I don't hear or read very much about this obviously great Australian from the 60s, yet she won the French Championships twice, beating Margaret Smith in what turned out to be a very important match that year. I know she later married Bill Bowrey, however, what happened to her? Did she simply retire or fade away? What's she doing now?
Lesley Bowrey had an official position with tennis Australia a few years back - she was captain of the Australian Fed Cup team (I think). She lives in Sydney. There are about three kids, and one (Michelle) was a top junior player - but didn't really progress. I can remember a great story some time ago when a visitor to White City (the main grass court venue in Sydney) noticed these two middle aged women hitting on one of the back courts - and then starting thinking, "Wow these girls are pretty good" - and it happened to be Lesley Bowrey and Jan Lehane. I think they are still pretty close friends and probably still hit together!
Bowrey also coached Jelena Dokic for a while from the time she was 13 or so to 16. Again I think it was Daddy Dokic who stuffed that up - over money or not wanting to let Bowrey take the credit or whatever. Some would say that Jelena hasn't really improved much in the last five years or so.
Was Lesley an all-court player, or did she camp out at the baseline?
Great idea for a thread, alfa. This is a player I want to know more about, too. She was World #2 to Smith-Court in 1963, ranked ahead of players like Jones, King and Hard, so obviously a major force for a while. I know she picked up almost 50 singles titles during the 1960s and beat all the greats of that era - King, Court, Bueno Jones and Hard. I've never seen a video-recording of her playing either but an excellent doubles record of 7 women's doubles slams suggests she was no mean attacker.
Well, I had to go look her up in Bud Collins book, because I knew nothing about her. :lol: It says in addition to the French she also won the Italian. I'm going to assume then she must have been a pretty good clay court player.
On Dokic, didn't she play doubles for a while with Conchita Martinez about a year or two years ago? Seems like I remember them playing for a short bit and doing fairly well for a new team then :bolt: poof no more. Wonder if Daddy put an end to that too?
Yes, Lesley was a great baseliner. Wasn't a great volleyer but she was sound. So predominantly a clay courter... but still did well at Wimbledon, reaching the Semis in 64 and only just losing to Bueno 6-4 in the 3rd. I have this match and Lesley gave Maria all she could handle.
Lesley had beautiful groundstrokes, and was definately one of the top 4 baseliners of the 60s along with Durr & Richey..... Margaret Court of course was the top claycourter of her era as well as the top grasscourt player.
I have met Lesley a few times and she is pleasant enough.... of course she was much more friendly after she realised she could get footage from me. LOL. One of my friends has played regularly against her in Div 1 Badge competition in Sydney ... said Lesley is deadly serious and fiercly competitive even to this day. Great to see she still has the competitifve juices!
I will try and dig up some more info on her when I get some time. In the meantime, thanks Alfajeffster for starting this thread on the hugely talented Lesley Turner.
Thanks for the groovy little purple man saying "poof no more" - RohanHJ! I will do some thinking about Lesley Turner as well. My memory of her play was of classsic groundstrokes and great footwork - lots of little steps as she ran from side to side on the court. She also played the French in 1977 or 78 (after having a couple of kids) and did quite well - although her style of play probably appeared a bit antiquated by then. My memory of the history is that she was something of a nemesis to Margaret Smith when they were both juniors. In fact the year that Smith won the Australian National for the first time (1960) she lost to Turner in the junior girls!
But after that Margaret was clearly ascendant. Obviously Lesley probably didn't really enjoy being in Margaret's shadow for most of her career. But she won a couple of slams and beat everybody there was to beat. There are some interesting little side aspects that we can track down - like she was rumoured to have a nervous collapse at one point - which came during or shortly after being on an Australian travelling team in 1964 with John Newcombe, Tony Roche, and Margaret Smith. And there was allegedly a romance with Tony Roche at about the same time. Probably ranks as the third or fourth best Australian woman player of all time. I'll keep searching and I'll be interested to see what tennisvideos has to offer as well.
For those who have never seen her
Lesley also played in the 1978 Wimbledon Championships and came up against defending Champion Virginia Wade. In one of the tennis mags that mentioned her in its review of that year's tournament, she was described as being a typical product of 60s tennis and having a "baby serve, sliced backhand!"
Lesley Turner's Main Results 1959-78
Hopefully the info below gives an overview of Lesley Turner's main achievements. For each year there's a summary of her performances in the majors (for details see the Grand Slam results threads) and a list of her tournament wins and finals as far as I know them. There are probably plenty of gaps but it's already an impressive list which shows that she was one of the leading names of the 1960s. As always, if anyone has information to add, please go ahead!
