looking over the sight screens at the northern end of the match courts, and others found view points on the high bank between the main and western stands.


"The official estimate of the number present was 7,000, including ground members and special seat owners, and the gate receipts £700.


"Jack Willard and Daphne Akhurst retained the mixed doubles title when opposed by Robert Schlesinger and Sylvia Harper. They overwhelmed their opponents at the outset of the match, Willard doing amazing things successfully. Schlesinger and Mrs Harper were carried off their feet for a time by the impetuousity of the attack, but when they steadied they offered better resistance, but insufficient to prevent their opponents from winning both sets. [6-4, 6-4]

"Miss Akhurst had previously [earlier in the day] won the ladies' singles championship, her final opponent being Esna Boyd. Nothing better than Miss Boyd's play in the first set has been seen for a long time. She found Miss Akhurst slightly inaccurate, and made capital from that fact by going to the net, where she killed lobs with certainty and forced her opponent into errors. Relaxing her pressure early in the second set, Miss Boyd allowed Miss Akhurst to acquire touch, and although she pulled up from 1-4, to 4-4, Miss Akhurst took the lead again and won the set. It was Miss Boyd's turn to lead 4-1 in the deciding set, but her efforts were telling on her, and Miss Akhurst, now playing without error and placing cleverly, went out with a run of five games. [Final score: 1-6, 8-6, 6-4].

"Miss Akhurst's triple success came when, with Mrs Harper, she retained the ladies' doubles championship, notwithstanding the opposition of Mrs Harper and Katherine Le Mesurier. Mrs Harper played admirably in this match, her backhand volleys across court being productive of many points. Miss Le Mesurier was accurate, but Miss Boyd, who seemed tired, made many errors." [Final score: 6-4, 6-3]

In 1924, Daphne Akhurst had won her first two titles at what was then called the Australasian Championships (the tournament's name was changed to the Australian Championships in 1927). Akhurst won the women's doubles with Sylvia Harper, 7-5, 6-2, over Katherine Le Mesurier and Meryl O'Hara Wood; and the mixed doubles title with Jack Willard, 6-3, 6-4, over Garton Hone and Esna Boyd. The 1924 Australasian Championships were held in Melbourne. (The tournament rotated around various venues until becoming fixed in Melbourne in 1972.) Daphne Akhurst's 1925 "triple crown" was the first ever at this major tournament. She repeated this rare feat at the Australian Championships in both 1928 and 1929.

The 1925 Irish Championships

From the "Irish Times", July 20, 1925:

"Lawn Tennis

"Two Australian Wins

"To some extent this year's championship meeting at Wilton Place [in Dublin] was spoiled by a sudden change of weather and the adverse conditions which prevailed on Saturday. Rain threatened all day, and that it did not come down was mainly due to the high wind which blew from the south, and swept the courts from end to end. What made matters worse was that it blew in gusts, and made anything like accuracy very difficult. In addition, the day was cold, and as a result the attendance failed to reach the level usually seen on final[s] day.


"The singles matches were the first in court, and in both the winners came through in straight sets. [...] Esna Boyd defeating Daphne Akhurst 9-7, 6-1. At this time it was blowing really hard and in gusts, but both winners rose to the conditions much more readily than their opponents, and for this deserve full credit for their victories.


"The ladies' singles was a battle royal throughout the opening set. In the second Miss Akhurst proved unequal to the stronger all-court game played by Miss Boyd, and the latter won in the seventh game. From the start Miss Boyd was hitting the harder ball, and never had any hesitation about going to the net. These tactics gave her an initial advantage, and she led 4-1 before Miss Akhurst touched the form she had shown in earlier rounds. She made a splendid recovery, and placing well won game after game until in the ninth she actually took the lead. Subsequently it was game for game until 7-all was called and then her effort died away, and Miss Boyd's sustained attack gave her the opening set at 9-7. It seemed as if this effort had exhausted Miss Akhurst's resources. Against Miss Boyd's good length driving, backed up by accurate volleys, she was practically powerless, and although she fought out every ace she only succeeded in winning a single game in the second set.


