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krosero
02-03-2008, 08:47 PM
Many of us here have seen this clip on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-VeBIal8TU

The Tennis Channel broadcast the match as the 1977 World Invitational Tennis Classic (the WITC), but it actually took place on October 11, 1976. It was reported the next day in the New York Times.

Probably a lot of this post will not be new to those who were following tennis in the 1970s, but it was all new to me; I learned a lot about how tennis was televised in the 1970s.

The WITC event is listed as running from 1974 to 1978 on this page:

http://www.imgmediaarchive.com/home/browse/event/store127/item1575/
(click the “Programming” tab)

On that page, Borg and Laver are listed as playing in 1977. The score is not listed, but the Times reports it as 6-3, 7-5 for Borg. On the same day – a Monday – Evonne Goolagong defeated Sue Barker, 6-7, 6-0, 6-3. The next day’s schedule included Martina Navratilova against Virginia Wade. On Wednesday, Ilie Nastase was to meet Arthur Ashe.

On Oct. 15 (Friday), Borg defeated Ashe in the final, 6-1, 6-2.

It was the fourth annual WITC, and the purse was $195,000 – the same information reported by ABC’s commentators for the Borg-Laver match, Chris Schenkel and Pancho Gonzales.

What’s interesting is that the ABC coverage gives no real indication of when the matches occurred. Schenkel, when introducing Borg-Laver, says that “if you were with us last week, Evonne Goolagong picked up a victory point in a tough match with young 20-year-old Sue Barker.” But that match took place only hours before Borg-Laver. Schenkel says that the Borg-Laver match is the second in a series of 11, and it was, if you include the men’s and women’s singles and the mixed doubles. But the coverage gives the impression that the matches are taking place live – as if this tournament ran one match per week.

Schenkel calls Borg the “Wimbledon champion in 1976.” He adds, “when he won Wimbledon in 1976 he didn’t lose a set.” That sounds like he’s talking in 1977.

However, the explanation is in a September 1977 article written by Leonard Probst and published in the Times, “Has TV Killed the Goose That Laid the Golden Tennis Ball?” (MooseMalloy, this article is in the book you just bought). Probst describes how the networks frequently showed taped matches and that viewers were often confused about what they were watching. For example, some players would show up playing simultaneously on two channels, with no indication of what was live or taped.

For instance, home viewers on Sunday, May 16, 1976, could have seen Bjorn Borg hitting his topspin forehand in mixed doubles with Virginia Wade against Rod Laver and Evonne Goolagong on ABC’s “World Invitational Tennis Classic” from 2:30 to 4 P.M., as well as in a singles match against Guillermo Vilas, from 1:30 to 4:10 P.M. on NBC. NBC’s coverage was live from Hawaii; ABC’s had been taped months earlier at Hilton Head, S.C., and was one of 11 Sunday matches to come out of that taping session.

It looks to me like the announcers called the matches live but that Schenkel knew the viewers would not see them until 1977. Hence his backward-looking references to 1976.

It’s interesting that during the Borg-Laver semi, Schenkel says that the other semifinal “in the future” will be between Nastase and Ashe. That’s exactly how you would refer to it if you didn’t want to say incorrectly that it would take place in a week but you also didn’t want to tell the viewers that it would occur on Wednesday, since they would actually see it on a Sunday.

The WITC matches at Rick’s DVD-selling site are all listed as IMG Media Archive lists them (see the link above). Rick lists the scores, and each year’s matches correspond to Times reports from the previous October.

I did not check every single match, just a handful from each year. I would paste the information in the Times articles here, but their archives are all in PDF format; and some people here are going to remember this situation first-hand anyway.

I could not find a Times report for the earliest matches listed by Rick and IMG – the year that Margaret Court took part. That event is listed as 1974, but Court did not play any of the Grand Slams (or any matches?) that year. If the event took place in October 1973, however, she could have participated, having just won at Forest Hills a month earlier.

