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Discussion Starter #1
Before reading on the BFTP, I knew or actually cared little about Jan Lehane. However, my interest has grown as she's garnered quite a bit of discussion in the forum. I'm interested in putting together tidbits on her life and career. I know she is Australian and was born in 1941. As a junior, she seemed to have been on par with the great Margaret Smith defeating her in the 1959 Australian junior final. She spent most of her first 5 years in the world's top ten, yet failed to make it past a Slam quarterfinal. She was runner-up four times to Smith at the Australian, each time getting beaten worse. Crowds gathered to watch her play, because she played with a two-handed backhand. What a novelty! Please post any other info on this good, yet not great player.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
1960 notes:
Jan 20-Feb 2 AUSTRALIAN CHMPS, Brisbane, AUS (GR)

QF
Truman (2) d. Fay Muller 6-0 6-0,Lehane (3) d.Lorraine Robinson(5) 6-1 6-1
Reitano (4) d. Mary Hawton 6-2 8-6,Smith (7) d. Maria Bueno (1) 7-5 3-6 6-4
SF Lehane d.Truman 7-5 3-6 7-5,Smith d. Reitano 7-5 2-6 6-2
F Margaret Smith d. Jan Lehane 7-5 6-2

Maria Bueno's plans for a Grand Slam go up in smoke as Margaret Smith produces passing shots "not seen since Mo Connolly" to beat her. Just a couple of weeks before in Adelaide Smith had manged only 3 games vs. The Senorita. The second shock comes in ther semis when Jan Lehane takes out the second foregn favoite Christine Truman. Ambulance attendents treat Jan for heat exhaustion in the second set after she collapsed in the dressing room during the break. She overcomes both the 100 degree heat and Christine, who cries with pain due to leg cramps at 5-6 in the decider.

(Probably Jan's best chance to have beaten Margaret and won the Aussie. She was the higher ranked player at the time. Her SF win over Truman must've taken a lot out of her.)

From Italian Open:
Fans are agog at Jan Lehane's "frying pan" backhand-a two handed shot is a novelty in 1960!


Ends Nov 19 New South Wales Chmps, Sydney, AUS (GR)
SF Smith d. Reitano 4-6 6-4 6-2, Lehane d. L. Turner 6-0 6-1.
F Jan Lehane d. Margaret Smith 6-1 6-3

long awaited match between Aussie #1 Lehane and Aussie titleholder Smith, considered the two most promising women from Down Under.
(Jan had traveled the world tour in 1960 as the Aussie #1 while Margaret stayed home and honed her skills. I think this is the last win for Jan over Margaret.)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Question: Someone mentioned that Lehane may be the only player to have been carried off the court on a stretcher twice at Wimbledon. Any details?
 

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preacherfan said:
Question: Someone mentioned that Lehane may be the only player to have been carried off the court on a stretcher twice at Wimbledon. Any details?

Doesn't ring any bells with me. She was stretchered off in 1963 having injured her ankle while playing Darlene Hard. She had lost the first set 6-1 and was 2-1 up in the second on serve. I have never seen a reason quoted but she defaulted from her first round match with Starkie in 1960 before going on court but she was definitely not injured because playing with Mary Hawton she reached the semis of the ladies doubles.

I think I have seen it suggested once that she injured her ankle in 1964 but the records show that she was beaten by Baylon in the singles and in the ladies and mixed doubles all in completed matches. She later played in the German Champs although she was then out of the circuit for a couple of years with injury.

I certainly don't recall any incident later in the decade when she returned but I am open to correction.
 

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Lehane

This is from the 1961 Dawsons Lawn Tennis Almanac where Lance Tingay writes about Six Players of the Year. They include Darlene Hard, Ann Haydon and Jan Lehane. Lehane was born in Grenfell Australia on 9th July 1941 and by my calculations won 31 singles titles, and was runner up in also 31 titles.

Tingay wrote on page 359
" There is a touch of sadness about the story of jan Lehane who, at the age of 18, so captured the imagination of the Australian public which normally has scant time for womens game - that she was sent by public subscription to show her talent to the lawn tennis world at large and who deterred from fulfilling her high ambitions when, on a damp court at Beckenham, a badly twisted ankle put her hors de combat. Possibly the end of the story is not yet, for she could come back.

Miss Lehane is a farmers daughter....some miles from Grenfell, a township in New South Wales.

The Australian lawn tennis public... began to take notice of Miss Lehane in the first of the major events at the start of the season, the Queensland Championships at Brisbane. In the final she beat Christine Truman 62 61, and Miss Truman, later to be joined by Maria Bueno, was the Australian importation to show Australian women what the best women standards were really like. In the next major event, the New South Wales title meeting at Sydney, Miss Lehane beat Miss Bueno 62 46 63 in the semi-final and went on to win her second state championship.

