Tennis West Hall of Champions

Honouring WA’s Greatest Tennis Players

Western Australia is home to some of Australia’s finest tennis players. Many of them carved out distinguished careers having performed at the highest level internationally, nationally and within the State. As a State Sporting Body, Tennis West would like to honour these players, celebrate their achievements and preserve the rich heritage of tennis in WA.

As these champions scaled great heights, they served as role models for players hoping to follow in their footsteps.

The WA Hall of Champions provides an opportunity for the WA tennis community to honour their peers, and serves as inspiration for the next generation of players.


WA Hall of Champions Selection Committee

The Tennis West Hall of Champions committee is chaired by Tennis West Board Member Rod Van and includes founder Pamela Brand, West Australian tennis historian Dr Harry Phillips and former state representative players Kerryl Chute, Karen Kronja and Yvonne Ball.


WA Hall of Champions Selection Criteria:

  1. Nominees must be an Australian Citizen
  2. Nominees must have developed their tennis skills within the Western Australian tennis system (as a junior – 18 & under) whilst a resident in Western Australia
  3. Nominees will not be considered until at least 5 years after retirement from the highest level of competition
  4. International, National & State rankings will be considered in both singles and doubles
  5. Team Players will be considered on the same basis as individuals
  6. The Selection Committee will only consider results from open* events.  Junior (18/U) and Senior (over 35s) events will not form part of the selection criteria
  7. In addition to a nominee’s individual achievements, the Selection Committee may consider that person’s integrity, sportsmanship and character
  8. Any person or organisation may nominate a tennis player for consideration
  9. Nominations must be submitted on the official Nomination Form. All nominations will be reviewed. Tennis West is under no obligation to induct new members to the Hall of Champions every year
  10. Any nomination which has previously been submitted but not selected may be resubmitted
  11. The Selection Committee is the arbiter in respect to the selection or otherwise of any nominee, subject always to the final apprival by Tennis West Board

*which includes all events prior to and after 1969


WA Hall of Champions

Clive Wilderspin OAM
Clive was a member of the Australian team that toured internationally and played in all four Grand Slam events in 1953. He was Ranked No. 1 for Men’s Singles in WA 15 times between 1946-1963 and was inducted in the WA Sports Hall of Champions in 1988. Clive’s best Grand Slam tournament results include being a Finalist in the Men’s Doubles at the French Championships in 1953 when he teamed up with Mervyn Rose. Clive then teamed up with Neale Fraser in 1954 to become a Finalist at the Men’s Doubles at the Australian Championships in 1954. Clive was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 2021 Australia Day Honours for “service to tennis” after sadly passing away in November 2021.


Elizabeth Smylie (Sayers)
Elizabeth has won four Grand Slam Doubles titles in her career, including the 1983 US Open Mixed with John Fitzgerald, Wimbledon Ladies with Kathy Jordan in 1985, US Open Mixed with Todd Woodbridge in 1990 and Wimbledon Mixed with John Fitzgerald in 1991. Elizabeth’s highest World Ranking in Singles was No. 20 and Doubles No. 5. Elizabeth represented Australia in Fed Cup from 1984-1994 and won an Olympic Bronze Medal in the Women’s Doubles with Wendy Turnbull at Seoul in 1988. Elizabeth was Ranked No. 1 in Women’s singles in WA 6 times between 1981-1990


Ernest (Ernie) Parker
Ernie is the only Western Australian to have won an Australasian Men’s Singles title (1913). He was also a finalist in the same event in 1909 (losing to Anthony Wilding – a four time Wimbledon Champion). Ernie also won the Australasian Men’s Doubles in 1909 and 1913. Ernie won the WA Men’s Singles Title seven times and the Doubles Title eight times between 1903-1913 and was inducted into the WA Sports Hall of Champions in 1992. Ernie served with the AIF in the Artillery in World War I and died on active service in France in 1918.


Lesley Hunt
Lesley’s highest World Ranking in the Women’s Singles was No. 7. She was also ranked No. 3 in Australia behind Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong-Crawley. In recognition of her considerable achievements Lesley was inducted into the WA Sports Hall of Champions in 1993. Lesley was a semi-finalist in the Australian Open Singles in 1971, and a quarter finalist in the US Open 4 times between 1970-1978. She was also was a regular semi-finalist or quarter-finalist in both singles and doubles in many other Grand Slam events in the 1970’s and was notably a member of the winning Fed Cup Team alongside Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong-Crawley in Perth in 1971.


