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Great McKay drops by

With a sporting record like Heather McKay's she should be an Australian household name like the great Don Bradman.

Over a 20-year career she won 16 consecutive British Opens (1962-1977), commonly known as the ''Wimbledon of squash'', as well as the first two women's World Opens (1976 and 1979).

And the Queanbeyan product only ever lost twice - in the 1960 NSW championships and then in the 1962 Scottish Open.

Bradman's achievements have become part of Australian folklore and are still boasted of to this day, especially his batting average of 99.94 that will probably never be bettered.

But McKay was even more dominant in her chosen sport and if it wasn't squash, she would probably be given the reverence usually shown the Don.

Like Bradman's record, McKay thinks her unbeaten run will never be bettered.


''There's a lot more tournaments … it will be a lot more difficult to stay undefeated for as long as I did,'' she said. ''Somebody might win the same amount [of titles] but I doubt they'll do it being undefeated.''

Every now and then a budding young squash enthusiast would come up to meet the legend of the game at the inaugural Australian Junior Squash Open at Woden yesterday, where she was on hand to present the winners with their trophies.

But the 70-year-old admitted it was a rare occurrence.

It's the 50th anniversary of McKay's first British Open win - she was surprised by how long ago it was - in straight games against Fran Marshall.

''I won my first one in '62, that's 50 years ago?'' she said.

''I wouldn't have even known. That goes back a little doesn't it.''

A back injury means McKay no longer graces the squash court but she still plays tennis three times a week.

Squash wasn't the only sport McKay excelled in.

She was twice named an All Australian in hockey but could never played for Australia due to her squash commitments.