By Luís Santos
As a die hard Elena Dementieva fan I was rooting for the fairytale thing to happen at this year’s Australian Open final but alas, I was brought back to reality – just like when she was around.
So Kim Clijsters finally won outside of NYC and she shattered the hopes of millions of people and also of Li’s. Now this might have been yet another Aussie Open that has gone by me without me watching much of it – it’s either that or me failing my college exams to watch countless hours of tennis – but a few things come to mind when reminiscing about Down Under.
First, of course, the notable absence of Elena Dementieva, who would have probably swept away the title just based on elegance, and because it wouldn’t seem right not mentioning, the absence of Serena William whose foot keeps on delaying her.
Henin retiring (for good) was also a headline that made the news on the eve of the women’s semifinals to the dismay of her antagonists. A kind word for Justine is in order though. Personal preferences aside, she was a great champion, who made the most out of what she had. I just hope she stays retired – indecision is not something a champion should have.
Finally, Li’s superb level throughout the fortnight, and the overall level of tennis displayed by the ladies with names such as Makarova, Kvitova and Schiavone coming to mind.
On a final note and in case you haven’t heard, Elena Dementieva won was well this week. It might not have been on the court but she still pocketed the Jean Borotra World Fair Play Diploma for her sports career. Elena was the fifth female tennis player to win such award and first since Chris Evert won back in 1989. Instead of attending the award ceremony she played a charity match in Moscow to help orphan children in her city.
Phew! After the monumental flopping of a majority of the Spanish players I had talked up in my pre-Aussie Open blog what a relief it was to see Sam Querrey and John Isner performing so well at Memphis last week following on from my next big American blog.
My thinking has been on great champions once more this week and how they become what they are.
One topic receiving a lot of discussion in my workplace this week is baby names. We were talking about heroes and the naming of your child after them. For example: ITV1’s superb new drama “Married, Single, Other” saw Ralph Little playing a character named ‘Clint’ as his father “loved spaghetti westerns” and I attended university with a girl whose father loved Portsmouth FC so much that he gave his daughter the middle name Pompey (the club’s nickname).
But if your favourite pastime is with a racket and ball what is the best way to ensure your child has what it takes to be the next Federer? Well, name him Roger of course. Or perhaps your daughter a Serena or a Justine? Hmmmmm.
If you read my column regularly (hopefully somebody does) you will know I have a not-so-secret penchant for random facts and trivia. So, looking down the annals of singles play, let us look at the most successful names in tennis history.
By painstakingly counting all the names etched on to Grand Slam singles trophies I have compiled a list of names you should think about for your child if the whole name game does work. See if you can guess what they are before reading on.
Personally, I thought that William or Bill would be most popular after the exploits of Tilden and Johnston etc. But it appears that the name John has appeared on more Grand Slam singles titles than any other thanks in no small part to its Spanish and French variants.
Jean Borotra was one of the four French musketeers playing in the 1920s and 30s and his haul of 1 Aussie Open, 2 French Opens and 2 Wimbledons has been added to over the years by the likes of John McEnroe, Juan Carlos Ferrero and John Newcombe to amass a total of 35 titles.
William/Bill came in second with 26 while Jimmy Connors and the lesser-known Aussie James Anderson among others have helped the James family amass 19 Grand Slam singles titles apiece.
Roger Federer is the only male player to get his name in the list by himself.
In terms of surnames it boils down to the players who have amassed the most titles themselves. So, ladies, better be on the lookout for a Federer or Sampras to marry.
The female names become slightly more interesting. Only 77 different Christian names have been etched on to the four Grand Slam trophies over the course of their history.
Of these, Margaret is the most popular. If you check the female surnames then this is largely down to the 22 Slams picked up by the Aussie Margaret Court. Yet the 2 French Opens, 3 US Opens and Wimbledon title lifted by American Margaret Osborne DuPont also helped greatly.
Helen Wills Moody and Helen Jacobs combined Team America style to help their name towards its total of 27 titles while Hingis and Navratilova made a superb doubles partnership for their moniker, Navratilova amassing 18 of their 23 Slams.
The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, could not combine to overhaul the alpha females Steffi Graff or Margaret Court in the battle of the surnames while anybody with the surnames Wills, Moody, Connolly or Brinker will also be hopeful, the latter two courtesy of early dominatrix “Little Mo.”
Of course training, luck, sporting ability etc. etc. are more important in the making of a star but with so many people willing to name their child after their heroes in the modern era we can have a little fun here.
Besides, if you love tennis enough to name your child after your favourite player, who’s to say you aren’t as obsessed with the sport and driven enough to be the next Richard Williams?
|Most Popular Male Names:||Most Popular Male Surnames:||Most Popular Female Names:||Most Popular Female Surnames:|
|John/Jean/Juan/Johan/Jan – 35||Federer – 16||Margaret/Marguerite – 34||Court – 22
Graf – 22
|William/Bill – 26||Sampras – 14||Helene/Helen – 27||Williams – 19
Wills Moody – 19
|Andre/Andres/Andy-17||Emerson – 12||Martina – 23||Navratilova – 18
Evert – 18
|James/Jim/Jimmy – 16
Roger – 16
|Laver – 11
Borg – 11
|Steffi – 22||Lenglen – 12
King – 12
|Pete/Petr – 15||Doherty – 10||Joan/Jean/Billie Jean/Jana – 20
Chris/Christine – 20
|Connolly Brinker – 9|
Ten years ago this week, Patrick Rafter was on top of the world. On July 26, 1999 the Aussie hunk and two-time U.S. Open champion reached the career pinnacle by earning the No. 1 ranking on the ATP computer. Rafter’s reign, however, last only one week and he never again attained the top spot in the computer rankings, marking the shortest ever reign as a world’s top ranked player. The following text describes Rafter’s No. 1 ascent and other events that happened in tennis history this week as excerpted from the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTOR Y ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com).
1999 – Patrick Rafter of Australia begins his one – and only – week as the world’s No. 1 ranked player, replacing Andre Agassi in the top spot on the ATP computer. Rafter’s curious one-week reign as the No. 1 ranked player is the briefest stint in the top spot of any man or woman. Carlos Moya of Spain ranks No. 1 for only two weeks in March of 1999, while Evonne Goolagong ranks as the No. 1 woman on the WTA Tour for a two-week period in April of 1976 (although not uncovered and announced by the WTA Tour until December of 2007).
