- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
Talk. From just about everyone at the U.S. Open this year—discussion, argument, appraisal—with any number of topics to supply the palaver: the shift from grass to Har-Tru composition surface; the dominance of the moonball players; the collapse of the Australians, especially the sad eclipse of Rod Laver; the travails of Arthur Ashe; the court behavior of Jimmy Connors and Ilie Nastase. Just about the only silent witness to all this was Mr. Peanut, the tall papier-m�ch� representation of a peanut shell, who ambulated quietly across the grounds of the West Side Tennis Club, turning slowly because of his height, his big top hat rearing above the crowd. If one got close, the face of the man inside was vaguely visible through a mesh square in the front.
Mr. Peanut had watched some of the early matches; at least he appeared to be doing so. At courtside, his head turned almost imperceptibly as the balls went back and forth. Surely, like everyone else, he had some impressions to offer. The reporter phoned the company. A public-relations man came on and said that he was very sorry but Mr. Peanut did not talk. It was against company policy to have Mr. Peanut say anything about anything. He was, in fact, a peanut.
The reporter was incredulous.
"But there's someone in there. Surely...."
"Mr. Peanut is an amorphic representation—a company image. He is not human."
"Mr. Peanut does not have impressions."
The public-relations man was sympathetic. "I'm really sorry about this. But you're barking up the wrong tree with Mr. Peanut. I don't understand why you have to talk with him about tennis. Isn't there someone else out there?"
Dick Savitt, the ground-stroke artist of the 1950s, the Wimbledon champion in 1951, was watching the Arthur Ashe-Zjelko Franulovic match from a box in the first row of stadium seats. It had rained hard in the early morning, the rainwater collecting in the bucket seats in the boxes. A newcomer settling himself into a seat unaware, being entranced with the action below, let out an involuntary yell.