QF Australian Champs
Sydney Manly Seaside Champs (Dec 59) def. unknown
Sydney Metrepolitan GC: lost final to Lehane 62 60
Last 16 Australian Champs
Tasmanian Champs def. unknown
Australian HC def. Robberds 62 62
Sydney Metropolitan GC def. Noeline Turner (her sister) 60 64
Queensland GC lost final to Smith-Court 108 61
Sydney Manly Seaside Champs def. unknown
Victorian Champs: def. Carter-Reitano 46 97 63
Last 16 Australia & France, Last 64 Wimbledon, QF US Champs.
Manchester Northern lost final to Reynolds-Price 64 63 def. Smith-Court 62 63 sf
Italian Champs: lost final to Bueno 64 64
Cologne: lost final to Lehane 68 64 61
Dusseldorf: def. Ostermann 63 62
Australian HC lost final to Smith-Court 62 06 75
Queensland GC: divided with Ramirez, Lehane and Smith-Court
Year-end rank: outside top 10 (Lance Tingay)
Final French Champs, QF Australia & Wimbledon, Last 16 US Champs
Lugano: lost final to Smith-Court 62 61
Gstaad/Swiss Champs lost final to Reynolds-Price 68 64 97
FRENCH CHAMPS: lost final to Smith-Court 63 36 75*
*Turner had a match point at 5-3 40-30 serving in the final set.
West Berlin: def. Lehane 86 36 62
Beckenham/Kent Champs: lost final to Lehane 75 63
Dusseldorf: def Lehane 62 61
Kitzbuhel: lost final to Reynolds-Price 46 64 86
Australian HC: def. Lehane 46 64 64
Perth Western Australian GC: Lost final to Christine Truman 60 68 10-8
NSW GC: lost final to Smith-Court 86 62
Sydney Manly Seaside Champs: def. Lehane 64 63
Sydney Metropolitan GC: def Starkie 46 62 63
Victorian Champs: lost final to Smith-Court 64 86
Year-end rank: 7 (Lance Tingay)
Won French Champs, SF Australia, L16 Wimbledon, DNP US.
Auckland International: def. Ruia Morrison 62 61
Tasmanian: def. Smith-Court 26 75 61
Tampa Dixie: lost Hard 97 16 75 in final. beat Bueno 62 57 86 in sf.
Caracas Altamira: lost final to Bueno 75 86
Kingston: def. Catt 63 61
Montego Bay: def. Bueno 36 60 62
Miami Good Neighbor: def. Hard 60 75 final and Bueno 64 64 sf
Barranquilla: def. Hard 36 63 62
St Petersburg Masters Invitational: lost final to Bueno 62 119
Naples: def. Smith-Court 64 57 61
Monte Carlo:def. Lehane 57 86 62
Aix Golden Racquet:def. Lehane 57 64 63
Italian Champs: lost final to Smith-Court 63 64
FRENCH CHAMPS: def. Haydon-Jones 26 63 75
Manchester Northern: lost sf to Darlene Hard 6-4 6-4
Beckenham: lost sf to Jan Lehane 6-2 7-5
Dutch Champs: def. Schuurman 62 61
Dusseldorf: lost final to Smith-Court 63 62
Gstaad/Swiss Champs: lost final to Ebbern 63 64
Portschach/Austrian Champs: lost final to Schuurman 64 36 86
Munich Bavarian Championships: Lost final to Schuurman 61 61
German Champs.: lost final to Schuurman 63 16 63
Australian HC: lost sf to Joan Gibson 61 57 75
Queensland GC: lost final to Smith-Court 63 62, beat King 10-8 64 in sf.
Sydney Manly Seaside Champs. Lost final to Lehane walkover.
Victorian Champs: lost Smith-Court 64 64
Year-end rank: 2 (Lance Tingay)
F Australia, SF France & Wimbledon, L64 US Champs.
Western Australian: def. Tegart 68 63 86
AUSTRALIAN CHAMPS: lost final to Smith-Court 63 62
Italian Champs: lost final to Smith-Court 61 61
Dusseldorf: lost final to Smith-Court 16 61 64
Swiss Champs, Lausanne: lost qf to Carol Rosser 7-9 6-4 6-2
Gstaad: lost final to Smith-Court 64 62
London Grass Courts: lost sf to Ann Jones 6-1 6-2
Hanover: lost qf to Madonna Schacht 6-2 2-6 6-2
German Champs: lost sf to Maria Bueno 9-11 6-3 6-3
Sydney Metropolitan GC: def. Blackman 62 64
Queensland GC: lost final to Smith-Court 11-9 61
Federation Cup Final: def. Nancy Richey 7-5 6-1
Year-end rank: 3 (Lance Tingay)
W France, QF Wimbledon, L16 Australia, DNP US Champs.
