Sad passing of a legend

Jenny Staley Hoad 1934-2024

The Tennis community  sends heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Jenny Staley Hoad who sadly passed away this week.

Jenny was an accomplished player in her own right, and widow of Lew, one of Australia’s tennis legends. Jenny’s impact on the sport she loved will always be remembered.  She was a gifted left-handed player who reached the final of the Australian Championships in 1954 and in partnership with Lew Hoad became a glamorous and enduring symbol of the sport. Aged 19, she reached the final of the Australian Championships and victories came at the Australian Hardcourt Championships in 1954 and the South Australian Championships in 1955.

It was during the overseas tour of 1955 (with Fay Muller, Beryl Penrose and Mary Carter) that she put tennis onto the front page. In the lead-up to Wimbledon, Lew and Jenny married at St Mary’s Church. The couple had been secretly engaged since Lew proposed on her 21st birthday three months earlier and their relationship made them the ‘It Couple’ of tennis.

In his 1979 autobiography, Kramer ranked Hoad as one of the 21 best players of all time. Hoad, who had been in ill health in his later years, and was suffering from leukemia, died of a heart attack at age 59. At the time of his death in 1994, Jenny and Lew had lived in Spain for 30 years. Jenny was an enduring symbol of the Lew Hoad tennis club.

She maintained her connection with Australian tennis remained. In 2019 ,she sat next to Rod Laver at a dinner to honour the 50th anniversary of his Grand Slam. Prior to the Davis Cup in 2022, Tony Roche , player and coach, arranged for the Australian team to visit the ‘Campo de Tenis’, where they met Jenny and heard stories of the past. In the following days, she was courtside at Malaga for Australia’s semifinal against Croatia.

Jenny passed away quietly in her sleep in Spain at the age of 89 just short of her 90th birthday.

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Written by

Bill Anderson

Originally from Scotland, Bill has been a permanent resident in Spain for over 20 years many of which were spent in teaching. He has published 5 novels. He lives in Mijas Costa, and is editor of EWN.


    • Tom Eck

      16 February 2024 • 15:27

      She could still play a respectable game of tennis into her mid eighties..
      often present at the Hoad tennis facility on Fuengirola.

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