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Nobody in the place, including Ashe, Lutz and Dell, believed that Arthur would fail in the fifth set. "He's always played so damn well when he had to against me," said Lutz, who had never beaten Ashe. "I thought I had him other times—but he got away. This will do a lot for me, realizing I can do it."
"I've done a lot for a lot of guys this year," said Ashe, smiling faintly, "and that will make it harder for me, picking up their confidence."
Meanwhile, on the court next door, Smith should have lost to Charlie Pasarell. Pasarell got as close to victory as two points, serving for the match at 9-8 in the fifth. He had won the first two sets and was playing his finest tennis in two years.
Smith, marvelously fit, remarkably agile at 6'4" and 181 pounds, kept pushing. He charged the net incessantly and backpedaled surely to catch up with Pasarell's lobs, even knocked down enclosure fences to reach his angled volleys. Finally with a zinging forehand cross-court Smith broke through on a fifth match point against Pasarell's serve to take it 15-13 in the fifth.
Performances like this are still somewhat difficult for Smith's teammates to fully understand and accept. Not that they don't realize that Smith has arrived. He is National Indoor champion as well, has won four of his last six matches with Ashe and beat Ashe and Graebner in succession to win the singles title at South Orange, N.J. Nevertheless they remember him until recently as a clumsy kid they could all beat with no sweat.
Lutz readily admits ducking Smith when they were teen-agers hanging around the Los Angeles Tennis Club. "There were so many better guys our age to play against six years ago. Stan was a waste of time."
Perry Jones, the self-appointed gamekeeper of tennis' Southern California spawning ground, used to say that if a boy hadn't shown championship qualities by age 15—forget it. Stanley Roger Smith in that age bracket couldn't even qualify as a Davis Cup ball boy, much less as an athlete who would help win the cup back for America six years later.
"I applied to be a ball boy in 1963 when the U.S. played Mexico at the L.A. club," Smith laughs. "I really thought it would be great to be on the same court with McKinley, Ralston and Osuna, but I was turned down. The fellow in charge of the ball boys said I was too awkward and that I'd clomp around and bother the players. It took me a while to learn how to manage my size-13 feet."
Smith attended the match as a spectator, and though he was far behind such contemporaries as Lutz and the other area prodigies, he had uncommon determination. A late bloomer by local standards, Stan quit the Pasadena High basketball team in his junior year to give all his free time to tennis.