"Considering the handicap under which they played - Sylvia Harper with an injured arm, still bandaged from wrist to elbow, and Miss Akhurst with a strained knee - the losers put up a great fight in the ladies' doubles final, and proved that the reputation the team has earned for courage and tenacity is well founded. Throughout the twenty-four games played there was very little between the pairs, and it was the individual brilliance shown by Miss Boyd that turned the scale in a close-fought match. She was easily the best of the four, driving and volleying with power and accuracy, and the way she chased and retrieved seeming winners was wonderful. Floris Saint-George gave her partner adequate backing."

[Women's doubles final: Syliva Harper/Floris Saint-George d. Daphne Akhurst/Esna Boyd 8-6, 6-4]

It was a case of "third time lucky" for Daphne Akhurst at the 1925 Irish Championshps when, paired with Gerald Sherwell of South Africa, she won the mixed doubles title over Ireland's Vincent Allman-Smith and Esna Boyd. The final score was 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Feb 3rd, 2011, 02:07 PM
Daphne Akhurst's second Wimbledon (1928)

From the London "Times", June 29, 1928:

[Women's singles third round, Daphne Akhurst d. Helen Jacobs 6-8, 6-1, 8-6]

"Of the ladies, Helen Jacobs fell to Daphne Akhurst, but gloriously. It was match point against her in the eighth game of the final set, and nine times after that eighth game she changed tactics. She could not outlast Miss Akhurst at the baseline, for somehow everything that Miss Akhurst's racket touches comes back, so she volleyed her and almost brought off a great recovery. She would have done it, but that Miss Akhurst refused to succumb to smashes. She returned three running in one rally..."

From the London "Times", July 5, 1928:

[Women's singles semi-finals, Lili de Alvarez d. Daphne Akhurst]

"Lili de Alvarez beat Daphne Akhurst, of Australia, 6-3, 6-0. She won as she was expected to win: in the way that her range of lawn tennis strokes entitled her to win; and in the way that in real life, whatever the contest, the competitor with the more scientific technical equipment usually does win. But Senorita de Alvarez is so very far removed from 'the housewife that's thrifty' that in a moral fable she would have been outlasted by Miss Akhurst as surely as the cigale by the fourmi.

"Miss Akhurst appears, from her mode of addressing the ball, to play somewhat by the light of nature. But she has been champion of Australia more than once. She did return a number of hard corner drives from her adversary, but the rallies ended with a clean drive from Senorita de Alvarez that admitted of no return. When it was worth doing - and not before - Miss Akhurst substituted for her safety methods a drive that was anything but primitive. Miss Akhurst was a good loser; she was all over the court, hardly missed a ball to which she got a full racket, and hit hard the very few balls that invited punishment. But she could not be in both corners at once.

"Senorita de Alvarez lost the first game by overhitting; in the second she was - for her - tentative, as she reduced her length. The last two points of the third game she won by killing two services with two straight drives. Miss Akhurst did not trouble to chase them - and balls that a player like Miss Akhurst does not chase are rare even in the centre court. If Senorita de Alvarez could keep that up, the match was over; she could do so, and over it was."

From the London "Times", July 7, 1928:

[Women's doubles semi-final, Eileen Bennett/Ermyntrude Harvey d. Daphne Akhurst/Esna Boyd]

"In other matches it was, like Thursday, a good day for the Australians; and provided yet another success for Daphne Akhurst [who reached the mixed doubles final with Jack Crawford]. At one time it seemed likely that Australia would do even better for Miss Akhurst and Esna Boyd in the ladies' doubles won the first set [8-6] from Eileen Bennett and Ermyntrude Harvey. The English pair started by attacking; the defenders sent back a shower of lobs; the attackers temporized, and lost when beguiled into playing the game at which the Australians excel. In the next twos sets they resumed their own game and won them 6-3, 6-2; but their margin was less than it looks, for many of the games went to deuce."

