BALLARAT’S Judy Dalton will receive one of the highest tennis honours in January, when she will be inducted into Tennis Australia’s Hall of Fame during the Australian Open in 2013.
The announcement was made at the Australian Open launch earlier this week.
The induction will involve having a bronze bust made – which will be unveiled on Rod Laver Arena during the 2013 Open – and her name placed alongside other Australian tennis icons.
“I’ve already seen the sculptor, but will see her again in around one month to make sure we’re both happy with it,” Dalton said.
“I will have a pony tail in the bust like when I played at Wimbledon. The sculptor will also try and replicate the dress that I wore at Wimbledon that had a green ribbon threaded through the lace.”
The 74-year-old had a hugely successful career over the 1960s and early 1970s, especially as a doubles player. She won each of the four grand slams in doubles teams, with eight titles in total and three times runner-up.
She also reached great heights as a singles player, with a number seven world ranking in 1968 when she was runner-up at Wimbledon.
She was also part of the ‘Original 9’, a group of nine female tennis players who broke away from the tennis establishment to form their own tour, arguing that female tennis players were underpaid and under-supported, and which paved the way for the formation of the Women’s Tennis Association.
Dalton will be the sixth woman to be inducted into Tennis Australia’s Hall of Fame. Her honour places her next to one of her former doubles partners, Margaret Court.
“It is a big honour, I’m quite thrilled,” Dalton said.
“It’s nice to be recognised by your peers.”
Dalton retired from tennis at the age of 40, after competing in the 1977 Australian Open.
In the years since then, Dalton has continued to be involved in the sport. She is the president of Australia’s Fed Cup Foundation and is an honourary life member of Wimbledon, which she attends every year.
“I worked for BBC World for 20 years and then at Wimbledon for five years, so I’ll keep going to Wimbledon – for as long as I’m able,” she said.
Dalton is humble about her recognition,
“My daughter said to me, at least you haven’t died yet,” she said.
“So at least I’m here and can unveil the bust in January.”
Dalton continues to play socially in Buninyong, where she now lives.