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  Topic Review (Newest First)
Jan 5th, 2015 09:23 AM
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

Great article, thanks for posting. She makes so much sense about the tactical side of the game. Sam Stosur needs to have an hour chat with her I reckon.
Jan 5th, 2015 05:35 AM
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

Thanks TV - great article - glad I didn't miss it.
Jan 4th, 2015 10:27 AM
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

Former Australian tennis champion at Frew Park in the lead-up to the Brisbane International tournament in January 2015.

In the 1970s and 1980s Brisbane's Wendy Turnbull carried the weight of Australian women's tennis on her shoulders, becoming the pre-eminent women's tennis player from down under.

Nicknamed "Rabbit" because she was so fast across the court, she was ranked world number 3 in 1985 and in the world's top 10 singles players from 1977 to 1985.

As a singles player she was runner-up in the 1977 US Open, the 1979 French Open and the 1980 Australian Open.

Wendy Turnbull overall won 9 Grand Slam championships; four in women's doubles (French Open 1979, Wimbledon 1978 and US Open in 1979 and 1982) and five in mixed doubles.

Three times she was a Grand Slam singles runner-up, several times to her friend and rival Chris Evert and in doubles was an 11 time runner-up to teams that included world number Martina Navratilova.

After retiring from professional tennis in 1989, Turnbull worked with the International Tennis Federation, Olympic Tennis Committee and the Women's Tennis Association to promote professional female tennis players.

On the eve of the Brisbane International - which starts in Brisbane on Sunday - the former triple Grand Slam event winner - said she would like to see more of the previous rivalry back in women's tennis.

Wendy Turnbull believes the unsettled top 20 of women's tennis in modern times is not producing that extra rivalry to lure audiences.

"And I think that hurts women's tennis a little bit because you like to have a rivalry – myself and Pam Shriver; there was Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova," she said.

"And that was an unbelievable rivalry.

"And then later on you got Steffi Graf and Monica Seles. And I don't think you have had quite the same rivalry since.

"Because Serena (Williams) has dominated whenever she has felt like dominating."

"Maria Sharapova has been up there, but she had one or two years where she has been injured and had to take time off."

"I mean the depth in women's tennis is good, but people do like to see the rivalry."

These days, a recent hip replacement has slowed her down.

Back in Brisbane to see her family on Saturday, Turnbull was quietly embarrassed as parents of kids playing on the Wendy Turnbull Green at Milton's Roy Emerson Tennis Centre recognised her.

"Way to go, Wendy. We used to watch you on TV. Thanks a lot," two women called to her.

Wendy Turnbull is completely retired and lives in Florida these days, where she coaches casually and plays charity events with former UK number 1 tennis player John Lloyd, her mixed doubles partner from Grand Slam wins in 1982, 1983 and 1984.

Seeing the "Wendy Turnbull Green" for the first time on the site of the original Milton Tennis Courts, where she once battled the world's best tennis players, was a shock.

"I'd seen the YouTube video, but when you get here, everything is so much bigger than the photos," Turnbull laughed.

"When I first started playing here it was all ant-bed courts," she said.

"Except for the three rows of grass courts – and the centre court was a grass court – but everything else was ant-bed," she said.

Old Milton courts were slowly sold to Milton Bowl to raise money, and slowly the old grass courts became hard courts.

"I have great memories of here because the entire family would be playing in the aged titles," she recalled.

"My parents used to volunteer at the junior section across the road there on Saturday fixtures."

Queensland Lawn Tennis Association used to let the juniors practice on the "two worst grass courts out the back", preparing them for the "worst bounces around the world", she laughed.

It was also an occasion for her to catch up with the original "Golden Girls" of Queensland tennis, the young women from Queensland towns who, in the 1950s and early 1960s, would travel through the world competing at Wimbledon and the French and German championships among a cocktail of other matches from 1955 to 1965.

Those Queensland "Golden Girls" of tennis included Daphne Fancutt – who became Turnbull's coach - Fay Muller, Madonna Schacht and Fay Toyne.

"I didn't really know them, but I knew of them, because I was younger," Turnbull said after catching up with the other women on Saturday.

"And then with Daphne teaching me and knowing that she and Fay Muller had got to the finals of Wimbledon doubles," Turnbull said.