Jenny Byrne
With a career-best WTA Singles ranking of world No. 45 and career-best Doubles ranking of world No. 27, Jenny represented Australia at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and was a team member of the 1987, 1989, 1990 and 1992 Federation Cup teams. Competing on the world stage, Jenny was a Singles Finalist at the 1989 Indian Wells event and the 1992 Birmingham event. A fierce competitor at all of the major slams, Jenny’s best Grand Slam Singles results include third round performances at Wimbledon (1985), Roland Garros (1986 and 1988), the US Open (1993) and the Australian Open (1992). A talented doubles player, Jenny was a French Open Doubles Quarter Finalist (1986) and Semi Finalist (1987), with Quarter Finals appearances at Wimbledon (1986) and the US Open (1988). Jenny’s best Mixed Doubles performance was to reach the Final at the 1989 Wimbledon Championships. She was also a Mixed Doubles Quarter Finalist at the US Open in 1987 and 1988. Jenny received the WTA Award as the Comeback Player of the Year in 1992.


Rob Casey
Ranked as the state’s top-ranked junior and senior player respectively from 1970–1973 and 1974–1980, Rob dominated the local field and was named ‘Player of the Year’ from 1976–1978 and then again from 1980–1986. Successful at international level, Rob won the Deventer International (Holland, 1974), the Hasselt Championships (Belgium, 1974) and the Le Boulou (France, 1976). In addition, Rob reached the semi finals of the St. Moritz (Switzerland, 1974), Manchester (England, 1976) and Amersfoort (Holland, 1976). With an outstanding state tournaments record, Rob dominated the field winning nine State Closed Singles Championships (1975–1985), ten State Hardcourt Singles Championships (1972–1985), eight Champion of Champions Singles Championships (1976–1985), six Spring Singles Championships (1973–1984), four City of Perth Singles Championships (1974–1981) and four City of Fremantle Singles Championships. In addition, Rob won the Interstate Challenge Cup in 1979 and 1982, claimed eight A Grade (State Grade) premierships with four clubs and was undefeated playing at No. 1 in A Grade in three successive years from 1981.


Christine Dorey
Dutifully noted for being the first woman in the history of the sport to win through qualifying and then advance to the semi finals of a Grand Slam competition, Christine has been a member of the Fremantle Lawn Tennis Club since 1961. With a career-high WTA singles ranking of world No. 89 and WTA Doubles ranking of 39, Christine played all the major Grand Slam events, competing at Wimbledon on five occasions and was a Quarter Finalist at the 1975 and 1976 Australian Open. Recording her best Grand Slam singles result at the 1979 Australian Open, Christine was the first woman ever to play three rounds of qualifying to then reach the semi finals of a Grand Slam event. Ranked as the state’s No. 1 player in 1970, 1972, 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1985, Christine toured internationally from 1973 to 1977. With an equally impressive Doubles career, Christine enjoyed a run to the round of 16 at Wimbledon (1977) and a semi finals appearance at the 1978 and 1979 Australian Open. Christine was inducted into the City of Fremantle Sporting Wall of Fame (2000) and presented with the Australian Sports Medal (2000). In 2004, Christine was an inaugural inductee into the City of Cockburn Sports Hall of Fame.


Christopher Johnstone
With Grand Slam appearances at Wimbledon, Roland Garros and the Australian Open from 1980 through to 1983, Chris enjoyed his best Grand Slam performance in 1982 when he made the third round of the Wimbledon Men’s Singles and Doubles events alongside an impressive run to the semi finals of the Mixed Doubles event. Playing on the ATP tour from 1978 through to 1985, Chris reached a career-high ATP singles ranking of world No. 70, winning two ATP singles titles, the Queensland Open (1981) and the Essen Germany (1981), as well as six ATP doubles titles in Queensland, Essen, South Australia, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Perth. During his International career, Chris claimed the scalps of players such as Roscoe Tanner (ATP No. 4) and Victor Pecci (ATP No. 9).


Gary Penberthy

As a junior Gary Penberthy was ranked second in Australia in 1966 and was chosen to captain the Australian Junior Davis Cup Team that travelled to the United States in the same year. At a Grand Slam level, Gary competed in the 1965 and 1967 Australian Championships.

He was a talented and crafty left hander who chose to establish his tennis career here in Western Australia. Gary Penberthy was a house-hold name on the Western Australian tennis scene for decades, spanning across the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. In WA, Gary was ranked in the top two players for 12 years, three of which he was ranked number one from 1970-73.

