Now, Sedgman obviously can't be expected to remember everything he ever said. But perhaps he should be reminded that when that "certain American gent" approached him with an offer of nearly $100,000 to turn professional, Sedgman bid the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia such a hasty farewell that one might have thought all his countrymen (including those who chipped in $13,260 for his wedding present) had the plague. He gave out a nice, simple statement: "I decided this professional offer was too good to turn down."
Nevertheless,' the part of Forgetful Frank's utterances dealing with today's amateurs was unmistakably true. Never in recent years has the tournament picture been more of a puzzle. Mervyn Rose won the last Australian championship, Tony Trabert won the French crown. Jaroslav Drobny did it at Wimbledon. Lew Hoad took the title at Orange. Ham Richardson came through at Newport. Vic Seixas outlasted everyone at Forest Hills. Last week the unpredictable aspect of tennis in 1954 was underscored again during the New South Wales championships at Sydney, where the advance guard of the U.S. Davis Cup team was warming up for the Inter-Zone finals against Sweden.
Trabert went down in the third round to Australia's Don Candy, a second-stringer. Hoad, who has never completely regained the mastery he displayed in the last Challenge Round, was knocked out by 36-year-old John Bromwich. Rex Hartwig won the finals over Rose, a fellow Australian.
Still missing from this crazy mixed-up scene, but due soon, were Seixas and the American nonplaying captain (and SI's tennis columnist), Bill Talbert. Before Talbert could identify himself as the official spokesman for the U.S. invaders, Trabert got in his licks: "I'm not in top condition yet, but I think we'll do it this time, provided we can get by Sweden."
Certainly when Captain Talbert reaches his boys he'll find them amply fortified with confidence. All he'll have to do then is teach them how to win when it counts most. If they learn well enough?who knows??Sedgman's benefactor, the "certain wily American gent," may drop around with a loaded fountain pen.
Storm in the desert
A couple of sports items of note have crept out of Arizona these past few weeks that warrant an attention not usually focused on that sunshine-rich but football-poor state.
The first had to do with the achievements of one Arthur Luppino, a 20-year-old sophomore tailback at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who has turned out to be one of the most accomplished running backs in college football this season. After the first six games of Arizona's ten-game schedule had been played, he had gained 892 yards from scrimmage, made 18 touchdowns and scored a total of 123 points, each of these figures the best in its category in major-college football this fall. With four games to go, Arizona enthusiasts figured Luppino had a splendid chance to break the national collegiate major-college records of 1,570 yards, 22 touchdowns and 157 points.
Publicity carried Luppino's name all over the country, even to Lubbock, Texas. And thus was spawned the second item of note, a football feud.
Lubbock is the home of Texas Tech, and Tech was Arizona's next, or seventh, opponent. On the following Saturday, as Tech was beating out a 28-14 victory over Arizona, Art Luppino's mouth was cut, his forehead bruised, his teeth loosened and one chipped. He was able to play less than a quarter of the game, gained only 25 yards and failed to score.