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Between The Lines
October 27, 2007 Article

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FORGOTTEN VICTORIES: A History of Pro Tennis 1926-1945
CH XIII - THE HIGH WAR YEARS 1943-1945
by Ray Bowers

Ray Bowers Photo
Ray Bowers

(Note to readers: Earlier segments of the author’s history of the pro tennis wars told of the first pro tour in 1926; the subsequent eminence of European Karel Kozeluh and American Vincent Richards; of Tilden’s Year of Triumph in 1931; of Tilden and Nusslein, 1932-1933; of The Early Ascendancy of Vines, 1934; Vines's Second Year: 1935; Awaiting Perry, 1936; Perry and Vines, 1937; Readying for Budge, 1938; Budge's Great Pro Year, 1939; America, 1940-1941 and America, 1942.)


The war altered all lives, even in those lands spared destruction. Amid scarcities of almost everything, equipment and facilities for tennis games carried lowest priorities. In America most younger tennis stars, both pro and amateur, were now in uniform, though many performed publicly on occasion, typically in events supporting war causes and sometimes featuring match-ups across pro-amateur lines. A few thinned-out pro tournaments were held. Along with stirrings of a new beginning, year 1945 brought renewal of the pro-amateur split in championship tennis and confirmation that a new pro champion had arrived.

THE FEMALE PROS

Following their extended tour of North America in 1941 with Budge, both Alice Marble and Mary Hardwick tirelessly performed at military camps and in fund-raising exhibitions benefiting Allied war causes, sometimes in extended tours across regions of America. A third female headliner was Dorothy Round Little, who had been singles champion at Wimbledon in 1934 and 1937 behind a potent forehand and good volleying ability. Early in the war, she and her small child traveled from Britain to Canada, where she became a teaching pro.

In early 1942 Hardwick and Little organized a series of exhibitions benefiting British-American Ambulance Corps. An early appearance in Hartford was disappointing financially, but the official tour opener, held in suburban Maryland outside Washington, D.C., on June 6, 1942 was more encouraging. Watchers included many diplomatic personnel of the Allied nations. Also performing were male pros Bobby Riggs and Wayne Sabin.

Mary in early 1943 married tall Charles Hare, a former British Davis Cupper now in the U.S. Army. She continued her tennis activities, and in Atlantic City on June 9, 1943 she began a new series of exhibitions at military posts, joined by Marble and a varying cast of male pros, among them Hare. At midsummer 1943, Hardwick and Marble embarked on a United Services Organization-sponsored tour of Women's Army Corps bases in the U.S. Midwest and South. Appearances included instruction and exhibitions, where female soldiers sometimes joined the pros in doubles. Then in late September 1943 Hardwick and Little began a tour of women's colleges in America under arrangements by American Lawn Tennis magazine in the interest of women's fitness. Intervening amid the tour were appearances at Army bases under sponsorship of Wilson Sporting Goods Co. and McCormick and Co., along with a War Bonds exhibition in New York, where Marble replaced Little.

In early 1944 Hardwick and Marble toured the Canal Zone and the Caribbean, giving exhibitions for military personnel. Appearances usually included mixed doubles with servicemen. Alice seemed tired, but afterwards she resumed regular engagements with Mary in the U.S. Little and her son returned to England in early 1944; Hardwick followed in November. Marble's later autobiography, Courting Danger, told of Alice's wartime marriage, her anguish at the death of her husband in the skies over Europe, her loss of their baby, and her brief but harrowing career in espionage.

Many of the wartime matches among the three women pros were closely contested, but Alice was almost always the winner, whether against Little or Hardwick. When Dorothy played Mary, typically in matches announced as two-setters, Dorothy won both sets about half the time and the two sets were split the rest.

THE MALE PROS 1943-1944

Along with most American males of military age, all four superstars of the 1942 pro tour were in military service a year later. Kovacs was drafted into U.S. Army in mid-1942 and spent most of 1943 in Australia. Fred Perry, now a naturalized U.S. citizen, served in the Army Air Forces, stationed in California. Budge entered Army Air Forces in early 1943. While negotiating an obstacle course in Texas Don tore a muscle in his right shoulder. The effects of the injury would hamper Don's tennis for several years. Meanwhile Riggs entered U.S. Navy in early 1943 and soon found himself stationed in Hawaii.

