So our friend put in a call to Tass, the government news agency, which has offices in New York.
The sharply accented voice at the other end of the line indicated complete confusion when asked what the words "game, set and match" would be in Russian.
"I do not know," the Tass man said. "Let me look it up and you may call back, please."
An hour later he phoned back. The Tass man had the answer.
"It is just like the English," he said. "Geim, set, maych. We found out from our sports authority." Our correspondent is convinced that Tass had cabled Moscow for the answer.
In adopting a word, the Russians don't try to translate it but apparently use it in its closest derivative form. For instance, tennis in Russian is tennis. That's not hard, now, is it? But the proud Russians, who would like to dominate all sports, are finding it much more difficult to translate the game of tennis itself into Russian play at a level matching international standards.
They held a tournament recently in Moscow. The Belgian Davis Cup stars, Jackie Brichant and Philippe Washer, who almost beat the Americans in Australia, were there. So were the Frenchmen Paul Remy and Robert Haillet.
The Russians showed poorly. The Belgians and French beat the best the Soviets had to offer, with only a negligible number of lost games. But the Russians are stubborn. They say their youngsters will play at Wimbledon. And they will have another international tournament in Moscow this July.
Meanwhile, America's own tennis ambassadors are busy on the international circuit. America's Davis Cup hero, Barry MacKay, is in Egypt with Mrs. Dorothy Head Knode on a tour sponsored by the State Department. Louise Brough is in South Africa. Budge Patty and Gardnar Mulloy are in the Caribbean. So is Althea Gibson.
The world circuit gets bigger all the time—and now Moscow. Incidentally, our tennis correspondent adds that the word love in tennis comes from l'oeuf, meaning egg or zero in French. Wonder how they say "egg-thirty" in Russian? Our man forgot to ask.