I did find a Google hit describing “a series of 11 programs featuring matches by eight of the world’s best tennis pros”; that notice is dated to April 14, 1974, and it includes Margaret Court as a participant. That seems, then, to refer to the televising of an event that probably took place in 1973.

As far as I can tell, the tournament began in 1973 and ran through 1977, in October.

Leelord337
02-03-2008, 09:00 PM
Awesome, i loved watching laver play in that video. Awesome backhand and volleys! he was the federer of his day

Check this video out w/Rod Laver and Tony Roche

I can see why Fed hired tony roche as a coach. Roche has some AMAZING volleys, so aggressive up at net. laver's no slouch either

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHaN2h21ANs

(FEDERER)vs(NADAL)
02-03-2008, 09:57 PM
this is a pretty cool vid http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KNcpwsBQHU&feature=related

CyBorg
02-04-2008, 05:35 AM
We complain about coverage now, but it must have been really frustrating to be a tennis fan 30 years ago. The Internet is a saving grace.

urban
02-04-2008, 06:06 AM
The tennis boom of the 70s generated an explosion of tennis coverage on tv, mostly in the US. The WCT series had an enormous impact on ratings, and the Riggs-King bonanza. The tv stations organized many special handpicked events (with very big money), to show them later. Another factor of the period was the explosion of tennis camps. Many older pros like Laver or Emerson or Newcombe, made a living out of this camps, and reduced their schedule on the tour..

krosero
02-04-2008, 08:22 AM
We complain about coverage now, but it must have been really frustrating to be a tennis fan 30 years ago. The Internet is a saving grace.I'm always taking the internet for granted, but what a difference it makes. If you were confused about something you were seeing on TV back then, and you didn't have anyone in the tennis world who might have answers, what were your options? Checking your home encyclopedia to see what happened with that tournament last year? Waiting for the evening news or morning papers to see if there's any report? Listening to the radio?

Rabbit
02-04-2008, 09:05 AM
I vividly remember looking forward to Sunday afternoons when those matches aired.

It was great being a tennis fan back then because you really looked forward to watching tennis. I can still remember watching matches on PBS before they even made the networks.

There was also a series of WCT matches called by Vic Braden and none other than Dodgers Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale. Talk about an odd couple. Those matches weren't shown locally here until midnight, so you really had to be a fan and you pretty much got one a week.

There were also the Winner Take All matches which were pretty cool.

The funniest was ABC's foray into tennis with none other than Howard Cosell calling the action. He was trying to branch out from boxing into other sports I guess. As bad as he was in football coveage, he was even worse in tennis. He did the coverage of the Forest Hills claycourt event and really stunk up the place. I guess that's why I don't find too much fault with today's commentators. They are worlds better than what we used to have.

But, the WITC matches were really cool and an idea that was before its time. The original premise was the men and women competed for equal prize money on equal footing. There were singles, doubles, and mixed doubles matches with all 8 players with the high point person taking top dollar.

Back then, Borg played it and was the reigning French and Wimbledon title holder. I can't see Federer and Nadal doing something similar. The first year Borg played it, he was the anti-Borg. He was wearing Fred Perry clothing and playing with a Slazenger frame and wearing Tretorn shoes. He also advanced to the net on about every point...

The year I graduated from high school, there was some kind of exhibition which involved 8 ATP players that was held in Hawaii. I remember the weekend we left for our senior trip, I was P.O.'d because I was going to miss Nastase playing Ashe in the finals. But, I do remember it running more than one week.

Ahhh the good old days...

CyBorg
02-04-2008, 09:20 AM
I'm always taking the internet for granted, but what a difference it makes. If you were confused about something you were seeing on TV back then, and you didn't have anyone in the tennis world who might have answers, what were your options? Checking your home encyclopedia to see what happened with that tournament last year? Waiting for the evening news or morning papers to see if there's any report? Listening to the radio?

I became a true fan of tennis with the invention of the Internet and its subsequent spread in popularity. Before that I was a casual observer at best. Where I lived it just wasn't important enough to truly matter. Some boxscores in the newspaper + you'd hear who won the important tournaments, often without the scoreline.

