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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, anyone here remember the Aussie with the crazy sidespin strokes from the '70's? She had the most incredible sidespin forehand. I was always trying to copy it when I was a kid. Kerry often gave Evert trouble but only won a match or two from her in the very early part of the decade. I believe she beat Chrissie in the US semis in '72 and lost the final in straights to BJK.

Anybody have any stories on Kerry? Fans?

That sidespin...it would bounce and then hop to the side. I wish more players would use this stroke. I have seen Hingis do it a few times, but only when in trouble.
 

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I remember Kerry Melville Reid very well. In addition to that wonderful inside-out, sidespin forehand, she had probably the best drop shot in the women's game. It's true that she gave Chris some trouble early in her career, but I believe that U.S. Open semifinal was her last victory over Chris. From that point forward, Chris really dominated her. Note, too, that Kerry frustrated Tracy Austin very early in her career, too. Kerry played solid tennis, but tended to fold when the pressure was too great and she had a real opportunity sitting on her racket. She just never seemed to be able to back up her big wins with another solid result. For example, she beat Martina N at the Family Circle Cup on year, only to lose for the first time, albeit in two tiebreaks, to Tracy Austin, who had never previously won a set from her. Likewise, she fell apart against a comebacking Billi Jean King in the 1977 Family Circle Cup, losing rather tamely in a match that she should have won in straight sets. In general, though, the FCC was a good tournament for Kerry, as she reached three finals there. Her biggest moment came when she won the Australian Open in 1977, beating Diane Fromholtz in the final. That was one time when Kerry held her nerve. I think she also won the Wimbledon doubles with Wendy Turnbull in the 1970s. She retired in either 1979 or 1980, at the end of the season. I believe she actually defaulted her last match in the round-robin portion of the season-ending championships. She did play a couple of Family Circle Cups (she lives/lived on Hilton Head) and even won a round or two in her "old age."
 

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Hi Mark

Yes, Kerry Reid did have an unusual style - that famous inside out forehand and a backhand a little reminiscent of Sue Barker's - adequate I guess would be the best description. But she could wallop her forehand and just loved playing it deep to the backhand corner, and as you mentioned, she loved to drop shot.

The only time I saw her play live was in a Vet's match at Wimbledon. I got to meet her after the match and she was quite pleasant. I remember she had a strong American accent which threw me a little until I realised she would have lived in the States for a long time.

I have a few of her matches on tape including the 72 USO Semis when she beat Evert in one of her greatest matches, and also the Wimbledon Semis when Evert got her revenge. I also have the 78 Fed Cup match when she beat Austin - she played very clever grass court tennis in this particular match and her drop shot was working a treat (although Austin was only about 14! LOL). I also have her Wimbledon Doubles Final win on tape when she paired up with Helen Gourley to beat Ruzici & Jausovec in a thrillingly close match.

Kerry was a nice player but she competed in an era rich with talent: King / Court / Goolagong / Evert / Wade / Navratilova and we can't forget Durr!
 

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Tennisvideos, I am surprised Kerry had an American accent! But as Jem pointed out, she did live on Hilton Head (and maybe still does). South Carolina is a good place to get an accent. The last time I heard anything about Kerry was around 84/85. I think she and Evonne Goolagong teamed up for a "hit and giggle" doubles match at the Family Circle on Hilton Head. They actually won a round.
 

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Kerry spent most of her time in the States from 1971, being one of the first to support the Slims.
She also met her husband here when playing Team Tennis-they made sure they were on the same team one year as part of her contract after trades threatened to split them apart. Is Raz an Aussie as well?

Melville was at her best in 1972-4, the years she beat Evert, made the WTA finals at Boca Raton(having a set point on Chris on the clay)-and beat Goolagong to make the Wimbledon semis in 74.
That upset may have helped Evert to her first Wimbledon, because in 1974 Chris still had never beaten Evonne or King on grass.


Reid was usually cast as the sweet pixie. Two exceptions were a 1977 US open match with Billie Jean, and an incident involving transexual Rennee Richards. Kerry defaulted midmatch at 6-7 1-4 vs. Richards because she felt she was competing against a "man". This was in Phoenix, just weeks after some dispute with King in the 4th round at the US Open. It was so bad they refused to shake hands at the end!

Maybe Kerry was sick of being sweet in 77-;)
 

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I have often wondered how popular Kerry was with Aust public. Despite an Aus Open crown in 1977 and a US Final I never have tended to hear her mentioned much as a former top player. It could've been because of being in the shadow of Court and Cawley but even then the likes of Turnbull and Balestrat IMO get mentioned more. Maybe the American accent could've had something to do with it!!

Apparently this was written in the 1968 Aus Open official program!!!

Kerry Melvilles idea of tennis practice over the past few months since returning from her 1967 overseas tennis touring is to play one set, and sit out at least one with finance, David Allen.

A bit harsh!!!!
 

