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Tennis star Jane Taylor aces Maitland Hall of Fame

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Tennis star Jane Taylor is still serving aces after being inducted into the City of Maitland Hall of Fame through the week.

During a stellar career as a junior, the Maitland-born sportswoman also made her Grand Slam debut as a 16-year-old at the 1989 Australian Open.

So, she was thrilled to be acknowledged alongside Lance Murray (2021), Colonel Alexander Wilkinson VD (2023), Henry Chamberlain Russell (2023), Lieutenant Colonel Robert Scobie VD MID (2023) and Robert Fletcher Watson (2023) as the latest honourees at the newly-refurbished Maitland Park Rotunda.

Following a $50,000 renovation, the historic site now provides a lasting tribute to the city’s most notable citizens.

Frederick Goode OAM accepting on behalf of Colonel Alexander Wilkinson VD; Carolyn Murray accepting on behalf of Lance Murray; Sue Flannery accepting on behalf of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Scobie VD MID; Peter Woodley accepting on behalf of Henry Chamberlain Russell; Maitland City mayor Philip Penfold; Jane Taylor; and Terry Bailey accepting on behalf of Robert Fletcher Watson. Photo: Rod Thompson

And, 51-year-old Taylor is chuffed to join the illustrious list.

“It’s really lovely,” she said.

“I’ve had the most amazing time, albeit 24 hours, back in Maitland.

“I stayed at Raworth, which is where I spent half of my life.

“Then some of the people who I used to coach turned up for the Hall of Fame announcement… that was nice.

“It was a complete surprise, I had no idea they were coming.

“So, it’s been delightful – and the beautiful weather’s helped.

“It is really interesting, I believe this is one of the first ceremonies that I’ve actually been here for.

“When I won Sportsperson of the Year, my sister and mum picked up the award.

“And, I think dad collected the Citizen of the Year a couple of decades ago.

“So, it’s wonderful to be in Maitland on this occasion.”

Born in 1972, Taylor enjoyed a distinguished 20-year livelihood on the circuit.

She became the youngest Maitland Sportsperson of the Year in 1984, at 11, and was the top-ranked NSW female tennis player for her age group.

Taylor claimed her first international title at 13 and accumulated 10 ITF singles and four ITF doubles crowns.

Notably, she was the Australian singles champion for under-16 and under-18 in 1988.

She then competed at the Australian Open, featuring regularly in that tournament in the 1990s.

Her best performance was a third-round appearance, in 1994.

Competing as a wildcard, she knocked out Caroline Vis and Christina Singer before being eliminated by fifth seed Jana Novotna.

She reached the second round in doubles, in 1995, too.

Jane Taylor with Peter Woodley, who accepted the Hall of Fame accolade on behalf of Henry Chamberlain Russell.

Taylor was named Maitland Citizen of the Year in 2000, later founding a life-coaching business.

“It’s very humbling to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.

“I just love Maitland, it’s where I grew up… it’s my roots.

“But, it took me a long while to come back after I finished playing.

“I ended up leaving the Hunter Valley because I needed to develop myself as another part of me.

“Most people wanted to talk to me about tennis, and because I didn’t play anymore, that was no longer who I was.

“So, we moved to the Gold Coast.

“I love it up there, hardly anyone knew I played tennis, so it was really quite nice.

“However, now, I actually feel receiving this award is a culmination of both my lives… and I’m comfortable with it.

“These days, I’m really proud of what I achieved all those years ago, although I didn’t use to.

“I’m coaching tennis again and doing lots of stuff in the wellbeing space, and sport, because that’s my passion.”

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