1987 – The United States is relegated to zonal competition for the first time in Davis Cup history as Boris Becker defeats Tim Mayotte 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-2 in the fifth and decisive match as West Germany defeats the United States 3-2 in the Davis Cup qualifying round in Hartford, Conn. The Becker-Mayotte match is called by John Feinstein of the Washington Post as, “the match of their lives,” as Mayotte, who grew up in Springfield, Mass., a 25 miles from the Hartford Civic Center, plays inspired tennis in front of furiously vocal crowd. Says Becker after the epic match, “It was the most difficult match of my life. The circumstances made it hard, the crowd cheering every time I missed a serve made it hard and him playing for two sets like I have never seen him play in his life, it was all very tough. I just had to stay calm — stay calm, be patient and not go mad. If I go mad, I lose the match.” Writes Feinstein, “For Mayotte, this was sweet agony. He miraculously came from two sets down to force a fifth set. He was playing in an emotional daze, carried by the fans, by his teammates, by the circumstances.”
1969 – Nancy Richey is upset in the semifinals of the U.S. Clay Court Championships by Gail Sherriff Chanfreau, 6-3, 6-4 – ending her tournament record winning streak at 33 straight matches over seven years. Chanfreau goes on to win the title, beating Linda Tuero, 6-2, 6-2 in the final.
1986 – Martina Navratilova returns to her native Czechoslovakia and her hometown of Prague in triumph as a member of the U.S. Federation Cup team, clinching the U.S. 3-0 final-round victory over the Czechs with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Hana Mandlikova. “We all did it for Martina,” says Chris Evert Lloyd, whose 7-5, 7-6 victory over Helena Sukova began the U.S. sweep of Czechoslovakia in the final series. “We dedicate this Federation Cup to her.” Says Navratilova of the crowd support she received all week that results in a tearful closing ceremony for the Wimbledon champion and her U.S. teammates. “I wanted to tell them how special it was for me to be here. It exceeded my wildest expectations.”
1946 – In the final of the first French Championship since the conclusion of World War II, Frenchmen Marcel Bernard dramatically defeats fellow left-hander Jaroslav Drobny of Czechoslovakia 3-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 in the men’s singles final. The French have to wait another 37 years before they celebrate another native men’s singles champion when Yannick Noah wins the men’s singles title in 1983. It will be another 59 years before another all left-handed men’s singles final is played at Roland Garros when Rafael Nadal defeats Mariano Puerta in the 2005 final. In the women’s singles final, Margaret Osbourne defeats fellow American Pauline Betz 1-6, 8-6, 7-5.
1991 – Andrei Chesnokov wins the Canadian Open in Montreal, defeating Petr Korda 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final and promises a high-spirited celebration. Says Chesnokov, “I’m going to New York, I’m going to go to Tower Records, have dinner at a very nice Italian restaurant and, of course, I’m going to get drunk.”
1990 – Michael Chang defeats Jay Berger 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 in the final of the Canadian Open men’s singles final in Toronto. The 24th-ranked Chang’s $155,000 winner’s check puts him in the million-dollar club for career prize money. “It feels good,” says the 18-year-old Chang of his financial achievement. “I think my first priority as far as tennis is concerned is not making money. My priority is to be the best in the world – the best I can be.”
1974 – Jimmy Connors becomes the No. 1 ranked player in the world for the first time in his career at the age of 21, replacing John Newcombe.
2001 – Andre Agassi defeats Pete Sampras 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Mercedes Benz Cup in Los Angeles, Agassi’s 17th consecutive match victory on hard courts. Identical twins Bob and Mike Bryan of Camarillo, Calif., win their third ATP doubles title in six weeks, defeating Jan-Michael Gambill and Andy Roddick 7-5, 7-6 (8-6).
1928 – France successfully defends its Davis Cup title against the United States as Henri Cochet defeats Bill Tilden 9-7, 8-6, 6-4 clinching the 4-1 victory for France at newly-dedicated Stade Roland Garros in Paris, which is constructed to host the Davis Cup matches. Writes P.J. Philip of the New York Times, “On the central court of the Roland Garros Stadium at Auteuil, that Napoleon of tennis, Big Bill Tilden, met his Waterloo today. In three straight sets, Henri Cochet swept him off the field, holding the Davis Cup for France and writing finis to the world championship career of the most brilliant tennis player of the past decade. It was Waterloo alright.” Tilden’s career was not entirely finished following the loss. He was kicked off the Davis Cup team prior to this famous series for his “professional” writing from tennis events, which U.S. Lawn Tennis Association officials said violated his amateur status. However, due to the huge demand to see Tilden play against the four French “Musketeers” at the newly-constructed Roland Garros Stadium, the French government and French Tennis Federation pressured the USLTA to re-instate Tilden to the team to appease the ticket-buying public. Tilden is, instead, suspended from the U.S. Championships later in the summer, but continues to play high-level amateur tennis through 1930.
1996 – Andre Agassi stages a stunning comeback to advance into the medal round at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, coming back from a 3-5 third-set deficit to defeat Wayne Ferreira of South Africa 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 in the quarterfinal of men’s singles. Ferreira is upset with Agassi’s behavior and profane language that results in Agassi receiving a point penalty in the first game of the second set. Says Ferreira, “I honestly believe he should be kicked off the court for the things he was saying. They were pretty rude and actually the worst I’ve ever heard anybody say. I’m surprised the umpires took it so lightly. If I was sitting in the chair, I probably would have done something different.” Retorts Agassi, “It was about the only way he was going to beat me.” Also advancing into the medal round in men’s singles are Leander Paes of India, who defeats Renzo Furlan of Italy 6-1, 7-5, Sergi Bruguera of Spain, who defeats Mal Washington of the United States 7-6 (8), 4-6, 7-5 and Fernando Meligeni of Brazil, who defeats Russia’s Andrei Olhovskiy 7-5, 6-3
1932 – In what Hall of Fame journalist and historian Bud Collins calls “The Great Cup Robbery,” France defeats the United States in the Davis Cup Challenge Round for the fifth time in six years as Jean Borotra clinches the Davis Cup for France, erasing a two-sets-to-love deficit, a 3-5 fifth-set deficit and four match points to defeat Wilmer Allison 1-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2, 7-5. Allison holds three match points while leading 5-3 in the fifth set – 40-15 and then with an advantage – but has his serve broken. In the next game, Allison holds another match point on Borotra’s serve. After missing his first serve, Borotra hits a second serve that by all accounts is out – but not called by the linesman. Allison, who did not make a play on the serve, runs to the net to shake hands with Borotra, but stands in disbelief at the non-call. Allison wins only one point in the remainder of the match to lose 7-5 in the fifth set, giving France it’s third point of the series, clinching the Cup.
