Eight months can bring about a tremendous difference—favorably—in 20-year-olds. The same period of time can only slow the step and dull the edge of a man 32, like Seixas.
Nevertheless, I thought Vic played a terrific match against his old bugaboo, Rosewall, on opening day. Scrapping for every point, he performed every bit as well as last December when he conquered Rosewall in four sets.
He also followed the 1954 winning pattern—the attack on Rosewall's forehand instead of backhand. But it was not enough.
Rosewall's backcourt marksmanship, the deadliest in amateur tennis, was the best I've ever seen it. He rifled his returns at the feet of the net-charging Seixas and passed him with radar-guided shots that brought white chalk flying.
Furthermore, for a player renowned for his weak service, the little dark-haired Australian served brilliantly. His delivery was usually deep and well placed, giving Seixas little opportunity to attack it.
Our big disappointment, of course, was Trabert, who had been counted on to win two matches for our side.
Tony, I thought, was several notches below the form he displayed in the Challenge Round last year and also in his sweep to 16 tournament victories since that time. He never got the full effectiveness from his cannon-ball service and his volleying was timid and tentative.
To satisfy my own mind, I have tried to find an explanation for Tony's sudden slump, without attempting to alibi for it. I do feel that the long competitive layoff following Trabert's shoulder miseries in the Southampton tournament contributed to his rustiness.
A BLOND BLOCKBUSTER
He also turned up with a new blister on his racket hand which forced him out of the final day's singles. I'm inclined to believe Tony's blister troubles are the result of nerves. They always seem to coincide with important events, such as the Davis Cup in 1953 and Wimbledon last year. They pop up on different parts of his hand and have even infected his heel.