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Among those who travel to Europe by arranging their own trips, or having them organized by sports goods firms, the official Australian team always seems oddly nonconformist. The managers of these teams usually leave Australia on their world trips with the prices to be paid for the team's appearances settled in only a few centers. The one thing that is settled is the financial arrangement within the team itself. Juniors in the Australian teams are just as well off as stars with high crowd appeal; they all get 30 shillings a day for incidental expenses, and everything else is paid by the manager. Beyond that, the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia leaves it to the manager to get the best deal he can for each tournament through on-the-spot bartering. There have been some very talented hagglers among the Australian managers.
The French Federation squirmed about the price for the 1958 Australian team under cagey negotiator Esca Stephens—�1,250 ($3,500) for four players. The Federation said it was too high because two of the players were poor drawing cards, but the Federation had to pay. The same team took �2,000 out of the Wimbledon expense pool, but when it returned home it showed a loss on the entire tour. In fact, no team has ever returned with a profit. On world tours teams lose money—but individuals make a profit.
Once a present-day Australian player achieves a reputation he prefers to tour by himself. That way he can pocket the �200, or whatever sums he receives from each tournament, instead of sending it to the LTAA. Naturally this setup causes the players to view skeptically the so-called honor of selection in their country's team. For if a player wants to go where he likes and arrange his own terms, it is best for him to be merely good rather than first-class and hence worthy of official team selection. The same has been true of the British team. Roger Becker, son of a South London taxi driver, was gleeful when he was sent home from America during a British team's tour. He knew he would do better on the expenses he could pick up around the South American tournaments than touring officially in Australia. "Luckiest break I ever had," Becker said.
It has also been good strategy among top-class players, particularly in Australia, to marry. For the LTAA has sometimes granted private tours on the excuse that they are honeymoon trips, but refused to sanction similar trips for single men.
The tour that Frank Sedgman made in 1952 with his new wife, comely Jean Spence, was one of the most lucrative of all postwar "amateur" tours. Sedgman returned to Australia between �400 and �500 richer, after paying fares and expenses for two and allowing his wife frequent excursions into the shops which attracted her on the way. His best pay was $1,000 for a major German tournament. For the rest he usually collected �200 or �300 and part of his round-the-world air fares or his air fare from the previous tournament. Lew Hoad, on tour in 1956 with his wife of a year, was very little behind Sedgman financially, but he missed the lucrative Caribbean events. On his second private amateur tour, in 1957, Hoad had a deal set for 400,000 francs in the French national championships. He lost in his first singles match to Jack Crawford's nephew, Neil Gibson of Sydney, and played three doubles—so his pay worked out to �100 a match.
That same year, Mervyn Rose, touring in South America, received $1,000 a tournament with a guarantee of at least five tournaments. In addition to his skill at bargaining with tournament committees, Rose developed into the best trader of merchandise among the amateurs. His trading was based on buying tennis equipment in duty-free cities and selling in countries with import tariffs. "I used to sell rackets in countries with import restrictions at an average price of �15," Rose said after he had turned professional. But because of statements like these, and others about the big profits Rose had made in trading racket gut, the sports firms now make a check on the gut taken from Australia by top-line players.
When they are not involved in trading, bargaining or actually playing tennis, the players back race horses or play poker. They often become so addicted to gambling that they skip eating when they return to their hotels at night so they can get straight into the poker game. At Barranquilla, in Colombia, stiff-backed Warren Woodcock, the Australian man-about-the-tournaments, decided to spend one afternoon playing the horses. Rose gave him a form guide and what he said was the telephone number of the local bookmaker, and Woodcock got down to work to pick some winners. An hour or so later when he phoned to place his bets the local sergeant told Woodcock he was out of luck. The form guide was three days old and the number that of the police station. Another time, when Rose and Woodcock arrived at a clubhouse with no playing cards, they were forced to play snakes and ladders—at a hefty $14 a game.
Underneath the high-living Roses, Sedgmans and Hoads at the top, the amateur scale runs down through players like Budge Patty, the handsome American who has maintained himself in Europe for almost a decade, and Vic Seixas, former U.S. singles champion. Both Seixas and Patty are worth $140 to $225 less per tournament than the top men. Their scale drops off to the big string of strugglers at the bottom. These are men and women who have to provide an upset to be invited to the next tournament, or only get their bills paid for them if they reach the semifinals. These are the players you see in the trains, clutching their rackets amid the press of people, while the top-seeded players ride out in sleek black cars sent by the organizing clubs. They live in the cheapest hotel rooms they can find, and they sit up at night in overland trains and buses because they can't afford sleeping accommodations. There is no welcoming committee or bouquets of flowers for them when they arrive, and after they have lost in the first or second round they often look wistfully over the fence at the guests who attend the cocktail parties on the lawns.
These are also the players who most frequently feel the lash of official discipline, for the men who run amateur tennis have always found it easy to be firm with the strugglers. For example, there were the two Australian youngsters, Arthur Marshall and Bruce Francis, who used to enter two tournaments in the same week, knowing they probably would not survive much beyond the first or second round and might be lucky enough to pick up expenses from both. They had a few months' guerrilla warfare with LTAA officials to get approval of expenses which barely covered their bills—the same officials who sanctioned the payment of �5,400 to Frank Sedgman as a wedding present, in the belief it would keep him an amateur.