At Wimbledon, Vic Seixas, 32, a veteran of five Davis Cup squads, and Ham Richardson, a veteran of three, made the best American showing. Vic's match against Rosewall was an inspired one but the question arises: How many such matches does a man of 32 have left in his system.
Richardson proved no match for Hoad. Vic and Ham, this country's best Davis Cup doubles hopes at the moment, lost to Italy's Nicole Pietrangeli and Orlando Sirola, who in their turn were easily beaten in the final by Hoad and Rosewall.
Of the young crop, Allen Morris of Atlanta made the best mark. He beat Australia's promising Ashley Cooper to gain the quarter-finals but lost to the cagier Seixas. I am only sorry that Morris, a 24-year-old ex-football player, did not take up tennis earlier. He began the game five years ago. Ron Holmberg, the Brooklyn 18-year-old, gave bright promise for the future by beating Hopman's prot�g�, Ron Laver, for the Wimbledon junior crown.
But, otherwise, our youth movement proved a bit green for the big task at hand. Sam Giammalva, Barry Mac-Kay and others showed their need for more international seasoning.
Developments left U.S. Davis Cup officials in a quandary: Should we go again this year with the veterans, such as Seixas and Richardson, who on the record have far more losses than wins to Hoad and Rosewall; or, should we strike out with the "kids"—win, lose or draw? It's a real dilemma.
On the distaff side at Wimbledon the picture was much brighter but there were definite storm warnings which should cause concern in our women's tennis ranks. In a modern Paul Revere twist, the British are coming.
Shirley Fry's victory in the women's singles was a popular and well-deserved one. The 29-year-old St. Petersburg, Fla. girl has been knocking at the door of a big championship for years. Back-court steadiness and a fighting heart sent her winging past Buxton in the finals. I still feel that Althea Gibson is the best of the modern women's crop. She has all the equipment of a great champion and has found confidence through her recent winning streak around the world. By year's end she should be in the driver's seat.
But the American ladies, who have had things pretty much their own way in international tennis, no longer can relax. The British are developing a core of feminine tennis talent which is both sound and stubborn.
Angela Buxton, 21-year-old daughter of a midlands theater owner, is perhaps the best of these. Pat Ward, the sturdily built lass who gained the finals of our own championship last year, is formidable. Angela Mortimer and Shirley Bloomer are capable of beating our best when the latter don't have their best guard up.
Ours is a big tennis nation which is in no position to get complacent—the guys or the gals.