The long and temporarily lugubrious young athlete pictured here was soundly beaten last week in the finals of the New South Wales championship by No. 1 Aussie Ashley Cooper. But that sad fact did not deter the Australian press from cheering Earl (Butch) Buchholz of St. Louis, U.S.A. as an authentic hero.
"The Americans have found him at last," trilled the Melbourne Sun when Buchholz beat Mal Anderson to become the first teen-ager in history to reach the New South Wales finals. "Here is a youngster who could smash our Davis Cup supremacy."
Such predictions may be premature, but, at 18, 6-foot 2-inch Butch is a formidable threat in international tennis. Two years ago in this magazine Bill Talbert predicted "a champion's future" for him. Talbert's successor as Davis Cup captain was no less optimistic. "I have never known a more dedicated boy since Jack Kramer," said Perry Jones.
The son of a Missouri tennis pro and himself a veteran of tournament play since the age of 6, Buchholz has already garnered a cluster of titles. He has even beaten the great Cooper himself in southern California. But despite past successes and the promise of a glowing future he is still a gangling boy, with a boy's charm and a boy's modesty.
"I was so scared at the start," Butch said of his finals match with the world champion last week, "that I couldn't even throw the ball up straight to serve, and seeing Cooper across the net scared me even more."
Like a wilting lily, Earl Buchholz droops dejectedly after missing a hard smash in New South Wales tournament.