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Harsh, yet apparently all too true louloubelle! I have an article on Kerry from the Feb. 1970 issue of World Tennis, written by fellow pro Julie Heldman. It says Kerry more or less stopped playing in 1968 to get married, only to break off her engagement and return witha bang in 1969. The article says she and "Kran" Karen
Krantzcke were best of pals. The real shocker(hold on to your seat)-Kerry dated Rumanian bad boy Ilie Nastase at one time!:eek:
 

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Rollo said:
Reid was usually cast as the sweet pixie. Two exceptions were a 1977 US open match with Billie Jean, and an incident involving transexual Rennee Richards. Kerry defaulted midmatch at 6-7 1-4 vs. Richards because she felt she was competing against a "man". This was in Phoenix, just weeks after some dispute with King in the 4th round at the US Open. It was so bad they refused to shake hands at the end!

Maybe Kerry was sick of being sweet in 77-;)
Rollo, in that match with King, it was BJK who refused to shake hands with Kerry and generally behaved like the butt she could be in her prime. At the time, BJK promptly noted how she had never refused to shake anyone's hand before in her career. Too which Julie Heldman promptly noted that King had refused to shake her hand at the U.S. Open one year when Heldman upset her.
 

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Jem said:
Rollo, in that match with King, it was BJK who refused to shake hands with Kerry and generally behaved like the butt she could be in her prime. At the time, BJK promptly noted how she had never refused to shake anyone's hand before in her career. Too which Julie Heldman promptly noted that King had refused to shake her hand at the U.S. Open one year when Heldman upset her.
I didn't see the match, but heard the news and read about it. King had one of her tantrums over a disputed call and Kerry mentioned to the umpire that she should receive a point penalty. As you can imagine, that didn't go over well with BJK.

I enjoyed the pairing of Reid and Turnbull. Interesting that Reid was never a great threat in doubles until the end of her career in that partnership. She and Krantzcke were perennial semi and qf ists.

Nancy Richey said Kerry's nickname was Tubbs.

Richey won a tough SF against Kerry in the Aussie in the late 60's, but Nancy was so badly injured she couldn't play the final. So Richey defaulted the only Slam final in history. Wish Kerry could've gotten through the match so Margaret Court would've had someone to play.
 

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Any picture of her ???
 

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I saw Melville play quite a lot on the early 1970s - including a great match against Goolagong in the 1974 Australian Open. I agree that she was probably overlooked a bit because she played during the same era as Court and Goolagong.

She also missed a couple of Australian summer seasons when she was playing the Virginia Slims circuit in the States (1971,1972) - years when she might have been expected to make an impact in the Australian tournaments. She was actually banned from representing Australia during part of that time. In fact, she should also be remembered as one of the original nine Virginia Slims contract pros from September 1970.

In answer to Rollo - Raz Reid is an American. I actually thought I heard not so long ago that they had a child (son?) who was a promising player - maybe somebody can confirm that.

I thought Melville's nickname was "tupps" as in not worth "tuppence" - and I don't know how that got to be the "tubbs" reference of Nancey Richey.
 

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tilden said:
In answer to Rollo - Raz Reid is an American. I actually thought I heard not so long ago that they had a child (son?) who was a promising player - maybe somebody can confirm that.
I don't know anything about a son. They have a daughter Kami (?) who was a promising junior. I think she had a series of injuries that pretty much took her out of competition before she reached the late teens.
 

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Kerry & Raz Reid have two daughters - Kati & Keri, born 1980 & 1982. The Reids live in South Carolina, from whence Grover "Raz" Reid hails. One of the girls played college soccer & the other may have played high school tennis, but neither was groomed for the tour. An article in a South Carolina paper about ten years ago described the Kerry watching a duaghter's high school match, with the opposing high school team not realizing who she was.

Raz is a fly fishing competitor and sales rep for fly fishing equipment and looks to be as rail thin and cute as ever - he was always boyish. Virginia Wade told me a few years ago that she sees the Reids whenever in South Carolina, but that Kerry is reluctant to play in any of the legends draws at the slams, or to show up at any of the gatherings where Wade, Tunbull, Casals et al are often found.
 

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Well, I can't stop now.

Mark39, I loved Kerry's sidespin forehand and, like you, tried hitting it as a kid. As a lefty, probably not the smartest move for me, but the monniker speaks for itself. I switched from the Dunlop Maxply Fort (Evonne's racket) to the Jack Kramer Pro Staff (Kerry's) - the bend in the wooden staff while sliding the ball accross the frame felt phenomenal. I also started slapping my thigh after missing a shot for awhile, as did Kerry (who was very, very hard on herself), but that didn't feel as good as holding the sidespin for as long as possible.

In her day, Kerry's sidespin forehand was described as the best since Maureen Connolly's. It was a true drive, with all the sideways motion you mention as well, rather than a loopy push, which is all that remains of the stroke today. I'm not not sure today's rackets, with oversized heads and stiff shafts, can really produce forceful sidespin. Of course, Pam Shriver had a sidespin forehand and she used a Prince, but hers was more a tool to approach and less a drive.

The sidespin forehand worked very well on grass and Reid's best Slam results were all grass based, she never did much at the French. Sidespin lent itself very well to transitional shots, such as her approach and also the drop shot. But it left very, very little room for error. I think that might account for her nerves and her inability to crack the top 4 or run through a draw when all the greats were there. A little tightness and the sidespin drifted wide.

Throughout Kerry's career, she was known simultaneously as player who was both very solid, particularly off the ground, and as being prone to making unforced errors. Early in Kerry's career, she tried blasting harder when encountering problems, later she erred on the side of being too steady.
 
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