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post #1 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 03:27 AM Thread Starter
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The Other Aussies

I've long been interested in the Aussies of the past. Court and Goolagong get most of the discussion in the BFTP forum. (and Lehane seems to somehow get more than her share) I'd like to dedicate a thread to the other Aussie players of the 60's and 70's. Players like Hall of Famer Lesley Turner Bowrey, 4-time Aussie finalist Lehane, Wimbledon finalist Judy Tegart Dalton, perennial top-tenner Kerry Melville Reid, the late Karen Krantzcke, the Aussie-turned-French Gail Sherriff Chanfreau Lovera, French and Aussie finalist Helen Gourlay Cawley, the ever popular Wendy Turnbull, the dangerous lefty Dianne Fromholtz, the worst Slam winner ever Chris O'Neil and any others you'd like to discuss.

Who's your favorite? Interesting facts or recollections?

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post #2 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 09:29 AM
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To which list we can add Robyn Ebbern and Lesley Hunt, both of whom flirted with the top ten at certain moments.

Traits Gandhi considered the most spiritually perilous to humanity.
*Wealth without Work * Pleasure without Conscience

*Science without Humanity *Knowledge without Character

*Politics without Principle *Commerce without Morality

*Worship without Sacrifice
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post #3 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 10:46 AM
 
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Does anyone have a picture of the "worst Grand Slam winner ever (lol)" O'Neil? I wonder what she'd have to say if someone asked her about her view on her Australian Open win now and if she was aware back then of how important that tournament had been/was/will be.

I think the Australian women players are a bit neglected in general cause professional Tennis was founded in the US and it's always been a network of American players, media, and tournaments plus Wimbledon.
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post #4 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 10:46 AM
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Yes Robyn Ebbern made the top 10 in 64 and played a bit of doubles with Court winning a number of GS titles together including US 63, AO 62 & 63.

I really liked so many of the Aussie gals ... Judy Dalton who is such a lovely and fun woman. Very bubbly and down to earth. Have seen her matches when she was runner up in the 69 Wimbledon Singles and Wimbledon Doubles in 72 with Frankie Durr when they lost in 3 sets to King & Casals in a very tempermental match on Court 1. Durr & King were the girls chucking tantrums and Judy was as cool as a cucumber throughout. I'm still see her when I go to the Aussie Open and she's still just the same down to earth lovely gal. She also won the World Vets singles title for her age group a few years back but has since retired for good from the game. A traditional serve & volley stylist in the old Aussie tradition. She won the USO Doubles in 70 & 71 with Court, the AO in 64 & 67 (w.Turner) and 69 & 70 (w.Court), Wimbledon 69 (w.Court) and was runner up twice there and won the French in 66 (w.Court). World top tenner for 3 years.

Also loved Gail Chanfreau although I only really got to see her on video as she had retired when I started following the sport. Got to watch her play live in Perth at the World Vets Champs and boy what an unorthodox gal!!!! She used an extreme western grip back in the 60s when it was almost unheard of and had a frypan like forehand and a backhand similar to Kathy Jordan's funny looking one. Imagine her and Frankie Durr as a team - how unorthodox! And yet they had great success, winning the French Open Doubles together 3 times and a number of other titles around the world. She also won the French Doubles again in 76. A few scribes wrote about them being the most unorthodox doubles pair in the history of the sport with their bizzare shots. I got to meet Gail a few times and she's also lots of fun and very friendly as well. But her sister Carol Campling, who still lives here in Australia, is rather aloof and up herself.

I do hope Chris O'Neil never reads these threads as she is always trashed. She is one of the loveliest ladies I have ever met ... so sweet and HEAPS of FUN. You know, I don't think she ever really took her tennis too seriously. She is a great friend of mine and we have played together many times and she has recounted many funny stories from the tour. She used to get up to a lot of mischief .. once she said she turned up for a match at Wimbledon against Sue Barker and she was stoned and when she walked on to court she realised she was in exactly the same outfit (more of a rarity in the early 70s with lots of designer frocks) and she burst into hysterics and couldn't stop giggling for about 5 minutes with her friends who came to watch. I think she said she beat Sue in this match but I can't be certain.