From then on Australians, and especially those around Grenfell, were agog. In the Australian title meeting Miss Lehane beat Miss Truman again. That was in the semi final and in the other match the 17-year-old Margaret Smith beat Miss Bueno and went on to beat Miss Lehane for the title itself. All these were played in Shade temperature that was in the hundreds and by now a public subscription to send Miss Lehane to Europe was going strong. Miss Smith was reckoned to young to be sent in 1960.

And so, with Mary hawton as her mentor, Miss Lehane came to Europe. The prime object of the exercise was, of course, to play at Wimbledon."

To be contined....
 

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At the risk of starting World War III I'll reiterate my opinion of Jan Lehane.

A good/very good player who on her day could beat the top players in the world but who although within sight of top 5 status could not quite attain it.

Although she could mix it with the top players in lesser tournaments she could not beat them where it mattered. In five extensive overseas tours she never progressed beyond the quarter final at RG, Wimbledon or Forest Hills.

Disappointing considering that initially she was regarded as a better prospect than Margaret Smith.
 

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AndrewTas said:
This is from the 1961 Dawsons Lawn Tennis Almanac where Lance Tingay writes about Six Players of the Year.
Tingay wrote on page 359
" There is a touch of sadness about the story of jan Lehane who, at the age of 18, so captured the imagination of the Australian public which normally has scant time for womens game - that she was sent by public subscription to show her talent to the lawn tennis world at large and who deterred from fulfilling her high ambitions when, on a damp court at Beckenham, a badly twisted ankle put her hors de combat. Possibly the end of the story is not yet, for she could come back.

I think this refers to 1960, Andrew which would account for her defaulting from Wimbledon. But the strange thing is she played in both the Ladies and Mixed Doubles there.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
chris whiteside said:
At the risk of starting World War III I'll reiterate my opinion of Jan Lehane.

A good/very good player who on her day could beat the top players in the world but who although within sight of top 5 status could not quite attain it.

Although she could mix it with the top players in lesser tournaments she could not beat them where it mattered. In five extensive overseas tours she never progressed beyond the quarter final at RG, Wimbledon or Forest Hills.

Disappointing considering that initially she was regarded as a better prospect than Margaret Smith.
It would be interesting to know how good she might have been, but she might have shown her best by 1964. Not only did Smith pass her by, but also Turner was much more successful on the world stage by then. We'll never know, but it appears that she might have been headed for a career of top ten finishes with no real chance of impacting the top 5.
 

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preacherfan said:
It would be interesting to know how good she might have been, but she might have shown her best by 1964. Not only did Smith pass her by, but also Turner was much more successful on the world stage by then. We'll never know, but it appears that she might have been headed for a career of top ten finishes with no real chance of impacting the top 5.
1964 probably sums Jan up. She had the chance to progress further at RG and Wimbledon but despite beating Scultze 3 other times that year she lost her quarter final to her at RG and lost to Baylon in 3r at Wimbledon. These were matches she should have won and would reinforce my opinion she was not a top 5 player. I don't think it's coincidence that this was the only year she notched up victories over Ann Jones, not because she was improving but it is obvious that this was Mrs Jones' weakest year on the international circuit as she was basically a tennis-playing housewife and considering retiring. But yet again Jan lost the most important of their meetings - the Britsh HC final.

I think about #7 which she achieved that year was a pretty accurate reflection of her ability.
 

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Lehane

I agree with chris. I think she was a good player but lacked the talent and mental ability to achieve great things. This is the rest from the 1961 Dawsons almanac describing what she did in 1960 on her European tour. She was also a finalist at the Czech International to Puzejova (losing 64 62) in August of 1960.


Tingay wrote
“Her first European tournament was in Palermo. There she showed her quality by beating Sandra Reynolds but lost to the South African champion Bernice Vukovich. In the Italian meeting in Rome she beat Shirley Brasher. But the Hungarian Suzy Kormoczy showed she had much to learn. Against Mrs Kormoczy she won the opening game but saw little of the next twelve.

In the French Championships she showed her advance by revenging herself on Mrs. Vukovich but Miss Bueno, in turn, avenged herself on her. On grass, her natural surface, she brought down both Mrs Brasher and Karen Hantze at the Northern Club, Manchester, and only yielded to Darlene Hard after leading in the third set.

