New South Wales Championships
New South Wales Championships/Open Tournament History
The New South Wales Championships is among the oldest surviving tournaments on the international circuit – including Grand Slam events - and in 2005 celebrated its 120th birthday. From the mid 1885 to 1922, when the National Championships ceased to be a men-only event, the NSW and Victorian Championships (which began in 1884 but ceased to exist in 1971, since when the titles have been awarded to the winner of the Australian Open) were the leading events for Australian women. In fact, their status remained sufficiently high for Adrian Quist to write in the 1973 Encyclopedia of Tennis (edited by Max Robertson, p. 201) that from “an Australian viewpoint, the Championships of New South Wales (Sydney) and Victoria (Melbourne) carry almost the same prestige as the national titles.”
Traditionally held on the grass courts at White City in Sydney, they have been interrupted just once, from 1941-44 during WWII. In 1989, the surface switched to Rebound Ace, to bring the event in line with the surface used at the Australian Open at Flinders Park and at the turn of the millennium, the tournament left White City for the NSW tennis centre at Homebush Bay, which had been constructed for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. With Kuznetsova slated to play in the 2006 tournament, from what I can see, every winner of a grand slam tournament between Wimbledon 1958 and the US Open 2005 with two exceptions Karen Hantze-Susman, the Wimbledon Champion of 1962 who never played in Australia, and 2004 Wimbledon Champion Maria Sharapova has graced the tournament, though Tracy Austin only played doubles there once.
In the years before 1958, the roll of honour of the championships contains few foreigners and it took 49 years (1934) before Britain’s Dorothy Round became the first foreign winner. She remained the only non-Australian champion until Americans Doris Hart (1948) and Maureen Connolly (1952) came along after World War II. Nevertheless, virtually all the leading Australians, Margaret Molesworth (1919, 21), Sylvia Lance-Harper (1924,28), Daphne Akhurst (1929), Esna Boyd (1923, 26, 27), Joan Hartigan (1933), Beryl Penrose-Collier (1954), Thelma Coyne-Long (1935, 38, 40, 51, 53) and Nancye Wynne Bolton (1936, 37, 39, 45, 46, 47), appear on the roll of honour.
In the late 1950s and 1960s, doubtless due to a combination of Australian domination of men’s tennis raising the prestige of the Australian circuit and the rise in popularity of women’s tennis, the number of foreign competitors on the Australian circuit slowly began to increase. The following is a brief journey through the history of the New South Wales Championships from 1955-2005. As the Australian summer spans the turn of the year, I’ve used both years to show the season and then, when known, given the month the event took place. I’ve also noted the year-end ranking of the players (Lance Tingay’s top 10 until 1974 and then those of the WTA computer) to give an idea about the strength of the field.
Many thanks are due to Chris for some of the pre-final results pre 1967 and to AndrewTas for the full roll of honour he has compiled. If anyone can fill in any of the missing SF and QF results, that’d be great.
Yearly reports originally posted by Andy T
Last edited by Rollo : Mar 6th, 2012 at 01:55 PM.