Loved Lesley Turner as a player. Of course in real life she is a tough cookie and hard to get to know. A little aloof one could say. And my best friend's sister has played against her in the local Sydney comp in recent years and says she is the most competitive woman she has ever encountered. Hard and fierce as a competitor. But I loved her style, a very accurate baseliner who hit very flat strokes into the corners ala Chris Evert and Mo Connolly - although not quite as well. She, along with Anne Jones & Nancy Richey, were the premier claycourters of the 60s behind Margaret Court. She won 2 French Opens and went within an inch of winning another two - was Runner up in 62 to Margaret Court after holding a match point and lost to Francoise Durr 6-4 in the 3rd in 67. She also won a number of GS Doubles titles - 2 x French, 1 x USO, 1 x WImbledon and 3 x Aussie Open titles. World Ranked #2 in 63 and #3 in 64 & 65.

Kerry Melville (Reid) probably had the most similar style to Lesley Turner but she never reached the same heights despite being a perrenial top tenner. Loved the inside out forehand that used to pin her opponents into the backhand corner. Very flat striker of the ball as well. Gotta run but I was also fond of Turnbull & Fromholtz. Di Fromholtz was a marvellous player when she was on! She's still been playing in Australia in various events and just a few years ago she won a Challenger title here (not surprising in a way as the talent in Australia outside the top 100 leaves a little to be desired). I am sure some more people will contribute about her and the others and I haven't time to elaborate here. But there were lots of very good Aussies in the 60s and 70s who have received very little press even in Australia as they played second fiddle to Court & Goolagong who got all the attention....

Last edited by tennisvideos; Jul 11th, 2005 at 11:13 AM.
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post #5 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert1
Does anyone have a picture of the "worst Grand Slam winner ever (lol)" O'Neil? I wonder what she'd have to say if someone asked her about her view on her Australian Open win now and if she was aware back then of how important that tournament had been/was/will be.

I think the Australian women players are a bit neglected in general cause professional Tennis was founded in the US and it's always been a network of American players, media, and tournaments plus Wimbledon.
Hi Robert

Yes I have a few pics of Chris O'Neil including one when we won the Gay Gaymes Mixed Doubles title together at Sydney 2002. I have included 2 pics from the Gaymes here. My little dog Spike is also in the pics.

I have a pic of Chris back in her playing days but it's not loaded on the computer and I would have to scan it in.

Chris is all too aware of the fact that she had a relatively soft win in her only Slam. Still the field also included Sue Barker and a couple of reasonable names. Amazingly Chris had never seen the match before on video and I just managed to get hold of a copy about 8 weeks ago (from someone from these boards) and so we had a group of friends over (with Chris) at my place to watch it. It was very exciting to watch esp with Chris. She ended up beating Betsy Nagelson in the final in straight sets. Chris admits she was lucky with the field etc but she's still proud that she won it and rightly so She's a very humble girl with a beautiful personality.

Cheers
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post #6 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 03:52 PM
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Cheers to Chris O'Neil. I thought it was such a missed opportunity for Betsy Nagelsen and others, but Chris was the one who walked away with that title, and it was thoroughly deserved.

My favorite of the Australian also-rans was Fromholtz. To this day, I think her topspin backhand was one of the most beautiful shots in the game.

Kerry Melville Reid was one of my favorites, too. It was very fitting that she finally got an Australian title to her name in 1977. Given the competition she faced, I think she carved out quite a career for herself. Does anyone remember her having long, straight hair at one time in the early 1970s? I seem to, but maybe I'm confusing her with someone else.
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post #7 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 04:01 PM
 
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Thanks for the information and pics, Tennisvideos. How is your level of game, do you have an Australian ranking?

Did some other famous players play the Gay Gaymes apart from O'Neil?
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post #8 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 07:37 PM
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Hi Craig - nice pics and anecdote!

Next time you see C O'N can you ask her about the WTA tour guide's claim that the Australian Open of 1978 was her only pro title? Is that so? I know she won titles in 1972 and 1975 (Jan) at Manly Seaside and at the 1972 (Dec) Sydney Metropolitan HC (beating Di Fromholtz), in 1974 in Norwich, the NSW Hardcourts in Jan 76 (beating Jan Lehane), a tourney in Madrid in March, beating Lesley Charles 63 46 61, the South Australian Champs in Dec 1976, at Merseyside, UK in June 1977 and at Brisbane (Queensland Grasscourts) in October 81. Was she classed as an amateur for some/all of these or were the titles not considered "pro" titles?

Traits Gandhi considered the most spiritually perilous to humanity.
*Wealth without Work * Pleasure without Conscience

*Science without Humanity *Knowledge without Character

*Politics without Principle *Commerce without Morality

*Worship without Sacrifice

Last edited by Andy T; Jul 29th, 2005 at 08:43 PM.
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post #9 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 10:01 PM
 
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The WTA guide is not very good, lots of missing stats, wrong stats. In the old days that didn't even publish their ranking system. In this case I think they might just have overlooked her records.

