Is it possible that the tension of the matches, in contrast with the relaxed atmosphere of the week before, could have brought the cramps on?
"Perhaps. I don't know."
What about Dennis Ralston, who lost the deciding match to Mandarino? There are many people who feel that Ralston is incapable of winning a really important match—as perhaps indicated by his loss to Stolle in the 1964 Davis Cup, to Gisbert last year and to Santana in the finals at Wimbledon this year. In short, they think he is a loser. How do you feel about that?
"I don't think I could ever disagree with any statement more violently than that, one. Dennis, I feel, played the Davis Cup match of his life against Mandarino. He played a must match every day in Brazil. After Richey lost the opener, Dennis had to beat Thomaz Koch. He did, easily. We had to win the doubles the next day, and Dennis was the outstanding player on the court. I feel Mandarino beat Dennis in the fourth and fifth sets. Ralston didn't lose it. I can't pay enough tribute to Dennis Ralston for the way he played against Brazil.
"While I'm on the subject, someone should mention that Mandarino played superb tennis for three days, and in the fourth and fifth sets he lifted himself even higher. I wish the American press would give this guy more credit. He is a great clay-court player. He has beaten Santana and Pietrangeli, two of the best clay-court players in the world. He also won the fifth and deciding point when Brazil upset Spain. His match against Gisbert went five sets, and the end of the fifth set had to be played the next day because of darkness. This is in Barcelona, too. Mandarino is tough. Incidentally, if Spain had beaten Brazil, we would have played Spain in Los Angeles on cement and you know we would have to win."
Over the years U.S. players have been frequently criticized for their deportment. One report from Brazil said that Ralston was visibly irked by the crowd. What about it?
"If Ralston was visibly irked by the crowd during the fifth set, he was justified. The deportment of this team in Brazil was excellent."
What happens to the team now?
"We start getting ready for our first match in 1967—about May, I imagine."
Do you hope to be captain then?