for a while, and he finally said, 'I would like an audience.' I can't imagine
what prompted him to say that, but I've thought of it many times
Fabyan Cooke Danzig was called "Twinkletoes" when she was at her best,
scampering across the lawns of the Eastern Shore tennis courts. She never liked
the name. "I ran wrong—up on my toes rather than bouncing on the balls of
my feet. I've had bad toes ever since. I'd love to run like Evonne," she
said, looking out from her seat in the players' pavilion at Goolagong warming
up on the stadium court for her finals match against Chris Evert. "She sort
of floats. We all want what we haven't got. I remember Don Budge saying, 'Oh,
if only I had Gilbert Hall's forehand.' Look how she moves on the court! I'd
love to see Evonne win. She plays like I used to—intuitive, very good
anticipation and not much discipline. Chrissie reminds me of Helen Wills and
Maureen Connolly. Great ground strokes, and she's improving, too. She's
beginning to come to the net more, and she's learning spins."
what Sarah thought of the outfits the two finalists were wearing. "Quite
conservative today." she said. "I wore my wedding ring, whichever
husband, but I'd never wear earrings or those spangles that some girls wear
these days—they'd itch, I'm sure. Of course, when I started we wore cotton
stockings that came to the knee, which we kept up with elastic bands."
Goolagong won the
first set, but then began to have her troubles. "There's that wonderful
unflappable discipline of Evert's beginning to show," Sarah said. A
neighbor asked why the women players did not resort to the sort of
psychological tricks employed by so many of the men.
remember much of that," Sarah said. "Sylvia Henrotin, who was a French
lady, stepped onto the court one day wrapped up like a mummy with
bandages—perhaps to elicit sympathy—but she ran like a hare. Nothing like that
would bother Chrissie. I'm afraid there's not much that can be done."
Sidney B. Wood
Jr. watched the Orantes-Connors final in the taproom of the Meadow Club in
Southampton, Long Island. Outside, a battleship-gray veranda runs the length of
the clubhouse on which members sit and look out over a considerable expanse of
grass courts. The veranda was empty. The members, many of them in tennis gear
with rackets balanced on their laps, sat in wicker chairs to watch the
proceedings up on a big television set on a shelf high in the corner of the
taproom. The shades were drawn.
Wood was sitting
with his back to the wall, his wife Pat beside him. He was wearing tennis
shorts and a pink mohair sweater. He looks an astonishing number of years
younger than his age, which is 63—wiry, his hair still flaxen. He has always
been an anomaly in relation to his years. He played in his first Nationals when
he was 14; at 15 and weighing only 88 pounds, he went out on Wimbledon's Centre
Court and was leading Rene Lacoste, the defending champion, 3-1 in the second
set before the roof caved in.
He had been to
Forest Hills only once during the past weeks of the Open. "I know why,"
he said. "The pros today play each other so often that they provide tennis
which is technically perfect but competitively uninteresting. It only takes
four or five matches for pros to learn all about one another. Fred Perry once
asked me to play with him long after I was through with competitive tennis.
'Let's go out and hit some,' he said. We went out on the clubhouse court at
Forest Hills. I knew exactly where every one of his shots was going. I knew
what was going to happen. That's not to slight the excellence of the play these
days; it's great tennis for the public. But for me, so often it's like watching
someone making the chess moves out of a book rather than looking on at an
actual live match.
"And I hate
to see that grass go. If there were a lot of grass around, it'd be O.K. But now
there's only Australia and England...a long way. Now all we have here is
another clay-court event—another stop on the public parks tour."
He touched his
wife's hand. "But my goodness, here we are with the finals, and this match
should be interesting." He concentrated on the TV set. Orantes lost the
first two games, and murmurs rose around the room, the speculation being that
Connors would sweep the match. "Oh no. Orantes knows what he's doing,"
Wood said. "It's essential to have a sort of game plan against your
opponent, whatever the level of play. It increases one's attention; the player
concentrates more because he has a design in mind." He began talking about
a match he played at Seabright in 1930 against Ellsworth Vines when he was 19,
unranked and unseeded. Knowing that speed was the last thing to give Vines, he
spun slow serves to him and softballed him. "I busted his game completely.
I remember the scores," he said merrily, "6-2, 6-2, 6-0."