Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2016, 12:24 AM Thread Starter
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Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

FROMHOLTZ, DIANNE (Dianne Lee Fromholtz)
Australia
Born 10 August 1956 in Albury
Married Claude Maurice Balestrat of France 26 December 1982
Daughter Miel born c 1993.
Height: 5' 4" (165 cm)
[Active 1971-1990]

1977 Australian doubles winner and singles finalist.

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.

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.

Her career suffered a setback in 1981 when she was involved in two separate serious car accidents. After those incidents she was never quite the same force.

Singles


Career record 429–223
Career titles 23
Highest ranking No. 4 (19 March 1979)

World Rankings (computer ranking only began in 1975)1975: #20
1976: #6
1977: #8
1978: #10
1979: #6

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)

Doubles


Career record 134–141
Career titles 6
Highest ranking No. 56 (14 September 1987

At the 1977 Colgate Championships






Sources and Links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dianne_Fromholtz

1980 WTA Media Guide, page 65.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2016, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

Anyone have memories of Fromholtz? She was blonde, quiet, classy, and at her best in the late 70s somewhat feared. She never quite broke through to win a major.


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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 27th, 2016, 11:29 PM
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

ooops somehow missed this thread. Thanks for the images Rollo.


Di and Kerry Reid were the only top 10 players in the Australian 1977 and unfortunately Dianne didn't her play her best throughout the whole tournament. Nine years her senior, Kerry probably wasn't going to let this opportunity slip for a slam title.


She took about three years off after 1981, and from 1984 (I may have to check these years) she came back on the tour through the satellite circuit. She made the final of the Sydney indoor tournament (1985 or 86?) losing to Pam Shriver which signalled her return to the tour. The backhand was the a glorious looking stroke, though after her comeback she returned to the tour in great physical shape from training with sand bags on her back!


Didn't play Fed Cup after she returned to the tour, basically saying that after 10 years she had given enough to the team. I remember in an old Tennis Australia magazine, I think Dianne had said that she was a little peeved (pre-break) that she was omitted from the team by reading this in a newspaper.


Her best result after her break was reaching the QF at Wimbledon where she lost to Navratilova. Unfortunately, as was often the case with Australian tennis telecasts, the match wasn't televised and all we got was a 30 second highlights package. (Too busy getting excited with Pat cash that year). She was able to reach the top 20 post-break as well.


Played well into her 30's and was given the honour of being the first player to play a match on the Rod Laver Arena (Flinders Park) in the 1st round of the Australian Open 1988. Unfortunately lost 8-6 in the third to 200+ ranked US player Wendy Wood. Dianne played the AO the next year losing to Andrea Leand, and w/o checking, maybe her last slam match.


Dianne did get involved in coaching and her daughter Meil did play some local Australian money tournaments a few years ago.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 2016, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

Thanks for sharing Louloubelle.

Sand bags on her back! That's some serious commitment. Do you know if she and her husband are still living in Australia?

I share your pain about TV from that era. 1979 was the year I saw Fromholtz most on the telly-and it was very little really. After beating up on Chris Evert Di was invited to a special 4 woman event. In Washington a local network had her beating Wendy Turnbull.

How nice it would be to see clips of her beating Chris! Your post mentioned Fed Cup--Fromholtz had a terrific battle vs Evert in Madrid in 1979. It was something like 8-6 in the third, and this just weeks before the French!


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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 2016, 01:12 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

The 1980 World of Tennis has a photo of Di and Chris and a match report on pages 230 and 231 by Laurie Pignon

Chris (playing as Evert-Lloyd for the first time) won 2-6 6-3 8-6.

..'often punished by the forehand of Miss Fromholtz" Evert-Lloyd dropped serve 3 times in the first set, even losing 15 of 16 points at one stage.

Down 0-1 in the second, Chris recovered by use of the drop shot. Fromholtz raced in and fell on the red clay right near the net post to even things 1 apiece. This "broke the spell" as she lost the second stanza.

A rest and torrential rain delayed matters for 90 minutes. Evert-Lloyd held serve at love both times she had to serve to stay in the match.

"Sensing that her chance had gone, and mentally tired, the Australian, who plays with the heart and spirit of a Jack Russell terrier, began to press, which led to mistakes, and eventually to her downfall. Although the playing time was 2 hours 18 minutes the duration of the match was almost four hours."

Just a couple weeks later Chris routined Dianne 6-1 6-3 in the semis at Roland Garros.

P. S. Di also beat Martina Navratilova twice in 1979!


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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 2016, 10:38 PM
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

^ Thanks Rollo.


I did read somewhere that Di and Claude still live in Australia. Unless Dianne's coaching has taken her overseas recently. Unfortunately I don't think Tennis Australia have ever used her expertise.


