THE PROS HAVE A FRIEND
In recent years bankers have been struggling against an ancient tide, protesting to the world that they are, whatever one may have been taught to think, friendly people, warmhearted and kind. No bank has made a more convincing gesture in this direction than the New England Merchants National Bank (deposits, $400 million), which has just announced that it will sponsor a $10,000 national grass court tennis championship at Long-wood Cricket Club July 9-12, thus giving a boost to a sport that sadly needs one.
The presence of five top professionals—Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Rod Laver, Barry MacKay and Earl Buchholz—has been guaranteed and Jack Kramer, representing the International Professional Tennis Players Association, has promised more. Players like Ashley Cooper, Pancho Segura, Alex Olmedo and Luis Ayala are a possibility, though "appearance money" is not assured anyone.
Neither has it been determined how the purse money will be broken down, but first place probably will reap $3,500. Kramer, hoping that Longwood will become the annual climax to an annual tour, is trying to line up preliminary stops at other sites.
"The bank is not in it for profit," President Richard P. Chapman says, "but we're in it for keeps. We wouldn't have agreed if it was to be a one-shot affair. We want an annual tournament, and we want to retain the title—National Grass Courts Championship." He feels that stately Longwood will give "a certain tone" to the professional game, which has lately found its most accustomed home in high school gyms.
As for the prospect of open play between pros and amateurs, the sponsors and Kramer are for it, but first they want to see what happens elsewhere with this well-kicked football.
Track fans who have seen Sprinter Bob Hayes flash over the boards this winter have expressed amazement at his speed, to be sure, but also at his style. Instead of the classic, flowing grace of a Jesse Owens or a Bobby Morrow, Hayes offers the sight of someone who seems to think the wood under him is hot charcoal.
"He wobbles all over the track," a University of Kansas official observed. "He labors hard, with his arms pumping like pistons. And he wins."
The man who developed Hayes at Florida A&M, Pete Griffin, says Bob's jittery style comes from his unusual physique. The sprinter stands 5 feet 11, weighs 189 and has thighs thicker than hams. "He runs wide-legged," Griffin explains, "because of his short, thick muscles and long legs." Thus his feet land some 12 inches apart—a stride four inches wider than the average sprinter's—and, furthermore, he is pigeon-toed.