From the London "Times", July 9, 1928:

[Mixed doubles final, Patrick Spence/Elizabeth Ryan d. Jack Crawford/Daphne Akhurst 7-5, 6-4]

"In the mixed doubles there was a time when it looked as if Patrick Spence and Elizabeth Ryan, who beat Jack Crawford and Daphne Akhurst, were also to be included among the victims of the Australians. The first four of the games were apportioned much as one expects them to be in a match in which Miss Ryan is playing; her side had won three of them. Then came a sequence of four games to the Australians. Nor was there any reason why it should not continue. In those games Crawford played the most consistently formidable lawn tennis of the day and, as he had taken Jean Borotra to the fifth set, there was no reason to suppose he could not keep it up. No stroke of his is to be singled out, because all strokes appeared equally to offer him an opportunity for winning the point outright. If it was expedient to wait, the stroke could be deferred without loss by sending a deep lob to Spence who was not confident overhead.

"When Crawford, leading 5-3, took up the ball to serve, it looked as if it was out of the power of Spence and Miss Ryan to keep the ball away from him without putting it in reach of Miss Akhurst, whose capacity to retrieve has been the subject of daily comment. But Crawford had kept back all his mistakes of the set for that vital game, he made every kind, including the double fault. He did well again later, but was never to recover the form of the first few games.

"For the rest of the match the attack was with Miss Ryan, to whom Spence, quick and neat in defence, gave the support she needed. There were amusing rallies in the second set in which the Australians teased Spence overhead. Miss Akhurst, who must have been born with a silver lob in her mouth, was specially adept at this, and her forehand return of the service was apt to disconcert the servers as they ran in. But the disconcerting was more often done by Miss Ryan with her angled smash; and at no time in the second set did it appear likely that she would not be in the winning pair of the mixed doubles for the fifth time."

From "Lawn Tennis and Badminton", August 18, 1928:

"The German Championships

"From a special correspondent

"Australia has every reason to be satisfied with her representatives in the German National Championships - recognised this year as an official championship by the International Federation - at Hamburg; they won three events and provided the runners-up in a fourth last week*.


"Daphne Akhurst had the best record in reaching three finals and being successful in two. She won the ladies' singles by defeating Cilly Aussem in the final, 2-6, 6-0, 6-4, after a victory over Esna Boyd in the semi-final, 6-2, 6-3. Frl Aussem had beaten Phoebe Holcroft-Watson in the other semi-final by 6-1, 6-4. Phyllis Satterthwaite had beaten Lucia Valerio, the Italian champion, before going down to Miss Boyd, 6-4, 6-1.


"Mrs Holcroft-Watson and Elsie Goldsack defeated Meryl O'Hara Wood and Louie Bickerton in the semi-finals of the ladies' doubles before losing to Miss Akhurst and Miss Boyd in the final by 7-5, 7-5.

"In the semi-finals of the mixed doubles Gordon Crole-Rees and Mrs Watson went down to Ronald Boyd (the Argentine) and Frl Aussem 6-2, 6-1, and Edgar Moon and Miss Akhurst beat Ronald Cummings and Miss Bickerton 8-6, 6-8, 6-0, but the winners of the latter match lost in the final to Boyd and Frl Aussem by 7-5, 6-4."

* In the final of the men's doubles event the Australian pair of Ronald Cummings and Edgar Moon beat the Germans Hans Moldenhauer and Daniel Prenn, 8-6, 6-0, 6-2.

Feb 5th, 2011, 04:06 PM
From the "The Argus", January 27, 1930:

"Australian Championships


"Miss Akhurst wins singles


"The final of the women's singles championship was completed, and resulted in a well-earned win for Daphne Akhurst (New South Wales), who, by winning the title three times in succession, and five times in all, will now permanently hold the cup. This comes as a fitting close to Miss Akhurst's career as a singles player, as she recently decided to retire from singles play after these championships.


"Mrs Harper defeated

"A splendid tussle was seen in the final of the women's singles championship between Sylvia Harper (Victoria) and Miss Akhurst. There was very little between the players in the first set, which went to Miss Akhurst at 10-8, but in the second Mrs Harper became more aggressive and won at 6-2. When Mrs Harper led 4-0 in the final set it appeared that she would take the title, but Miss Akhurst, who had appeared over careful, hit out out more freely and won the set at 7-5.

