Bill Bowrey

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William "Bill" Bowrey (born 25 December 1943) is a former Australian tennis player.

Bill Bowrey
Bill Bowrey.jpg
Bill Bowrey at the 1970 Dutch Open
Full nameWilliam Walter Bowrey
Country (sports) Australia
ResidenceVictoria, Australia
Born (1943-12-25) 25 December 1943 (age 76)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Turned pro1968 (amateur tour from 1962)
PlaysRight-handed (1-handed backhand)
Career record88–99
Career titles6
Highest rankingNo. 8 (1967, NY Times)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenW (1968)
French Open3R (1965, 1971)
Wimbledon4R (1966)
US OpenQF (1966)
Career record89–60 (Open era at Grand Slam, Grand Prix and WCT level, and in Davis Cup)
Career titles5
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenF (1967)
French OpenQF (1969, 1971)
WimbledonF (1966)
US OpenF (1967)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Australian OpenF (1966)

Bowrey was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and is best remembered as the last amateur to win the Australian Championships in 1968[2] before the tournament opened itself to professional tennis players in 1969.

At the age of 16 Bowrey was a member of the schoolboys' NSW state PSAAA tennis team. In the process of qualifying he overcame promising Newcastle junior Ross Flanagan who had match point against Bowrey. Bowrey held on to win and Ross Flanagan decided to pursue a less spectacular career as a Physics and Sports Biomechanics Lecturer at The University of Newcastle.


Bowrey reached the quarters of the Australian (international amateur) Championships in 1965 (losing to John Newcombe), 1966 (losing to Roy Emerson) and 1967 (losing to Emerson) and the US Open quarters in 1966 (losing to Manuel Santana). At the 1967 US Open doubles, Bowrey and partner Owen Davidson lost the final to Newcombe and Roche in four sets.[3] At the end of 1967, John Newcombe, Roy Emerson and Tony Roche had all signed professional contracts, which left the amateur game devoid of talent. A poor quality field lined up for the 1968 Australian championships, which were held at Melbourne's historic Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club. Bowrey was the top seed.[4] In the final Bowrey met the Spaniard Juan Gisbert, which he won in four sets. A month after his Australian triumph Bowrey married the women's player Lesley Turner. The game went open in April that year and at the first Open Wimbledon Bowrey lost in the second round to Andrés Gimeno. Defending his Australian title the following year Bowrey blew a two sets to love lead in the quarters against Ray Ruffels. Bowrey represented Australia in two Davis Cup rounds, the first against the U.S in the World Group Final in December 1968, where he lost to Clark Graebner in five sets and beat Arthur Ashe in four sets. The second in the North & Central America draw in May 1969 versus Mexico, where he won against Joaquin Loyo-Mayo and lost to Rafael Osuna.[5]

Bowrey was also involved in one of the longest matches in tennis history at Wimbledon in 1970 against Patricio Cornejo that consumed nearly four hours[2] and took 84 games.[6] In January 1970 Bowrey turned professional which meant he was no longer eligible to play in the Davis Cup.[7] Later that year Bowrey with partner Marty Riessen won the Rogers Cup (formerly Canadian Open)[8] in two sets against Fred Stolle and Cliff Drysdale 6–3, 6–2. He also won the Rome ATP World Tour Masters – Doubles that year with Owen Davidson.

Bowrey married fellow tennis professional Lesley Turner in 1968 and went into semi-retirement in 1972 at the age of just 28, becoming a coach. After their playing careers were over, Bowrey and his wife Lesley became the lead match-play commentators at Wimbledon on the All-England Club's radio station and Internet Web site "Radio Wimbledon."

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles (1 title)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Win 1968 Australian Championships Grass   Juan Gisbert, Sr. 7–5, 2–6, 9–7, 6–4

Doubles (3 runners-up)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1966 Wimbledon Grass   Owen Davidson   Ken Fletcher
  John Newcombe
3–6, 4–6, 6–3, 3–6
Loss 1967 Australian Championships Grass   Owen Davidson   John Newcombe
  Tony Roche
6–3, 3–6, 5–7, 8–6, 6–8
Loss 1967 U.S. Championships Grass   Owen Davidson   John Newcombe
  Tony Roche
8–6, 7–9, 3–6, 3–6

Grand Slam tournament performance timelineEdit

(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)


Tournament 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 SR
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open 2R 2R 3R QF QF QF W QF 3R 1R A 1R A 2R 1 / 12
French Open A A A 3R 1R 2R A 2R A 3R A A A A 0 / 5
Wimbledon 2R A 1R 1R 4R 3R 2R 3R 2R 1R A A A A 0 / 9
US Open A A 4R A QF 4R A 3R 3R 3R A A A A 0 / 6
Strike Rate 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 4 1 / 2 0 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 4 0 / 0 0 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 1 1 / 32


  1. ^ "Mulligan, Emerson Lead World Tennis Standing ", New York Times, 21 May 1967.
  2. ^ a b "William Bowrey (1943)". Big Sports Archived from the original on 7 July 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  3. ^ "US Open Tennis Mens Doubles Champions". Altius Directory. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  4. ^ Drucker, Joel (10 January 2008). "The Last Amateur Grand slam". ATP World Tour. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Bill Bowrey". Davis Cup. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Longest matches (games)". Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  7. ^ "Bowrey Turns Professional". Beaver County Times. 26 January 1970. p. B-4.
  8. ^ "Rogers Cup – Men – Doubles Champion". Retrieved 7 April 2010.

External linksEdit