With the headliners absent, the 1943 version of the U.S. Pro was held on the army post at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The winner, in his tenth appearance in the event, was U.S. Navy Lieutenant Bruce Barnes, who outlasted John Nogrady in a five-set final before 11,000 watchers. In a notable quarter-final match-up, Tilden forced Van Horn to an extended fourth set.

U.S. Pro, Fort Knox, Kentucky, October 7-10, 1943
SF: Barnes d. Kozeluh 60 62 63; Nogrady d. Van Horn 63 64 1315 63
F: Barnes d. Nogrady 61 79 75 46 63
D: Barnes-Mako d. Bell-Nogrady 64 60 60

The North and South pro tournament reappeared at Pinehurst in April 1944 after a year's lapse. Van Horn defeated Skeen in a final lasting nearly four hours. Skeen had been runner-up in the tournament's three previous renditions, and in the early rounds Dick showed his sizzling, line-splitting hitting at its best. But Van Horn, who had beaten a seemingly out-of-practice Sabin in the semis, answered with his attacking best.

North and South Pro, Pinehurst, North Carolina, April 25-28, 1944
SF: Van Horn d. Sabin 62 75 75; Skeen d. F. Rericha 62 75 57 61
F: Van Horn d. Skeen 62 57 108 16 86
D: Rericha-Van Horn d. Hunter-Chapin 62 63 36 60

Like the women, the male pros appeared in countless exhibitions at military bases and events benefiting war-bond sales or the Red Cross. Interesting match-ups both singles and doubles often occurred, including competition between pros and leading amateurs, though results were tainted by widely uneven opportunities for regular practice and play.

A TASTE OF OPEN TENNIS

Not long after Pearl Harbor, Charles Wood, president of the pro-tennis association in America, U.S.P.L.T.A., joined the chorus calling for events including competition between pros and amateurs to benefit war-related causes. Holcombe Ward, president of U.S. Lawn Tennis Association, responded in March 1942, rejecting any weakening of the pro-amateur distinction during the war emergency, fearing it would lead to abuses "detrimental to the amateur game." U.S.L.T.A. shortly made a wartime rule, however, allowing matches across the amateur-pro divide provided that at least one of the players was in uniformed military service. Any amateur-pro play purely among civilians, however, remained unsanctioned, effectively blocking open tournaments.

Allison Danzig arranged for a benefit performance of amateur and pro players at New York's 7th Regiment Armory, January 28, 1944. In the featured match before 5,000 watchers, Lieutenant Don Budge, up from Texas, defeated rising amateur Jack Kramer, age 23, score 75 75. A rematch was scheduled for Madison Square Garden on March 14, 1944. Arriving several days early, Budge practiced with amateur Segura, who won their early sets but lost two of three sets in their last session. Watching, Fred Hawthorne saw no evidence of Don's bad shoulder. But in the evening performance before 8,000 in the Garden, Kramer showed himself a much better player than in January. Behind strong serving, serve-returning, and volleying, the younger player easily defeated a helpless Budge, 63 61, whose serving and stroking seemed to lack their usual punch. Onetime pro star Mary Browne, temporarily back from Red Cross duties in the Pacific, spoke to the crowd.

Tilden came East in mid-1944, headlining a war-bond promotion outside Philadelphia, July 1. Immediately afterwards, July 2-4, 1944, came a three-day assemblage on the grass at Forest Hills benefiting Red Cross Victory Drive. A dozen pro and amateur stars participated including Marble, Hardwick, and future amateur champion Doris Hart. On hand was Private Joe Whalen, just back from Guadalcanal, who lost one-sidedly to Vincent Richards.

