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Joe Jares
April 08, 1974
Drenched in nostalgia, we were ready for it—an idea whose time had come. So here they are, all those great old guys
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April 08, 1974

New Wrinkle For Some Old Faces

Drenched in nostalgia, we were ready for it—an idea whose time had come. So here they are, all those great old guys

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Behind 4-0 in the first set, Stewart lost track of the game score and asked, "What is it?"

"Your ad," answered Gonzales.

"I don't believe it," said Stewart.

"Don't let it go to your head," said Gonzales with a smile, and proceeded to win 6-2, 6-1.

Not lines Bob Hope is likely to steal, but still, when a forbidding figure like Pancho Gonzales makes a joke, one feels obligated to laugh, albeit nervously.

There were other light-hearted moments at the tournament. Bobby Riggs was on hand to play an exhibition against Arizona State Football Coach Frank Kush and came out in the pants, jersey and helmet of rival University of Arizona. Riggs, it seems, is not good enough to crack the regular Grand Masters lineup at the moment—Segura beat him 6-0, 6-2 at the National Senior hardcourts in 1972, for example—but he is making too much money at other pursuits to care.

Later Riggs was at courtside chattering away during a doubles match. Gonzales, the server at that point, stopped and stared at him. Riggs apologized.

"It's all right as long as you're talking about the right things" said Gonzales with a wolfish smile. "There are only so many moments left."

Bunis was a little worried about having his old men playing in such close proximity to the youthful heavy hitters of the USLTA tour, and there was indeed a marked difference in the velocity of shots. But the oldtimers' entertainment value—long strategy-laden rallies, a few wisecracks here and there—held up pretty well. Bunis has swiped-a bit of propaganda from women's tennis and insists that the everyday hacker-spectator can better identify with his troop's style of play than with the young male hotshots.

Where the Grand Masters easily outshone the kids was in manners. Young Vitas Gerulaitis of New York said something improper to the umpire; he should have been defaulted at once and/or punched in the nose. Kim Warwick of Australia, getting soundly beaten by Alex Mayer, purposely double-faulted by bashing two serves over the fence. And Connors, having a tough test in the semifinals with Germany's Jurgen Fassbender, started bickering with the crowd. With the fans' antipathy and a searing sun beating down on him (the heat was stifling on Saturday) and Fassbender about to upset him, Connors, who apparently enjoys adversity, settled down to win 6-4, 5-7, 7-5.

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