Miss Lehane would not of course have won Wimbledon. At least it is extremely improbable. But with her ability to make a fast pace and be inexorably steady at the same time she would almost certainly have made her mark. She was seeded seventh for the singles and I think she would have made her seeding place and met Miss Truman in the quarter-final. But all that is in the realm of might-have-beens. In the Kent Championships at Beckenham Miss Lehane went out on to a dampish grass court to play the South African Miss Gerson and had not got far when, in reaching for a wide ball, she turned her ankle with a horrible crack.

In that momentary slip the hopes of Miss Lehane's European trip were dashed away. Her ankle, badly damaged, never recovered in time for her to play in the singles at Wimbledon. There she had to scratch though merely for the sake of participating in the event for which she had come so far she played in the doubles. She and Mrs Hawton got as far as the semi-final of the women’s doubles before going down to Miss Reynolds and Miss Schuurman. She and Bob Hewitt got as far as the fourth round of the mixed.

After her accident Miss Lehane was never quite the same again. In the German Championships at Hamburg she won well against Miss Schuurman but yielded briefly to Angela Mortimer. At Forest Hills she won three rounds but lost decisively to Miss Hard. Soon afterwards she and Mrs Hawton made their way home to Australia. She confessed she was probably a much better player with the experience behind her than when she arrived in Europe. But the damp day at Beckenham was the death knell of her highest ambitions. Lawn tennis is as full of striken hopes as it is of successes.”


For the record Lehanes doubles record in the 1960 Wimbledon Championships was:

Womens
1R bye
2R Hawton/ Lehane d. Bentley/ R Hales 60 86
3R Hawton/ Lehane d. E Herdy/ S Pachta 75 75
QF Hawton/ Lehane d. MB Hellyer/ Y Ramirez (2) 63 64
SF Reynolds/ Schuurman (4) d. Hawton/ Lehane 75 61

Mixed
1R bye
2R R Hewitt/ Lehane (4) d. CA Fernandez/ MB Hellyer 63 36 64
3R R Hewitt/ Lehane d. W Alvarez/ PA Stewart 61 63
4R J Javorsky/ V Puzejova d. R Hewitt/ Lehane 62 26 64
 

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God bless Jan .. she was actually on the verge of the top 5 after spending just 4 years on the international stage before injuries put paid to what I still consider a most promising career.

Regardless of personal opinions (mine included), her star shone brightly for a time with many exciting wins over all the greats of her day - Darlene Hard, Margaret Court, Maria Bueno, Anne Jones etc. Something most of the top players would be extremely proud of. She was also a trailblazer being one of the first women (possibly the first) to sport a double handed backhand.

Maybe she didn't quite have the talent to make the top 5, but then again, maybe she may have cracked it. I mean she did rank #7 and had the injuries not cut her career short whose to say she didn't have the potential. Regardless, the fact is that she didn't make it into the top 5 and I am cool with that.

I just wished I could have seen some more of her on video - I loved that sloppy frypan style. God bless you Jan! :)
 

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tennisvideos said:
God bless Jan .. she was actually on the verge of the top 5 after spending just 4 years on the international stage before injuries put paid to what I still consider a most promising career.

Regardless of personal opinions (mine included), her star shone brightly for a time with many exciting wins over all the greats of her day - Darlene Hard, Margaret Court, Maria Bueno, Anne Jones etc. Something most of the top players would be extremely proud of. She was also a trailblazer being one of the first women (possibly the first) to sport a double handed backhand.

Maybe she didn't quite have the talent to make the top 5, but then again, maybe she may have cracked it. I mean she did rank #7 and had the injuries not cut her career short whose to say she didn't have the potential. Regardless, the fact is that she didn't make it into the top 5 and I am cool with that.

I just wished I could have seen some more of her on video - I loved that sloppy frypan style. God bless you Jan! :)
I know we have a slight difference of opinion on Jan, tennisvideos, but I think we both agree that, for whatever reason, she did not achieve as much as was originally expected of her.

I just wonder if she was affected p(h)sc(h)ologically (I can never remember where to put the h) by the advance of Margaret Smith. At the end of the 50s I think it was generally accepted that she was the most promising prospect in Australian tennis. But as Margaret steamed past her it almost seemed as if each succeeding victory in the Aussie National final became easier.

Domestic rivalries are often more bitter than international ones and it must have been hard to accept being second fiddle to Margaret and then indeed Lesley Turner after being regaled as the great white hope of Auatralian tennis.
 

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Still doing some reading in this great thread-I love it when we find out details about the Lehane/Kohde-Kilsch type players on tour.

I got a chuckle out of this "hors de combat" sentence! Why the need to throw in French!?:confused:

Posted by Andrew Tas on a damp court at Beckenham, a badly twisted ankle put her hors de combat. Possibly the end of the story is not yet, for she could come back.
Compared to this-which made my blood run cold-as I turned over on my ankle last August

in reaching for a wide ball, she turned her ankle with a horrible crack.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think Jan was injured only once at Wimbledon and that against Hard in 1963. Her 1960 injured happed in a warm-up event and she only played doubles that year.

