Still Going Strong, Joyce Davenport Turns 70 Today!
By Rob Dinerman

Joyce Davenport - front row, second from left

Dateline February 23rd, 2012
--- Forty-seven years to the week after winning the first of her two U. S. National Open singles titles, and just four days removed from playing (with partner Fabio Cechin) in the finals of the Merion Mixed Open Doubles tournament this past Sunday afternoon, an event that she actually won as recently as in 2010 with Imran Khan, Joyce Davenport is celebrating her 70th birthday this morning. In addition to her victory --- achieved with comeback wins from love-two against Betty Meade, from one-two against Ann Wetzel and again from love-two in the final against Jane Stauffer, having never before defeated either Wetzel or Stauffer --- in the 1965 Nationals in her first year out of Mt. Holyoke, Davenport also took this championship in 1969, winning the final against Carol Thesieres, whom Davenport teamed up with the following month to win the first of her nine U. S. National Doubles crowns (that year and from 1979-82 with Thesieres, in 1987, 1989 and 1990 with Barbara Maltby, and in 1995 with Julie Harris). She has also triumphed in the U. S. National Mixed Doubles seven times with five (a record for women players) different partners, namely in 1978, 1980 and 1981 with Ralph Howe, 1984 with Peter Briggs, 1989 with Victor Harding, 1992 with Dave Proctor and 1993 with Morris Clothier.

In addition to the foregoing, Davenport has also won dozens of national age-group championships in hardball, softball and doubles (almost always playing well below her actual age, as witness the several 40-and-over titles she has won in the past half-dozen years), as well as a host of invitational hardball and doubles tournaments. She is currently ranked in the top 15 of the WDSA women’s pro doubles tour, having advanced to the quarterfinals of last season’s prestigious Turner Cup, in which she and Larissa Stephenson defeated Lynn Leong and Amelia Pittock and during which Davenport received what amounted to a lifetime-achievement award at the Friday night dinner for accomplishment in and service to the women’s game. To this latter point, Davenport continues to maintain an active schedule both on the tournament front and as one of the pros at the Berwyn Squash & Fitness Club in suburban Philadelphia, where her doubles clinics are highly popular for the in-court and hands-on instruction she provides throughout the season and during the summer months as well.

As this ageless wonder enters her eighth decade, still leaving decades-younger victims in her wake and still drawing up game plans for her next opponent, her health, energy and enthusiasm remain as formidable as ever, a testament to the rejuvenating nature of the sport of squash and a tribute to the forever-young spirit that Davenport herself possesses as well

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