Dalton Receives Georgina Clark Award
Published January 27, 2011 01:35
MELBOURNE, Australia - Among the highlights of the WTA's Asia-Pacific Alumnae & Friends Reunion in Melbourne on Thursday night, Australian legend Judy Dalton was presented with the Georgina Clark Mother Award, named in memory of one of the WTA's most loyal servants.
Clark, who passed away last year after a long illness, held a range of senior roles in tennis over nearly three decades, from tournament referee to tour supervisor to Vice President of the WTA's European Operations. The inaugural award was presented to former Wimbledon champion Ann Jones at a reunion held in London last summer, where Clark's daughter Caroline spoke on behalf of the family.
This time, the setting was the other side of the world, but the occasion was no less heartfelt. "It's a huge honor - more so, I think, because I knew Georgina for such a long time," said Dalton, who made history as a member of the Original Nine in 1970. "I can remember when she had only just started umpiring… we'd see her at smaller tournaments in England and then eventually she became the first woman to umpire a Wimbledon final.
"She had a great rapport with the players, on and off court, but more than that she would always help people," Dalton added. "She gave of herself to us. You have to make sacrifices to be in tennis, whether you are a player or working for the tour, and her family did. It's what Georgina wanted to do, and she was successful at it, but it's lovely that the name of the award recognizes the importance of support from family."
Dalton's beloved husband, David, passed away on their farm near Ballarat in 2009, but her daughter Sammi and son Edward were on hand to see their mother receive her award. Edward recently moved back to Australia from Scotland with his wife, Alyson, and two daughters, Sophie (who turns five in March) and Abby (three in March).
During her playing career, Dalton 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, only to be edged by Billie Jean King, 97 75. 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. Today, she remains active in tennis as president of Australia's Fed Cup Foundation.
"Judy Dalton - known to all of us as Old Fruit - has guts, integrity, and a great sense of humor," wrote King in a message read by Pam Shriver at the reunion. "She is the type of person you want standing with you and she is proud to be there beside you."
> In Her Own Words: Judy Dalton
> Judy Looks Back