I may have never gotten seriously (if one can call this 'serious') into the sport without this new tool. It's exciting to feel like I'm always on top of things going on in the tennis world. Expertise is dead now. Talking heads are made fun of; mocked; scrutinized at every turn. We see them for the frauds that they are. We have facts at our disposal and we can tell when we're being manipulated. We can be full-time researchers, statisticians, self-employed journalists (bloggers). The freedom is amazing.

I notice that historical information on tennis is growing on the Internet. More and more interesting stuff is popping up and you've contributed to a large extent. Message boards are heavily frequented. I often do a google search on tennis history and TTW pops up very often. Rewind a couple of years ago and there was almost nothing out there. I can't wait to see what we will have five years from now. It's probably only a matter of time before someone partly digitizes the great rare encyclopedias, so many of which are out of print now, onto the net so that we can enjoy knowledge at its most democratic.

Right now tennis is still very much behind the other major sports in terms of archival information on the Internet. I'm amazed how little there still is. It's almost as if we've buried the past and forgotten about it. I can't even shell out a wad a cash for certain info/video.

Thanks for your hard work. It's interesting to listen to Pancho commentating. I wish there was more of him. I like his voice.

CyBorg
02-04-2008, 09:28 AM
Ahhh the good old days...

What saddens me is the fact that we don't get to see a good exhibition these days.

I'd kill to see a series of matches between Federer and Djokovic or perhaps Roger and Nadal. Say, a best out of five.

It's just not done anymore. We have Kooyong, but guys are too stocked up on money and too wary of injuries to play their best. It's all a warm up and they don't seem to detest each other enough to care. It's goody-goody. Smiley-smiley. Corporate-poseur photo shoot.

You watch this and you can see Laver really trying out there. Playing his heart out. I'd like to see this again, but outside of the grand slam setting. Just a good, old-fashioned exhibition made especially for bragging rights. Popcorn-chompin' fun like that. For the love of the game (with some dough thrown in, of course).

hoodjem
02-04-2008, 10:30 AM
Awesome, i loved watching laver play in that video. Awesome backhand and volleys! he was the federer of his day

Check this video out w/Rod Laver and Tony Roche

I can see why Fed hired tony roche as a coach. Roche has some AMAZING volleys, so aggressive up at net. laver's no slouch either

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHaN2h21ANs

This is a wonderful match, nicely exemplifying what was possible with wooden racquets and full gut strings. I am amazed at the touch both players have on the ball, and by how long they seem to hold the ball on their racquets.

Brilliant all-court tennis!

krosero
02-04-2008, 02:50 PM
I became a true fan of tennis with the invention of the Internet and its subsequent spread in popularity. Before that I was a casual observer at best. Where I lived it just wasn't important enough to truly matter. Some boxscores in the newspaper + you'd hear who won the important tournaments, often without the scoreline.

I may have never gotten seriously (if one can call this 'serious') into the sport without this new tool. It's exciting to feel like I'm always on top of things going on in the tennis world. Expertise is dead now. Talking heads are made fun of; mocked; scrutinized at every turn. We see them for the frauds that they are. We have facts at our disposal and we can tell when we're being manipulated. We can be full-time researchers, statisticians, self-employed journalists (bloggers). The freedom is amazing.

I notice that historical information on tennis is growing on the Internet. More and more interesting stuff is popping up and you've contributed to a large extent. Message boards are heavily frequented. I often do a google search on tennis history and TTW pops up very often. Rewind a couple of years ago and there was almost nothing out there. I can't wait to see what we will have five years from now. It's probably only a matter of time before someone partly digitizes the great rare encyclopedias, so many of which are out of print now, onto the net so that we can enjoy knowledge at its most democratic.

Right now tennis is still very much behind the other major sports in terms of archival information on the Internet. I'm amazed how little there still is. It's almost as if we've buried the past and forgotten about it. I can't even shell out a wad a cash for certain info/video.