"In the second set, and the early part of the last, Mrs Harper mixed her play well, following a long drive by a short chop shot and often going to the net she scored off short returns. At the end, when Miss Akhurst began to hit out, Mrs Harper appeared to be tired, and very often played a poor length. Miss Akhurst played a great deal to Mrs Harper's backhand, and forced her into errors there."

Feb 5th, 2011, 04:22 PM
From the "Sydney Morning Herald", February 27, 1930:


"The marriage of Miss Daphne Akhurst, youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs Oscar J. Akhurst, of Ashfield, to Mr Roy Cozens, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Arthur J. Cozens, of Strathfield, was celebrated at Saint Philip's Church, Church Hill, last evening. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. W.J. Hilliard.

"Given away by her father, the bride wore a gown of ivory crepe marquise, mounted on shell-pink lamé, featuring an ankle-length skirt inlet with godets and a corsage embroidered with pearls and diamante. Her veil and train were of Brussels net, and she carried a sheaf of stephanotis, frangipanni and Cecil Bruner roses.

"The bridesmaids were Miss Jean Herring (Burden Junction), Miss Marjorie Cox and Miss Doreen Cozens, sister of the bridegroom. They wore similar frocks of coral pink triple ninon, with summer felt hats of the same shade, and carried sheaves of pink roses and blue delphiniums. Little Patricia and Judith Erby, the nieces of the bride, were the train-bearers. They were dressed in a similar manner to the bridesmaids. Mr Bill Ludowici was best man, and the groomsmen were Mr Phil Akhurst, brother of the bride, and Mr Ian Robertson.

"After the ceremony a reception was held at the White City Clubhouse, where the guests were received by the bride's mother, who wore a frock of black georgette and lace, with a black hat, and carried a bouquet of red roses. The bridegroom's mother chose a gown of black figured moire, and carried a sheaf of pink roses."

Feb 8th, 2011, 06:14 AM
Does anybody know whether Daphne's son survived or is still living as of now?

Feb 8th, 2011, 10:00 PM
The Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup was donated by the New South Wales Lawn Tennis Association and was first used by the Australian Tennis Open in 1934. This trophy is given to the winner of the Australian women’s singles each year.

Wow, the trophy was given to the winner's since then? Which brings up the question if it is the same trophy? I thought the AO didn't really have a trophy back then since Margaret Court (60s-70s) said one year she got an umbrella and then the next make-up:lol: But those must be to make up for the lack of replica trophy to let the winner take home, which players now have.

Feb 9th, 2011, 02:54 PM
From the London "Times", January 11, 1933:

"Lawn Tennis

"Death of Mrs Cozens

"The death is announced in a Reuters message from Sydney, Australia, of Mrs Roy Cozens (née Daphne Akhurst), the lawn tennis player. She had just had an operation and died while still under the influence of an anaesthetic.

"Miss Daphne Akhurst was a well-known lawn tennis player. She won the ladies' championship of Australia in 1925, 1926, 1928, 1929 and 1930. She was well known in this country for she came over here twice with Australian ladies' teams, the first time in 1925 and the second in 1928. On her second visit she had a successful career for she reached three semi-finals at Wimbledon and got through to the final of the mixed doubles.

"A friend writes:

"The death of Daphne Akhurst is a great shock, not only to Australians here, but to hundreds of English friends she met on her two visits. I doubt if any overseas player more endeared herself to England - there was certainly no visitor more popular among the women players themselves. She commenced to win championships as a schoolgirl with long hair down her back, and although year in year out she continued to win championships, her fame left her entirely unspoiled.

"More than anything in her tennis career she looked forward to playing on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, hoping she might even win a championship there. She got to the Centre Court, and to a mixed doubles final, but only to be runner-up. She told me she cherished that prize more than any, and she had it specially engraved as a memory of Wimbledon. Yet such was her collection of trophies, won in Britain, several European countries, the Far East and in Australasia, that one room of her house was well filled with cups insured for a substantial sum, while in other rooms were furniture, cutlery, glassware, and other trophies for tennis victories.

"By profession a music teacher, she worked hard to succeed in high examinations, and it was astonishing to find this frail-looking child seriously practising her profession and at the same time winning tennis championships at the age of 19.