Ask Chris O'Neil what she thinks about the WTA guide

Besides, they publish any player who won a GS even if they were never in the top 10, but they don't publish former Grand Slam finalists and/or top 5 players (who might have won much more than the former).
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post #10 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2005, 10:57 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sorry I didn't pick out a better choice of words than "worst Slam winner ever". That's not fair. Maybe most unlikely would be better. It's not her fault the top players didn't enter the Aussie that year. My apologies to Chris.

In the database, I'm sometimes confused by the O'Neil name. Jan Lehane O'Neil's career overlapped with Chris' and sometimes the first initial isn't included.

Turner was clearly the best of the "other Aussies" and probably doesn't belong in this thread. Fromholtz possibly was the most dangerous of the rest. She is one of a very short list of players with more than 2 wins over Navratilova and Evert. It's a shame that she didn't experience much longevity with her career.

I saw Turnbull play in New Orleans at the end of her singles career and after a great point with lots of oohs and aahs, the umpire warned the crowd to be quiet during the points. Wendy spoke up and said, "Oh, c'mon, let them enjoy the match." She was definitely a crowd favorite.

I wondered why Ebbern's career seemed so short. She developed into a top tenner and then disappeared. Did she get married? I can understand why many South Africans and Australians had short careers. Travel must've kept them away from home for much longer than the other players.

Melville Reid was my favorite. She seemed to especially do well against Billie Jean King. And it seems that there may have been some bad blood there. And if it weren't for Evert she might have a handful of Family Circle Cup titles. I loved the Reid/Turnbull doubles pairing. I remember an article on the Fed Cup about the US/Aussie final in '78 that called them a "chatty pair, talking about all the latest news".

Madonna Schacht must've been really pretty. The database calls her the "lovely Madonna". She had some good results in the early 60's.

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post #11 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2005, 04:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert1
Thanks for the information and pics, Tennisvideos. How is your level of game, do you have an Australian ranking?

Did some other famous players play the Gay Gaymes apart from O'Neil?
Hi Robert

No, I have never had an Aussie ranking - I didn't start playing until I was 17. I play A Grade level in Sydney and 1.3 Badge level for any Sydneysiders who understand the grading levels.

There was one other reasonably well known Aussie player entered for the Gaymes but she withdraw as she didn't want to be outed - so I can't even list her name as she is also a friend and wouldn't want to be outed this way. But no other former internationals players competed.

I will be seeing Chris again in a week or so, so I will ask her those questions you guys have put to me.

Cheers
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post #12 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2005, 05:37 AM
 
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Was she ever elected to join the Australian Federation Cup team?

I'd really like to know what she replies to Andy's question, too. About her other tournament wins and that the WTA guide doesn't mention them.

What she thinks about the top players during her career, she must have some nice stories to tell which where never published (yet).
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post #13 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2005, 07:01 AM
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Tennisvideos, thanks for your posts they are really interesting!
Chris sounds like an absolute legend!!
I'm too young to have seen her in her day (1st Aussies I ever saw were Nicole Provis & Rachel McQuillan in the late 80's).
But yeah, it's great to hear your stories about her. I hope no-one else says anything negative about her here & I hope she's really proud of her achievements
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post #14 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2005, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by preacherfan
Turner was clearly the best of the "other Aussies" and probably doesn't belong in this thread. Fromholtz possibly was the most dangerous of the rest. She is one of a very short list of players with more than 2 wins over Navratilova and Evert. It's a shame that she didn't experience much longevity with her career.
I agree with you that Turner doesn't get her due, preacherfan. She got to #2 in the world and was a top player for most of the 1960s, after all. I suppose it is a combination of being overshadowed by M S-C and fading from the scene just before the slims tour took off.

With regard to Di Fromholtz, I was amazed to see that she was ranked #21 in the world at the end of 1986 & 1987, aged 30-31. It seems she had about 15 years on the tour with 5 in or around the top 10, which isn't bad.

Robyn Ebbern became Mrs Langsford (and got double bagelled by Madge at the 1970 Oz Open in the first round, if I remember correctly).

Traits Gandhi considered the most spiritually perilous to humanity.
*Wealth without Work * Pleasure without Conscience

*Science without Humanity *Knowledge without Character

*Politics without Principle *Commerce without Morality

*Worship without Sacrifice
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post #15 of 60 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2005, 11:32 AM
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Ebbern must have divorced and remarried as I found her married name in the 2001 World of Tennis as Mrs EJ Vincenzi (pg 421). Could this be a different Ebbern as their spelt their first name as Robin.
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