2005 – Andre Agassi wins his 60th and what ultimately becomes his final ATP singles title, defeating 22-year-old Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-4, 7-5 in 1 hour, 28 minutes to win the Mercedes-Benz Cup in Los Angeles. The title is also the fourth tournament victory at the Los Angeles event for Agassi, who also wins on the campus at UCLA in 1998, 2001 and 2002. “It’s been a dream week for me for sure,” says the 35-year-old Agassi. “I couldn’t have expected to come in here and find my comfort level so early on in the tournament and get better with each match. It’s a great sign.”
40th Anniversary of “The Rocket” Winning First Leg of 1969 Grand Slam
Significant anniversaries in the history of the Australian Open – including Tuesday’s 40th anniversary of Rod Laver’s Australian Open victory that was the first leg of his historic 1969 “Grand Slam” – are documented in the new book “On This Day In Tennis History.”
“On This Day In Tennis History” ($19.95, New Chapter Press, 528-pages, www.tennishistorybook.com) is the new tennis book written by Randy Walker, that is a calendar-like compilation of historical and unique anniversaries, events and happenings from the world of tennis through the years.
The 40th anniversary of Rod Laver’s win at the 1969 Australian Open comes on Tuesday, January 27. It was on that day that Laver defeated Spain’s Andres Gimeno, a newly announced inductee in the International Tennis Hall of Fame, by a 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 margin in the Australian Open final, played that year at the Milton Courts in Brisbane. Laver goes on to win an historic second Grand Slam by defeating winning the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open to sweep all four major titles in the same year.
“On This Day In Tennis History” is a fun and fact-filled, this compilation offers anniversaries, summaries, and anecdotes of events from the world of tennis for every day in the calendar year. Presented in a day-by-day format, the entries into this mini-encyclopedia include major tournament victory dates, summaries of the greatest matches ever played, trivia, and statistics as well as little-known and quirky happenings. Easy-to-use and packed with fascinating details, the book is the perfect companion for tennis and general sports fans alike and is an excellent gift idea. “On This Day In Tennis History” is available for purchase via on-line book retailers and in bookstores in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
Said Hall of Famer, two-time Australian Open champion and Outback Champions Series co-founder Jim Courier of the book, “On This Day In Tennis History is a fun read that chronicles some of the most important – and unusual – moments in the annals of tennis. Randy Walker is an excellent narrator of tennis history and has done an incredible job of researching and compiling this entertaining volume.” Said tennis historian Joel Drucker, author of Jimmy Connors Saved My Life, “An addictive feast that you can enjoy every possible way – dipping in for various morsels, devouring it day-by-day, or selectively finding essential ingredients. As a tennis writer, I will always keep this book at the head of my table.” Said Bill Mountford, former Director of Tennis of the USTA National Tennis Center, “On This Day In Tennis History is an easy and unique way to absorb the greatest – and most quirky – moments in tennis history. It’s best read a page a day!”
Other Australian Open interesting anniversaries over the course of the rest of the tournament are as follows:
January 25, 2003 – Serena Williams clinches “The Serena Slam” beating older sister Venus Williams 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-4 to win the Australian Open and complete her sweep of four consecutive major championships. Venus, ironically, is the final-round victim of Serena’s in all four of the major tournaments. Serena joins Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf as the only women to hold all four major tournament titles at the same time. “I never get choked up, but I’m really emotional right now,” says Serena in the post-match ceremony. “I’m really, really, really happy. I’d like to thank my mom and my dad for helping me.” The win for Serena places her ahead in her head-to-head series with Venus by a 5-4 margin. Says Venus of her younger sister, “I wish I could have been the winner, but of course you have a great champion in Serena and she has won all four Grand Slams, which is something I’d love to do one day.”
January 26, 1992 – Twenty-one-year-old Jim Courier defeats Stefan Edberg 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to win his first Australian Open singles title, putting him in position to become the first American man to rank No. 1 since John McEnroe in 1985. Courier becomes the first American man to win the Australian Open in 10 years and celebrates his win by running out of the stadium and jumping into the nearby Yarra River, one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Says Courier of the river’s condition, “It was really dirty.” Courier assumes the No. 1 ranking on Feb. 10.
January 27, 1970 – Playing in a drizzle and swirling wind on the grass courts of White City in Sydney, Arthur Ashe wins the Australian Open men’s singles title, defeating Australian Dick Crealy 6-4, 9-7, 6-2. The singles title is Ashe’s second at a major tournament – to go with his 1968 triumph at the U.S. Open. Margaret Court needs only 40 minutes to win the Australian Open women’s title for a ninth time, defeating Kerry Melville 6-3, 6-1 in the women’s singles final.
January, 27, 2008 – Novak Djokovic outlasts unseeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (2) to win the men’s singles title at the Australian Open – his first major singles title. Seeded No. 3, the 20-year-old Djokovic becomes the first man from Serbia to a major singles title. Djokovic snaps a streak of 11 straight major championships won by either world No. 1 Roger Federer or No. 2 Rafael Nadal. Tsonga, ranked No. 38, was attempting to become the first Frenchman in 80 years (Jean Borotra in 1928) to win the Australian men’s singles championship.
January 28, 1946 – John Bromwich wins the men’s singles title at the Australian Championships – the first major championships held in the post World War II era, defeating 19-year-old fellow Australian Dinny Pails 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in the final.
January 28, 1989 – Steffi Graf wins her second Australian Open singles title, defeating Helena Sukova 6-4, 6-4 in the women’s singles final. “It wasn’t easy today,” says Graf, who doesn’t lose a set in the tournament. “I found it really hard to get into my rhythm. Helena was hitting some good shots and when somebody serves like that, it’s hard to win.” The 19-year-old Graf shrugs off talk of a second-consecutive Grand Slam after claiming her fifth straight major singles title, saying “I had an incredible year last year and I’ve started awfully well this year, but I’m not going to get myself in trouble and say it’s going to happen again.”