Interest was highest on the matches among pros Tilden, Kovacs, Van Horn, and amateur Don McNeill, winner of the U.S. Nationals in 1940 over Riggs and now a naval officer. Top honors went to Kovacs, back from Australia, who in turn defeated the other three. Tilden, now 51, lost to all three others but was widely praised for his strong first-day's effort and especially his serving against Kovacs. On the second day Van Horn carried Kovacs to three sets, both men staying in back court almost entirely. Then on Sunday Kovacs overcame McNeill in a match featuring heavy hitting and deemed by some the most brilliant of the series, 64 64.

BRITAIN AND FRANCE

Similar events benefiting war activities took place at Queen's and elsewhere in Britain. Rulings by Lawn Tennis Association allowed pros and amateurs to meet in such events but barred tournament play across the groups under any circumstance. Pros Don Maskell and Edmund Burke participated sometimes, joining a much larger contingent of male and female amateurs including Dorothy Round Little prior to her move to Canada. Later, the build-up of American forces in Britain brought newcomers to these activities, among them Charles Hare, George Lott, and Bob Harman, all of U.S. Army Air Forces. Hare in June 1944 led an American team at Wimbledon over an Australian squad and later at Bournemouth over a British team where Hare beat Maskell in singles.

Sporting activity gradually returned in France after the Defeat of 1940, including Christmas indoor tournaments at Racing Club in Paris and summertime "national" and "interzone" tennis championships at Garros. For a time professionals had permission to compete in events with amateurs. Pros Cochet and Plaa thus lost to amateur opponents Feret and Boussus, respectively, in the singles semis at the 1940 Christmas event, and the two pros also lost in the doubles final. Pro Ramillon reached the final round at Garros in August 1941 but then lost to amateur Destremau in four sets.

Meanwhile Henri Cochet lived on a farm outside Paris, operated sporting goods stores in Paris, made weekly tennis broadcasts, and for a time headed the youth tennis program under the government in Vichy. Henri told an American reporter in 1941 that he wished to go to America to compete but could not obtain an exit visa. He did, however, apply for and obtain permanent restoration of his amateur standing from the French sports federation late that year.

Thereafter Henri competed as an amateur, achieving moderate success against the new generation of French players. He won the "national" doubles with Destremau in early July 1942 at Garros, and won the singles in the same event in 1943, beating Marcel Bernard, who had beaten Ramillon. A few weeks later in a reversal of recent form, Henri lost to rising star Yvon Petra in the final round of the "interzone" event--a five-setter watched by 11,000 at Garros. After the Liberation in late 1944, an American reporter found Henri still "wiry-legged and chesty" at age 43 and glad to learn the wartime fates of his former American opponents. The writer watched as Cochet fell victim to Petra's serving and net play in a performance at Garros. Henri in 1945 nevertheless looked forward to rejoining international amateur competition.

KOVACS IN AUSTRALIA

Pro tennis remained an anathema in wartime Australia. Top amateurs John Bromwich and Adrian Quist, both in uniform, joined Jack Crawford in occasional public matches aiding war charities. Bromwich contracted malaria in his military service and became limited in his activity. But when in 1943 the American pro star Frank Kovacs became director of athletics at a U.S. Army replacement center in Australia, Aussie fans were keen to see how Quist and Crawford might fare against Frank.

Kovacs had proven a free spirit in his basic training with U.S. Army, and he remained happy to try almost anything. In late July, arrangements were made for Frank to fly hundreds of miles for a weekend series against Jack Crawford on the grass at Rushcutters Bay, Sydney. Lacking formal permission from U.S.L.T.A., last-minute concern arose among the Aussies lest the amateur standing of Crawford (and any of Jack's subsequent opponents) be jeopardized. Instead Frank played several one-sided sets against a weak opponent, entertaining the crowd with his light-hearted manner and his potent serve. On the same visit Frank also played privately against Crawford, winning three of five sets over two days. Jack afterwards wrote to Harry Hopman, reporting highly on Frank's play and that he, Crawford, had never played better in practice.

Permission having arrived from America, Kovacs and Crawford faced each other on August 28 and 29 on the Milton Courts in Brisbane. Frank won in straight sets on Saturday. Jack won in split sets on Sunday, his play warmly praised in Sydney Courier Mail. Mary Browne of American Red Cross was supposed to have participated, but Courier Mail did not record her presence.

