Inductee - Dale Collings

Wimbeldon Lawn Tennis Championships

Dale Collings


Winner of the Wimbledon Plate in 1977 and triumphant in numerous tournaments during his career, Dale would have to be regarded at the Gold Coast's highest achiever on the international tennis circuit.

It was a promise, which was evident early when he began playing tennis with the Gold Coast and District Tennis Association. By 1969, at the age of 14, he was the Junior Gold Coast champion; by 1972, aged 16, he was the Men's champion. Selected in 1973 for the Lynton cup, the symbol of supremacy in junior boys tennis in Australia, Dale went on to play in New Zealand and returned triumphant before embarking on a six-month tour of Europe and Britain.

He won a mixed double event in Paris and appeared at Wimbledon for the first time - in the junior boys' singles. In the same year he had victories in the Gold Coast, in Bundaberg, Warwick and in Sydney where he won the NSW Junior Grasscourt title, and was runner-up in the Wynnum Open.

Dale was also nominated for the Gold Coast Sportsman of the Year Lindy Award, and enjoyed a significant win at the Queensland Grasscourt titles when he upset Australia's No 1 junior, Sydney's Chris Kachel. The following year saw Dale knock over top seed Greg Braun in the Queensland Hardcourt Championships and Paul McNamee in the Grasscourt titles in Gympie before losing to Swede L Samuelsson in three sets in the semi-final.

1975 saw Dale beaten in the final of the Gold Coast Cup by former Davis Cup star Mal Anderson. He won the Gold Coast singles title, and reached the semi-finals of the Warana Open before going down again to the experienced Mal Anderson, but made up for that by winning the Manawatu Open at Palmerston North in New Zealand.

Blessed with physique, powerful ground strokes and a booming serve, Dale in 1976 won the Gold Coast singles crown and the Toowoomba Gold Cup and finally qualified for the main draw at Wimbledon where he defeated South Africa's former Australian Bob Hewitt in the first round before falling to Italy's Adriano Panatta in a five-set thriller. Twelve months later, beaten in four sets in the first round at Wimbledon by Australia legend John Newcombe, Dale went on to win the Plate, beating American Tim Wilkinson in a spirited final.