Tributes have continued to flow throughout the week after the passing of Owen Davidson last weekend.
Davidson formed part of Australia’s golden era of tennis and was particularly influential as a double’s player with 13 major doubles titles during his career.
Davidson was born in Melbourne in 1943 and early on in his career was coached by Mervyn Rose, a fellow left hander.
Davidson entered the amateur circuit in 1962 making the singles quarter finals of the Australian Championships in his first year.
As a singles player he was sharp, with his trademark shorts being his accurate spin serve and volleys.
Davidson’s career best singles result occurred in 1966 at Wimbledon where he defeated fellow Australian Roy Emmerson to advance to the semi-finals before fighting gallantly against Manuel Santana only to lose in a final fifth set.
Although known for his double’s achievements, it can’t be ignored that Davidson was a fantastic singles player reaching the quarter finals at each major.
For Davidson, his other singles highlight came in 1968 when the Open Era was to begin.
A conspicuous victory at the British Hard Court Championships in Bournemouth placed him in the history books forever with that match ultimately being the first of the Open Era chapter and the first win recorded in the Open Era.
He left an indelible mark on the game in the doubles, becoming the most successful and accomplished mixed doubles player of all time.
His record in the mixed doubles included 11 Gland Slam titles, four of which were at Wimbledon in 1967, 1971, 1973 and 1974.
Davidson struck up a partnership with the legendary Billie Jean King and the pair were unstoppable and in 1967 they won three out of the four major titles together with Davidson also claiming the fourth in the same year with Australia’s Lesley Turner at their home major tournament.
Davidson became only the third player in history to win all mixed doubles majors in the same year.
The King-Davidson duo went on to win eight majors together and became one of the most successful partnerships in the history of the sport.
Perhaps their most famous victory was at Wimbledon in 1971 in the mixed doubles final where they outlasted Marty Riessen and Margaret Court 3-6, 6-2, 15-13.
King paid tribute to Davidson earlier this week saying that he was a long-time friend and the only man she could win the mixed doubles with at Wimbledon.
“Our hearts are broken, but we find peace in the lifetime of wonderful memories we shared with our friend Davo,” King said in a tweet.
Davidson also shared success in the men’s doubles claiming a further two major titles at the Australian Open in 1972 and the US Open in 1973.
In 1972 Davidson paired with Ken Rosewall to win the Australian Open while his US Open title win included partner John Newcombe.
His doubles tally also included two finals at Wimbledon and the French Championships in 1966 and 1967 alongside Bill Bowrey.
Owen Davidson’s achievements were recognised by the sport and in 2010 when he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and was also inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011.
Rod Laver paid tribute to Davidson this week, describing him as one of the greatest doubles
players of his time.
“He was a fellow leftie, great sporting champion, the best in doubles, and above all, a great mate. Rest in peace Davo,” he said.
Craig Tiley also acknowledged Davidson during the week.
“The tennis world mourns the loss of Owen “Davo” Davidson, a true Aussie legend of the sport,” he said.
“With his powerful left-handed game and remarkable skill, the Tennis Hall of Famer dominated doubles, winning the mixed Grand Slam in 1967.”
Davidson’s name will live on for years to come having dedicated a lifetime to tennis on and off the court.
He leaves a legacy and a record that solidifies him as one of Australia’s and the worlds greatest players.
Vale Owen Davidson.