BTT: What dates were you on the Tour?
JD: I played full-time on the professional tour from 1962 until 1972. Beyond that period, I played a few tournaments for a few years and then after retiring I played in the Veterans.
BTT: As a player what did you love about your job aside from hitting a ball?
JD: I loved the competing element. I also playing at tournaments (around the world) some very familiar and then some new ones, travel, staying with friends (in our day we stayed with families), meeting up with other friends and if possible being able to do some sightseeing.
BTT: Can you share one of your favourite stories from tour life?
JD: We played a tournament in southern Italy, the Mayor of the town who was a sponsor, remember these were the days when there was no prize money!!!, invited some of us to visit his perfume factory. Little did we know that it was front for his growing of marijuana plants. He showed us these hills saying they were lavender, didn’t smell like lavender but then I certainly didn’t know what marijuana smelt like. He presented us with huge bottles of his perfume. Interesting day.
BTT: How hard was it for you to decide to retire from playing?
JD: It was not difficult to retire from tennis, as I was married and David my husband couldn’t travel with me so it was hard (for me to be away from him). I had achieved an ambition and been part of something that turned out to be historic and changed tennis for women worldwide- the Original 9. It is 50 years on September 23rd this year that none of us signed for a $1.00
BTT: Who supported you through the retirement process?
JD: I was so fortunate to have a wonderful husband and then two great children, Samantha and Edward. I was also still involved in tennis and still am. This made it a bit easier to retire. But somehow you never really “give” up tennis.
It is really important to have people supporting you when you retire or to have another interest as emotionally and your daily routine is so ingrained that it is hard to adjust. I think I was very lucky.
BTT: Describe your first few years beyond the tour in a few words.
JD: I was extremely busy with my two children but also was still involved in the administration side of tennis, being on the board of the International Women’s Committee and then worked for BBC World Service at Wimbledon and the Australian for many years. I was able to travel with my children to see their grandparents in England. I still work at Wimbledon for Live at Wimbledon which is wonderful at my age!!!
BTT: Are you still connected to many of your tour mates?
JD: Yes, I still see Billie Jean King, Margaret Court, Lesley Bowrey, Betty Stove, Francoise Durr, and am in touch with my other Original 9 members. At each of the Last 8 clubs in the four Grand Glams I meet up with other friends, it is such a joy.
BTT: What is your advice for a recently retired player when it comes to life after tennis?
JD: Make sure you are happy to retire, sometimes of course you have to due to other circumstances, then you can continue on another stage in your career. I think these days it is somewhat easier as most players have earned some money so can peruse what they what to do. We didn’t have that choice.
You will always have tennis foremost in your life but it won’t be the most important thing. But make sure your enjoy life after tennis.
Judy, you a truly one of the legends of tennis and we thank you so much for taking the time to share your stories with the IC community!