"I picked up the paper Tuesday morning and read that you had been eliminated by Gilbert Hunt. A few moments later, I discovered Lin a telegram from me] that you had been eliminated by Gilbert Mumps and were in a hotel at Seabright swollen up with mumps and I imagine pretty well disgusted with the whole thing. At any rate, that's life.
"You will encounter all sorts of these little upsets as you journey along, and you will have to learn to adjust yourself to them or gradually go nuts. According to the wire, you are resting well and being taken care of by a nurse. I hope she is beautiful and that she has red hair. I don't know why it is, but whenever I think of a nurse I always imagine she should have red hair. It makes a man want to recover his health quickly, so that he will have the strength to get up on his feet and get her off hers."
The mumps eliminated me from any further competition in 1940, but undaunted, I was back on the circuit the following year. I played one good rematch at Seabright against the same Gilbert Hunt who had eliminated me the year before. Without the mumps, I eliminated him. But the rest of the summer of '41 isn't worth talking about. In September, following a series of bad losses, I received this solace by mail from my father:
"Don't worry about whether you win or lose; we don't care. The main thing is to have a good time and keep your health. When you win, we love it; when you don't, we love you just the same. Forgive me for becoming so sentimental, but I always have the feeling when you lose that you feel bad for our sake. But it's really unimportant, and with the whole world rapidly catching on fire, it's becoming less important by the day. I got my money's worth out of your game the day you beat Kramer. Anything you did from that point on was pure velvet."
America's entry into World War II a few months later pretty much pulled the plug on my career as a tennis player, and on Groucho's as one of the alltime great tennis fathers. After my discharge from the service in 1945, I took his advice, dropped tennis and went to work full time. However, in 1948 I once played hookey from my radio writing job with Edgar Bergen to play in the Santa Monica Open. That week, at the ripe old age of 27, I finally came through for my father. I won the singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles while Groucho sat smugly in the bleachers, saying proudly to any stranger who happened to be in the seat next to him, "That can't be my son. He always loses in the finals!"