Misc Tennis

Hall of Famer Owen Davidson Has Died at 79

Hall of Famer Owen Davidson Has Died at 79

By ITHF Historian-At-Large Joel Drucker

Australian legend Owen Davidson, the most accomplished mixed doubles male player in tennis history, has passed away. Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010, Davidson was 79 years old and had been a long-time resident of Texas at the time of his death.

To use Aussie lingo, the man nicknamed “Davo” was always regarded as a “first-rate mate.” Davidson maintained deep friendships with many people in all corners of the globe and across decades of tennis history. His crackling humor, warmth, and knowledge made him a keen source of wisdom for everyone, from corporate executives and agents, to journalists, television commentators, and fellow legends.

Gauff: GOAT Nadal RG Favorite Any Day

Crisp volleys, a superb overhead and a wickedly accurate lefty spin serve were Davidson’s trademark shots. In a career that lasted from the early ‘60s into the mid-‘70s, Davidson won 13 Grand Slam titles—eleven of them in mixed doubles and two in men’s doubles.

In 1967, Davidson became only the third player in tennis history to earn all four major mixed doubles titles in the same year. It started in Adelaide, Australia, when Davidson and compatriot Lesley Turner won their homeland major. The next three were earned with Davidson’s most frequent partner, Billie Jean King.

All told, the King-Davidson duo won eight majors (one French, four Wimbledon, three US). Arguably, the greatest King-Davidson effort came in the 1971 Wimbledon finals when they beat the formidable team of Margaret Court and Marty Riessen in an epic, 3-6, 6-2, 15-13. Said King, “We’d been out there a long time and at 13-all, I said to him, ‘Owen, let’s get out of here.’ And so we did. He was just terrific.”

Davidson also won the 1966 U.S. Nationals mixed doubles alongside Donna Floyd Fales and, in 1965, partnered with Robyn Ebbern, shared the Australian title with Court and John Newcombe (the final was not played due to inclement conditions).

As a men’s doubles player, Davidson earned two majors, winning the 1972 Australian Open with Ken Rosewall and joining forces with Newcombe to take the 1973 US Open. The latter was particularly pleasing for Davidson. “We played Laver and Rosewall – two of our heroes – in the final,” said Davidson. “It was amazing simply to be on the court with them.”

Davidson’s finest moment as a singles player came in 1966 at…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Blog RSS…