Melbourne, Australia, 13 May 2023 | Tennis Australia

Australian tennis is mourning the passing of Grand Slam champion Owen Davidson, who has passed away at age 79.

Known simply as ‘Davo’ his career spanned the amateur and open eras of tennis, during which he won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles and was a member of five Davis Cup squads.

His most productive partnership was with Billie Jean King and together they won eight mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, including four at Wimbledon.

It was his accurate volleys that King admired most, with the American legend once commenting that “Owen seemed to make 99 per cent of his first volleys after serving.”

“I loved playing in a team, and I loved Owen Davidson because of that, because he was my best partner,” she said.

In 1967 Davidson completed the Grand Slam of mixed doubles by winning the four major titles in one calendar year.

He once nominated his career highlight as winning the 1973 US doubles crown with his close friend John Newcombe when they defeated Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver

“They were our childhood idols and to beat them was very special,” he said.

Although known for his doubles, Davidson was a successful singles player and reached the quarterfinals at all four majors.

In 1966 he made the semifinal at Wimbledon where he lost 7-5 in the fifth set to eventual champion Manuel Santana.

Born in Melbourne, Davidson played in an era when Australian men’s tennis was filled with champions.

The left-hander’s game was based around accuracy and court knowledge.

His bright personality made him popular with other players who often teased him about his occasionally sloppy personal habits, which contrasted with his neat play on the court.

Davidson continued to be involved in the sport he loved and its people, often guest coaching at John Newcombe’s tennis camps.

He was inducted into the both the International and Australian Tennis Hall of Fames.

Owen Davidson with fellow International Tennis Hall of Fame inductees in 2018.

Owen Davidson (far left) with fellow International Tennis Hall of Fame inductees in 2018.