Australian women’s tennis pioneer Judy Dalton will be inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame during Australian Open 2013. A special ceremony will take place on women’s semifinal Thursday where Dalton will unveil a bronze bust in her likeness at Rod Laver Arena.
This will join the statues of other Australian Tennis Hall of Fame inductees in Melbourne Park’s Garden Square.
Judy Dalton, nee Tegart, was born in Melbourne in 1937, and reached a career-high singles ranking of No.7 in 1968. She was one of a group of nine female players led by Billie Jean King who, fed up with the lack of prize money and support they received in comparison to their male counterparts, broke away from the tennis establishment to form their own tour.
Known as the Original 9, they signed symbolic $1 contracts with World Tennis Magazine founder Gladys Heldman to compete on the newly created Virginia Slims Circuit, which debuted with a tournament in Houston.
This paved the way for women’s professional tennis, and later the founding of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) in 1973.
The Original 9’s vision was one in which women and girls could make a living playing competitive sport. That dream is now a reality for hundreds of women playing on the WTA Tour.
Dalton recalls that the money she began earning on the fledgling circuit in the early 1970s helped her and her husband pay off the house that they had just bought in Melbourne.
She was a finalist at the inaugural Houston event in 1970, one of many impressive results to define her tennis resume.
Dalton shone in the tandem game, winning nine major doubles titles – eight in women’s doubles, and one mixed championship – and completed a career doubles Grand Slam. She enjoyed successful partnerships with compatriots Margaret Court, Lesley Turner Bowrey and Tony Roche.
In singles her greatest achievement came in 1968, where she was a runner-up at Wimbledon and pushed King all the way in an absorbing final. Dalton also reached the semifinals of the Australian Open that year, as well as the semifinals at Wimbledon again in 1971.
Compiling an impressive 18-4 record in Fed Cup – 6-1 in singles and 12-3 in doubles – Dalton was part of the winning Australian teams of 1965 and 1970.
Dalton retired from tennis after the 1977 Australian Open at age 40, and is now the president of Australia’s Fed Cup Foundation.
Previous Australian Tennis Hall of Fame inductees:
2012: Ken Fletcher
2011: Owen Davidson
2010: Mark Woodforde, Todd Woodbridge
2009: Wendy Turnbull
2008: Pat Rafter
2007: Mark Edmondson
2006: Daphne Akhurst
2005: Australian Open Centenary
2004: Brian Tobin
2003: Pat Cash
2002: Mervyn Rose, Thelma (Coyne) Long
2001: Mal Anderson, Nancye (Wynne) Bolton
2000: Ken McGregor
1999: Australia inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame
1998: John Newcombe, Tony Roche, Lesley (Turner) Bowrey, Adrian Quist
1997: Fred Stolle, Jack Crawford, Gerald Patterson
1996: Frank Sedgman, John Bromwich, Sir Norman Brookes, Ashley Cooper, Harry Hopman
1995: Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall
1994: Roy Emerson, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Neale Fraser
1993: Rod Laver, Margaret Smith (Court)
Series tickets for Australian Open 2013 go on sale through Ticketek from 9:00 am on Wednesday 3 October to 5:00 pm Sunday 7 October (AEDST).
Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena single session tickets and Australian Open ground passes are on sale from 9:00 am (AEDST) Monday 8 October.
The great value $34 Australian Open ground pass gives fans access to all the outside courts and free entertainment on Grand Slam Oval and in Garden Square.
Fans are encouraged to pre-purchase and save on tickets for Australian Open 2013. Tournament pricing applies to all tickets purchased from Monday 14 January.