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Spain's happy-go-lucky Davis Cup team is throwing Australian tennis into a turmoil. The four men who comprise the Spanish team flew into Sydney one morning last week, more than a fortnight after Australian Lawn Tennis Association officials had expected them to arrive. All four were wearing beach shirts, casual slacks, straw hats with bright red-and-white bands and shoes without socks, and they had huge strings of shells hung around their necks. Why were they late? "Perhaps it was two planes we missed," said Lis Arilla. "Who knows? Tahiti is such a beautiful spot."
Then Manuel Santana, the Spanish star and team captain and current U.S. singles champion, told the reception committee that he would not play in the Victorian championships that started last Saturday, nor the South Australian championships next week, and he added that after Davis Cup play in late December he had no intention of playing in the Australian championships in January. An official said, "He means that all the Spaniards want to do is play the Challenge Round, pocket around $45,000 [ Spain's share of the Davis Cup gate] and go home immediately."
"You said it," grinned Santana.
He and his compatriots went off to inspect the rooms reserved for them in a motel, decided they didn't like them and registered instead at the plush Menzies Hotel, Sydney's newest. Said Santana: "My team doesn't sleep in twin rooms. We have singles. If someone wants to go to bed at 3 in the afternoon, why should he be disturbed by a teammate who wants to go to bed at 11 that night?"
That afternoon the four conquistadores appeared at White City Courts, where the Challenge Round is to be played, and to the amazement of the groundsmen strolled over the courts, hands in pockets, to "smell the grass," as Lis Arilla put it. The next morning all four were at White City again for a light warmup.
A pattern was emerging. Santana explained, "All I want to do is practice on the courts where we will play for the Davis Cup. We are going to do our practice on the Davis Cup grass courts because we need to get used to them. But don't worry, my friend. We will take the cup back with us. We will win by three matches to two. I will win both my singles, and we will win one of the other singles. We are not here in Australia to win state championships. It is the cup at the end of the rainbow that matters."
The irrepressible Arilla asked, "How many will come to see this Challenge Round?" About 10,000, he was told. He sniffed. "We would get 15,000 in Spain."
A.M. Benne, an 85-year-old chief of the Chippewa tribe who is still active in Boy Scout and Methodist Church work, claims that his onetime prot�g�, Jim Thorpe, was a failure as a major league baseball player because of corrosive bawling-outs he received from his manager, the fiery John McGraw of the New York Giants.