For Australia, Hopman chose Ruffels and John Alexander, the powerful Sydney-sider who had been mentioned prominently as a possible singles choice. At 17, Alexander was the youngest player ever to participate in a Challenge Round, breaking by a few months the record set by Kramer. Ruffels and Alexander had never played together before, and their lack of teamwork was telling. Smith and Lutz lost only 13 points during their 14 service games, and only once did the Australians have a break point against them in the 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 triumph.
The Davis Cup had been won and would be returning home after an absence of five years. The triumph was welcome but hollow as well. The crowds were disappointing and the enthusiasm of those who did come was something less than unrestrained. The only excitement shown by the Aussies occurred on the final day when, after Graebner had gutted out his second victory (over Ruffels), Bowrey came back to defeat Ashe in four sets and avert a humiliating shutout by the U.S.
After the final match the two teams returned to the center court for the formal presentation of the cup to Dell by the governor of the State of South Australia, Sir James Harrison, while the flags of the 50 Davis Cup nations fluttered valiantly in the fading sunlight. And that, in another year, might have been the end of it till next time.
But 1968 was a different year, and what was perhaps the most significant meeting of this Davis Cup took place not on the courts but in private. The top officials of the world's four major tennis nations closeted themselves for two days and drafted a statement which, if implemented by their associations back home, could restore the vigor to cup competition that was sadly lacking last week. In essence, the statement urged all of tennis to forget the absurd and artificial distinctions among amateurs, professionals and so-called "registered" competitors and to group them all under one simple and honest classification—players.
Under such a rule Arthur Ashe, who is indisputably America's best player, could be both joined and opposed by others of equal stature. Then Davis Cup competition could once again be the best in fact as well as name.