Penberthy’s name was synonymous in WA tennis with fellow Hall of Champion Inductee Rob Casey, the two gentlemen competing in tournament finals on countless occasions. Gary established a fine record with five consecutive Champion of Champions trophies from 1971 to 1975. Other singles titles included the City of Perth, the Perth Spring tournament, the State Hardcourts and the State Closed. Gary was also an accomplished doubles player capturing many titles.


Jill Bignell (Nee Langley)

Jill was considered the most talented Western Australian female tennis player in the 1950’s. Ranked as the State’s number one player in 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960 she won multiple Western Australian tournaments most notably winning the singles title at the WA State Open Championships in 1956, runner up in 1954, 1955, 1957 and 1958.

A very talented player with an all-round game she achieved success in the mixed doubles event winning in 1958 with our Inaugural Hall of Champions Inductee Clive Wilderspin and in 1957 with Nic Pietrangeli. Other notable local achievements included winning the State Hardcourt Championships in 1956, 1958 and 1959, the City of Perth Championships in 1958 and 1961, the Spring Tournament in 1955, 1958 and 1959 and the Metropolitan Hardcourt Championships in 1958 and 1959.

She competed interstate between 1955-1957 reaching the quarterfinals in Adelaide in 1955 and the semi finals at the Melbourne Hardcourt in 1957.

At Grand Slam level, Jill featured regularly in the Australian Championships singles draw in 1955 to 1958. Partnering Billy Knight, she was runner up in the 1957 mixed doubles event.

During 1960, Jill toured internationally, competing at Wimbledon and making the second round of the French Championships. In the same year she also competed in Monte Carlo, Palermo, Rome, Manchester, Queens Club and the Wimbledon Plate. Jill’s best success internationally was when she made the semi-finals of the Irish Championships in Dublin.


Mary Collins

Mary Collins competed in the Australian Open Championships between 1976-1979. Alongside fellow Hall of Champion Inductees Lesley Hunt and Christine Dorey, Mary is the only other Western Australian female player to have the distinction of reaching the ladies singles semi-finals at the Australian Open Championships.

Her best Grand Slam performance was in the 1979 Australian Open where she defeated top seed Virginia Ruzici in the first round, marking the first time a number one seed had been beaten in the opening round of a women’s singles at a Grand Slam. She enjoyed a successful run in the tournament, eventually losing a tightly contested match in the semi-finals. She made the quarterfinals of the Australian Open singles in both 1976 and 1978. At a Grand Slam level, Mary also competed in the ladies doubles events at the Australian Open (quarterfinalist 1978, 1979), Wimbledon (1977, 1978) and the US Open (1979).

Mary enjoyed success internationally winning the Irish Open, beating former Wimbledon and US Open champion Maria Bueno in the 1977 final and then won the event again the following year.

Mary was a singles finalist I the West Australian Open Championship and won the ladies doubles title in 1979. She won the Champion of Champions in 1977, The Player of the Year Competition in its inaugural year in 1976/77 and was the State’s top ranked player in 1976/77 and 1977/78.


Casey Dellacque

Casey Dallecqua is one of WA’s most iconic Tennis Players.

Casey grew up in Woodvale and began playing tennis at Kingsley Tennis Club. Casey turned pro in 2002 and had great success in singles, including semifinal appearances at the 2012 Texas Tennis Open and 2014 Birmingham Classic, as well as quarterfinal finishes at the 2014 Indian Wells Open and the 2008 and 2014 Australian Opens. Casey was the winner of 22 ITF singles titles, including six in a row in Australia in 2011 but her true career highlights came in doubles.

Casey has amassed an impressive record in doubles, winning seven WTA Tour doubles titles, 23 ITF doubles titles, and clinching one Grand Slam mixed-doubles title at the 2011 French Open. She reached the finals of all four major events in women’s doubles, appearing in seven finals from 2008 to 2017, although she fell short of winning a title.

Casey’s most significant women’s doubles victory came at the Premier Mandatory 2015 Madrid Open, where she partnered with Yaroslava Shvedova.

Casey achieved her highest singles ranking of world No. 26 and reached a career-high doubles ranking of No. 3 in 2016.

Today, Casey is a busy mum to three and works in tennis and is a tennis commentator.


To read more about the inaugural induction, click here.

Read more about the 2021 Hall of Champions inductions here.