Editor Bill Talbert has won so many tennis honors during the 45 years of his
life that he no longer bothers to keep count. He was four times U.S. doubles
champion with Gardnar Mulloy and represented his country in the Davis Cup in
1946, 1948 and 1949. Later he captained the team for five years. For 12
straight years he was ranked among the top 10 players in the country. Just last
week Talbert collected a new prize. When Wimbledon announced that it would hold
a veterans' doubles competition for the first time, Talbert and his old friend
Mulloy signed up. Unfortunately, Mulloy injured his back and had to withdraw,
but Talbert, playing with French Davis Cup veteran Bernard Destremau, won the
championship just the same.
has a trunkful of trophies, there remains one tournament he looks forward to
winning: the national father-and-son championship at Longwood. Talbert has two
sons, Pike, who is 14, and Peter, 12. Pike is a sophomore at The Choate School,
and Talbert thinks he may be ready for the father-and-son tournament next year.
Just in case, Talbert is getting Peter ready, too; this spring he began
teaching his younger son how to play net. When Tennis Editor Walter Bingham
learned of the project, he decided that Talbert on net play would be the ideal
subject for an instructional piece to round out this week's special tennis
package. The result begins on page 28.
learned to play net (poorly, he says) in California, and the major success of
his career was a one-set victory over Maureen Connolly, who was 15 at the time
(the next day Little Mo beat Bingham). Although Bingham's tennis isn't quite as
good as Talbert's, his background is in some ways even more interesting. He is
the only one of our editors, for example, who was actually a patient of Dr.
Benjamin Spock (pneumonia, age 13) and the only one to have had a dinner date
with Elizabeth Taylor ("I was 18, she was 16 and bored," says
In 1955, after a
series of disastrous defeats in minor tournaments up and down the California
coast, Bingham headed east, not to try the grass-court circuit but to go to
work for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. He has since written extensively on baseball,
college and pro football, skiing, track and field and bridge; his story on
Russian Valeri Brumel's first visit to Madison Square Garden won a prize. But
tennis remains Bingham's first love. He has written about Pancho Gonzalez,
Rafael Osuna, the nationals at Forest Hills and the pro tour. And he remains
the best tennis player on the staff. After Bill Talbert, of course.