We must repeat that this is a new Hoad, unfettered by the shackles of the usual Australian regimen, now a confident, independent young man with few problems. He comes here after a restful ocean trip from Europe on the Queen Mary. His attitude has never been better. He is happy and relaxed. He goes where he pleases and does as he pleases—so far, I imagine, as it is agreeable to his bride of a year, the former Jennifer Staley.
Our national tournament never has been in such danger of so thorough a domination by the smooth-stroking young men from the bottom of the world. Even should Hoad slip up somewhere along the line, there are half a dozen Aussies capable and ready to step into the title vacated by Trabert.
The best of these, outside Hoad, of course, is the other 21-year-old Sydney "twin," Ken Rosewall, the dark-haired youngster with the line-splitting back-court strokes. Rosewall is one of the tennis masters of the age—a picture of shotmanship from the backcourt—but a toy in the grip of Hoad's awesome power.
QUARTET IN RESERVE
Australia has a strong second line in left-handed Neale Fraser, Roy Emerson, Ashley Cooper and Mai Anderson, youngsters ready to step into Davis Cup competition, if necessary. When the handsome, curly-haired Fraser is hitting with his twisting service and controlling his erratic ground strokes, he can beat any amateur in the world.
The United States banner in the Nationals will be carried by the usual old guard, with just a sprinkling of new names. The best bets for keeping the title at home are the Davis Cup veterans, Vic Seixas, 33, and Ham Richardson, 23. Seixas is a superb athlete whose remarkable fighting qualities have carried him over many a major hump—and may do the same again. Richardson is perhaps America's most improved player, enjoying his finest season ever with wins over all the world's top players. A new, more realistic approach to his weaknesses can account for the strides forward made by our recently married Rhodes scholar.
Uncle Sam's second platoon is made up of Art Larsen, Herbie Flam, Tut Bartzen and Eddie Moylan, and there is the youth crop headed by Sam Giammalva, Barry MacKay, Mike Franks and improving Mike Green. A dark horse who bears watching is Dick Savitt, the onetime champion who retired from competition at his peak to go into the oil business in Houston.
Savitt won at Wimbledon, defeated Frank Sedgman en route to the Australian championship and became the world's top player in 1951. Then he dropped virtually from sight, emerging only briefly each year to play in the Dallas and Houston tournaments, where he gave America's aces, Seixas and Trabert, a real run for their money.
Now Savitt has been transferred to New York by his company, D. D. Feldman Oil and Gas. He has entered the national tournament. He is indefinite about Davis Cup plans. But his return to Forest Hills pricks the imagination and gives rise to the thought that Uncle Sam's Davis Cup outlook may not be utterly hopeless. Savitt, in his early 30s, still is capable of playing winning tennis if he can devote himself to the task. A towering bear of a man with a tremendous service and an overpowering ground attack, he could reattain the heights of five years ago.
The women's singles offers a renewal of the rivalry between Shirley Fry, the Wimbledon champion, and Althea Gibson, the big Negro girl who was the sensation of the spring season.