The long-awaited meeting of Kovacs and Quist took place before several thousand watchers at Rushcutters the following Saturday, September 4. Quist secured early service breaks in both sets amid excessive errors by the American, but Kovacs in both sets stepped up his serving pace and accuracy to claim the victory, 75 64. Writing in Sydney Morning Herald, watcher G. H. McElhone raved over the Kovacs backhand, where the long backswing and follow-through produced "greater pace against the low ball than ever seen in Australia." In the doubles afterwards, Quist and Bromwich defeated Kovacs and Crawford 86 68 64. Bromwich looked ill of his malaria, wrote McElhone.

One final episode remained, where Kovacs twice defeated Crawford in comfortable straight sets in Brisbane, November 26 and 27, 1943. American Lawn Tennis reported that Kovacs also took a turn in the boxing ring before 5,000 spectators, mostly servicemen, accepting heavy punishment until the fight was stopped by referee Gene Tunney.

AMERICA, EARLY 1945

A hint of disunity stirred among the pros in the early-1945 birth of World Professional Tennis Association, led by its president George Lyttleton-Rogers (a tall Irish player now professional) and its principal funder, San Francisco businessman Jess Lanning, who was said to have shared in the 1941 dealings where Riggs and Kovacs turned pro. The new group hoped to bring top pro players under contract for highly promoted matches every month or so. At each event a reigning "world champion" would face a challenger, the winner to play a different challenger in the next event at a new location. A defeated champion might work his way back upward before again playing for the crown. Tilden supported the idea and expressed hope that its scheme could be allied with the efforts of the U.S.P.L.T.A.

The venture began on the hard floor of San Francisco Civic Auditorium, Saturday evening, March 10, 1945. Tilden, playing from back court, won the preliminary match in two straight sets, defeating Lyttleton-Rogers, who was said to have recently recovered from an injured shoulder. The championship match featured Frank Kovacs and Welby Van Horn. Bill Leiser of San Francisco Chronicle reported that the "two young sluggers" kept the crowd of 5,000 interested and enthusiastic. Van Horn took the early lead behind brilliant volleying and serving, but Kovacs, who did no clowning whatever, recovered and finally prevailed 14-12 6-3. There was some trouble in the officiating, where Tilden--predictably--stepped in to settle matters. Activities of the World Pro Association thereafter disappeared until late in the year.

Van Horn repeated his success of the previous year at the April 1945 rendition of the North and South tournament at Pinehurst, featuring a field of just eleven pros. Welby won the final comfortably over Skeen, age 39, who had taken Welby to five sets in their 1944 final.

North and South Pro, Pinehurst, North Carolina, April 25-29, 1945
SF: Van Horn d. Decker 62 64 63; Skeen d. F. Rericha 62 75 75
F: Van Horn d. Skeen 86 60 63
D: F. Rericha-Van Horn d. Copeland-Skeen 64 86 64

A three-day gathering of pros and amateurs on the grass at Forest Hills benefited Red Cross Victory Drive, June 22-24, 1945, again organized by Danzig. Pros Van Horn, Skeen, Nogrady, and Tilden played within their own group, as did amateurs Talbert, Mulloy, Segura, and others. Joining as the only woman was Alice Marble. Van Horn beat the other three pros, carried to a third set only by Nogrady. Bill demolished Skeen, 60 60. Alice played mixed-doubles in pairings that included naval officers, and lost in singles to Vincent Richards 63 64. Al Laney wrote that the latter match-up was a joy to watch, that both Alice and Vinnie volleyed well. The difference, he wrote, was in severity where Alice was unable to handle well Richards's serve. Tilden added that the same thing happened in his own long-ago meeting with Lenglen.

The cast shifted abruptly from grass to clay for the U.S. Pro championships, held the following week at Rip's Courts, Park Avenue and 39th in Manhattan, under U.S.P.L.T.A. auspices. Against a lukewarm field of about thirty pros, Van Horn defeated five opponents, all in straight sets. In quarter-final action Tilden defeated Karel Kozeluh in five sets, where Bill acted infuriated when his opponent tried to default. Walter Senior defeated Lyttleton-Rogers earlier and then lost to John Nogrady in an endurance quarter-final lasting five sets.