January 28, 2007 – Roger Federer wins his 10th major singles title, defeating Fernando Gonzalez of Chile 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Australian Open. Federer becomes only the fourth man in the Open era to win a major title without the loss of a set – the last being Bjorn Borg at Roland Garros in 1980. The championship match is umpired by Frenchwoman Sandra De Jenken – the first time in tennis history a woman umpired a men’s Grand Slam singles final.
January 29, 1938 – Don Budge defeats Australian John Bromwich 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 to win the Australian Championships at Memorial Drive in Adelaide, Australia. The title marks the first leg of Budge’s eventual “Grand Slam” sweep of all four major championships.
January 29, 1955 – Ken Rosewall hands Tony Trabert what turns out to be his only singles loss in a major championship for the 1955 calendar year, defeating the American 8-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals of the Australian Championships in Adelaide, Australia. Trabert goes on to win the French Championships, Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships to complete one of the most successful seasons in the history of tennis. Rosewall wins the title two days later on January 31, defeating fellow Australian Lew Hoad 9-7, 6-4, 6-4
January 29, 1968 – Billie Jean King of the United States and Bill Bowrey of Australian win the final “amateur” major championships at the Australian Championships – King beating Margaret Smith Court of Australia 6-1, 6-2 and Bowrey beating Juan Gisbert of Spain 5-7, 2-6, 9-7, 6-4 in the singles finals. The 1968 Australian Championships are the last major tournament to be played before the legislatures of tennis “open” the game to professionals in addition to the amateurs. King, who breaks Court’s service six times on the day in the windy conditions at the Kooyong Tennis Club in Melbourne, says after the match that she is planning to retire from the sport in the next 18 months to two years. “I do not want to go on playing much longer. I want to settle down,” says King, who never “settled down” playing up through 1983 and remaining active in tennis and women’s sports for decades.
January 29, 1989 – Ivan Lendl wins his first Australian Open singles title and his seventh career major singles title defeating fellow Czech Miloslav Mecir 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in the men’s singles final. The win guarantees that Lendl will take back the world No. 1 ranking from Mats Wilander, the man who took it from him by winning the U.S. Open the previous September. In women’s doubles, the top-seeded team of Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver win their seventh Australian Open women’s doubles title with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Patty Fendick and Jill Hetherington. Shriver and Navratilova’s victory is their 20th major doubles title as a team.
January 29, 2006 – Roger Federer gets emotional, cries and hugs all-time great Rod Laver during the post-match ceremony following his 5-7, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 win over upstart Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the final of the Australian Open. Federer has difficulty putting to words the emotions he feels during the post-match ceremony and sobs after receiving the trophy from Laver. “I hope you know how much this means to me,” he says as he wipes away tears. Federer becomes the first player to win three consecutive major tournaments since Pete Sampras wins at the 1994 Australian Open. The title is his seventh career major title, tying him with John McEnroe, John Newcombe and Mats Wilander.
January 30, 1967 – Roy Emerson wins the Australian men’s singles title for a fifth straight year, beating Arthur Ashe 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 in the title match played in Adelaide, Australia. Emerson needs only 75 minutes to beat Ashe in front of a crowd of 6,000 for his 11th major singles title. The turning point of the match comes with the score knotted at 4-4 in the first set and Ashe serves three straight double faults to lose his serve, allowing Emerson to serve out the set and roll to the straight-sets win. Unknowingly at the time, as statisticians and media representatives were yet to keep track of stats and records, but Emerson’s title makes him the all-time men’s singles major championship winner, moving him past Bill Tilden, who won 10 major singles titles from 1920 to 1930. In the women’s singles final, Nancy Richey beats Lesley Turner 6-1, 6-4 to win her first major title,
January 30, 1994 – Pete Sampras wins his third consecutive major singles title, slamming 13 aces with speeds as fast as 126 mph in defeating first-time major finalist Todd Martin 7-6(4), 6-4, 6-4 at the Australian Open. The top-seeded Sampras becomes the first man in nearly 30 years to win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open consecutively, joining Roy Emerson in 1964-65 and Don Budge in 1937-38. “He’s just too good and he really deserves what he’s succeeding at, because he’s really working his butt off,” Martin says of Sampras.
January 31, 1927 – Gerald Patterson of Australia hits 29 aces – against 29 double faults – in beating Jack Hawkes 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 18-16, 6-3 to win the men’s singles title at the Australian Championships in Melbourne.
January 31, 1993 – For the second consecutive year, Jim Courier defeats Stefan Edberg in the men’s singles final at the Australian Open. Courier wins his fourth – and ultimately becomes his last – major singles title, with a 6-2, 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 victory. Says Courier, “It’s always very special to win Grand Slams, and to come back and defend makes it twice as special.” The final is played in blistering heat, with on-court temperatures measuring 150 degrees. Says Edberg of the blistering conditions, “At one stage, you feel like death.”
February 1, 1960 – Rod Laver and Margaret Smith win their first career major singles titles at the Australian Championships in Brisbane. Laver stages an incredible two-sets-to-love comeback to defeat reigning U.S. champion Neale Fraser 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 8-6, 8-6 in 3 hours, 15 minutes. Laver, who goes on to win 11 major singles titles – including two Grand Slam sweeps in 1962 and 1969 – saves a match point at 4-5 in the fourth set. Following the match, Fraser collapses in the dressing room in cramps and fatigue. Margaret Smith – later Margaret Court – wins the first of her eventual 11 Australian singles titles at the age of 17, defeating fellow Australian teenager – 18-year-old Jan Lehane – by a 7-5, 6-2 margin. Court goes on to win a record 24 major singles titles.
February 1, 2004 – Roger Federer wins his first Australian Open crown, his second career major singles title and puts an exclamation point on taking over the world’s No. 1 ranking with a 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-2 win over Marat Safin in the men’s singles final at the Australian Open. “What a great start to the year for me, to win the Australian Open and become No. 1 in the world,” Federer says. “To fulfill my dreams, it really means very much to me.”
Walker is a writer, tennis historian and freelance publicist and sports marketer. A 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s Marketing and Communications Division, he served as the press officer for the U.S. Davis Cup team from 1997 to 2005 and for the U.S. Olympic tennis teams in 1996, 2000 and 2004. He also served as the long-time editor of the U.S. Open Record Book during his tenure at the USTA from 1993 to 2005.
More information on the book can be found at www.tennistomes.com as well as on facebook.com at www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1627089030&ref=name and on myspace.com.
