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Eugene L. Scott
October 02, 1967
That's the cry that was heard for more than a week at Forest Hills as the author, a lawyer and weekend player who was competing just for fun, found himself in the national spotlight
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October 02, 1967

Great Scott! Gene Won Another One

That's the cry that was heard for more than a week at Forest Hills as the author, a lawyer and weekend player who was competing just for fun, found himself in the national spotlight

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There was no chance. The referee would not permit it, and even so, the doctor said Tony's arm would not be well for a week. So, for the first time in my life, I had beaten an Australian lefthander. I was now in the second round.

Or was I? A bit later in the day the referee asked me if I would be willing to play a substitute for Roche—John Yeomans—one of many alternates who had not been accepted for the tournament. I could refuse, but he thought it would be a nice gesture.

"Just think," he said. "You have a chance to be the only player in the history of the tournament who won and lost in the first round."

"Amusing," I thought, but I agreed to play Yeomans anyway. There were two reasons. I knew that Yeomans was a solid grass performer who should have been accepted for the tournament ahead of perhaps 20 other players who were in. More selfishly, I knew I needed the competition even though I also knew there would be moments during the match when I would regret the decision.

Our match was put on Court 15 (didn't they think Scott-Yeomans was as exciting as Scott-Roche?). Instead of the stadium crowd, we had about a dozen people watching us, perhaps half of whom were tired and were simply leaning against the fence to rest. Yeomans proved as difficult as I had feared, carrying me to 10-8 and 11-9 in the second and third sets. But at least I was definitely into the second round.

Because I had drawn Tony Roche in the first round, I had not bothered to examine the rest of the draw. Now, sitting in the locker room, I saw I had Tom Gorman of Seattle in the second round and, if I got by him, young Gary Rose, a Californian, in the third. Rose had had an exceptionally good early season, including a win over Stan Smith, the national hard-court champion. Strange how my attitude had changed in a few years. I used to feel that although there were countless good players around, they all had weaknesses I could exploit. Now my lack of constant competition made me worry about anyone who could rally a few times.

When I beat Gorman in straight sets on Sunday, my parents decided to come down from Vermont. Over the years my father has been a steady spectator at my matches, smoking about two packs of cigarettes per set, but this year my mother persuaded him to remain at home since I obviously would be out of the tournament quickly. Now they were anxious to watch.

Monday, Labor Day, was largely a day off at Forest Hills. I spent a long time on the massage table as Mr. Nelson, the masseur, tried his best to regroup some of the tired muscles in my back. In between rubs I attempted to pump him for information about the other players.

"Oh, Mr. Emerson had problems with his back at the beginning of the week," Nelson told me, "but he's much better now. Mr. Newcombe's shoulder is almost completely recovered. Do you know that Mr. Jan Leschly is the fittest sportsman I ever seen?"

None of this talk built up my confidence, so I went out to practice with Charlie Pasarell and Jim McManus. The next morning I went to work, then splurged and drove to Forest Hills where I met my father for a late lunch. While I changed, he rushed out to the grandstand court, getting there so early, as is his habit, he even beat the ushers. Gary Rose was good, winning the first set, but then my game improved and I took the next three. I was into the fourth round against my old friend Ron Holmberg.

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