The result is a little girl with heaps of energy pulsating just below the surface. Rosie's court expression rarely changes—she looks a little frightened, as though she had just waked up from a nightmare, and a little truculent, as though she were about to kill the dream. Errors and passing shots are treated with equal impassiveness. The only emotion she displays is an occasional slap of her substantial thighs, a quick, almost unnoticed shake of a closed fist. Her hair, dark and close-cropped, is a bit frazzled from the moment she walks onto a court. This and her bouncy style of play give her all the color she will ever need.
Everybody who talks of Miss Casals is full of praise but, quite naturally at this point, retains some reservations. Hopman says, "She already hits harder and with greater variety than most players. Lack of experience in choosing the right ball to bear down on makes her erratic, but her court sense is so strong and her balance so good that it won't be long before she is able to control her tendency to overhit. If I judge her temperament right, she is going to have the confidence not only to attack courageously and go for the lines on her passing shots, but also to lob effectively in defense—and that is something the present top women players sadly lack.
"Rosemary is the tomboy type and a little wayward, and I think this will help her game, although I must add she is sure to shock a few officials before she arrives at the top."
San Francisco's Norman Brooks, a ranking senior player and northern California tennis official, says, "Rosie has picked up her game this summer. She has a natural feel and touch that do not come to other girls. The game is easy for her, but she hits shots so naturally that she often makes silly errors. I have noticed she isn't making so many loose mistakes anymore. Her problems were lack of concentration and tendencies to become lackadaisical and serve too quickly. Top competition has made her think harder. And another thing—Rosie used to be shy and silent, but now she is more gracious and meets people well. She is pleasant and very down to earth conversationally."
Mrs. King adds, "Rosie is a lot like Arthur Ashe—the more pressure there is, the looser she seems to get. I guess she gets tense just like everybody else, though she never shows it. She wants to be the best, and with her determination and potential I'd say she'll make it."
Everything that Rosemary does, both the good and bad, was much in evidence during the nationals, especially in her quarter-final and semifinal matches. In the round of eight she played fourth-seeded Fran�oise Durr of France, a deceptively bland player who serves the ball as if she is afraid of hurting it. A style like that is tailor-made for Miss Casals' powerful strokes, but early in the match Rosie tried to belt winners off Miss Dun's pitty-pat shots and quickly found herself down 4-1. Then she adjusted to Miss Durr's style, started hitting the ball more cautiously and went on to take a straight-set victory.
The next day against Miss Bueno, Rosie started slowly and was overwhelmed in the first set 6-2. But in the second she fought magnificently, extricating herself time and time again with confident placements. She passed Maria repeatedly and lobbed with precision. She won the second set at 12-10. In the third Rosie quickly broke Miss Bueno's service, but it just as quickly became obvious that Rosie had reached the end of the line and, after breaking back, Miss Bueno ran out the set and the match 6-3.
To date. Miss Casals' overall record is a kaleidoscope of inconsistency. Despite her wins over Mrs. King and Miss Durr and her three strong losses to Miss Bueno, she has losses to Tory Ann Fretz, Patsy Rippy and Kathy Harter, players she should defeat easily. And at Merion in mid-August she lost to Esme Emanuel before the quarter-finals of the girls' national tournament.
It was the same last year, and so now Miss Casals is ranked only 11th in the U.S. This year she should do much better, surely no worse than fifth, and quite possibly as high as third. Rosie, who is being helped by Doris Hart, a former U.S. national champion, is now playing in South America. This winter she will follow the sun to Australia and then to Africa as she takes part in her first full year on the world's circuit.
Miss Casals graduated from high school last June. An excellent student and a voracious reader, she eventually plans a medical career. "By the end of a year, though." Hopman says, "I feel she will be so well established as an international player that her appetite for championship laurels will have pushed thoughts of medicine out of her head."