New Chapter Press is also the publisher of The Bud Collins History of Tennis by Bud Collins, The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection by Rene Stauffer and Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli and the soon to be released title The Lennon Prophecy by Joe Niezgoda. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group. More information can be found at www.newchapterpressmedia.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. – New Chapter Press has announced the publication of its latest book – On This Day In Tennis History -a calendar-like compilation of historical and unique anniversaries, events and happenings from the world of tennis through the years – written by Randy Walker, the sports marketing and media specialist, tennis historian and former U.S. Tennis Association press officer.
On This Day In Tennis History ($19.95, 528 pages), is a fun and fact-filled, this compilation offers anniversaries, summaries, and anecdotes of events from the world of tennis for every day in the calendar year. Presented in a day-by-day format, the entries into this mini-encyclopedia include major tournament victory dates, summaries of the greatest matches ever played, trivia, and statistics as well as little-known and quirky happenings. Easy-to-use and packed with fascinating details, the book is the perfect companion for tennis and general sports fans alike and is an excellent gift idea for the holiday season. The book features fascinating and unique stories of players such as John McEnroe, Don Budge, Bill Tilden, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Martina Navratilova, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Anna Kournikova among many others. On This Day In Tennis History is available for purchase via on-line book retailers and in bookstores in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. More information on the book can be found at www.tennishistorybook.com
Said Hall of Famer Jim Courier of the book, “On This Day In Tennis History is a fun read that chronicles some of the most important-and unusual-moments in the annals of tennis. Randy Walker is an excellent narrator of tennis history and has done an incredible job of researching and compiling this entertaining volume.” Said tennis historian Joel Drucker, author of Jimmy Connors Saved My Life, “An addictive feast that you can enjoy every possible way-dipping in for various morsels, devouring it day-by-day, or selectively finding essential ingredients. As a tennis writer, I will always keep this book at the head of my table.” Said Bill Mountford, former Director of Tennis of the USTA National Tennis Center, “On This Day In Tennis History is an easy and unique way to absorb the greatest-and most quirky-moments in tennis history. It’s best read a page a day!”
Walker is a writer, tennis historian and freelance publicist and sports marketer. A 12-year veteran of the U.S. Tennis Association’s Marketing and Communications Division, he served as the press officer for the U.S. Davis Cup team from 1997 to 2005 and for the U.S. Olympic tennis teams in 1996, 2000 and 2004. He also served as the long-time editor of the U.S. Open Record Book during his tenure at the USTA from 1993 to 2005.
More information on the book can be found at www.tennistomes.com as well as on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1627089030&ref=name and on myspace at http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=428100548
People mentioned in the book include, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Goran Ivanisevic, Andre Agassi, Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Amelie Mauresmo, Anna Kounikova, Jennifer Capriati, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Martina Hingis, Gustavo Kuerten, Svetlana Kuznetsova, James Blake, Wilmer Allison, Mal Anderson, Arthur Ashe, Juliette Atkinson, Henry “Bunny” Austin, Tracy Austin, Boris Becker, Kark Behr, Pauline Betz, Bjorn Borg, Jean Borotra, John Bromwich, Norman Brookes, Louise Brough, Jacques Brugnon, Butch Buchholz, Don Budge, Maria Bueno, Rosie Casals, Michael Chang, Philippe Chatrier, Dodo Cheney, Henri Cochet, Maureen Connolly, Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, Ashley Cooper, Margaret Court, Jack Crawford, Allison Danzig, Dwight Davis, Lottie Dod, John Doeg, Laurence Doherty, Reggie Doherty, Dorothea Douglass Lambert Chambers, Jaroslav Drobny, Margaret duPont, Francoise Durr, James Dwight, Stefan Edberg, Roy Emerson, Chis Evert, Bob Falkenburg, Neale Fraser, Shirley Fry, Althea Gibson, Pancho Gonzalez, Evonne Goolagong, Arthur Gore, Steffi Graf, Bitsy Grant, Darlene Hard, Doris Hart, Anne Jones, Gladys Heldman, Slew Hester, Bob Hewitt, Lew Hoad, Harry Hopman, Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, Joe Hunt, Frank Hunter, Helen Jacobs, Bill Johnston, Perry Jones, Bob Kelleher, Billie Jean King, Jan Kodes, Karel Kozeluh, Jack Kramer, Rene Lacoste, Bill Larned, Art Larsen, Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl, Suzanne Lenglen, George Lott, Gene Mako, Molla Mallory, Hana Mandlikova, Alice Marble, Dan Maskell, Simone Mathieu, Mark McCormack, John McEnroe, Ken McGregor, Kitty Godfree, Chuck McKinley, Maurice McLoughlin, Frew McMillian, Don McNeill, Elisabeth Moore, Angela Mortimer, Gardnar Mulloy, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, John Newcombe, Yannick Noah, Jana Novotna, Betty Nuthall, Alex Olmedo, Rafael Osuna, Frank Parker, Gerald Patterson, Budge Patty, Fred Perry, Nicola Pietrangeli, Adrian Quist, Patrick Rafter, Dennis Ralson, Vinnie Richards, Nancy Richey, Cliff Richey, Bobby Riggs, Tony Roche, Mervyn Rose, Ken Rosewall, Elizbeth Ryan, Gabriela Sabatini, Pete Sampras, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Manuel Santana, Dick Savitt, Ted Schroeder, Gene Scott, Richard Sears, Frank Sedgman, Pancho Segura, Vic Seixas, Frank