LONG, THELMA (nee Thelma Dorothy Coyne)
Born 14 October 1918 in Sydney, NSW, Australia
Died 13 April 2015 in Sydney, NSW, Australia
Married Maurice Newton Long, 30 January 1941, divorced circa 1946/47
Height: 5' 7"
[Active 1935 to 1959]
Titles: at least 65 events,the first at Launceston in 1935, and the last in Warnambool in 1959.
Not married or related to prominent Aussie player Colin Long. Thelma went by “Long” even after her divorce. Thelma entered the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013.
"Sturdy and strong with a matching solid all-court game. Serve, volley, forehand and backhand – her stroke-making was second to none." Known for her great volleying and rock solid ground strokes honed by early morning practice sessions with her father before school.
Thelma was good enough to take a set off Maureen Connolly at the quarter finals at Wimbledon 1952, one of the only 2 sets Maureen dropped at Wimbledon.
Australian tennis player, Thelma Coyne Long, captured her first major title in 1936 and her last, an impressive 22 years later, in 1958.
Over the course of those two decades, Long won a total of 19 Grand Slam tournament titles, including championships in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.
Long was a dominant doubles player, winning 12 of her major titles in doubles, but she also came through to win two majors in singles, as well as five major titles in mixed doubles. In 1952, she completed the Australian Championships triple, winning singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in her home event.
Thelma must have wondered if her native singles title would ever come. Up to that point was a 14 time quarterfinalist, 11 time semi finalist and 4 time finalist, but had never won the crown. With long time road block Bolton beaten by Helen Angwin in the semifinals, this was Thelma's best chance, and she took it 6-2 6-3.
Eighteen of Long’s 19 titles were achieved at the Australian Championships. She remains the oldest Australian women’s singles champion (35 years and eight months in 1954) and the oldest Australian women’s doubles champion (37 years and 7 months in 1956). With 12 Australian doubles titles to her name, she is the record holder for most Australian doubles titles won by a man or woman.
In May 1941, during World War II, Coyne Long joined the Red Cross as a transport driver, and in 1942, she joined the Australian Women's Army Service. Had the war not intervened, and had so many potentially great years not been taken away from her, it is highly likely that Long would have added substantially to her record with more triumphs at the three other majors outside of Australia.
Grand Slam Record
Singles Champion - 1952, 1954
Doubles Champion - 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1956, 1958
Mixed Doubles Champion - 1951, 1952, 1954, 1955
Mixed Doubles Title Champion - 1956
19 Grand Slam tournament titles
Most Australian doubles titles won by a man or woman
International Hall of Fame link: http://www.tennisfame.com/thelma-coyne-long-0
Thelma Coyne Long
Hall of Fall Video
[Thanks to Louloubelle and Rollo for this biography]