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Kenneth Norman Fletcher (15 June 1940 – 11 February 2006) was an Australian tennis player who won numerous doubles and mixed doubles Grand Slam titles.

Ken Fletcher
Kenneth Norman Fletcher.jpg
Ken Fletcher at tournament in Santpoort, Netherlands (1965)
Full nameKenneth Norman Fletcher
Country (sports) Australia
Born(1940-06-15)15 June 1940
Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Died11 February 2006(2006-02-11) (aged 65)
Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Turned pro1968 (amateur tour from 1958)
Retired1973
PlaysRight-handed (1-handed backhand)
Singles
Career record55–31
Highest rankingNo. 10 (1966, Lance Tingay)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenF (1963)
French OpenQF (1963, 1966)
WimbledonQF (1962, 1966, 1967)
US Open3R (1963)
Doubles
Career record6–5
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1964)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenF (1963, 1964)
French OpenW (1964)
WimbledonW (1966)
Mixed doubles
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Australian OpenW (1963, 1964)
French OpenW (1963, 1964, 1965)
WimbledonW (1963, 1965, 1966, 1968)
US OpenW (1963)
Last updated on: 14 September 2012.

BiographyEdit

He was born in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia to parents Norm and Ethel Fletcher. He was educated at St Laurence's College and showed early promise as a championship tennis player there. His greatest success as a tennis player came in 1963, when he became the only man to win a calendar year Grand Slam in mixed doubles, partnering fellow Australian Margaret Court.[2] He reached the final of the Australian Open in 1963, losing to Roy Emerson.[3]

After this achievement, he went on to record mixed doubles championships in the Australian Open in 1964, French Open in 1964 and 1965, and Wimbledon in 1965, 1966, and 1968. All of his mixed doubles Grand Slam titles were in partnership with Smith Court.

He also achieved a Grand Slam title in men's doubles in the 1964 French Open, playing with Roy Emerson. At the Wimbledon men's doubles championship, he was a finalist with Robert Hewitt in 1965, the champion in 1966 partnering John Newcombe, and a finalist again in 1967 with Roy Emerson. In total Fletcher won 27 international tennis titles. He was ranked World No. 10 in 1966 by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph.[1]

Ken was a larrikin by nature, and many of his exploits feature in Hugh Lunn's books, especially Over the Top with Jim and Head Over Heels. In later years he was instrumental in gaining significant funding for medical research in Australia, through his association with Chuck Feeney. In 2008 Hugh Lunn published a book on Ken's remarkable life around the globe, The Great Fletch with ABC Books.[4][5]

Fletcher died of cancer at the age of 65 and was buried at the Mount Gravatt Lawn Cemetery, Brisbane.

In January 2012 Ken Fletcher was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame.[6]

 
Ken Fletcher Memorial, Tennyson

In 2013 the Ken Fletcher memorial was erected in the park, outside the Queensland Tennis Centre, named in his honour [1]. He is the only player in the history of tennis, to win a grand slam (1963), in mixed doubles, that is not enshrined in the International Tennis Hall Of Fame.

Grands Slam finalsEdit

Singles: 1 (1 runner-up)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Loss 1963 Australian Championships Grass   Roy Emerson 3–6, 3–6, 1–6

Doubles: 9 (2 titles, 7 runners-up)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1963 Australian Championships Grass   John Newcombe   Bob Hewitt
  Fred Stolle
2–6, 6–3, 3–6, 6–3, 3–6
Loss 1964 Australian Championships Grass   Roy Emerson   Bob Hewitt
  Fred Stolle
4–6, 5–7, 6–3, 6–4, 12–14
Winner 1964 French Championships Clay   Roy Emerson   John Newcombe
  Tony Roche
6–3, 6–4
Loss 1964 Wimbledon Grass   Roy Emerson   Bob Hewitt
  Fred Stolle
5–7, 9–11, 4–6
Loss 1965 French Championships Clay   Bob Hewitt   Roy Emerson
  Fred Stolle
8–6, 3–6, 6–8, 2–6
Loss 1965 Wimbledon Grass   Bob Hewitt   John Newcombe
  Tony Roche
5–7, 3–6, 4–6
Winner 1966 Wimbledon Grass   John Newcombe   William Bowrey
  Owen Davidson
6–3, 6–4, 3–6, 6–3
Loss 1967 French Championships Clay   Roy Emerson   John Newcombe
  Tony Roche
3–6, 7–9, 10–12
Loss 1967 Wimbledon Grass   Roy Emerson   Bob Hewitt
  Frew McMillan
2–6, 3–6, 4–6

Mixed doubles: 11 (10 titles, 1 runner-up)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1963 Australian Championships Grass   Margaret Smith Court   Fred Stolle
  Lesley Turner Bowrey
6–4, 6–4
Winner 1963 French Championships Clay   Margaret Smith Court   Fred Stolle
  Lesley Turner Bowrey
6–1, 6–2
Winner 1963 Wimbledon Grass   Margaret Smith Court   Bob Hewitt
  Darlene Hard
11–9, 6–4
Winner 1963 US Championships (3) Grass   Margaret Smith Court   Ed Rubinoff
  Judy Tegart Dalton
0–6, 6–4, 6–4
Winner 1964 Australian Championships (2) Grass   Margaret Smith Court   Mike Sangster
  Jan Lehane O'Neill
6–4, 6–4
Winner 1964 French Championships (2) Clay   Margaret Smith Court   Fred Stolle
  Lesley Turner Bowrey
6–3, 4–6, 8–6
Loss 1964 Wimbledon Grass   Margaret Smith Court   Fred Stolle
  Lesley Turner Bowrey
6–4, 6–4
Winner 1965 French Championships (3) Clay   Margaret Smith Court   John Newcombe
  Maria Bueno
6–4, 6–4
Winner 1965 Wimbledon (2) Grass   Margaret Smith Court   Tony Roche
  Judy Tegart Dalton
12–10, 6–3
Winner 1966 Wimbledon (3) Grass   Margaret Smith Court   Dennis Ralston
  Billie Jean King
4–6, 6–3, 6–3
↓ Open Era ↓
Winner 1968 Wimbledon (4) Grass   Margaret Smith Court   Alex Metreveli
  Olga Morozova
6–1, 14–12

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b United States Lawn Tennis Association (1972). Official Encyclopedia of Tennis (First Edition), p. 428.
  2. ^ "Ken Fletcher, former doubles champ, dies at 65". ESPN. 13 February 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  3. ^ Tony Moore (30 November 2011). "Park honour planned for great Brisbane larrikin". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  4. ^ Mike Colman (17 October 2008). "Life was a racket for Ken Fletcher". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  5. ^ "'The Great Fletch' : a story of a tennis player and a larrikin". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  6. ^ "Ken Fletcher inducted into Australian Tennis Hall of Fame". Tennis Australia. Retrieved 17 April 2012.

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit

Lunn, Hugh (2008). The Great Fletch: The Dazzling Life of Wimbledon Aussie Larrikin Ken Fletcher ISBN 0-7333-2209-3