Miami Good Neighbor: lost final to Smith-Court 62 86
Barranquilla: def. Smith-Court 16 64 64
Trinidad International: def. Durr 75 62
Caracas Altamira: lost final to Smith-Court 46 62 75
River Plate Champs. def. Smith-Court 63 63
Atlanta Invitational : lost final to Smith-Court: walkover
FRENCH CHAMPS: def. Smith-Court 63 64, def Bueno 26 64 86 qf
Manchester Northern: lost sf to Bueno 6-3 7-5
Beckenham: lost qf to Moffitt 6-2 6-1
Edgbaston: lost qf to Wade 6-2 3-6 6-3
Frinton/Essex Champs: def. Blakelock-Lloyd 64 63
Baden Baden: lost final to Smith-Court 62 61
Bavarian Champs: lost final to Baylon 46 75 64
German Champs: lost sf to Buding 7-5 6-2
Sydney Metropolitan GC: divided w/ Lehane
Australian HC: def. Smith-Court 75 63
Queensland GC lost final to Smith-Court 62 63
South Australian: lost final to Richey 86 62
Year-end rank: 3 (Lance Tingay)
Last 16 Australia, DNP Roland Garros, Wimbledon or Forest Hills.
Queensland GC: def. Melville 60 86
Queensland HC: def Sherriff 64 64
NSW GC: def. Melville 68 97 63
South Australian: def. Melville 62 64
Sydney Metropolitan GC: Lost final to Joan Gibson 57 75 64
Year-end rank: outside top 10 (Lance Tingay)
Final Australia and France, SF US Champs, QF Wimbledon.
Tasmanian Champs: lost final to Richey 64 62
AUSTRALIAN CHAMPS: lost final to Richey 61 64
Naples: def. Harter 63 62
Reggio di Calabria: def. Kodesova-Vopickova 86 64
Palermo: def. Harter 63 62
Catania: def. Baksheeva 64 64
Italian Champs: def. Bueno 63 63
Roehampton Rothmans Inv. def. Tegart 63 64
FRENCH CHAMPS: lost final to Durr 46 63 64. Turner led 4-2 in 3rd set.
Montana Invitational: beat Lehane 62 75
German Champs: lost final to Durr 64 64
Australian HC: def. Melville 16 75 62
Sydney Metropolitan HC: beat Blackman 62 63
Queensland GC: lost final to Melville 62 64
Victorian Champs: lost final to King 63 36 75
Federation Cup Berlin
Q lost to Francoise Durr 9-7 6-1
S lost to Ann Jones 6-2 6-2
Year-end rank: 5 (Lance Tingay)
SF Australia, QF Wimbledon, DNP French or US Open.
Caracas: lost qf to Val Ziegenfuss 4-6 6-4 8-6
Curacao: lost qf to Christina Sandberg 6-4 6-4
Barranquilla: lost final to Richey 62 60
St Petersburg Masters Invitational: lost final to Richey 75 60
Italian Champs: def. Smith-Court 62 26 63
Istanbul: lost final to Gail Sherriff 62 75
Queensland GC: lost sf to Karen Krantzcke 6-2 6-4
Year-end rank: 9 (Lance Tingay) 8 (Bud Collins) 6 (Rino Tommasi)
SF France (beat King 63 63 qf), QF Wimbledon, L16 Australia, L32 US Open
Tasmanian Champs: lost sf to Kerry Melville 6-3 4-6 6-2
Victorian Champs: lost qf to Kerry Melville 6-4 6-3
NSW Champs: lost qf to Margaret Court 6-1 6-1
Caracas: lost sf to Maria Bueno 8-6 6-3
St Petersburg Masters Invitational: lost final to Melville 64 63
Kingston International: def. Hogan 46 62 97
West Berlin: lost final to Krantzcke 61 62
Italian Champs: lost qf to Julie Heldman 3-6 6-4 6-1
Wills West of England, Bristol: lost qf to Margaret Court 6-0 6-1
Western Open def. G. Sherriff 16 75 10-10 rtd
Kansas/Heart of America def. Harris 86 46 75
Year-end rank: 10 (Lance Tingay and Bud Collins)
Did not play
QF France, L16 Wimbledon, Last 16 Australia, DNP US Open (withdrew)
Belfast Ulster: def. Hunt 06 64 86
Philadelphia Merion GC: lost final to Pande 06 62 63
Did not play
L16 Australia, L32 US Open, DNP Roland Garros or Wimbledon
Orange/Eastern GC: lost final to Bonicelli 64 75
Last 64 Australia. Did not play French Wimbledon or US Open
Western Australian Open: lost final to Niessen-Masthoff 62 36 63
QF Australia. Did not play French, Wimbledon or US Open.
