Australian tennis legend Owen Davidson visited the McAdams Courts this week, taking the opportunity to talk about the sport with the Bearkat squad.
Davidson partnered with Billie Jean King to win eight grand slam mixed doubles titles. He is one of very few to win a calendar year slam for mixed doubles, when he won the Australian Championships, French Championships, Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships all in the same year (1967).
Accompanying Davidson was Adrian Bey, another tennis legend who played on the international circuit from South Africa to Europe in his 20s and now is a member of the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame. Bey served as tennis pro at Westside Tennis Club in Houston from 1975 to 1982 and at April Sound and Bentwater Country Club in Montgomery County since then.
"This was a thrill and an honor to have two tennis greats visit one of our practices," Sam Houston senior Cally Woerner. "To visit with a Grand Slam champion was exciting."
At the Australian Championships, Davidson teamed with Lesley Turner Bowrey and with King to win the other three grand slams.
His best grand slam singles result was at Wimbledon in 1966, when he reached the semifinals. He is also the 1972 Australian Open and the 1973 US Open men's doubles champion, partnering John Newcombe and Ken Rosewall.
Davidson is a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame.
"This was a great experience for our team and our program," head coach Jim Giachino said. "Both gentleman said they had a great time interacting with our girls and the players certainly enjoyed it. You can't believe how special this was for the team."
The visit came at a opportune time for the Bearkats who are just beginning the Southland Conference portion of their 2011 schedule.
Saturday Sam Houston plays its first home conference matches, taking on Nicholls at 10 a.m. Saturday and Southeastern Louisiana at 11 a.m. Sunday. Both matches will be played at the McAdams Tennis Center.
Sam Houston stands 3-2 for the season and 1-1 in conference action.