Federation Cup History- 1963

by admin on August 26, 2008

The Federation Cup, an International Event for Woman’s Tennis was inaugurated in 1963 after considerable effort by Nell Hopman, wife of Harry Hopman.  Individually Harry and Nell were elite tournament tennis players and even played mixed doubles together winning the Australian Open Mixed in 1930, 1936,1937 and 1939. Apart from being great players, they also put back into the sport through Harry and his legendary Davis Cup role through the1950′s and this chapter which sheds light on Nell’s persistence to lift the profile of Woman’s tennis Internationally.

The Wightman Cup played between the USA and the UK annually was the original inspiration to Nell when touring herself overseas in the late 1930′s. She stayed with Mrs Wightman during one of the contests and first discussed an International Woman’s event (Davis Cup style) with her, believing that Tennis administrators would most likely not share the same enthusiasm. Unfortunately, as predicted, this was the case and nothing happened for a further 25 years until 1963 when Nell was still at the forefront of  lobbying and promoting womans tennis to have an International event.

Women’s tennis in Australia fared quite badly compared to the men over these years from 1930-1960. There was no official Australian Womens team sent abroad to play the key tournaments from 1938 -1955 and any women who did go had to fund all of their own expenses.

All this time, Harry and Nell continued to support Woman’s tennis. In 1950 this article appeared once again indicating that behind the scenes negotiations were ongoing. Despite the positive acknowledgment it would still be another 13 years before anything resulted.


One of the key turning points in Australia Woman’s tennis was the 1952-53 tour involving the 18 year old Wimbledon Champion, Maureen Connolly. Such was the interest that crowds flocked to see her play and the media actively promoted her to National prominence.  This was the first time tennis administrators had witnessed massive interest in Woman’s tennis.

Fortunately, by 1960, 17 year old Margaret Smith (Court) had won the Australian Woman’s championships and this included wins over a strong field including the UK’s Wimbledon winner Maria Bueno. Other teenage girls also showing considerable talent at this time were Lesley Turner, Jan Lehane and Robbyn Ebbern.

Thanks to the Australian Wool Corporation, a  5000 pound sponsorship enabled a Woman’s team to travel the 1961 Tour and it was during this trip that Nell realised that Woman’s tennis had significantly developed in France, South Africa, Japan and Italy and that administrators were now taking more notice of woman’s tennis .

At the behest of the LTAA to the International Lawn Tennis Federation in 1962, the decision to conduct the “Federation Cup” was made and under the constitution 16 teams could compete and  elimination rounds were permitted.

Harry Hopman was the President of the LTAV and it is a fitting gesture that Nell Hopman and Harry achieved this tremendous achievement after so many years. In 1963,  the first Federation Cup was conducted at the Queens Club in England, however. three days of rain forced the competition indoors.

In the first round Australia defeated Belgium 3-0, followed by Hungary 3-0, South Africa 3-0 and lost in the Grand Final 1-2 to the USA. Scores in the final were Margaret Smith defeated Darlene Hard 6-3 6-0, Lesley Turner lost a tight 3 set match against Billie Jean Moffat 7-5 0-6 3-6, and together in the doubles they lost 6-3 11-13 3-6.

In the 1964 Fed Cup held in Germantown USA, Australia won against the USA 2-1:  Margaret Smith defeating Billie Jean Moffat 6-2 6-3, Lesley Turner defeating Nancy Richey 7-5 6-1 and in doubles Australia lost to Moffat and Karen Susman 6-4 5-7 6-1.

With this win the cup was to be played in Australia in 1965 for the first time. Pictured below is the official program promoting the event at Kooyong Victoria and luckily it has been signed by Margaret Smith.

fed cup65 cropped

Here are the winners since 1963. Today the event is no longer run in one location over several days but in four regions similar to the Davis Cup, followed by the finals.  During the hey day of Australia’s Women we were well represented in the finals, however the strength of Women’s tennis has become far more even throughout the world and Australia has only managed to make the finals (losing) once since 1985 and hasn’t won the event since 1974.

1963 United States 2, Australia 1
1964 Australia 2, United States 1
1965 Australia 2, United States 1
1966 United States 3, German FR 0
1967 United States 2, Great Britain 0
1968 Australia 3, Netherlands 0
1969 United States 2, Australia 1
1970 Australia 3, German FR 0
1971 Australia 3, Great Britain 0
1972 South Africa 2, Great Britain 1
1973 Australia 3, South Africa 0
1974 Australia 2, United States 1
1975 Czechoslovakia 3, Australia 0
1976 United States 2, Australia 1
1977 United States 2, Australia 1
1978 United States 2, Australia 1
1979 United States 3, Australia 0
1980 United States 3, Australia 0
1981 United States 3, Great Britain 0
1982 United States 3, German FR 0
1983 Czechoslovakia 2, German FR 1
1984 Czechoslovakia 2, Australia 1
1985 Czechoslovakia 2, United States 1
1986 United States 3, Czechoslovakia 0
1987 German FR 2, United States 1
1988 Czechoslovakia 2, Soviet Union 1
1989 United States 3, Spain 0
1990 United States 2, Soviet Union 1
1991 Spain 2, United States 1
1992 Germany 2, Spain 1
1993 Spain 3, Australia 0
1994 Spain 3, United States 2
1995 Spain 3, United States 2
1996 United States 5, Spain 0
1997 France 4, Netherlands 1
1998 Spain 3, Switzerland 2
1999 United States 4, Russia 1
2000 United States 5, Spain 0
2001 Belgium 2, Russia 1
2002 Slovak Republic 3, Spain 1
2003 France 4, United States 1
2004 Russia 3, France 2
2005 Russia 3, France 2
2006 Italy 3, Belgium 2
2007 Russia 4, Italy 0
2008 Russia 4, Spain 0

Inside the 1965  program are a variety of player profiles. (1965)




Representatives of countries playing in Australia in 1965.

You can learn more from these sites. Also see under LINKS page many other statistical websites.

Federation Cup History http://www.fedcup.com/about/index.asp

Federation Cup Player Search http://www.fedcup.com/teams/playersearch.asp

Fed Cup Win Loss Record for players 1963 onwards Tennis Australia

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