"It was just knowing they had that knowledge, that helped me."

With the Brisbane International beginning Sunday, Queensland Tennis has a big week with new facilities honouring male tennis greats Roy Emerson and Rod Laver to be announced this week.

Wendy Turnbull is delighted Queensland Tennis is beginning to recognise both its former men and women stars from an era when Australia dominated world tennis.

"I have always thought it was about time they named something after Roy Emerson," she said.

"He was one of the all-time great Queenslanders and it has taken them this long to name something after him?

"I mean, Emmo? He held 12 Grand Slam singles titles for the longest time, until Pete Sampras broke his record.

"He was just a forgotten champion for just a long time."

Suggestions that fellow Queenslander Rod Laver be knighted caught Wendy Turnbull by surprise.

She agreed Rod Laver was in the same sporting class as Sir Donald Bradman and Sir Jack Brabham.

"Rod is such a humble person," she said.

"Everyone loves Rod. You mention Rod Laver's name in the 'States and everyone knows of Rod.

"And I think Roger Federer has helped remind everybody of Rod's abilities.

"I think if Rod wants it he should have it because he has been such a great ambassador not only for tennis, but for Australia all over the world."

Wendy Turnbull doubts Australia can recover the dominant tennis position it was in 40 or 50 years ago simply because "the world" now plays tennis.

"And there is so many other things available to the kids now," she said.

"But the only way you are going to do it is expose them to the sport," she said, praising recent moves to build more rebound walls around the city to let kids hit a tennis ball for free.

Turnbull says natural ability must be complemented by tactics and strategy to move into the higher ranks.

She said Rene Richards taught Martina Navratilova to study tactics to take her game to the highest level, while Chris Evert read the play – and her opponent – only once the game started.

Turnbull believes today's modern tennis "power game" sometimes lacks tactics.

On the eve of the Brisbane International, Turnbull offered "constructive criticism" to Australia's highest–ranked female player, Sam Stosur.

"It is a remarkable achievement to win the US Open it really is.....but I don't see her as a good 'tactician'," Turnbull said.

"It is difficult these days because everybody hits the ball so hard, but they talk about Sam as having one of the best serves in women's tennis, but how many times is she broken?

"You can't say she has one of the best serves in women's tennis if she gets broken all the time.

"If those people are getting her serve back, then you've got to be doing something else.

"So if she reads this I would like her to look upon this as constructive criticism.

"Some people are natural tacticians, but there are others you can teach it to.

"But sometimes I think coaches try to control the player a bit too much, rather than letting the player grow."

Turnbull, back in Australia for six to eight weeks to see her three brothers, three sisters and assorted nephews and nieces, said winning Wimbledon remained her career highlight.

"For me, I was good junior, I used to stay up and watch Wimbledon on the old black and white sets," she said.

"And then you dream of playing and winning there."

"As a junior growing up in Queensland and playing the junior tournaments here, the next thing was that you wanted to go overseas and play.

"And going 'overseas' meant you wanted to be at Wimbledon. Wimbledon was the focus more than the French or the US Open."

Seeing the historic courts for the first time was a huge thrill.

"Because it is everything that you dreamt that it would be," she said.

"A lot of time when you dream of something it can be a bit of a let down.

"Wimbledon was not a letdown. And even though Wimbledon has changed over the years, there is still that great feeling that you get seeing it again."

The Wimbledon's dressing room "joke-talk" of curtseying at the service line was quickly forgotten she said, as she took part in one of her first matches, a mixed doubles game with John Lloyd.

"John was at the time married to Chris Evert and I would at times go for a really big forehand return, so John and Chrissy dubbed it my 'Royal Box' return," she said.

Her wins at Wimbeldon are the biggest thrills of her tennis career.

"It is still something you dream of," she said.

"Admittedly it wasn't singles, but I won three titles there, a ladies doubles (in 1978 with Kerry Melville-Reid) and two mixed doubles (1983 and 1984, with John Lloyd) there," she said.

She remains intensely proud of her international singles record, in an era when Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova dominated women's tennis.

"I never thought I would get into the top 10 singles players in the world, but I got there and I stayed there for eight consecutive years," she said.

