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View Full Version : The Old Fruit-Judy Tegart Dalton


Rollo
Apr 4th, 2012, 04:46 PM
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Judy Dalton was 32 when she was runner-up to Rosie Casals at the infamous Virginia Slims Invitation in Houston in 1970. During her career Dalton (née Tegart) won nine Grand Slam doubles titles (including five with Margaret Court) and achieved the 'Career Grand Slam'. In singles, she reached the Wimbledon (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/page/Tournaments/Info/0,,12781~839,00.html) final in 1968, upsetting Court and Nancy Richey before succumbing to Billie Jean King (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/page/Player/Info/0,,12781~4011,00.html), 97 75. In fact, from Wimbledon (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/page/Tournaments/Info/0,,12781~839,00.html) in 1967 until her retirement (aged 40) after the 1977 Australian Open (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/page/Tournaments/Info/0,,12781~836,00.html), Dalton reached at least the quarters in 10 of the 20 Slams played. She also built an 18-4 record in Federation Cup, and was a member of two victorious squads.

I know exactly what I did with my prize money from Houston. My husband, David, and I had just bought a house in Melbourne, and I sent most of it home to help pay it off. In fact, as payments became more regular with the new Virginia Slims Tour, I'd keep $100 for spending money - which was quite a lot of money back then - and send the rest back to David in a cheque. The girls used to laugh at me, but between us David and I paid off the house quite nicely. I know our bank manager, who I'd known since childhood, was impressed!

Before there was a Tour, I actually worked as an accountant when I wasn't playing tennis. In those days, the LTAA wouldn't let any of us - men or women - play more than six months of the year. These days that would be called restraint of trade! Some of the guys went and played as pros in places like South Africa, Hong Kong and Italy but the rest of us had to come back. I had a friend who owned an accounting firm and so I studied chartered accountancy. I got through about two thirds of the exams... although I never finished, I have to say it came in very handy in the end.

The politicking in tennis was really hard, but when we signed the $1 contracts we knew it was the right thing to do. I'd helped circulate a questionnaire at Forest Hills, which asked for the public's views on women's tennis. Some male fans actually said they enjoyed it more because they could associate their own games with it. While we did see the bigger picture of equality, I don't think we really realized what a tumultuous thing it would turn out to be. Billie Jean took the greatest risk, because she could have played anywhere, but she was determined to challenge the status quo. For that I admire her greatly, because the Tour wouldn't have gone ahead if she hadn't of signed

They were pretty severe on us all, when you think about it. Especially in Australia… the LTAA really hit Kerry and me hard. I mean, I couldn't play with my Slazenger racquet, we couldn't play in tournaments. In fairness, Wilson was fantastic - they gave us all the stuff that we wanted and did what they could to help. From memory, I used Wilson racquets for two years. And Gladys Heldman… she was just wonderful. She kept in touch with me all the time, either by phone - and in those days people didn't call as they do now - or by telegram, reassuring me and keeping me up to date.

My disillusionment with the establishment actually went back to 1968, when I played Billie Jean at Wimbledon (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/page/Tournaments/Info/0,,12781~839,00.html). The Australian association gave me £150 to live on, for three weeks in England. The prize money was more like £450, but I wasn't allowed to keep it. When I tell young ones this they laugh at me. Not long ago I was at the French Open (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/page/Tournaments/Info/0,,12781~838,00.html) with some junior girls and they received 1,100 francs a day. We got five francs, which would buy a cup of tea and a ham or cheese sandwich.

In the early days of the Tour, those who lost early would go straight to the next tournament and do the promotion. Each tournament typically had a women's committee that was in charge of selling the tickets, but we had to get the people interested to go and buy the tickets. Shopping centers, clinics, all sorts of things. And even in those days, people would come up to us and say, 'Cigarette smoking is terrible, you shouldn't be doing this.' It didn't happen very much, but it did happen, and it was pretty hard to take. We'd insist that Philip Morris wasn't encouraging us to smoke and that they were doing a good thing by supporting us. Sometimes it wasn't easy to convince people.

If you're lucky enough to play one perfect match in your lifetime, that's terrific. I played what I call two perfect matches. The first was against Nancy in the semis at Wimbledon (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/page/Tournaments/Info/0,,12781~839,00.html), after I'd beaten Margaret in the quarters. I didn't play badly in the final, because I nearly beat Billie, just not as well as I had in the semis. Years after we married, David, who didn't know me at the time but had seen the match, said, 'If you'd believed you could win, you would have won that match.' I think he was right. I'd been in a few doubles finals but it's not the same, and if you have the experience it counts for an awful lot. So my regret would be that I didn't believe that I was capable of winning things. I won the German and got to the semis of everything, but I never won the Australian. I suspect it's because I didn't think I was good enough to win.

Strangely enough, the other match I remember was in a veterans' event in Florida. I beat their No.1, who had never lost, love and love.

In any case, Wimbledon (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/page/Tournaments/Info/0,,12781~839,00.html) was my favorite tournament, and serve and volley was my strength. When I was little, that was really all I could do… then I had to learn how to do groundstrokes and other things. But I think that's the easier way to do it. The first tennis book I ever read was by Alice Marble and it was called Wings on My Tennis Shoes. I met her years and years later, and it was lovely. She wasn't really an idol because she was a really good friend, but I admired Maureen Connolly so much. She was lefthanded, and they made her play tennis righthanded. Then she went through all that adversity and I was there when she was really sick.

