Daphne Akhurst

Great Champions

Born in Sydney on 22 April 1903, Daphne Akhurst achieved much during her tragically short life, winning five Australian singles titles and nine Australian doubles titles between 1924 and 1931.

Making her debut at the tournament in 1924, Akhurst reached the second round where she fell to Esna Boyd. That match saw the dawning of a rivalry that spanned five years until Boyd's retirement in 1928.

Akhurst exacted revenge over her adversary the following year, claiming her first Australian Championship title after a nervous start 1-6 8-6 6-4 in the pre-tiebreak era. The New South Welshwoman backed up her win in 1926 with a more straightforward 6-1 6-3 victory, illness partially to blame for her three-set concession of the 1927 final that afforded Boyd her only Australian title.

The pair's 1928 final showdown was described by the Argus newspaper as "as fine an exhibition of women's tennis as has been seen in Australia for some time." Akhurst's steady style of play comprehensively outfoxed hard-hitting Boyd, earning her a 7-5 6-2 victory and her third Australian title. She became the first Aussie woman to reach the world top 10 the same year, peaking at No.3.

Scoring finals victories over Louie Bickerton in 1929 and Sylvia Harper in 1930, Akhurst cemented her status as Australia's most prolific champion of the era. Today she ranks third on the Australian all-time singles champion list behind Margaret Court and Nancye Wynne Bolton. Married, Akhurst won her last Australian title - the women's doubles with Bickerton - in 1931 as Mrs Roy Cozens. Two years later, in 1933, she suffered an ectopic pregnancy and died aged 29.

The Australian Open women's singles trophy is named the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup in her honour.

Today she ranks third on the Australian all-time singles champion list behind Margaret Court and Nancye Wynne Bolton.