So let's have a contest. Any reader who conies up with a pair of names that wow the judges and are accepted by WCT will receive a snip from Stan Smith's mustache and a portfolio of photographs, Cliff Rickey's Greatest Glares.
For Laver the A-B business was probably less important than another innovation, the hiring of two traveling trainers, one for the U.S. and one for abroad, a move he has been suggesting for two years. After each match last week Laver put the trainer to good use. The redhead would swig his beer, then have his still-weak back massaged. Wednesday night he and Roy Emerson gave Stockton and 20-year-old Brian Gottfried a lesson in how to play doubles, but afterward the two kids were showered and dressed while Laver and Emmo were still being strung back together in the training room.
Laver reached the final by beating Edison Mandarino of Brazil, Nikki Pilic of Yugoslavia, fellow Aussie Emerson and Bob Lutz of the U.S., but it was not exactly a pleasant stroll through Sydney. He was inconsistent, or "scratchy," as he put it, yet he seemed able to turn on the steam and let loose the shots when he needed to. He was forced into three tiebreakers along the way and won all. He played Pilic at night on a damp court but he won in straight sets. Emerson routed him 6-1 in their first set and had him down 6-5 in the third, but Rod in one streak won nine straight points and took it 7-6. Against Lutz he paced himself through the end of the second set when he saw he had little chance to catch up, but had plenty of tricks and energy left to win the third 6-2.
Stockton's climb was smoother. He has an edge over most of the other rookies because he played five tournaments on the 1972 WCT tour, twice performing well against Newcombe. In Miami he started off by upsetting Charlie Pasarell and then beat Ove Bengston of Sweden. He missed facing third-seeded Cliff Drysdale of South Africa in the third round when Drysdale was eliminated by the flu. Stockton went on to wallop Jim McManus, 10 years his senior, and then challenge Alexander.
The handsome Alexander, also 21, had bashed Smith the night before 6-4, 6-2 with strong serves and strong returns of serve, but he had to stick around and play a rain-postponed doubles match that did not end until two a.m. He was not in rare form the next day under a hot sun, but Stockton was. He served beautifully, blasting cross-court winners a la Laver and probably played his finest match, winning 6-3, 6-2. He joyfully leaped the net for the handshake, not for the moment considering that he, lowly No. 65, would be playing No. 1 the next day.
Despite the surprising showing by Stockton and the sharpness at times of Lutz, no one at this early stage was discounting Smith's chances of ending up as the top American in Group A, or even the top player period. He seemed to accept all the minor and major setbacks of the week with his usual calm. On the first day he arrived without his shoes and had to borrow a pair from Bengston, who at 6'5" is one of the few tennis tourists taller than Stan and with feet to match. Smith was fortunate that 5'6", 130-pound Harold Solomon, his Davis Cup teammate, wasn't the only guy around. On the second day Smith and doubles partner Lutz were socked with small fines for wearing different-colored shirts in a match.
Even the lopsided loss to Alexander did not cause Smith much distress. He remembered that he had been smashed by hard-serving Vladimir Zednik in his first tournament last year.
"It's a matter of timing, moving, positioning," he said. "I'm not doing any of that well yet. I expected to start slowly. There's a long way to go—for us all."