L32 Australia (January). DNP French, Wimbledon, US Australian (Dec).
Tasmanian Open: lost final to Fox 62 46 76
L16 France, L64 Wimbledon
Australian Champs 1964 (w/Tegart) 1965 (w/Smith-Court) 1967 (w/Tegart); French Champs 1964, 1965 (w/Smith-Court); Wimbledon 1964 (w/Smith-Court); US Champs 1961 (w/Hard).
Also won US Clay Court Champs 1969 (w/Sherriff-Chanfreau); Italian Champs 1961 (w/Lehane), 1964 (w/Smith-Court), 1967 (w/Casals)
Australian Champs 1963 (w/Lehane) 1966 (w/Court) 1968 (w/Tegart) 1976 (w/Tomanova); French Open 1978 (w/Chanfreau-Lovera); US Champs 1964 (w/Smith); Italian Open 1971 (w/Gourlay).
Australian Champs 1962 (w/ Lehane) 1975 (w/ Tegart)
Wimbledon 1961, Australian Champs 1962, Italian Champs 1962, Wimbledon 1964 (w/Stolle), Australian Champs 1967 (w/Davidson), Italian Champs 1967 (w/Bowrey).
US Champs 1962 (w/Froehling), Australian Champs 1963, French Champs 1962, 1963, 1964 (w/Stolle).
Thanks to alf for this thread, and Andy again for Lesley's results. :)
My info describes Lesley's footwork and timeing on her groundies to be first rate. As TV says, she had no problems on any surface.
Jan Lehane was the leading junior of the Court, Turner time - and had Marg's number many times. Turner almost was hard for Marg to beat in her early days.
Turner being the no. 1 Aussie in the womens touring team (because Marg toured privately having fallen out with Nell Hopman) was under alot of pressure during this time. The pressure being that whenever she'd played Margaret, she needed to win to punish Marg for her 'obvious' disrespect for tennis in Australia. They played a close French final in which Marg squeezed through. Lesley was also banned from practicing with Marg as well. Eventually Lesley ignored the rule and did hit with Marg, much to the apparent disgust of Mrs. Hopman who duly berated Lesley afterwards.
Bowrey was a good Fed Cup captain, dedicated by travelling the globe assisting Aussie players with their games. Whereas the likes of Turnbull and now Cawley weren't/aren't able to committ this far. Bowrey run a stern ship and was not afraid to tell the likes of Rachel McQuillan etc... wheneever she thought they weren;t working hard enough. This obviously didn't sit well with many girls and some ran a media campaign to have her replaced. Complaints also involved Bowrey coaching Dokic and some of the Aussie girls thought Bowrey was giving her too much time. (Dokic was selected as the no. 2 singles player for Aus in fed Cup when she was 15 and not ranked in the top 500 which caused controversy too - she won both singles so it wasn't a controversy in the end) The campaign didn't work but eventually they put the position up for application and Cawley, for her profile, won.
Bowrey improved Dokic's game markedly from her 15-17 period and Jelena had more variety and safety in her game then, than her bashing about now. However Daddy Dokic's philosophy was to use the coach when they needed them, and just as credit was starting to go the coachs way, then the Dokic's would move on.
As in her playing days, her coaching was really given it's due.
One reporter said that he could recognize Turner by her feet. One day he was passing a court with a screen and could only see her "twinkle toes"-but the footwork was so good it vould only be Turner.
Lesley was never the same after she got married. I'm not sure when she had kids-doubtless that would have taken it's toll as well.
I'm not sure but I think the first was born in 1970 and the second in 1972. Her daughter Michelle Bowrey actually competed in the Aus Open in the late 80s. Her long absence in 1966 was due to a sort of nervous collapse/exhaustion she suffered. Although she continued to play after this and her marriage in 1968/9, as you say Rollo, she was never quite as focussed.
There can't be many women who have beaten Madge at least 7 times during their career (Chrissie and BJK come to mind but I don't know if anyone else did)!
Thanks for all the info Andy, Rollo (lovely photo), TV, Tilden, Louloubelle and everyone. From what it sounds like, Lesley Turner was a scrapper, and I love tennis players who are scrappers!
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