"We're awfully keen on the game," says Hopman. "We have 750,000 players—that's almost 10% of the population. If the same proportion played tennis over here, you'd have no problem of congested highways on the weekends. Sixteen million players would be on the courts and very likely the rest of the population would be on the side lines watching the matches."
But Australians do more than play the game. Each of the six states has its own association, its own championships, and every member is a self-appointed talent scout eager to tip off the national governing body to promising youngsters.
FACTS OF TENNIS LIFE
There is no nonsense, as in the U.S., about higher education. College is almost automatically ruled out as detrimental to the best interests of tennis. The genuinely talented boy is advised to quit school at 14 or 15 and take "employment" from a sporting goods firm. Thus relieved of pressing financial worries, young men like Rosewall and Hoad are able to give their undivided attention to Harry Hopman.
Hopman frankly admits that his players are not simon-pure amateurs by American definition. "But," he adds, "I don't think there is one player in the world's first 10 who abides by the rules of the International Lawn Tennis Federation. International tennis today is in the semiprofessional class and should remain there. As I see it, a new definition of 'amateur' in tennis is a world-wide necessity."
For U.S. tennis Hopman has some short, specific advice: "Get someone like me to take charge."