U.S. Pro Clay Championships, Rip's, New York, June 25-July 1, 1945
SF: Van Horn d. Tilden 60 62 61; Nogrady d. Skeen 63 63 61
F: Van Horn d. Nogrady 64 62 62
D: F. Richards-Tilden d.-Van Horn-Skeen 75 64 62

MATCHES IN THE PACIFIC

A higher level of tennis was simultaneously happening in the mid-Pacific, current address for both Don Budge and his most determined and dangerous pro rival, Bobby Riggs. In spring 1945 Budge, stationed on Hawaii, played exhibitions about the islands with amateurs Frank Parker, Don McNeill, and naval ensign Bob Kimbrell. Bob Kraft, a former coach, watched Budge against Parker at Pearl Harbor on May 25. The two seemed closely matched from the baseline, wrote Kraft, but Parker seemed unable to pass Budge at net. Matters became one-sided as Budge increasingly came forward behind "blistering" cross-courts.

Earlier, Riggs had adjusted to his Navy life in Hawaii and a routine of tennis clinics and exhibitions, poker, and various other opportunities for hustling. One writer observed that no-one could beat Bobby at anything. Transferred to Guam, Bobby played hard practice matches with Wayne Sabin and was the permanent doubles partner of Vice Admiral John Hoover. Their court was built on coral of crushed rock and sand.

With Hoover's support, an intriguing series of team matches pitted the Navy's Riggs and Sabin against the Army's Budge and Parker, Davis Cup format. The series of five engagements, played in midsummer heat and other trying conditions, became known throughout the theater of war and attracted noisy audiences and much betting.

The prime match at each location pitted Riggs against Budge. Budge's bad shoulder still limited his serving velocity, but Don won their first meeting, on Guam, 62 62, where Don's superior power in stroking kept him in command. Budge next won at Peleliu, but Riggs squared matters with wins on Ulithi and Saipan. Their final encounter came in the first week of August 1945 on Tinian. Riggs later wrote that his plan was to hit softly, extending points in hopes of wearying his opponent. The formula wore down Don toward the finish, Bobby winning 68 61 86. A radio commentator compared it to David beating Goliath.

Riggs also won three of his five singles matches against Parker, while Budge won all five and Parker three of five against Sabin. In doubles, Budge-Parker beat Riggs-Sabin in all five engagements. The Navy's only team victory came at Tinian, three matches to two, where Riggs won both of his singles and Sabin beat Parker.

NEW BEGINNING

The wartime activities of the tennis stars in America on behalf of servicemen and war charities probably contributed to the public sense that all--civilian or military, celebrity or ordinary citizen--were together in the general war effort. Bill Tilden, who spent much of the war in California, made countless appearances regionally and nationally, often with long-time colleague Vincent Richards. Bill reported that from May to September 1945, he and Richards along with a changing cast of other pros played 77 exhibitions, more than half of them at armed-forces bases. Bill wrote that he most enjoyed playing doubles as partner for Alice Marble and also watching Marble in singles matches against Richards. In two days of late July, it was "darned good tennis" at bases near Norfolk, Virginia, when Tilden lost in singles to amateur Gardner Mulloy and then defeated an "out-of-practice" Ted Schroeder.

Upon war's end the stars and superstars began rebuilding their tennis careers. Riggs returned to the U.S. via Hawaii, where he played 13 exhibitions in 13 days. California became a temporary mecca for many pros, including Riggs, Perry (just out of the Army), Budge (on extended leave), Faunce, and various leading amateurs. Van Horn was teaching at a club in Knoxville and at year's end would sign at Flamingo Club in Miami. Kovacs, again a civilian, drove across the continent to become headliner for fresh activities in Florida promoted by Lyttleton-Rogers and World Pro Tennis Association. Late in the year Frank appeared in exhibitions with the likes of Jack Jossi, Martin Buxby, Joe Whalen, George Lott, and Lyttleton-Rogers. The doubles play was usually interesting but no strong opponent emerged for Kovacs in singles.