"I know of nobody in Australia who had more friends. Her charm of manner, her refusal to be swept into circles only too glad to receive the successful in games, made her an idol comparable with Bradman. One of the happiest moments of her last visit here in 1928 was when upon leaving the Centre Court she posed her camera at the royal box and photographed the King and Queen."

Feb 9th, 2011, 03:19 PM
From the "West Australian", January 12, 1933:

"Funeral in Sydney

"Sydney, Jan. 11. - The funeral of Mrs R.S. Cozens (Miss Daphne Akhurst) took place today at the crematorium, Rockwood. A memorial service was held at Saint Anne's Church, Strathfield. In his address Canon Hilliard paid a glowing tribute to Mrs Cozens. He said that this girl, whose nature was unspoiled by the chorus of praise bestowed on her, would occupy the position in tennis that has been accorded to Victor Trumper in cricket.

"The chief mourners were Royston S. Cozens (husband), Oscar J. Akhurst (father), Mrs Jesse Akhurst (mother), Mr Phil Akhurst (brother), Mrs M. Irby (sister) [née Madeline Akhurst] and Messrs Arthur Griffith (uncle) and Carl and Val Akhurst (cousins).

"The New South Wales Tennis Association was represented by Messrs Frank Peach (president), W.V. Armstrong (honorary secretary), Norman Peach, M. Henry Marsh, C. Stanley Wilson, Dr A.B. Walkom, Mrs R. Conway [née Floris Saint-George] and Mrs Warburton."

Feb 9th, 2011, 03:34 PM
From the "Sydney Morning Herald", February 15, 1933:

"Lawn Tennis

"Association Meeting

"At the monthly meeting of the New South Wales Lawn Tennis Association, held at 62 Pitt Street last night, Mr Frank Peach, the president, presented his report of the meeting of the councillors of the various states held at Melbourne in January.

"Mr Peach stated that one of the matters discussed was the Daphne Akhurst Cup for the winner of the Australian women's singles championship, as Mrs Cozens, formerly Miss Daphne Akhurst, had represented Australia in both the women's teams which had gone to Europe. It was agreed that the New South Wales Association would present the cup, and the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia would present a miniature cup to the winner..."

From the "Sydney Morning Herald", September 13, 1933:

"Lawn Tennis

"Association Meeting

"The monthly meeting of the New South Wales Lawn Tennis Association was held last night.


"The Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup, presented by the New South Wales Lawn Tennis Association to the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia for the women's singles championship of Australia, was displayed for the benefit of the members of the council..."

Feb 14th, 2011, 07:08 PM
Was January 2, the week before her death? If so, wow!

It's likely that Daphne Akhurst was not very far into her second pregnancy when she played at her last tournament, the County of Cumberland Championshps, held at the end of 1932/beginning of 1933. Given the nature of complications caused by an ectopic pregnancy, where the foetus develops outside of the womb, she probably began haemorrhaging at some point, a development which would have necessitated surgical intervention.

The reports of her death were extremely discreet, but she died during an operation while under an anaesthetic.

Feb 20th, 2011, 03:19 AM
Royston Cozens had at least two children.

A son, born 16 July 1932 (to Daphne Akhurst)
A daughter, born 27 January 1937 (to Louie Bickerton)

I don't know if either are still alive, although it's possible.

Both Royston and Louie Cozens died in 1998.

Feb 20th, 2011, 05:18 PM
Royston Cozens had at least two children.

A son, born 16 July 1932 (to Daphne Akhurst)
A daughter, born 27 January 1937 (to Louie Bickerton)

I don't know if either are still alive, although it's possible.

Both Royston and Louie Cozens died in 1998.

Thanks for the information. It's now clear that Daphne Akhurst was more than likely in the early stages of her second pregnancy when complications occurred.

Feb 21st, 2011, 04:32 AM
Royston Cozens had at least two children.

A son, born 16 July 1932 (to Daphne Akhurst)
A daughter, born 27 January 1937 (to Louie Bickerton)

I don't know if either are still alive, although it's possible.

Both Royston and Louie Cozens died in 1998.

