FROMHOLTZ, DIANNE (Dianne Lee Fromholtz)
Born 10 August 1956 in Albury, New South Wales
Married Claude Maurice Balestrat (of France) on 26 December 1982
Daughter Miel born c 1993.
Height: 5' 4" (165 cm)
Nickname: "Hard Way"
1977 Australian doubles winner and singles finalist.
Blonde, quiet, classy, and at her best in the late 70s somewhat feared. She never quite broke through to win a major.
The Aussie lefty can be excused for having tennis on the brain-she was born just 2 blocks away from the home of Margaret Court. Starting tennis at the age of 7, she gave up ballet to pursue tennis. Margaret Court was Dianne's mentor during her early years. While she bloomed under Court's tutelage, in some quarters it was felt that trying to emulate Margaret hindered her development. She burst on the scene in 1973 at the age of 16 by winning 10 minor events across Europe. Dianne traveled on this continental adventure in a station wagon big enough for her, her mom, sister, and a traveling companion to sleep in.
Fromholtz was in the world top ten in 1976, one sign of her elite status was being one of only four women to beat Chris Evert all year.
In 1977 she made the final in Australia. A 7-5 6-2 defeat at the hands of veteran Kerry Reid was the closest she ever came to a major. The doubles title in Australia with Helen Cawley was some consolation.
Later that year she had a huge upset over Chris Evert at the Colgate Championships in the round robin. Her failure to beat Martina Navratilova or Virginia Wade in her next two matches deprived Dianne of a spot in the final.
At the 1977 Colgate Championships
1979 was her best year on the circuit. She won a major event at Boston, reached the semis of the French, and had wins over Evert and Navratilova. 1980 was still a good year, but an ankle injury kept her out much of the winter.
Her career suffered a setback in 1982 when she was involved in two separate serious car accidents. After those incidents she was never quite the same force. Much of the desire to win was gone in 1983 and 1984. 1985 saw a resurgence of will, as she shot up 69 spots in the rankings to end at #30 on the back of making the finals at the Sydney Indoors. Much of the renewed drive came from her happy marriage to Claude Balestrat. After her comeback she returned to the tour in great physical shape from training with sand bags on her back!
After retirement Dianne did get involved in coaching and her daughter Meil did play some local Australian money tournaments.
As a lefty Fromholtz gave top players fits. She could clout the forehand, and rarely for her era, had the ability to top and slice off the backhand, "a glorious looking stroke." She was one of the few women to beat Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova more than once when both were at their peaks.
Career record 429–223
Career titles 23
Highest ranking No. 4 (19 March 1979)
(computer ranking only began in 1975)
Grand Slam Singles quality results
Australian Open F (Jan. 1977) QF (1973)
French Open SF (1979, 1980)
Wimbledon QF (1979, 1987)
US Open SF (1976)
Career record 134–141
Career titles 6
Highest ranking No. 56 (14 September 1987)
Sources and Links:
[Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread]
1980 WTA Media Guide, page 65.
1986 World of Tennis, page 292.
[Thanks to Louloubelle and Rollo for this information]