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Sports Articles: And Finally... Tennis

And Finally... Tennis
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And Finally.....Tennis

 

"The trouble with me is that every match I play against five opponents: umpire, crowd, ball boys, court, and myself." - Goran Ivanisevic

Another of those sports that is mainly played in the summer is tennis and so with the long summer break from football on us, that is the next subject of an And Finally... article. After all tennis was one of the first sports, it was even around in ancient Egypt, according to the bible which tells us how Joseph served in Pharaoh's court.

"The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how good I get, I'll never be as good as a wall." - Mitch Hedberg

I will start with probably the shortest career in tennis, that of Frank Hadow. No, I had not heard of him either! He was working in Ceylon and went home to England on vacation, deciding to register for the Wimbledon tournament while on holiday, even though he was not a regular player of racquet sports. Nobody knew who he was then either, and his game did not look impressive to onlookers but, somehow, he made his way to the final without losing a single set. There he faced the reigning champion Spencer Gore, who was, unsurprisingly, the heavy favourite. Gore was surprised when he rushed to the net and Hadow just lifted the ball over the top of him and deep into the court behind him. Hadow won 7/5, 6/1, 9/7 due to Hadow's lob, something nobody had ever thought of before. After the win he never played tennis again! In fact he only ever returned to Wimbledon once more, when invited for the 50th anniversary tournament in 1926.

"Whoever said, "It's not whether you win or lose that counts," probably lost." - Martina Navratilova

Tennis has a (slightly tenuous) link to the sinking of the Titanic through former American #1 tennis player Dick Williams. He was a survivor of the disaster in 1912 at the age of 21. A year later he won the Davis Cup, the first of 6 he won in his career. He won the US Open twice and became Olympic champion in the mixed double in 1924, with Hazel Wightman partnering him.

"Tennis is a psychological sport, you have to keep a clear head. That is why I stopped playing." - Boris Becker

Speaking of partners, in 1961 American Patricia Stewart entered Wimbledon on the back of being dumped by her boyfriend. With no Tinder available in those days, Stewart had her phone number embroidered on her skirt in the hope of finding herself a new man. Can you say desperate? Though it must have worked as she got married a few days after the tournament to a cricket player called John Edrich.

"Though your game is hardly the best, you can fray your opponent's nerves by methodically bouncing the ball at least ten times before your serves." - Arnold J Zarett (Ed025 uses that method but he does it catch his breath after fetching the ball)

Veteran umpire Dorothy Cavis-Brown chose the wrong time to take a nap (or maybe the right time depending on your view of tennis as a spectator sport) when she fell asleep in 1964 at match point in a match during Wimbledon. Abe Segal was playing Clark Graebner and Segal wondered why an 'out' call was not forthcoming. Walking toward Cavis-Brown, who was there as a line judge, his first thought was to fear she had died as her head lolled down and she started to lean to one side. Segal soon realised she was just sleeping and said afterwards: "I knew that my game was boring, but not to this point!" Unsurprisingly Cavis-Brown never umpired again.

"The serve was invented so the net could play." - Bill Cosby

Nobody won the 1981 Monte Carlo Masters after Guillermo Vilas and Jimmy Connors were forced off the court by heavy rain with the score tied at 5-5 in the final set. The match was postponed to the next day but bad weather forced the tournament to be abandoned, without a winner ever being decided. To think I thought Monaco was all sunshine and big yachts!

"If you can keep playing tennis when somebody is shooting a gun down the street, that's concentration." - Serena Williams (concentration is not the word that comes to my mind to be honest! If someone is shooting a gun in your vicinity and you carry on playing regardless then it is not your concentration that is an issue)

When I started this article, I expected to be choosing between thousands of funny anecdotes from the world of tennis, mostly involving funny stories about old time players and their antics. However it seems even back in the old days tennis lacked personality off the court, with one notable exception (Vitas) or just that the stories do not get shared as readily as those from other sports. Which probably explains why Ed025 loves it so much, no one will be spilling the beans about his antics strolling down the beach in his budgie smugglers with a Southern Comfort in each hand down the tennis club!

"Tennis; a racquet sport in which two players compete to see who has the shortest temper, the worst memory, the poorest eyesight and the slowest watch." - ? Or perhaps this is really why Ed025 plays it, he is a natural!

Written by Tris Burke June 24 2019 10:20:40