CHAMPION BY COMMITTEE
From Barons Court in London, headquarters of the International Tennis Federation, comes word that the ITF plans "to make its own formal judgment on the matter" of which man and woman each year deserves the title "world champion." For more than 60 years this issue has been left to journalists, computers and point systems, but now the ITF has created two committees to do the official anointing, starting in 1978. Don Budge, Fred Perry and Lew Hoad will pick the man; Margaret Court, Margaret du Pont and Ann Haydon Jones will pick the woman.
However, the formal judgment of Bob Briner, executive director of the Association of Tennis Professionals, is that the ITF's thinking is as fuzzy as a new ball. Briner believes that, for the men at least, the winner should be determined by the Colgate Grand Prix Masters tournament, which "brings together the top eight players in the world based on their court results during year-round, worldwide, all-surface competition.
"Of all the tennis organizations, the ITF has less to do with big-time tennis than any other," says Briner. "The ITF could close up tomorrow and the pro game would go on without missing a beat.... Saying they are going to name an official world champion is roughly akin to the AAU announcing that it is going to name the most valuable player of the National Basketball Association."
In other words, the selection of the world champs will continue to be chaotic and controversial. But then why should it be any different from most other aspects of tennis?
Here's a sports problem that is included in an article on puzzles in, of all places. The Farmer's Almanac for 1978.
A five-team hockey league lost most of its records before the end of the season. A statistician was hired and told to reconstruct the stats—games played, won, lost, tied; season points; goals scored, goals given up—from the few details available to him. The statistician knew that each team was scheduled to play every other team once and, as is customary in hockey, a team earned two points for a win, one point for a tie, no points for a loss. Otherwise, all he knew was:
?The Canadiens had not lost a game.
?The Bombardiers had scored five goals and had given up two.