Thanks for your hard work. It's interesting to listen to Pancho commentating. I wish there was more of him. I like his voice.You're welcome; I hear what you're saying about the internet and it may well be that I would not have done any of my recent research if it was not for Google (and other online ways of getting information), plus a place to put the information for public access (like these tennis boards). Without the one, you have a hard time getting the information, and without the other, the info rarely leaves your private desk or circle of friends. I've noticed that sometimes when I look for stats, my own threads pop up as the first Google hit, and that's all right with me; I just try to be careful with the work; the important thing is that someone looking for stuff will find something. God knows when I look up stuff I'm grateful to find something; you just have to be savvy about what you find and check it yourself if you can.

Moose Malloy
02-04-2008, 04:30 PM
Schenkel calls Borg the “Wimbledon champion in 1976.” He adds, “when he won Wimbledon in 1976 he didn’t lose a set.” That sounds like he’s talking in 1977.


Good find, I have this match on tape & had no idea. I always thought it was played in spring '77. I have the Laver-Smith WITC match from '74 on dvd, who knows what year it was really played.

However, the explanation is in a September 1977 article written by Leonard Probst and published in the Times, “Has TV Killed the Goose That Laid the Golden Tennis Ball?”

That was an interesting read. That article & another book(The Tennis Bubble) I read seem to indicate the game was already on the decline in the US in '77, in terms of participation dropping, as well as ratings. So Mac probably gets too much credit as being significant to the tennis boom of the 70s.

Another article I found interesting was the head of CBS sports in the 70s being forced to testify before Congress if he willingly duped the public into thinking those 'challenge' matches were Winner-Take-All!

I became a true fan of tennis with the invention of the Internet and its subsequent spread in popularity. Before that I was a casual observer at best.

Wow, this is surprising. Since you are such a Borg fan, I assumed you followed his entire career from the beginning, saw him live, etc.

I'm always taking the internet for granted, but what a difference it makes

I remember waiting for the sports update on Headline News(it was always 20 minutes past the hour) to find out what was happening at Wimbledon in the late 80s/early 90s. Or switching to espn 2(when it was launched, around 1994I think) to see if the ticker updated with tennis scores.

Yeah, its funny how much has changed, its so easy now to find out scores with the internet. I'm trying to remember the 1st time a Grand Slam had a website, I'm thinking 1994? looking at webarchive the tournament websites from the majors were so primitive in 1996. I remember how long it took to load some of those scoreboards back then.

We complain about coverage now, but it must have been really frustrating to be a tennis fan 30 years ago.

You don't need to go that far back, I've been revisting a lot of old AO matches recently, & the espn coverage was so limited until the late 90s. That epic Sampras-Courier match from '95 was not shown live(they never showed the AO night matches live until just a few years ago) it was shown, edited, in a 2 hour time slot the next day. And Espn had no coverage at all of the 1st week of that event until the late 90s as well.

I remember being so excited to see when they had live coverage of the '92 AO the 1st saturday of that event, for a whopping 3 straight hours! How many straight hours of live tennis did espn show during this AO? The creation of espn 2 greatly helped tennis broadcasting in the US, before it was just on espn & it had too many sports to compete with to get much airtime. Of course espn 2 wasn't available in all households, so many tennis fans grumbled about this for a few years(kinda deja vu with the TTC debates today)

Of course that 3 hour window back in '92 ended just when Mac was getting started vs Sanchez in what probably turned out to be the match of the year. I finally got to see that complete match(thanks to the internet) recently.

Its funny that some think the lack of top Americans has something to due with espn cutting back their tennis schedule, when in fact more of Federer's matches at the majors were broadcast in the US than Sampras or Mac's or Agassi's during their primes (so many of their early round matches never saw the air here)
I can find every match Federer played at every major he played since 2004available for sale on some sites, can't find every match at the majors Agassi played in '95, despite him being hugely popular back then, because they weren't all televised!

With more channels, there is now better coverage, even though the sport is not as popular as when there was less tennis shown on tv. Go figure.

