The history of the Australian Championships (1946-1968)

by Karoly Mazak

1946-1968

In 1946 John Bromwich wins his second Australian Championships beating Dinny Pails 5-7 6-3 7-5 3-6 6-2 in Adelaide. Nancye Wynne Bolton defends her third title after a 5 year hiatus due to World War II. In December the USA takes away the Davis Cup beating Australia 5-0 in Melbourne.

Dinny Pails wins the 1947 Australian event in Sydney, beating defending champion Bromwich 4-6 6-4 3-6 7-5 8-6 after saving a match point at 5-6 in the fifth. Nancye Wynne Bolton defends her fourth title, her third in a row.

In 1948 Adrian Quist wins his third Australian Championships defeating Bromwich in five sets. World No. 4 Nancye Wynne Bolton defends her fifth title, her fourth in a row. In November Doris Hart from America travels to Australia and defeats twice Wynne Bolton, for the New South Wales and Victorian titles.

World No. 4 Doris Hart wins the 1949 Australian title, her first Grand Slam crown, in Adelaide beating defending champ Wynne Bolton 6-3 6-4. Frank Sedgman collects his first title. In November Czecholovakian exile Jaroslav Drobny travels to Australia where he hopes to attain citizenship and wins the Victorian title.

In 1950 Drobny is the top-seed, but loses early to Ken McGregor, who is stopped by defending champ Frank Sedgman in the final in Melbourne. World No. 2 Louise Brough overcomes defending champ and No. 4 Doris Hart 6-4 3-6 6-4. In August Australia with Sedgman takes away the Davis Cup beating the USA 4-1 in Forest Hills.

At the 1951 Australian Championships in Sydney Dick Savitt overcomes defending champ and top-seed Sedgman 2-6 7-5 1-6 6-3 6-4 in the semis and Ken McGregor in the final. Sedgman and McGregor win the doubles dethroning Bromwich and Quist who had won eight doubles title in a row. Nancye Wynne Bolton wins her sixth title. In December Australia with Sedgman retains the Davis Cup beating the USA 3-2 in Sydney.

At the 1952 Australian Championships in Adelaide Ken McGregor defeats Sedgman in four sets. Thelma Coyne Long collects her first title. In December Australia with Sedgman and McGregor retains the Davis Cup beating the USA 4-1 in Adelaide. To the dismay of many Australians, both of them turn professional after the Davis Cup match.

Ken Rosewall wins the 1953 edition of the Australian Championships in Melbourne. World No. 1 Maureen Connolly easily collects the women’s title and achieves the Grand Slam later in the year. With the help of teenagers Rosewall and Hoad, Australia retains the Davis Cup beating the USA 3-2 in Melbourne in December.

Merv Rose overcomes defending champ Rosewall 6-3 6-3 3-6 1-6 7-5 in the semis and wins the 1954 Australian title in Sydney. Thelma Coyne Long collects her second title. In December the USA takes away the Davis Cup beating Australia 3-2 in Sydney.

At the 1955 Australian Championships in Adelaide Ken Rosewall wins his second title against Hoad. Beryl Penrose collects the women’s title. In August Australia takes back the Davis Cup beating the USA 5-0 in Forest Hills.

Top-seeded Lew Hoad wins the 1956 Australian Championships in Brisbane beating defending champ Rosewall in four sets. Mary Carter overcomes Thelma Coyne Long 3-6 6-2 9-7 after saving a match point at 5-6. In September Ken Rosewall becomes the US champion beating Hoad, destroying Hoad’s Grand Slam dreams. Australia retains the Davis Cup against the USA 5-0 in Adelaide. Rosewall turns pro to tour with Pancho Gonzales, but Hoad decides to remain amateur and go for the Grand Slam again next year.

However, Hoad loses in the semis of the 1957 Australian Championships in Melbourne to Neale Fraser, who is stopped by Ashley Cooper in the final. World No. 2 Shirley Fry beats No. 4 Althea Gibson 6-3 6-4 and together they triumph in the doubles. Soon Fry gets married and retires, having won all four championships in singles. In December Australia retains the Davis Cup beating the USA 3-2 in Melbourne.

In 1958 Ashley Cooper defends his Australian title in Sydney. Angela Mortimer from Great Britain wins the women’s event. In December the USA, lead by Peruvian Alex Olmedo surprisingly takes away the Davis Cup beating Australia 3-2 in Brisbane.

Alex Olmedo captures the 1959 Australian title in Adelaide beating Neale Fraser. Mary Carter Reitano wins the women’s event. In August Australia takes back the Davis Cup beating the USA 3-2 in Forest Hills.

Rod Laver wins the 1960 Australian title in Brisbane over Fraser 5-7 3-6 6-3 8-6 8-6 after saving a match point at 4-5 in the fourth set. Margaret Smith upsets World No. 1 Maria Bueno in the quarters, while No. 4 Christine Truman loses to Jan Lehane in the semis. Margaret Smith wins her first title against Lehane. In December Australia with Fraser and Laver retains the Davis Cup beating Italy 4-1 in Sydney.

In 1961 Roy Emerson wins the Australian event in Melbourne beating defending champ Laver in four sets. Margaret Smith defends her title against Lehane. In December Australia with Emerson and Laver retains the Davis Cup beating Italy 5-0 in Melbourne.

In 1962 Rod Laver wins his second Australian title in Sydney beating defending champ Emerson in four sets, and achieves the Grand Slam later in the year. World No. 3 Margaret Smith defends her third title in a row against Lehane, who put out World No. 4 Darlene Hard in the semis. In December Australia with Laver and Fraser retains the Davis Cup beating Mexico 5-0 in Brisbane and Laver turns pro after the match.

In 1963 Roy Emerson wins his second Australian title in Adelaide defeating Ken Fletcher. World No. 1 Margaret Smith defends her fourth title in a row against Lehane. In December the USA with Chuck McKinley takes away the Davis Cup beating Australia 3-2 in Adelaide.

In 1964 Roy Emerson defends his third Australian title in Brisbane overcoming Stolle. World No. 1 Margaret Smith defends her fifth title in a row against World No. 2 Lesley Turner. In September Australia takes back the Davis Cup beating the USA 3-2 in Cleveland on clay.

In 1965 Roy Emerson defends his fourth Australian title in Melbourne beating Stolle 7-9 2-6 6-4 7-5 6-1. A record number of foreign women play in Australia due to the Federation Cup, held right before the championships. World No. 1 Margaret Smith defends her sixth title in a row when World No. 2 Maria Bueno retires at 5-7 6-4 5-2 with cramps. In December Australia with Emerson and Stolle retains the Davis Cup beating Spain 4-1 in Sydney.

In 1966 Roy Emerson defends his fifth Australian title in Sydney beating American Arthur Ashe in four sets. World No. 1 Margaret Smith defends her seventh title in a row, a walkover over Nancy Richey who injured a knee in a previous match. In December Australia with Emerson and Stolle retains the Davis Cup beating India 4-1 in Melbourne. After the match Stolle and Ralston, the best American amateur, turn professional.

In 1967 Roy Emerson defends his sixth Australian title in Adelaide defeating Ashe. Taking advantage of Smith’s retirement, American Nancy Richey overcomes Turner. In December Australia with Emerson and Newcombe retains the Davis Cup beating Spain 4-1 in Brisbane.

Bill Bowrey wins the 1968 Australian Championships in Melbourne from a field devoid of the best Australian players who are now professionals. World No. 1 Billie Jean Moffitt King defeats Margaret Smith Court, who is making a comeback. This is the last edition of the amateur Championships, the advent of open tennis in April brings about radical changes that will be detailed in the next post.


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