She says only now does she feel she needs to remind people that she won top-level singles games as well as being the world's leading doubles player of her time.

"It never used to bother me, but sometimes as you get older, it does bother me," she said.

"I mean, I was a top singles player.

"I mean, I got to the final of the French, the US and the Australian Open singles tournaments.

"And at the French Open one year I got to the finals of all three events (singles, doubles and mixed doubles) and won two out of the three.

"And as Chris Evert said, after I lost to her in the singles, 'Two out of three ain't bad."
Dec 31st, 2014 08:54 AM
Hugues Daniel
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

Thanks for the links, Rollo. I didn't realize Wendy was small while watching some streams of her matches, actually. Nice pics there! Talented bunch with Rosie, Hana, etc. Yeah, they must have a lot of stories to tell for the tennis fan. Internet is a great place to share that and everything else.
Dec 31st, 2014 01:18 AM
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

In this clip Wendy explains how Ion Tiriac gave her the nickname of "The Rabbitt"

LOL@ her nephews calling her "Auntie Rabitt"
Dec 31st, 2014 01:04 AM
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

An Interview with Wendy-there are several on youtube:

Another interview-the clip includes photos of Wenders-she talks about the 1988 Olympics.
Dec 31st, 2014 12:50 AM
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

We would need more. I love how she slept on that clay, really gracefully. Great touch, and great smash movement. Beautiful style! I guess she was called the "rabitt" (right spelling?) for being fast?
Yes Hughues-because she was fast. Her coach talks about it in the you tube clip below

Daphne Seeney Fancutt, Turnbull's first coach-on her pupil:
Dec 31st, 2014 12:22 AM
Hugues Daniel
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
Points from 1977 US Open final vs Evert

That is my favourite document about Wendy on the net.

We would need more. I love how she slept on that clay, really gracefully. Great touch, and great smash movement. Beautiful style! I guess she was called the "rabitt" (right spelling?) for being fast?
Dec 30th, 2014 11:27 PM
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

At White City in 1980

A whirling dervish action shot at New South Wales in 1980. In a final she was never to forget Turnbull saved 8 match point over a distraught Pam Shriver

Dec 30th, 2014 11:24 PM
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

The 1977 US Open

Dec 30th, 2014 11:19 PM
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

At Wimbledon in 1979. It was her toughest of the 4 slams in singles, as she never made it past the quarterfinals. Wimbledon was her first slam however-memorably saving a match point with partner Kerry Reid to beat Mima Jausovec/Virginia Ruzici in an exciting doubles final.

Dec 30th, 2014 11:16 PM
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

A full match from Eastbourne in 1984 vs Pascale Paradis;
Dec 30th, 2014 11:13 PM
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

Points from 1977 US Open final vs Evert
Apr 18th, 2014 01:01 AM
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

Originally Posted by preacherfan View Post
I saw her play in an early round match against Anne White in New Orleans in 1987. The crowd wasn't large, but they responded well to Wendy's entertaining style and Anne's glamour. There was one particular point that included some amazing saves, and the crowd oohed and aahed and cheered during play. After the point concluded, the chair ump asked the crowd to refrain from making noise during the point. Wendy raised her arms and said, "Ah come on, let them cheer. It's fun." What a great sport!
lol that sounds so Wendy, she was so down to earth, I really loved her commentary she did here on the 7 network I wish they would have her again. I remember as a teen seeing her play at the NSW open warm up tournament for the Aus Open and have a great win over Mandlikova whilst probably carrying quite a few extra pounds. Its a shame she didn't win one of those grand slam finals she played in but its great she even made them. Its funny I don't see Chris having much to do with her lately when she was quite a good friend at one stage.
Apr 15th, 2014 02:25 PM
Re: "Rabitt"-The Wendy Turnbull Thread

I saw her play in an early round match against Anne White in New Orleans in 1987. The crowd wasn't large, but they responded well to Wendy's entertaining style and Anne's glamour. There was one particular point that included some amazing saves, and the crowd oohed and aahed and cheered during play. After the point concluded, the chair ump asked the crowd to refrain from making noise during the point. Wendy raised her arms and said, "Ah come on, let them cheer. It's fun." What a great sport!
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