Last year, David died suddenly on our farm near Ballarat. He'd had treatment for cancer about six years ago, but before that we were growing organic berries such as strawberries, blueberries and gooseberries, as well as 18 different varieties of salad leaf. We'd go to markets and supply restaurants round and about. We did that for about eight years, but when David got sick I couldn't do it all by myself so I just concentrated on the berries. I'm still looking after the farm but I won't stay here. My son, Edward, has been living in Scotland with his family and they are returning to Australia in November; my two little granddaughters, Sophie and Abby, are sure to keep me busy! My daughter, Sammi, works for (shadow treasurer) Joe Hockey in Canberra.

These days I'm still involved in tennis as president of Australia's Fed Cup Foundation. During the week of the Medibank International in Sydney we run a tournament for under 14 boys and girls from all the country areas around Australia. And I do some commentary for the ABC. I just think it's terrific there are so many players from so many countries now. I don't think we really could have dreamed tennis would become such an international sport - even though there were Russian players, we always thought they'd be so restricted from playing. You've got to admire them: They work so hard and are so keen to do well. The traditional tennis nations could learn a thing or two.
Interview by Adam Lincoln, September 2010

Rollo
Apr 4th, 2012, 04:49 PM
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Judy Looks Back


January 18, 2011


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MELBOURNE, Australia - The early Virginia Slims days produced an array of colorful anecdotes. Judy Dalton (http://www.wtatour.com/player/judy-tegart-dalton_2257889_8202), one of two Australian members of the Original Nine and a regular from the start of the first circuit in 1971, recalls three of her favorite memories of those heady days:
"We flew from Los Angeles, where the temperature was something like 100 degrees, into Milwaukee, where the temperature that night was minus 30 degrees. Some of the girls had only on light dresses on the flight, and you can imagine what a shock it was to go out into the air at the airport at Milwaukee - heavens, don't think I have ever been so cold. Frankie Durr and I stayed with these wonderful people, but we had to be dug out the next day and only just managed to get to the courts. I remained friends with them until they died but still am in touch with their daughter, which is lovely.

"From playing in Milwaukee we had a contact in Newport, and discovered that this person was the Countess Szapary - maiden name Vanderbilt - and that we would be staying at the Breakers mansion during the tournament. The house that was used for the film High Society starring Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby, and Frankie and I had a room where we could practice our serves, it was so big! We attended a ball there and it was so grand... when we walked down the staircase in our long dresses we felt like royalty. And they were the nicest people you could meet. I went and had tea with Jackie Kennedy's mother and her friends, which was a very interesting experience. Frankie and I even played a match with 'Breakers' on the back of our windbreakers.

"In Fort Lauderdale I stayed with a specialist and his nurse wife. They had a boat, so one day when we weren't playing tennis they took us across to a little island on the key about half an hour from their place. It was covered with coconut trees, and the husband said, "I'll look for a good coconut that we can eat." Wonderful, I thought. But when he opened it with a small machete, a putrid, rancid, phlegm-like liquid spurted all over me. It took me four days to get my hair really clean of the foul-smelling liquid and I had to throw my clothes out… I didn't mind coconut up to that point, but never again! The tournament was very good for me, though, and it was a very nice venue. I am hoping this year I may be able to visit the wife after something like 25 years."

Rollo
Apr 4th, 2012, 04:51 PM
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Dalton Receives Georgina Clark Award


January 27, 2011



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MELBOURNE, Australia - Among the highlights of the WTA's Asia-Pacific Alumnae & Friends Reunion in Melbourne on Thursday night, Australian legend Judy Dalton (http://www.wtatour.com/player/judy-tegart-dalton_2257889_8202) was presented with the Georgina Clark Mother Award, named in memory of one of the WTA's most loyal servants.

Clark, who passed away last year after a long illness, held a range of senior roles in tennis over nearly three decades, from tournament referee to tour supervisor to Vice President of the WTA's European Operations. The inaugural award was presented to former Wimbledon (http://www.wtatour.com/page/Tournaments/Info/0,,12781~839,00.html) champion Ann Jones at a reunion held in London last summer, where Clark's daughter Caroline spoke on behalf of the family.

This time, the setting was the other side of the world, but the occasion was no less heartfelt. "It's a huge honor - more so, I think, because I knew Georgina for such a long time," said Dalton, who made history as a member of the Original Nine in 1970. "I can remember when she had only just started umpiring… we'd see her at smaller tournaments in England and then eventually she became the first woman to umpire a Wimbledon (http://www.wtatour.com/page/Tournaments/Info/0,,12781~839,00.html) final.

"She had a great rapport with the players, on and off court, but more than that she would always help people," Dalton added. "She gave of herself to us. You have to make sacrifices to be in tennis, whether you are a player or working for the tour, and her family did. It's what Georgina wanted to do, and she was successful at it, but it's lovely that the name of the award recognizes the importance of support from family."

Dalton's beloved husband, David, passed away on their farm near Ballarat in 2009, but her daughter Sammi and son Edward were on hand to see their mother receive her award. Edward recently moved back to Australia from Scotland with his wife, Alyson, and two daughters, Sophie (who turns five in March) and Abby (three in March).

During her playing career, Dalton won nine Grand Slam doubles titles (including five with Margaret Court) and achieved the 'Career Grand Slam'.

"Judy Dalton - known to all of us as Old Fruit - has guts, integrity, and a great sense of humor," wrote King in a message read by Pam Shriver (http://www.wtatour.com/player/pam-shriver_2257889_7274) at the reunion. "She is the type of person you want standing with you and she is proud to be there beside you."

Rollo
Apr 4th, 2012, 04:53 PM
A picture of her wedding in 1960 to metalurgist David Dalton

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