CyBorg
02-04-2008, 05:25 PM
Wow, this is surprising. Since you are such a Borg fan, I assumed you followed his entire career from the beginning, saw him live, etc.

No, never saw him live. Most of what I had learned was from reading. I have a number of books that go way back. I didn't start watching tennis consistently until the 90s in part because until then it was seldom televised where I'm from.

I'm of the Soviet background and if you know a little bit about the former country you get that leaving it to travel was extremely difficult. Books were the only source, really. We had a few guys that were proficient in Borg's time, like Metreveli, but it wasn't until Yeltsin's days that tennis really got a boost in the country.

NLBwell
02-04-2008, 06:30 PM
Check out at about the 2 minute mark of the Laver-Roche video where Laver hits a high lob to the baseline, Roche gets ready to hit an overhead, and the ball only bounces shoulder high. Actually, a pretty good reaction to get the ball back at all. The erratic bounces on grass is one reason that it was better to be at net than at the baseline - where you may not even get a decent swing at the ball.

krosero
02-04-2008, 07:30 PM
I have the Laver-Smith WITC match from '74 on dvd, who knows what year it was really played.Searching for "Laver Smith Hilton Head" in Google News:

Lima News (Newspaper) - August 26, 1973, Lima, Ohio
Subscription - Lima News - NewspaperArchive - Aug 26, 1973
TENNIS CLASSIC This Is the final match of the elimin- jstion tournament, with Rod Laver and Stan Smith at the Sea Pines Plan- tation in Hilton Head; ...
Related web pages(I don't know why Google hits have misspellings like this, btw).

It's not a report on the match, just a TV listing. Same here, in the NY Times:

[Aug 26, 1973] 4 30 (2)CBS TENNIS CLAS Second annual 3 4match elimination tournament and championship; Rod Laver meets Stan Smith ill finals match from Sea Pines Piantatio HiRon Head Island SC ( 11 ) a BASEBALL Yankeesbvs Oakland in California 440 19)Kiner's ICorner 4 45 (47)Domcnica Sportiva 5 00 (5)0uter ...
From Television This Week; Evening Cable TV Morning... - New York Times ($$)
Related stories - Related web pages

All I had found before for that edition of the tournament was this TV listing:

[Apr 14, 1974] First in a series of 11 programs featuring matches by eight of the world's best tennis pros Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Yvonne Goolagong, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, Rod Laver, John Newcombe and Stan Smith played at the Hilton Head Racquet Club on Hilton Head Island, SC To- day's program ...
From The Lima News (Newspaper) - April 14, 1974, Lima,... - Lima News ($$) So perhaps the Laver-Smith final occurred in August 1973. By April 1974, Margaret Court was already on sabbatical. The WTA site has her playing Newport in July 1973, and then Forest Hills and Columbus in September, before going on sabbatical. She could have participated in Hilton Head if it was held in August.

For the later years that the tournament was held, I found reports of the actual matches (not mere TV listings), all in October. (Perhaps the month changed?) For instance, the year after the one you're talking about, Borg, Stan Smith, Laver, Nastase, King, Wade, Evert and Goolagong were involved. IMG and Rick list it as 1975; they're both going by the years the events were televised.

The Times reports it in 1974:

October 31, 1974, Thursday
Page 56, 417 words
Bjorn Borg, scoring with a spectacular forehand, defeated Stan Smith, 2-6, 6-4, 6-0, in the men's semifinal of the $40,000 World Invitation tennis tournament today.

That's the heading, which can be cut and pasted. The article itself, in PDF, also contains information about the other semis (Nastase-Laver, Wade-King, and Evert-Goolagong); and it looks ahead to the finals (Borg-Nastase and Evert-Wade).

So the edition of the tournament listed as 1975 actually took place in October 1974. The previous year's final, between Laver and Smith, appears to have taken place in August 1973, though I can't find anything more definite.

krosero
02-04-2008, 08:33 PM
I remember waiting for the sports update on Headline News(it was always 20 minutes past the hour) to find out what was happening at Wimbledon in the late 80s/early 90s. Or switching to espn 2(when it was launched, around 1994I think) to see if the ticker updated with tennis scores.In 1988 when McEnroe pushed Lendl to 4 sets at Roland Garros, the only way I knew how to follow it live was to listen to WFAN in New York. We followed the progress of that match with updates every few games, one in mid-tiebreak. Very exciting.

