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View Full Version : Wimbledon Reminiscences


Virginia
06-16-2007, 10:01 PM
Seeing as to we're just coming up to the 2007 Wimbledon, I thought I'd share a few reminiscences of my visits to the Champs in the 1950's. Yup, I'm no spring chicken!

I went to school in Putney and as Londoner's will know, that's just a stone's throw from SW19. After school each day, I'd hop on the tube to Wimbledon, buy 1/2 lb of cherries (something like a shilling I seem to recall) and walk to the grounds. Around 4pm a lot of spectators from the Centre and No 1 courts would be leaving to go home, so by hanging around outside the gates I would easily pick up a free ticket (I don't think I ever missed once!)

As well, my dad and I used to go on the first Saturday around 9 am, queue for 3-4 hours and get ground tickets. Then we'd sit in comfort and watch some promising matches on the outside courts if there were any, but mostly STAND all afternoon on the Centre and No 1 courts.

I saw some fabulous matches during those 6-7 years - all the old greats, such as Seixas, Trabert, Mulloy, Hoad, Rosewall and the other top Australians of the time, the famous Drobny Patty match, Huber who, though not a top player, did the most amazing acrobatics on court, and fascinating doubles matches with Orlando Sirola (6'7" tall) and his pint sized partner Pietrangeli. I also watched Borotra, who was still playing doubles even at that time, complete with his Basque beret!

As a teenager, I didn't have pop star photos on my bedroom walls - oh no, it was several photos of Hoad and Rosewall who were my favourite players. I saved all my pennies so I could buy them from the Wimbledon shop!

One year, I wagged school so I could watch the Men's Final on TV - in those days missing school without being at death's door was completely unheard of!

If I think of any more interesting memories, I'll post them, but meantime would love to read other posters' reminiscences of later Wimbledons.

P.S. I have a marvellous book detailing the first 100 years of Wimbledon, complete with all the draws and individual winners and including dozens of line drawings, black and white and coloured photos, not to mention details and anecdotes etc. I picked it up (in immaculate condition) for a song on New Zealand's equivalent of E ***

Yours!05
06-16-2007, 10:06 PM
Wonderful, Virginia. Thanks.:)

Virginia
06-16-2007, 10:09 PM
Aha, a Hoad fan I see! :)

Yours!05
06-16-2007, 10:11 PM
Aha, a Hoad fan I see! :)Someone who knows who it is!:D

urban
06-16-2007, 11:29 PM
Very nice post. I read that Freddy Huber was called the Danny Kaye of tennis and the first to practice wild jumps and falls - some 30 years before Boris Becker.

Frank Silbermann
06-18-2007, 08:49 PM
I saw some fabulous matches during those 6-7 years - all the old greats, such as Seixas, Trabert, Mulloy, Hoad, Rosewall and the other top Australians of the time, the famous Drobny Patty match, Huber who, though not a top player, did the most amazing acrobatics on court, and fascinating doubles matches with Orlando Sirola (6'7" tall) and his pint sized partner Pietrangeli. I also watched Borotra, who was still playing doubles even at that time, complete with his Basque beret! Up until a couple of years ago I still saw old Garner Mulloy's name in the list of the top seniors of his age group. Sadly, the last time I looked I didn't see him anywhere. Does anyone know whether he has retired from senior competition, whether he's no longer in the top ten, or whether they simply no longer have an appropriate age category for him?

Virginia
06-18-2007, 09:57 PM
Very nice post. I read that Freddy Huber was called the Danny Kaye of tennis and the first to practice wild jumps and falls - some 30 years before Boris Becker.
urban, I didn't know that. His acrobatics were absolutely extraordinary - in addition to his amazing litheness (is that a word?) he must have been double jointed I think. I never saw Becker in the flesh, only occasionally on TV, but I don't think he could have equalled Huber - that man was something else!

I don't know what happened to Mulloy, Frank - he was another fantastic doubles player though!

I hope there'll be some more posters reminiscing...

Yours!05
06-22-2007, 07:35 PM
Just looked at the 1971 Official Wimbledon film again. I was there and couldn't imagine there would never be an Aussie party quite like that again. Evonne Goolagong made the fortnight.

Quote from the film: Today it might be harder to get in here than into the Kingdom of Heaven.

North
06-25-2007, 04:19 PM
Great matches, those. Thanks. I love watching those old matches with Hoad, too. He was streaky at times, but when he was on he could beat anybody and do it in spectacular style.

jaggy
06-25-2007, 05:14 PM
My first recollection was on TV seeing Stan Smith beat Nastase in 72 (or 71?). A few years back I met Mr Smith at a college tournament watching his daughter and thanked him for it, he seemed pleased though a bit unsure of my Scottish accent!

Virginia
06-25-2007, 09:46 PM
I love watching those old matches with Hoad, too. He was streaky at times, but when he was on he could beat anybody and do it in spectacular style.
The players of his era almost all agreed that he was the best of them when he was "on". At other times he was quite lackadaisical (sp?) and we used to nickname him "Laconic Lew". Sometimes, ht looked like he didn't really care whether he won or not, almost bored really - it was very odd.

I don't remember much about the women - Doris Hart, Darlene Hard, Louise Brough et al - I suppose I must have watched them, but it was never as interesting as watching the men of course.