SPARE THE ROD
Based on last week's action in the Nationals at Forest Hills (page 105), there are many things that are obviously wrong with U.S. tennis, but perhaps the most annoying is that our players continue to behave like spoiled brats. Dennis Ralston looks tormented when things are going well, is peevish and sulky when he begins to lose. Cliff Richey stomps and rages around the court. Ditto Clark Graebner. Marty Riessen, once a model of deportment, hurls his racket in disgust. When Billie Jean King, the Wimbledon champion, learns her second-round match is to be umpired by a man she dislikes, she petulantly goes through the motions and loses.
The U.S. would do well to look to the foreigners. Australia's Fred Stolle overruns a lob, swings at the ball, misses and breaks into a foolish grin. Manuel Santana of Spain shouts �Ol�! when an opponent whistles a shot past him. Englishman Mark Cox gets a rotten call from a linesman at set point and merely shrugs his shoulders.
So what is the United States Lawn Tennis Association doing about this? At midtournament it awarded Ralston the annual William Johnston Sportsmanship Award.
Now that Emanuel Celler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has turned down Pete Rozelle's request that pro football be granted immunity from antitrust statutes, Rozelle has once again threatened to cancel the supergame between the NFL and AFL champions. As he has said before, Rozelle last week reiterated that the game is merely part of a total package including a common draft, expansion franchises, standard player contracts and television contracts, and if there is doubt about the legality of any one of these, the entire NFL-AFL merger is "in jeopardy."
As we have said before (SI, June 20 et seq.), the only benefit accruing to the fans from the merger is the supergame, and we can't quite see why its existence should depend on privileged legislation. In fact, the game would make more sense without any merger. Rozelle, of course, is seeking to rally public support for his cause by dangling the supergame in front of us like a carrot.
But, says one of our more idiosyncratic colleagues, who needs his old game? If it does come off next January, the NFL will win it by three touchdowns and ruin all the interminable saloon arguments about who really plays the better brand of ball. And then what is everybody going to talk about? Whether Rocky Marciano in his prime could have licked Joe Louis in his prime?
Who has run the world's fastest mile? If you say Jim Ryun, with a 3:51.3, you're wrong. It's Kipchoge Keino, who last week revealed to John Lovesey, our correspondent in London, that two years ago in a training session in Kenya he ran the mile in 3:50.