It was by no means easy, especially getting past the 37-year-old Gonzalez, who is the perfect figure of a tennis player and has been a professional since he was 21. Rosewall's semifinal match with Gonzalez was, in fact, the ultimate in dramatics. What with Pancho ordering ball boys about, picking lint off the service line, protesting the use of strobe lights by photographers and taking a relaxing stroll through the gallery after losing his second service, it was clear that he intended to win. Victory would have been a magnificent comeback for a fellow who had retired from the game, so to speak, in 1962.
There is no suggestion here that he should retire again now. Gonzalez adds a dimension to the game that the truly great players always have given it. He still has what is fashionably called a charisma about him. What he was up against, though, was youth cum excellence—Gonzalez is 37, remember, Rosewall 31—an insistent opponent who so confused Gonzalez with cross-court shots and net play that he howled in dismay when, in the 12th game of the second set, he drove an utterly easy shot into the net. He was anguished by three double faults in that set, and that was pretty much the story of the whole affair. Gonzalez made his own errors, and Rosewall compounded them for him.
The tournament was most certainly a financial success in that it excited a tennis-hungry New York and, with $25,000 in prizes at stake, drew a likely total of $175,000 or so at the gate, an estimate which led Promoter Kramer to declare it a fixture. It presented once more, for the nostalgic, 44-year-old Francisco (Pancho) Segura, the venerable Ecuadorian with the two-handed forehand, and introduced an interesting rookie, Pierre Barthes, the French Davis Cup player, who is 20 years younger than Segura and possesses a serve that can scar the court, though there is little else to be said for his game. It also disclosed that Lew Hoad may be at the end of the road. He had the misfortune, to be sure, of coming up against Gonzalez in the quarter-finals—an accident of the draw, perhaps—but he lost to him by a humiliating 1-6, 1-6, about as bad a beating as the Australian has ever suffered. Hoad also depended heavily on his partner, Rosewall, in the doubles. What with Hoad's errors and almost desultory play, both Australians were lucky to reach the finals of the doubles, which they lost to Laver and Buchholz 3-6, 2-6.
As in all tournaments, there was good play and bad play. What counted was that, in the main, the good outweighed the bad and that there has been a revival of hope for those of us who would like to see tennis restored to something like—although not necessarily the same as—the game played in the days when a point needed more than a big serve, a charge to the net and a volley.