Aussies at Roland Garros – Margaret Smith & Ken Fletcher 1963–1965
As we count down to French Open 2012, tennis.com.au will feature some of the best Australian achievements at Roland Garros.
As we count down to French Open 2012, tennis.com.au will feature some of the best Australian achievements at Roland Garros. The highlights will be revealed in chronological order and when all 20 have been named, you get the chance to vote for your No.1 achievement.
By 1963 Margaret Smith had firmly established herself as a dominant force in the women’s game. Her athleticism combined with her long reach gave her an on-court advantage in both singles and doubles play.
Unlike today’s top players who focus almost exclusively on singles, Court regularly competed in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles events at the majors.
Smith would go on to rack up an incredible record that stands today – 62 combined Grand Slam titles, the next person on the list is Martina Navratilova with 59 then Billie Jean King with 39.
Between 1963 and 1965, Smith teamed up with Australian Ken Fletcher. Fletcher and Smith had already won the mixed title at the 1963 Australian Championships before continuing their success on the Roland Garros clay.
And they didn’t stop there. Titles at Wimbledon and the US Championships followed as the pair claimed a rare mixed doubles Grand Slam.
The pair made the Roland Garros title their own for three consecutive years as they forged one of the great doubles partnerships. The Australian duo finished with 10 mixed doubles Grand Slam titles – the most by any pair.
Fletcher holds the record for the greatest number of mixed doubles championships at Roland Garros as does Smith who won a fourth mixed title in 1969 with Marty Riessen.
Fletcher would go on to win 37 singles titles throughout his career, but fell just short of winning a singles major. The closest he came was losing the 1963 Australian Championships final to Roy Emerson.
Smith, meanwhile, dominated for much of her career, especially during 1963 to 1965. Ranked the No.1 player during that period, Court won eight of 12 Grand Slam events in 1963, seven of 12 in 1964 and nine of 12 in 1965, which was her most successful season ever, in terms of Grand Slams won.
Aussies at Roland Garros – the complete list to date
1963–1965 Three in a row for mixed doubles pair Margaret Smith and Ken Fletcher