Thank you. I wrote a blog about her and totally misread the info concerning her death. I thought she died after giving birth to her first son. Thanks, once again.

Hungarian Boy
Mar 4th, 2011, 10:05 PM
I upload two pictures. The first shows Daphne circa end of 1920s or starts of 1930s. The other one took in Wimbledon 1928 and it is located on Google Images easy but with watermark. I give a specimen without that.



Jul 27th, 2011, 02:07 PM
Here's a basic career record for Daphne.

At this stage, it's just her final result in the tournament and this list doesn't include:

* schoolgirl or junior championships
* interstate or international match results
* mixed doubles (due to display issues on this board)

I'll bring it up to a full (or as full as I can get) record when I get time.
Nov 1920 Victorian Champs QF l Esna Boyd default R2 (Dot Bellamy)

Apr 1922 City of Sydney Champs F l Nellie Lascelles 06 46 SF (Millie Mitchell)
Oct 1922 Metropolitan Champs F l Gwen Utz 46 36 QF (Millie Mitchell)

Jan 1923 Cumberland Champs N/A WON (Millie Mitchell)
Oct 1923 Metropolitan Champs F l Sylvia Lance 36 36 F (Millie Mitchell)
Nov 1923 Victorian Championships SF l Esna Boyd 46 63 57 WON (Sylvia Lance)

Jan 1924 Cumberland Champs WON d Pattie Meaney 60 63 F (Millie Mitchell)
Jan 1924 AUSTRALIAN CHAMPS SF l Esna Boyd 16 46 WON (Sylvia Lance)
Feb 1924 NSW Championships QF l Annie Gray 46 1113 QF (Mary Elliott)
Mar 1924 SA Championships SF l Sylvia Lance 26 57 WON (Sylvia Lance)
Mar 1924 City of Sydney Champs WON (Gwen Utz)
Oct 1924 Metropolitan Champs WON d Marjorie Cox 62 62 SF (Millie Mitchell)
Nov 1924 Conservatorium Champs WON d Floris St George 61 86 W/F (Betsy Nosworthy)
Dec 1924 Victorian Championships WON d Sylvia Harper 61 06 75 WON (Sylvia Harper)

Jan 1925 Cumberland Champs WON d Marjorie Cox 97 75 F (Millie Mitchell)
Jan 1925 AUSTRALIAN CHAMPS WON d Esna Boyd 16 86 64 WON (Sylvia Harper)
Jun 1925 Weybridge SF l Rose GBR 57 16 SF (Sylvia Harper)
Jun 1925 Roehampton QF l Esna Boyd 'coin toss' def (Sylvia Harper)
Jun 1925 WIMBLEDON QF l Joan Fry GBR 63 46 26 R3 (Sylvia Harper)
Jul 1925 Irish Championships F l Esna Boyd 79 16 F (Sylvia Harper)
Aug 1925 Deauville F l Suzanne Lenglen FRA 26 26
Dec 1925 Cumberland Champs WON d Louie Bickerton 97 62 WON (Marjorie Cox)

Jan 1926 AUSTRALIAN CHAMPS WON d Esna Boyd 61 63 F (Marjorie Cox)
Apr 1926 NSW Championships F l Esna Boyd 64 26 06 SF (Marjorie Cox)
May 1926 City of Sydney Champs WON d Annie Martin 75 61 W (Gwen Utz)

Jan 1927 Cumberland Champs F l Sylvia Harper 64 61 F (Marjorie Cox)
Apr 1927 NSW Championships F l Esna Boyd 63 46 26 WON (Marjorie Cox)
May 1927 City of Sydney Champs WON d Annie Martin 60 61 F (Gwen Utz)
Dec 1927 Victorian Championships F l Esna Boyd 16 16 F (Marjorie Cox) ret