Shields, Pam Shriver, Stan Smith, Fred Stolle, Bill Talbert, Bill Tilden, Tony Trabert, Lesley Turner, Jimmy Van Alen, John Van Ryn, Guillermo Vilas, Ellsworth Vines, Brian Gottfried, Virginia Wade, Holcombe Ward, Watson Washburn, Mal Whitman, Mats Wilander, Tony Wilding, Helen Wills Moody, Sidney Wood, Robert Wrenn, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Todd Woodbridge, Marat Safin, Leslie Allen, Sue Barker, Jonas Bjorkman, Mahesh Bhupathi, Donald Dell, Albert Costa, Mark Cox, Owen Davidson, Pat Cash, Mary Carillo, John Isner, Roscoe Tanner, Vijay Amritraj, Mark Woodforde, Tim Henman, Richard Krajicek, Conchita Martinez, Mary Joe Fernandez, Cliff Drysdale, Mark Edmondson, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Zina Garrson, Roland Garros, Wojtek Fibak, Tom Gullikson, Andres Gimeno, Vitas Gerulaitis, Fernando Gonzalez, Tim Henman, Goran Ivanisevic, Andrea Jaeger, Ivo Karlovic, Richard Krajicek, Petr Korda, Luke Jensen, Murphy Jensen, Rick Leach, Iva Majoil, Barry MacKay, Ivan Ljubicic, Cecil Mamiit, David Caldwell, Alex Metreveli, Nicolas Massu, Todd Martin, Gene Mayer, Thomas Muster, Tom Okker, Charlie Pasarell, Mary Pierce, Whitney Reed, Leander Paes, Renee Richards, Helen Sukova, Michael Stich, Betty Stove, Ion Tiriac, Brian Teacher, Wendy Turnbull, Richards, Fabrice Santoro, Ai Sugiyama, Patrick McEnroe, Camille Pin, Phil Dent, Jelena Dokic, Mark Edmondson, Gael Monfils, Xavier Malisse, Dinara Safina, Barry Lorge, Stefano Pescosolido, Fabrice Santoro, Roscoe Tanner, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Roger Smith, Erik van Dillen, Gene Mayer, Tamara Pasek, Stefan Koubek, Jie Zheng, Gisela Dulko, Kristian Pless, Chuck McKinley, Marty Riessen, Brad Gilbert, Tim Mayotte, Andrea Petkovic, Klara Koukalova, Bobby Reynolds, Dominik Hrbaty, Andreas Seppi, Christopher Clarey, Casey Dellacqua, Anders Jarryd, Janko Tipsarevic, Nadia Petrova, Christian Bergstrom, Ramesh Krishnan, Emily Sanchez, Marcos Baghdatis, Mark Philippousssis, Wally Masur, Paul McNamee, Daniela Hantuchova, Gerry Armstrong, Younes El Aynaoui, Thomas Johansson, Pat Cash, Lisa Raymond, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Chanda Rubin, Tony Roche, Alex O’Brien, Petr Korda, Karol Kucera, Amelie Mauresmo, Juan Gisbert, Pablo Cuevas, Jim Pugh, Rick Leach, Julien Boutter, Larry Stefanki, Chris Woodruff, Jill Craybas, Sania Mirza, Mike Leach, Maggie Maleeva, Guillermo Canas, Guillermo Coria, Donald Young, Dick Stockton, Johan Kriek, Milan Srejber, Zina Garrison, Slyvia Hanika, Karin Knapp, Laura Granville, Kei Nishikori, Scott Davis, Paul Goldstein, Alberto Martin, Nicolas Kiefer, Joachim Johansson, Jonathan Stark, Jakob Hlasek, Jeff Tarango, Amanda Coetzer, Andres Gomez, Richey Reneberg, Francisco Clavet, Radek Stepanek, Miloslav Mecir, Jose-Luis Clerc, Colin Dibley, Mikael Pernfors, Martin Mulligan, Robbie Weiss, Hugo Chapacu, Victor Pecci, Charlie Bricker, Greg Rusedski, Robin Finn, Kimiko Date, David Nalbandian, Goran Ivanisevic, Mikhail Youzhny, Nicole Pratt, Bryanne Stewart, Novak Djokovic, Rennae Stubbs, Corina Morariu, Marc Rosset, Kenneth Carlsen, Kimiko Date, Ryan Harrison, Richard Gasquet, Jimmy Arias, Jim Leohr, Felix Mantilla, Cedric Pioline, Annabel Croft, Brooke Shields, Jaime Yzaga, Slobodan Zivojinovic, Alberto Mancini, Peter McNamara, Andrei Chesnokov, Fabrice Santoro, Bud Collins, Mardy Fish, Sebastien Grosjean, Donald Dell, Petr Kuczak, Magnus Norman, Hicham Arazi, Nduka Odizor, Lori McNeil, Horst Skoff, Karolina Sprem, Ros Fairbank, Linda Siegel, Chris Lewis, Kevin Curren, Thierry Tulasne, Guy Forget, Fred Tupper, Jaime Fillol, Belus Prajoux, Ricardo Cano, Georges Goven, Ray Moore, Charlie Pasarell, Paul Annacone, Tomas Smid, Dmitry Tursunov, Elena Dementieva, Arnaud DiPasquale, Carl Uwe Steeb, Bill Scanlon, Jose Higueras, Jay Berger, Jana Novotna, Bill Dwyre, Lisa Dillman, Sean Sorensen, Paul McNamee, Jiri Novak, Benjamin Becker, Ion Tiriac, Neil Amdur, Tim Gullikson, Jan-Michael Gambill, Taylor Dent, Bryan Shelton, Vijay Amritraj, Martin Verkerk, Brian Gottfried, Carlos Moya, Jacco Eltingh, Adriano Panatta, John Feinstein, Aaron Krickstein, Wilhelm Bungert, Derrick Rostagno, Torben Ulrich, Daniel Nestor, Ray Ruffels, Cliff Drysdale, James Reilly, Andy Murray, Leander Paes, Alicia Molik, Barry MacKay among others.
New Chapter Press is also the publisher of The Bud Colins History of Tennis by Bud Collins, The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection by Rene Stauffer and Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli and the soon to be released title The Lennon Prophecy by Joe Niezgoda. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group. More information can be found at www.newchapterpressmedia.com
Rafael Nadal has a fourth straight Roland Garros title within his sight, which would place him in a tie for second for most French men’s singles titles with France’s Henri Cochet. The French Musketeer won at Roland Garros in 1926, 1928, 1930 and 1932 and is considered by some as the greatest French player of all-time. Nadal stands tied with Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Rene Lacoste and Gustavo Kuerten with three men’s singles titles. (Bjorn Borg, with six titles won, stands as the top dog in men’s singles in Paris.) Bud Collins, in his upcoming book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS (order here for special 39 percent off discount), profiles Cochet – Nadal’s marked man.
It could be said that Henri Jean Cochet had as pronounced a gift for playing tennis as anyone who attained world supremacy. A racket in his hand became a wand of magic, doing the impossible, most often in a position on the court considered untenable, and doing it with non-chalant ease and fluency. He took the ball early, volleys and half-volleys rippling off the strings. His overheads invariably scored, though his serve seemingly was innocuous.
