When World Championship Tennis scheduled its 1975 doubles championship in Mexico City, it had the foresight to obtain from the Mexican government a letter of agreement stating that no player would be barred from the tournament. Nevertheless, last week defending champions Frew McMillan and Bob Hewitt, both residents of South Africa, were forced to leave Mexico under circumstances reminiscent of an old spy movie.
A few hours after he checked into a Mexico City hotel, Hewitt was wakened by Mexican immigration officials and told to pack up immediately. His request to see the Australian ambassador (he travels on an Australian passport) or a WCT official was ignored. He was escorted to an airport motel, where, according to WCT's George Pharr, "his phone was dismantled, and he shared a room with two immigration officers who slept, snoring, in the other bed."
Meanwhile, McMillan, his wife and two children were detained by customs officials at the airport and then taken to the same motel. McMillan's pleas for assistance were similarly denied and a few hours later the McMillans and Hewitt were on board an American Airlines flight for Dallas.
The Mexican government, which last January ruled that its Davis Cup squad could not compete with teams from countries that practice apartheid, said both men were in Mexico illegally, that they were traveling on tourist permits and that therefore they could not attempt to earn the $30,000 prize money.
The WCT hurriedly replaced the deported champions with Vijay and Anand Amritraj. It also gathered together $35,000 in additional prize money and scheduled a "world doubles final" for May 12 in Dallas—the Mexico winners against McMillan and Hewitt. All players involved supported the move.
Arthur Ashe observed to World Tennis magazine after the incident, "With the exception of 18 million black South Africans...no one is more anti-apartheid than I. I am all for pressure on South Africa, and lots of it, but I draw the line at the shotgun approach."
Ben Jipcho of Kenya is thinking big. He envisions a dream mile with a huge purse divided this way: 25% to the winner, 25% to the rest of the field and 50% for a world record. And if there were no world record the promoter of the race could keep that 50%.
"I see myself against the best in the world," mused Jipcho the other day. "Liquori, Bayi, even Wottle and Wohlhuter and Ryun, plus the first three in the 1976 Olympic 1,500 meters, and a rabbit or two to step up the pace, and any other miler who comes up between now and next summer. It won't be a slow, tactical race because the major prize will be for a world record. It should be held outdoors with many thousands in the stands. With television, too. That will bring in a lot of money, no?"