Jan 1928 Cumberland Champs WON d Louie Bickerton 97 62 WON (Marjorie Cox)
Jan 1928 AUSTRALIAN CHAMPS WON d Esna Boyd 75 62 WON (Esna Boyd)
Mar 1928 MCC Championships F (Meryl O'Hara Wood)
May 1928 FRENCH CHAMPIONSHIPS QF l Crist. Hardie GBR 810 16 R2 (Louie Bickerton)
Jun 1928 Gipsy Hill SF l Elizabeth Ryan USA 57 26 F (Esna Boyd)
Jun 1928 Beckenham SF l Elizabeth Ryan USA 46 16 SF (Esna Boyd)
Jun 1928 WIMBLEDON SF l Lily d'Alvarez ESP 26 06 SF (Esna Boyd)
Jul 1928 Liege WON d Louie Bickerton 63 63 F (Louie Bickerton)
Aug 1928 Ostend QF l Esna Boyd wo (coin toss?) WON (Esna Boyd)
Aug 1928 German Championships WON d Cilly Aussem GER 60 64 WON (Esna Boyd)

Jan 1929 Cumberland Champs WON (Louie Bickerton)
Jan 1929 AUSTRALIAN CHAMPS WON d Louie Bickerton 61 57 62 WON (Louie Bickerton)
Mar 1929 NSW Championships WON d Kath Le Messurier 63 62 WON (Marjorie Cox)
Apr 1929 City of Sydney Champs WON d Marjorie Crawford 63 63 F (Gwen Utz)
Oct 1929 Metropolitan Champs F l Louie Bickerton 16 26 WON (Mary Edgar)

Jan 1930 Cumberland Champs F l Louie Bickerton 46 16 WON (Marjorie Cox)
Jan 1930 AUSTRALIAN CHAMPS WON d Sylvia Harper 108 26 75 SF (Louie Bickerton)
Feb 1930 NSW Championships WON (Marjorie Cox)
Sep 1930 City of Sydney Champs WON (Gwen Utz)
Oct 1930 Metropolitan Champs WON (Mary Edgar)

Jan 1931 Cumberland Champs WON (Louie Bickerton)
Mar 1931 AUSTRALIAN CHAMPS WON (Louie Bickerton)
Sep 1931 City of Sydney Champs WON (Gwen Utz)
Oct 1931 Metropolitan Champs F (Mary Edgar)

Jan 1932 Cumberland Champs WON (Louie Bickerton)

Jan 1933 Cumberland Champs WON (Louie Bickerton)

Apr 9th, 2013, 05:52 PM
Photos courtesy of Jimbo:

http://www.tennisforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=64634&thumb=1&d=1365200755 (http://www.tennisforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=64634&d=1365200755) http://www.tennisforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=64642&thumb=1&d=1365200755 (http://www.tennisforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=64642&d=1365200755) http://www.tennisforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=64650&thumb=1&d=1365200755 (http://www.tennisforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=64650&d=1365200755)

http://www.tennisforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=64658&thumb=1&d=1365200755 (http://www.tennisforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=64658&d=1365200755) http://www.tennisforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=64666&thumb=1&d=1365200841 (http://www.tennisforum.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=64666&d=1365200841)

Apr 20th, 2014, 01:59 AM
From http://strathfieldheritage.org/people/biographies/daphne-akhurst/

‘Who does not remember seeing, but yesterday, lovely Daphne Akhurst, acclaimed by England’s Press ‘the shy lady of Wimbledon’. Surely no finer tribute could be paid to a great champion, one who earned and held the love and affection of all with whom she came in contact, both on and off the Courts, until the sad hour of her early death. Strathfield was the scene of many of her triumphs’ .

Apr 20th, 2014, 02:08 AM
Louie Bickerton (who later wed Daphne's widower Roy) on her friend and doubles partner.

"I came down from Newcastle to Sydney University and won the singles. ...I met Daphne at Pratten Park club in Sydney and we became close friends. She was an elegant player , a wonderful fighter with solid groundstrokes."

Dec 14th, 2014, 11:05 PM
Quite a lovely shot. Notice the "A" monogram on her dress.

http://natlib.govt.nz/thumbnails/?resize=664%3E&src=http%3A%2F%2Fpaperspast.natlib.govt.nz%2Fcgi-bin%2Fimageserver%2Fimageserver.pl%3Foid%3DEP19330 126.1.7%26crop%3D2212%2C5381%2C1266%2C1833%26width %3D800%26color%3D32%26ext%3Dgif%26key