Thanks Rollo and Alfa and
about the skirt with no knickers!
Well what a magic day. I can't believe how lucky I was ... I got to play with Lesley Turner twice, against her twice, and once with and against Wally Masur and also Kerryn Pratt. The tennis was awesome and the highlight was probably the set where I teamed up with Kerryn Pratt against Lesley and her daughter Michelle Bowrey (a beautiful player as well). Talk about strong tennis!
Lesley still hits the ball incredibly well - she is so accurate still and hardly ever misses a shot and is very mobile. Just as you would imagine her to be. And to think she is close to 70 it is astonishing! So getting to rally against her was as big a thrill for me as it was playing against Rosewall a few years back. And it was Rosewall's idea to have the tribute day for Lesley which shows what a great man he is. He thought Lesley hadn't received the recognition she deserved historically here in Australia and I have to agree!
The other big highlight was watching Kerryn interview Lesley during the luncheon for around 25 minutes. It was a great interview and Lesley shared lots of her insights into her early years on tour and her wins in the French and Italian titles. She thought she was able to compete with the great Margaret Court on clay (and we knew she could) but she said that they all struggles on the other surfaces against Margaret and all lived in her shadow. Nothing new there. But she said that going into the 65 French Championships was the first time she believed she would be able to win and beat Margaret - and she did. She also remarked that her career was virtually over after marrying Bill Bowrey, esp as she started to have kids in the late 60s. But we know she was still a tough player as late as 1978 as she mentioned what a thrill it was for her to be invited back to Roland Garros to play singles (she made Rd3) and doubles where she made the final with Gail Chanfreau! Astonishing after being retired for so many years.
I put 4 of her matches onto DVD and gave them as a gift to Lesley and she was thrilled which was great. We also had them playing in the background on bit screen TVs during the luncheon.
We all got to play 6 sets each and I was lucky to finish runner up in the mens section of the event from the 20 guys and one of my good friends won it. So I won a tennis racket, bottle of French Champagne and a tennis towel.
Perhaps the greatest thing about the day was just feeling all the love and respect in the house for the great Lesley Turner and knowing how much the tribute day meant to her. She was most humble and appreciative. I love these tribute days ... seeing people really recognised for their contributions to our great game. Lesley still plays and coaches 6 days a week and she said she just loves tennis so much which was great to hear. Oh and Judy Dalton gave a speech and was hilarious! Still joking around all the time, just as you imagine. There was a video message from Margaret Court and other messages read out on behalf of Billie-Jean King and a few other players of the day.
I took some little clips of Lesley being interviewed and will try and upload them in the coming days. I will post a few pics a short video clip of me playing with Kerryn Pratt against Lesley and her daughter Michelle Bowrey who is a great player in her own right. I think she played the tour or was highly ranked in Australia for some years.