In early December, the California-based pros assembled for the first major postwar pro event-- the World's Hard-court Pro Championships, held at Los Angeles Tennis Club. The crowds included film celebrities, and many fans were turned away on the concluding Saturday and Sunday.

Budge's strong game carried him easily through the early rounds. One observer contrasted the full-blooded stroking of Budge and Riggs with the bent-arm, wristy, flicking tendencies of Perry and Tilden, who was now 52. Most play was from back-court. Riggs and Perry met in a drama-laden semi-final featuring long points and games, most of the latter won by Riggs aided by his excellent lobbing against Perry's occasional net attacks. Tilden showed his past greatness from back court in defeating Stoefen, who seemed dazed by Bill's rocketry in their 13-minute final set amid a screaming gallery. But crowd-favorite Tilden surrendered quickly to Budge the next day. Bill told reporters that he had never faced an opponent's attack so sustained and aggressive. Bill then beat Perry for third place amid "much clowning."

The final-round meeting of Budge and Riggs--their first since Tinian--promised an indicator of coming dominance between the two. We rely on Tilden's account of the match in American Lawn Tennis. The first set produced "great attacking tennis" by Budge and "miraculous defense" by Riggs. Riggs held eight set points in the first set but Budge won the set anyway and led early in the second. Bobby then stepped up his play, and Don's overhead began a slow disintegration in trying to answer Bobby's "magnificent" lobs. Bobby took the second set and moved ahead in the third. Then with little warning, severe cramping began in Don's right hand and forearm. There seemed no relief for the problem, and the end came soon thereafter. Bobby, ever voluble, greeted the post-match reporters: "Shake hands with the new champ, boys."

World's Hard-Court Pro Championships, Los Angeles Tennis Club, December 5-9, 1945.
QF: Budge d. Gorchakoff 61 61, Riggs d. March 63 62, Perry d. Faunce 79 63 64, Tilden d. Stoefen, 75 60
SF: Budge d. Tilden 60 61; Riggs d. Perry 62 61
F: Riggs d. Budge 911 63 62 60
3P: Tilden d. Perry 46 63 75
DF: Budge-Perry d. Faunce-Riggs 64 57 64 86

Budge returned to his long-time mentor, Tom Stowe, for reconstruction. Meanwhile the others reassembled at Santa Barbara. In early-round play, an extremely steady Gene Mako surprised Tilden in three close sets. Johnny Faunce saved a match point with an impossible volley to unnerve and eventually defeat Stoefen. Riggs advanced easily over Pacific-buddy Wayne Sabin. Perry played well in the final round against Riggs, winning the first set and needing only to hold serve to win the third before bowing. Afterwards, Tilden predicted that Fred would continue improving and would again be among those at the very top.

Santa Barbara Invitational Pro Tournament, California, December 27-30, 1945
F: Riggs d. Perry 46 61 75 63
3P: Mako d. Faunce, default
DF: Stoefen-Tilden d. Faunce-Riggs 75 16 26 86 1513

RANKINGS 1943-1945

The limited tennis activity over the last three years of the war dictates a single ranking list covering the entire period. Budge and Riggs were the top players at the end of 1942 and, even more clearly, three years later. Riggs's 1945 victories in the Pacific and at L.A.T.C. place him ahead of the California red-head. Here is our pro ranking for 1943-1945.

  1. Riggs
  2. Budge
  3. Kovacs
  4. Van Horn
  5. Perry
  6. Tilden
  7. Stoefen
  8. Barnes

There was no comparable ranking of amateurs for the period. In here offering a Pro-Am ranking list, amateur stars are inserted into the above list based on their occasional matches against pros and their successes in amateur tournaments.

  1. Riggs
  2. Budge
  3. Parker
  4. Kramer
  5. Kovacs
  6. Van Horn
  7. Quist
  8. Petra

From head-to-head play during the period, the rank order among the female pros is as follows: Marble, Little, Hardwick.