Yes, would've loved to see some footage of Dianne playing in the late 70's, particularly in matches against Chris. I would've imagined Dianne preferring to play Martina & Billie Jean (utilising a target) than Chris.... so for her to get 3 or so wins against Chris is amazing.

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old Mar 28th, 2016, 11:18 PM
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

On youtube they have her 3rd round of Wimbledon against Jo Durie.

What was a bit unique in her game, that she used topspin on both sides. Most of the ladies sliced on the backhand in the 70th.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old Apr 2nd, 2016, 10:02 PM
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

Hardway was always a pleasure to watch - even in the 80s when past her peak.

I remember being disappointed that, after she & Kerry Reid demolished Wade & Barker in the 1977 Fed Cup, Di had to withdraw from Wimbledon the next week and Kerry couldn't replicate her form.

In the finals of Fed Cup (77 & 78) it was unlucky that team selection followed wta rankings. If Di had been able to play Evert as #1 Aussie, things might have been different in both finals.

In Australia, she was probably at her best on the courts of White City in Sydney where conditions often favoured lefties.

Probably the most vivid memory I have of Di playing doubles (she wasn't that comfortable at the net unlike most other Aussies at the time) is the Wimbledon Mixed final (1980? vs the Austins) where Mark Edmondson was pretty disrespectful, almost pushing Di out of the way to take overheads. They really should have been the superior team that day.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2016, 05:41 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

Quote:
In the finals of Fed Cup (77 & 78) it was unlucky that team selection followed wta rankings. If Di had been able to play Evert as #1 Aussie, things might have been different in both finals.
True Geetee! Dianne had a surprising number of wins and close matches with Evert.

Was "Hardway" a nickname? And if so how or why did she get it.

Nice to read your post-you've been missed friend
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2016, 05:51 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

Quote:
Posted by Chaton What was a bit unique in her game, that she used topspin on both sides. Most of the ladies sliced on the backhand in the 70th.
That surprised me too Chaton. I was wrong in thinking she was all forehand.
Louloubelle was spot on about her backhand being "a glorious looking stroke"

What I found intriguing about the match vs Jo Durie was the commentary by Ann Jones. Jones was herself a southpaw with a baseline game. Her commentary is usually incisive, and especially useful to going beyond the obvious.

Here is a link to the at times very entertaining Fromholtz-Durie match:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xicsB7sE0CI


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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2016, 05:52 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

A very short clip of Fromholtz vs Evert from the 1975 US Clay Courts. Her heavy topspin backhand can be seen here too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qkYD7b_HCo


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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2016, 06:05 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

The 1976 World Team Tennis All-Star Match.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv6An2oT1E8


Fromholtz is pretty, the court and film quality are heidi (Rollo speak for hideous) but the crowd is going WILD screaming out even between points.

And we have a little Virginia Wade, and a lot of Betty Stove, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, and Billie Jean King, who helped push this whole World Team Tennis concept.

Oh yeah, and to cap it off the entire match comes down to one point they called "sudden death".

Watch and enjoy


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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2016, 06:12 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

Mainly about Chris Evert-but the clips used are from the 1979 French semi vs Dianne Fromholtz, so if you watch it through one can catch glimpses of Di. It also shows how great Evert's defensive skills were, as Di has her hustling in many rallies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRXDvqW7Exg


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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old Apr 5th, 2016, 07:17 AM
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

The commentator makes it sound like "Wacky Races"!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
The 1976 World Team Tennis All-Star Match.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv6An2oT1E8


Fromholtz is pretty, the court and film quality are heidi (Rollo speak for hideous) but the crowd is going WILD screaming out even between points.

And we have a little Virginia Wade, and a lot of Betty Stove, Chris Evert, Evonne Goolagong, and Billie Jean King, who helped push this whole World Team Tennis concept.

Oh yeah, and to cap it off the entire match comes down to one point they called "sudden death".

Watch and enjoy
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old Apr 7th, 2016, 10:37 AM
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Re: Lady Di: The Dianne Fromholtz Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollo View Post
True Geetee! Dianne had a surprising number of wins and close matches with Evert.

Was "Hardway" a nickname? And if so how or why did she get it.

Nice to read your post-you've been missed friend

Gee Tee did it come about during the 1977 Australian Open, where she had a number of close matches (winning matches the hard way)??

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeeTee View Post
Probably the most vivid memory I have of Di playing doubles (she wasn't that comfortable at the net unlike most other Aussies at the time) is the Wimbledon Mixed final (1980? vs the Austins) where Mark Edmondson was pretty disrespectful, almost pushing Di out of the way to take overheads. They really should have been the superior team that day.

Yes 1980 and they had match points as well.

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