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Still Feisty and Fabulous

Can they believe it's been 40 years? And would they do it all again? You bet your bottom dollar they would.

Published September 23, 2010 12:00

Still Feisty and Fabulous
An Original Nine Reunion in the 1980s, with other notable figures including Ted Tinling and Gladys Heldman (seated at right).

Who made up the Original Nine... and where are they now?

Jane 'Peaches' Bartkowicz
, a native of Michigan, was 21 in 1970. She reached the quarterfinals in singles at the US Open in 1968 and 1969, won the Canadian title in 1968, and was a member of the victorious US Federation Cup side in 1969. Her 17 junior titles included Wimbledon in 1964, and three straight wins at the US nationals. She retired from the circuit in 1971.

Rosie Casals was 22 when she beat Judy Dalton in the final of the Virginia Slims Invitation in Houston in 1970. She reached two Grand Slam singles finals, falling to Margaret Court at the 1970 US Open (with her win, Court completed the Grand Slam sweep) and in 1971, losing to her doubles partner, Billie Jean King. Her haul of 112 doubles titles, including five at Wimbledon with King, ranks second only to Martina Navratilova - with whom she played her last event in 1988. Casals won nine Grand Slam titles, including five Wimbledons with King. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1996.
In Her Own Words: Rosie Casals

Judy Dalton was 32 when she was runner-up to Rosie Casals at the infamous Virginia Slims Invitation in Houston in 1970. During her career Dalton (née Tegart) won nine Grand Slam doubles titles (including five with Margaret Court) and achieved the 'Career Grand Slam'. In singles, she reached the Wimbledon final in 1968, upsetting Court and Nancy Richey before succumbing to Billie Jean King, 97 75. In fact, from Wimbledon in 1967 until her retirement - aged 40 - after the 1977 Australian Open - Dalton reached at least the quarters in 10 of the 20 Slams played. She also built an 18-4 record in Federation Cup, and was a member of two victorious squads.
In Her Own Words: Judy Dalton

Julie Heldman, daughter of Gladys, was 25 in 1970. During her career she won 22 professional titles, including the Italian Open, reached three Grand Slam singles semifinals, and peaked at world No.5 (No.2 in the US) in 1969. She left the Tour in 1975 and now lives in retirement in California.
In Her Own Words: Julie Heldman

Billie Jean King was pushing 27 at Houston in 1970, and had already started calling herself the 'Old Lady' of tennis. By this point she had won five of her eventual 12 Grand Slam singles titles and spent time as No.1. She also won 16 Grand Slam doubles titles and 11 mixed, and one a total of 20 Wimbledon crowns across the three disciplines. In 1971 alone she won 17 singles titles and became the first female athlete to earn more than $100,000 in prize money in a single year. In 1973 she beat Bobby Riggs in the famous Battle of the Sexes. She played doubles with Jennifer Capriati at the Virginia Slims of Florida in 1990, and then retired from competitive play.
Looking Back at a Legend...BJK

Kristy Pigeon was 20 in 1970. After winning the US Girls' title and junior Wimbledon, the Californian went on to reach the fourth round of the ladies singles at the All England in 1968 and 1969, and reached the US Top 10. She left the Tour in 1975, having represented the US in team competitions and won the Welsh Open.
In Her Own Words: Kristy Pigeon

Kerry Melville Reid was 23 when the Original Nine took their stand in 1970. Among 22 singles titles won during her career she won her home Grand Slam, the Australian Open, in 1977. A further 40 finals included the Aussie Open in 1970, and in 1972 both the US Open and the nascent Virginia Slims Tour's first season-ending championships. Ranked in the Top 10 for nine of 11 years from 1969-79, she held the singles year-end No.5 spot from 1971-73, and won three doubles majors, including 1978 Wimbledon with Wendy Turnbull. She married fellow touring pro and Boston Lobsters WTT teammate Raz Reid in 1975, and played her last major at Flushing Meadows in 1979.
In Her Own Words: Kerry Melville Reid

Nancy Richey was a 28-year-old two-time Grand Slam singles champion in 1970, having won the Australian Open in 1967 and the French Open in 1968. During a career that spanned two decades the Texan won 69 singles titles, including a record six consecutive US claycourt championships, and ranked as high at No.2 in 1969 (her brother, Cliff, was the US No.1 in 1970). She also won four Grand Slam doubles titles. Richey retired after the 1978 US Open - the first to be played at Flushing Meadows - at the age of 36. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003.
In Her Own Words: Nancy Richey

Valerie Ziegenfuss was 21 in 1970. In singles, she reached the fourth round at three Grand Slams, and one final on the fledgling Tour, at the Virginia Slims of Oklahoma in 1972. She ranked as high as No.7 in the Unites States in singles, and was the top-ranked doubles player in women's tennis in 1967. She lives in Southern California.
In Her Own Words: Valerie Ziegenfuss





 

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