There was little continuity in pro doubles pairings. We choose Budge-Perry the top pro pair for their 1945 win in Los Angeles. Second place is shared by Barnes-Mako, who convincingly won the 1943 U.S. Pro, and veterans Richards-Tilden, who won the U.S. Pro on New York clay in 1945.

OPEN TENNIS

There had been talk during the war that open tennis might be close at hand, where the great championships of the future would become open to all players regardless of professional status. The national tennis associations in sanctioning limited wartime competition between pros and amateurs remained firm that such concessions were only temporary. Now, amid planning for the postwar Slams and Davis Cup, amateur tennisdom indeed restored the codes against professionalism.

For the strife just ahead the pros had valuable assets--i.e., the world's best players, though the pro list was not as superior as it had been in 1939 or 1942. But professional tennis was currently vigorous only in the U.S. The national associations everywhere could call on pent-up interest among tennis fandom in seeing the prewar amateur stars face off against new players grown in the war years. The habits of tennis journalism also helped the amateurs. Although writers were fair-minded in their language and uniformly called for open tennis, all outlets in weight of coverage grossly favored the traditional events over the pros.

Those who called for open tennis saw immediate opportunities slipping away. Tilden remained scarcely at peace with the amateur establishment, having recently railed against what he saw as uneven interpretation of the wartime rules. Now, he warned against emerging disunity among the pros in the face of their own leadership and financial weaknesses. Bill was now unhappy with the activities of World Pro Association, which included talk of championship matches in 1946 for Kovacs in Europe. Even as Bill organized the December 1945 tournament in Los Angeles, he was working to build a new circuit of pro tournaments in America, starting with the Santa Barbara event, which happened, to Bill's chagrin, without Budge.

Pro tennis entered the postwar scene with essentially the same goals as before--financially successful tours and enduring tournaments that would strengthen the pro game and attract the world's top amateur talent. Success at the box office and recruiting table thus became the strategy for obtaining eventual compromise or capitulation by the amateurs in opening the Slams, Davis Cup, and the rest of the tennis mainstream to all players. Almost incomprehensibly, it would be decades before that eventuality would finally happen. Meanwhile in the brave, new world now at hand, amateur and professional tennis prepared to resume their separate histories and shared antipathies.

--Ray Bowers
Arlington, Virginia

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This column is copyrighted by Ray Bowers, all rights reserved.

Following interesting military and civilian careers, Ray became a regular competitor in the senior divisions, reaching official rank of #1 in the 75 singles in the Mid-Atlantic Section for 2002. He was boys' tennis coach for four years at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Virginia, where the team three times reached the state Final Four. He was named Washington Post All-Metropolitan Coach of the Year in 2003. He is now researching a history of the early pro tennis wars, working mainly at U.S. Library of Congress. A tentative chapter, which appeared on Tennis Server, won a second-place award from U.S. Tennis Writers Association.

Questions and comments about these columns can be directed to Ray by using this form.


 

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May 2014 Wild Cards: Michael Chang Wins Cancer Treatment Centers of America Tennis Challenge in Arizona by Vince Barr.
 
April 2014 Wild Cards: Revenge of the Yankees! Great Britain Dominates The U.S. In San Diego by Vince Barr.
 

 

 

 

 
 
Featured events in the Tennis Server Ticket Exchanges:
 
  Featured Tickets:
BNP Paribas Open Tickets Indian Wells CA Tennis Garden
Sony Open Tennis Tickets Miami Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
 

  Featured Tickets:
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 1 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 2 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 3 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters
Western & Southern Open Cincinnati Tennis Tickets Session 4 W&SFG Cincy Mason OH Lindner Family Center Financial Group Masters

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Final Session 26 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Women's Final Session 25 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Semifinals Session 24 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Women's Semifinals Session 23 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Men's Quarterfinals Session 22 New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona

  Featured Tickets:
Sony Open Tennis All Session Strip Tickets Miami Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 1 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles Qualifying Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 2 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles Qualifying & Women's Singles 1st Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 3 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 1st Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 4 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 1st Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 7 Second Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 6 Men's First Round Women's Second Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 5 Men's First Round Women's Second Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 4 Opening Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 3 Opening Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona

 
 
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