Interesting, did anyone else use a two-handed backhand prior to Jan? She may be forever remember if she was the first.
 

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Jan was the first big female to use it-but there was atleast one male who became famous in the 40s for his two-hander-John Bromwich.

Like Jan-he was an Aussie. Unlike Jan-his shot was offensive, at least Louise Brough thought so, saying he could produce the most amazing volley angles with off that side.
 

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chris whiteside said:
I know we have a slight difference of opinion on Jan, tennisvideos, but I think we both agree that, for whatever reason, she did not achieve as much as was originally expected of her.

I just wonder if she was affected p(h)sc(h)ologically (I can never remember where to put the h) by the advance of Margaret Smith. At the end of the 50s I think it was generally accepted that she was the most promising prospect in Australian tennis. But as Margaret steamed past her it almost seemed as if each succeeding victory in the Aussie National final became easier.

Domestic rivalries are often more bitter than international ones and it must have been hard to accept being second fiddle to Margaret and then indeed Lesley Turner after being regaled as the great white hope of Auatralian tennis.
Hi Chris

I am sure that Jan was affected deeply by the fact that Margaret basically steamrolled her after the 1959 season. Jan was still highly competitive with Lesley though - I think their head to head was pretty balanced if I recall earlier posts but I would have to dig them out. But Lesley went on and proved herself right up there with 2 French titles, Wimbledon Semis, GS Doubles titles etc.

I guess the main issue I have had is that except for the greats who made a mark on the Slams almost immediately eg. Court, Bueno, Goolagong etc ... many of the other leading players tended to take 4-5 years on the international circuit before they made an impact at the slams eg. Durr, Melville, Casals etc. So Jan may still have had more opportunities to make a bit of a mark but for the injuries.

Anyway, time for me to let it go Craig and move on! :)

Rollo just mentioned John Bromwich! Now there was a player that I love watching clips of! He was like an artist with his touch - a bit like the artistic Santoro in many ways. And yes, those angles. How I love the unorthodox! Lehane, Bromwich, Durr, Baker-Fleitz, Segura, Santoro, Seles etc. :worship:

Was so excited to finally see a 15 minute film clip of Baker-Fleitz when she played Louise Brough at Wimbledon in 55(?) - what a revelation with her two stunning (and lethal) forehands! Astonishing! :worship:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
What are the details of Lehane's 1964 injury? I know she came back later but wasn't the same player.
 

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preacherfan said:
What are the details of Lehane's 1964 injury? I know she came back later but wasn't the same player.
I have learnt that the 1964 "injury" is different to the ankle injuries she suffered in 1959 and 1963, P/F.

Apparently a cyst had formed on a knee cartilege and she had surgery to remove it in August of 1964 after playing in the German Championships. She attempted to return to the circuit at the NSW Champs at the end of the year in an effort to gain a place on the Australian Federation Cup team but was forced to withdraw from the singles and women's doubles event. She returned to competition at the Manly Seaside tournament but appeared to be having trouble with her leg and lost to Joan Gibson in the semis. A week later while practising for the Nationals her knee gave her trouble again to such an extent that she entered hospital for a further operation, this time on the second cartilege in her right leg.

This time she was out for 9 months before returning to the Aussie tournament scene in late 1965. She lost matches to Smith, Turner and Graebner and defaulted before the start of the Australian Championships at the beginning of 1966 although she had been in the draw. I would assume that it was the same problem. She got married at the beginning of February and didn't reappear until the end of 66 but didn't reach the same standard losing to players such as Krantzcke, Gail Sherriff and Casals.

She attempted to resurrect her international career beginning with the Caribbean circuit in March 1967. She lost to lesser players such as Tym and Bartkowicz and four times to Jones although two of these went to three sets and she beat Durr in one event. Defeats to Shaw at the BHC, Walkden at the French and Harter at Wimbledon followed although she did beat Durr to reach the Italian semi. Touring the continent after Wimbledon - among various defeats she had a victory over Turner at Gstaad and went to Turkey at the end of August.

She didn't reappear at the beginning of the new season in Australia and I haven't come across any explanation. I suspose pregnancy is a possibility. I don't recall anything of her in 1968/69.
 

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Thanks Chris

I wasn't aware of the exact details myself so it is good to find out. I actually met Jan a couple of years ago and she was very sweet indeed and signed this book I had. I just wished I had have taken the time to question her on her career but I didn't know as much about her as I do now ... one day I might try and get in touch through some of the players and dig for more details from her.
 
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