He developed his skills early in Lyon, France, where he was born Dec. 14, 1901, and his father was secretary of the tennis club. Henri worked at the club as a ball boy and practiced with his friends and sister when nobody was using the courts. In 1921, he went to Paris where he and Jean Borotra, both unknowns, reached the final of the indoor championship, Cochet the winner.
The next year, he and Borotra played on the Davis Cup team, and in 1923 they joined with Rene Lacoste and Jacques Brugnon in the origin of the Four Musketeers. Cochet won 10 successive Davis Cup challenge round matches from the time the Musketeers wrested the Cup from the U.S. in 1927.
A sensitivity of touch and timing, resulting in moderately hit strokes of genius, accounted for the success the little Frenchman (5-foot-6, 145 pounds) had in turning back the forceful hitters of the 1920s and early 30s. Following a stunning victory over Bill Tilden, 6-8, 6-1, 6-3, 1-6, 8-6, in the quarterfinals of the 1926 U.S. Championships, ending Tilden’s six-year, 42-match streak, and a Cup-snatching triumph over Bill Johnston in the 1927 challenge round, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, the right-handed Cochet established himself in 1928 as the world’s foremost player. Winner of the U.S., over Frank Hunter, 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, and French, over Lacoste, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3, that year, and runner-up at Wimbledon to Lacoste, he became more of a national hero than ever as he scored three victories in the Cup defense, 4-1 over the U.S.
With Lacoste’s retirement from international play in 1929, Cochet was France’s indispensable man. He led his country to Cup-holding victories over the United States in the challenge round in 1929, 1930 and 1932, and the British in 1931.
The “Ballboy of Lyon,” as he was called, was champion of France four times after it was opened to non-French citizens in 1925), and won two Wimbledons (1927, 1929) and one U.S. (1928). Probably justifiably, he felt unfairly treated in trying for a second U.S. in 1932. Darkness shut down his semifinal win over Wilmer Allison at 2-2 in sets. He had to complete that victory, 7-5, the following day, and then, after two hours rest, face the final in which the weary Frenchman was no match for a fresh Ellsworth Vines, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.
In his last three matches in winning the Wimbledon title in 1927, he was a singular Henri Houdini. No one has concluded a major in such spectacular escapes, and all at the expense of three future Hall of Famers. Down two sets, the No. 4-seeded Cochet beat Frank Hunter in the quarters, 3-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-4. Trailing the great No. 2 seed Tilden, three points from defeat at 1-5, 15-all in the third, he reeled off 17 straight points, also survived a service break to 3-2 in the fifth and won the last four games to seize their semi, 3-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3. For an encore magnifique in the final, he lagged again and had to repel six match points to beat No. 3 seed Borotra, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5: Hurdling a match point at 2-5, and five more with Borotra serving at 5-3!
He ranked No. 1 from 1928 through 1931. After France lost the Davis Cup to Great Britain in 1933, Cochet turned professional. He did not have much of a career as a pro, however, and after the war, in 1945, one of the most naturally gifted tennis players in history received reinstatement as an amateur, a role in which he had once ruled the tennis world. He continued playing well. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1976, he died April 1, 1987, in St. Germain-en-Laye, France.
MAJOR TITLES (15) — French singles, 1926 1928, 1930, 1932: Wimbledon singles, 1927 1929; U.S. singles, 1928; French doubles, 1927, 1930, 1932; Wimbledon doubles, 1926, 1928; French mixed, 1928, 1929: U.S. mixed, 1927. DAVIS CUP — 1922, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930. 1931, 1932, 1933, 34-8 singles, 10-6 doubles. SINGLES RECORD IN THE MAJORS –French (38-4), Wimbledon (43-8), US (15-3).
Throughout the French Open fortnight, hardly an hour passes with mention of the famed four French Musketeers. Their victory over Bill Tilden and the United States in the 1927 Davis Cup Challenge Round – that brought the Davis Cup to France for the first time – necessitated the construction of Roland Garros stadium for the 1928 Davis Cup Challenge Round and eventually for the French Championships. Their success and domination of tennis in the late 1920s and early 1930s was a major reason why the French Championships achieved its status as one of the four major championships in tennis – the national championships of the first four nations to win the Davis Cup – the U.S., Britain (Wimbledon), Australia and France – were recognized as “the majors.” The French Open men’s singles trophy is also called the “Coupe de Mosquetaires” and the area between Court Chatrier and Court No. 1 is called the “Place des Mosquetaires” with statues of all four champions. Many people are quite aware of Rene Lacoste, the most famous of the Musketeers due to his major titles and his well-known Lacoste sports brand, Henri Cochet and Jean Borotra are the next most famous of the “Fab Four” for their singles victories in majors. But what of Jacques Brugnon – the least known of the four? Bud Collins, in his upcoming book THE BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS (order for 39 percent off by clicking here), profiles “Toto” Brugnon, the oldest of the four great champions.
Jacques “Toto” Brugnon was the elder of France’s celebrated Four Musketeers who won the Davis Cup in 1927 from the U.S., and kept it six years. He preceded the other three – Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet, René Lacoste – as an internationalist, playing first on the Cup team in 1921. A master at doubles, he won Wimbledon four times, 1926 and 1928 with Cochet and 1932 and 1933 with Borotra, and appeared in three other finals. He won the French five times, three with Cochet, two with Borotra, and the Australian with Borotra, plus two French mixed for a dozen major titles.
Although doubles expertise overshadowed his singles, the small (5-foot-6, 139 pounds), neatly mustachioed and courtly, Toto had many fine moments alone. He was ranked world Nos. 10 and 9 in 1926 and 1927, golden years for the French: They were 40 percent of the Top 10, his fellow Musketeers occupying places in the first four, Lacoste at No. 1. In his greatest singles moment, his clever volleying took him to the Wimbledon semis of 1926 and five times a match point away from joining Borotra in the championship round. American Bob Kinsey got away from him, though, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 9-7, slipping from 4-5, 15-40, and 5-6,15-40 and ad out in the last set. Wallis Myers, the connoisseur, wrote: “Brugnon is a player of rare stroke variety and delicacy of touch.” He was a quarterfinalist in 1927, and stands fourth among all male Wimbledonians in wins with 129: 37-19 in singles, 69-16 in doubles, 23-16 in mixed.
His Davis Cup career ran 11 years, and he had a hand in four of the Cup triumphs as a right-handed left-court player. For a time, he was a teaching professional in California. He was born May 11, 1895, in Paris, and died there March 20, 1978.
