Class of 2006
World No. 4 (1947)
Grand Slam Results
20-time Australian Championships winner, 9-time finalist
Nancy Wynne Bolton hardly ever strayed away from playing in her native major event, the Australian Championships. Her record in Melbourne indicates that it was the only major she needed to earn induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. She appeared in 25 finals at her native major, winning six singles championships, 10 doubles titles, and four mixed doubles trophies. By comparison, Wynne Bolton played in only three Wimbledons, two U.S. National Championships, and one French Championships.
As a 19-year-old the 5-foot-10 Wynne took her big forehand into the 1936 Australian finals, losing to Joan Hartigan, 6-6, 6-4. A year later, she was back on center stage, making her second of nine final appearances, and as the No. 2 seed, took out Emily Wood Westacott for the first of six titles. Five of her six championships were won against different opponents; the only player nabbed twice was Thelma Coyne Long in 1940 and 1951. Those losses didn’t affect their remarkable doubles partnership, as Wynne Bolton won all 10 doubles titles with Coyne by her side, including five straight (1936-40).
In 1938, Wynne Bolton became the first Australian female player to play in a major final abroad, falling to the great Alice Marble, 6-0, 6-3 in the U.S. Nationals. Her only other competition in Forest Hills was in 1947, where she lost in the semifinals.
From 1946 to 1952, Wynne Bolton was a dominating presence at the Australian, winning four titles in a seven year span, appearing in two semifinals (1950, 1952) and one final (1949). Each of her singles championships was achieved in straight sets, and Wynne Bolton allowed more than four games in a set only once, as a 34-year-old in 1951 when she defeated Long 6-1, 7-5.
Born and raised in Melbourne, Wynne Bolton’s twenty Australian titles is only surpassed by Margaret Court’s twenty-one. Had World War II not disrupted play for five years, her cumulative championships could easily have reached 30. Three times in her storied career (1940, 1947, 1948) she pulled off a Triple Crown at the Australian, winning the singles, doubles, and mixed doubles championships.
She endured heartbreak during her magical run toward double digit titles, and was widowed during World War II in 1942 when her husband Sergeant George Bolton was killed in action. But following that tragedy and after a few years off from playing, she displayed tremendous, heart, grit, perseverance, and mental fortitude by winning 12 of her 20 championships following the loss of her beloved partner. The championships won from 1947-49 were accomplished without losing a set.
Wynne Bolton’s loyalty to her doubles partners was iron clad. Just as she teamed with Long on their 10 championships and two finals appearances, her mixed doubles partner Colin Long teamed with her in winning four Australian National Mixed Doubles titles (1940, 1946, 1947, 1948) and a finalist slot in 1938.
Her autobiography, Nancye Wynne Bolton: An Australian Tennis Champion, was published in 2009. She was elected into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001.
Australian Championship: W 1937, 1940, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1951
Wimbledon: QF 1947
U.S. Championships: F 1938
Australian Championships: W 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1952
Wimbledon: QF 1938, 1947
U.S. Nationals: SF 1938
Australian Championships: W 1940, 1946, 1947, 1948
French Open: F 1938
Wimbledon: F 1947, 1951
U.S. Nationals: SF 1938