- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
When Trabert won the Wimbledon Championship without the loss of a set, our prospects of winning back the Cup were rated very low by the English critics, even though Hoad and Hartwig won the doubles from Rosewall-Fraser after those two had beaten Seixas-Trabert.
It was nastily hot and humid in Chicago where we defeated Mexico in our first round of the Davis Cup, but worse in Louisville, when, as we eliminated Brazil, our Cup hopes suffered a setback when Hoad received a nasty blow from a Falkenburg "cannonball" delivery that laid him low. A touch of the sun on the final day of that match just about cooked him. Hoad was not ready to play against the Canadians and, a week later, still not worth the risk of pitting against the Japanese in the first Interzone Final. There was a sudden lift in his game and spirit, however, during our training and practice at Nassau Country Club where we played the Japanese, and the following week I felt Lew was ready to go. He beat Italy's Fausto Gardini and Nicolo Pietrangeli and won the doubles with Hartwig at the Germantown Cricket .Club as Australia clinched the right to challenge the United States.
Meanwhile Rosewall had been turning in a pleasing display in his matches. He was fit and, more important when thoughts turned to Davis Cup, he had improved his net attack.
When the first day of play as challengers at Forest Hills came along our team was confident: Hoad's pre-match practice form was his best for over a year and his mental attitude was fine. His type of game—big service and strong net attack plus decisive passing shots—was made to order to beat the Seixas game with its weak backhand and erratic forehand. We counted on both the Seixas singles as matches well in our favor, and the two Trabert singles and the doubles as about an even break.
But it was not quite as easy as that. I must record that, despite my confidence in Rosewall's all-round stability and the strength of his passing shots, especially from his backhand, there were moments during his match against Seixas when I thought Vic's great fighting qualities might do more than just scare us for a game or two.
I ENJOYED THE DOUBLES
Hoad had his troubles, too, facing Trabert. It took him quite a long while to settle down due mainly to a comparative lack of recent match play. After a lot of talk in American papers about Trabert's confidence to win both his singles, his form was disappointing and Hoad wanted to spend more time thinking of this poor form than of how to capitalize on it.
I had to work hard on Lew to get greater concentration during the first two sets of their match; it was quite a problem. But once he got into his stride I was very confident he would win, and he continued to grow stronger in physical spirit and stroking confidence as the match progressed.
Rosewall's main problem playing Seixas was entirely different. Most observers were surprised at the number of points Rosewall won at the net. His repute is of a baseliner with the best backhand in tennis today. Against Seixas he spent as much time in the forecourt as backcourt. But he is such a confirmed baseliner in his own mind that I had to constantly remind him not to miss an opportunity to "go in." "Muscles," as we mostly call Rosewall, did a very thorough, workmanlike job.
During the doubles I must admit that I did not concentrate on my task as courtside captain as well as during the singles. I found myself enjoying the doubles with its big-hitting, terrific pace and the dog-eat-dog fighting spirit of these two wonderful pairs each trying to prove who was the No. 1 doubles combination in the world.