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History of the Australian Championships, Chapter 7

This article is dedicated to the 110th anniversary of the first Australian Championship

Written by Karoly Mazak

Until the Open-era…1957-1968

Ashley Cooper

Ashley Cooper

Lew 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.

Alex Olmedo

Alex Olmedo

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.

The Rocket

The Rocket

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.

Fred Stolle

Fred Stolle

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.