MAJOR TITLES (12) — Australian doubles, 1928; French doubles, 1927-28, 30, 32, 34; Wimbledon doubles, 1926, 28, 32-33; French mixed, 1925-26. DAVIS CUP — 1921, 23-24-25-26-27,30-31-32-33-34, 4-2 singles, 22-9 doubles. SINGLES RECORD IN THE MAJORS — Australian (1-1), French (21-13), Wimbledon (37-19), U.S. (12-11).
The United States and France will renew their storied Davis Cup rivalry this week in the quarterfinals in Winston-Salem, N.C. as captain Patrick McEnroe’s U.S. squad – Andy Roddick, James Blake, Bob and Mike Bryan – will look to continue their run towards a second consecutive Davis Cup title against French captain Guy Forget and his nominated team of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Paul-Henri Mathieu and Michael Llodra.
Interestingly, this 15th meeting between the two Davis Cup superpowers (series tied 7-7) comes 80 years after one of the most famous and most-politically involved Davis Cup matches in the history of the competition, in which, perhaps appropriately enough, the great, great uncle of President George W. Bush – Joseph Wear – was a central figure.
In the spring of 1928, Wear, a former player who medaled in tennis at the 1904 Olympic Games, was the Davis Cup Committee Chairman for the United States Lawn Tennis Association – now the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA). The United States was, for the first time since 1919, not in possession of the Davis Cup after the four French Musketeers – Rene Lacoste, Henri Cochet, Jacques Brugnon and Jean Borotra – snatched the Cup from Bill Tilden and the U.S. team the previous year in Philadelphia – ending the U.S. record seven-year stranglehold on the Cup.
Wear met with USLTA President Sam Collom and the Davis Cup Selection Committee to decide which Americans would represent the United States in Davis Cup play. The United States were due to meet Italy in the Davis Cup Inter-zone Final in Paris, and presumably, in the Davis Cup Challenge Round against the French in what would be the christening event for its’ new tennis stadium, Stade Roland Garros (now the site of the French Championships). On the agenda of the Davis Cup Selection Committee and the USLTA Executive Committee was whether Tilden, regarded as one of the world’s most famous athletes at the time, had violated his amateur status when he filed newspaper reports from Wimbledon, for which he was paid. Wear, and USLTA President Sam Collom, reviewed the evidence at the USLTA Davis Cup Selection Committee and no suspension or discipline was discussed in depth.
Wear and Collom set sail on July 6 for Paris and the Davis Cup matches on the S.S. France. While on board, radio dispatches were sent to Colom and Wear of the meeting of the USLTA’s Advisory Committee, where charges were, in fact, filed against Tilden for a breach of his amateur status. Collom advised the USLTA’s Advisory Committee that no suspension would be issued until Collom would get to speak to Tilden in person. While Collom and Wear were on board the S.S. France, the USLTA’s Advisory, Davis Cup and Amateur Rule Committee met in New York – minus the USLTA President and Davis Cup Committee Chairman – and voted to suspend Tilden as the playing captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team. The Committees also voted to have Wear replace Tilden as captain of the U.S. team. Under USLTA rules, Collom and Wear were helpless to overrule the committee. Wear, upset at the committee members’ decision, cabled the USLTA in New York and resigned his post as USLTA Davis Cup Committee Chairman upon setting foot back on U.S. soil upon his return from France.
At the draw ceremony to announce the line-ups for the Inter-zone Final between the United States and Italy, Collom announced publicly Tilden’s suspension from the team. Headlines in the world press resulted as Tilden was regarded as one of the world’s most famous sports personalities. The story was particularly sensitive in France, where the French Tennis Federation had invested significant financial resources in the construction of Stade Roland Garros, expecting to reap a financial windfall to help pay for the stadium’s construction with the match-up between the Tilden-lead U.S. team and their “Four Musketeers.” Without Tilden, the French Tennis Federation would not have its’ marquee match-up for the opening of its stadium and would face a severe financial crisis. Fans that already had purchased tickets for a potential U.S. vs. France Challenge Round had already requested refunds upon learning of Tilden’s suspension from the U.S. team.
The French Tennis Federation contacted the French Foreign Ministry to inquire whether the issue of Tilden’s suspension could be turned over to the American Ambassador to France, Myron Herrick. It is believed that Herrick brought the issue as far as the White House, where President Calvin Coolidge endorsed Tilden’s reinstatement. (Coolidge had an interest in the Davis Cup since his Secretary of War from 1923-1925 was none-other than Dwight Davis, the event’s founder). Herrick allowed the USLTA to devise some sort of punishment after the conclusion of the Davis Cup in exchange for re-instatement to the team “in the interest of international good feeling.”
While the diplomatic gears moved in full motion, Wear captained the Tilden-less U.S. team to a 4-1 win over Italy to advance the United States into the Davis Cup Challenge Round against France. Tilden rejoined the U.S. team for the Challenge Round, while Wear remained as U.S. Captain. The French went on to defeat Tilden and the U.S. by a 4-1 margin in front of overflowing and enthusiastic French crowds at Roland Garros.
Wear returned to the U.S. Davis Cup captaincy in 1935, when he steered the United States into the Davis Cup Challenge Round with a 4-1 victory over Germany. The United States would then lose to the Fred Perry-led British team 5-0 at Wimbledon, but Wear did have the opportunity to coach an up-and-coming young red-headed future champion by the name of Don Budge. Wear, in fact, is the only U.S. Davis Cup Captain to captain both Bill Tilden (1928) and Don Budge (1935). The uncle of George W. Bush’s grandmother Dorothy, was himself an accomplished tennis player himself having won a bronze medal in men’s doubles at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, Mo.
“No one in tennis is held in higher regard than the Philadelphian,” wrote Allison Danzig in The New York Times in 1931, who noted that Wear won the 1914 “Racquets” championship with Dwight Davis. (Racquets is a sport similar to court tennis or squash.) “His appointment as Davis Cup chairman in 1928 was hailed as the entry of one of the country’s most representative sportsmen into its lawn tennis councils and was forseen as a guarantee of the maintenance of the association’s international relations upon their high plane of noblesse oblige…From the beginning, he won the confidence of the candidates for the team and became their warm friend, and no one was ever a more welcome or respected figure in an American Davis Cup camp.”
We hope that the drama in this week’s United States vs. France Davis Cup series remains only on the court.