Cut back to 1986 when I had been crazy about tennis for a year already, but it took a year (at least) before I discovered the score of the 1980 Wimbledon final. I was missing that Year Book in our home encyclopedia and maybe I just didn't know how to do research (I was 16). I knew the result, but I just didn't know the score. So one day I found that Year Book in a local school library. And I stared at that score and I all could say was "Wow."

It was still a few more years before I saw it.

Leelord337
02-04-2008, 09:20 PM
This is a wonderful match, nicely exemplifying what was possible with wooden racquets and full gut strings. I am amazed at the touch both players have on the ball, and by how long they seem to hold the ball on their racquets.

Brilliant all-court tennis!

yes it was. also it was the 1969 aussie open semi. Laver won in 5

http://www.atptennis.com/3/en/players/headtohead/?player1=Laver%2C+Rod&player2=tony+roche

bluegrasser
02-05-2008, 07:05 AM
We complain about coverage now, but it must have been really frustrating to be a tennis fan 30 years ago. The Internet is a saving grace.

...actually PBS had a tournament on every wknd in the summer.

dpfrazier
02-05-2008, 07:26 AM
Awesome, i loved watching laver play in that video. Awesome backhand and volleys! he was the federer of his day

Check this video out w/Rod Laver and Tony Roche

I can see why Fed hired tony roche as a coach. Roche has some AMAZING volleys, so aggressive up at net. laver's no slouch either

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHaN2h21ANs
This Laver/Roche footage is the best I've ever seen! Edited so that we get to see shot after amazing shot in rapid-fire succession. Those guys were good...

Man, I wish tennis was still played this way at the highest levels. Of course, I'm a lefty serve-and-volley dinosaur, and modeled my whole game after Laver's...

urban
02-05-2008, 11:09 AM
Thre were actually two Hilton Head tournamnts, won by Laver over Smith,in 1973. Laver won one WCT event (not counting for the WCT series, 16 or 32 draw)) over Smith in spring in straight sets. The other one in summer 1973 was the 4 men event with Newcombe, Smith, and Ashe.

krosero
02-05-2008, 11:59 AM
Thre were actually two Hilton Head tournamnts, won by Laver over Smith,in 1973. Laver won one WCT event (not counting for the WCT series, 16 or 32 draw)) over Smith in spring in straight sets. The other one in summer 1973 was the 4 men event with Newcombe, Smith, and Ashe.Thanks, Urban. So my question would be, what does the August TV listing refer to? It only mentions the final between Laver and Smith, so on the face of it, it does not need to be the four-man WITC. Could it could have been the spring event (the straight-set match), being televised in August?

I also ask because the August TV listing says that it's the "second annual" CBS Tennis Classic. But the WITC was televised by ABC; and it could not have been in its second year already. When Borg and Laver met in 1976, it was only in its fourth year. 1973 would have been the first year for the WITC, not the second.

fridrix
02-10-2008, 05:20 AM
(I don't know why Google hits have misspellings like this, btw).


That misspelling came from NewspaperArchive.com, which runs grubby old newspapers through an optical scanner.

CyBorg
02-10-2008, 10:58 AM
The Laver/Roche footage is amazing. What a treat.

krosero
02-11-2008, 09:19 AM
I've watched the Borg-Smith match from October 1974 (listed as 1975 because it was aired that year by ABC).

Borg d. Smith, 2-6, 6-4, 6-0

Schenkel introduced the match by saying, “Eight of the world's finest tennis players have been here for five weeks.” After the match he asked Pancho to make a prediction “a week ahead of time,” and then said that he looked forward to seeing him in “one week’s time.”

So this was less subtle than the commentary in the Borg-Laver match. In that one, you could say that ABC was doing as much as it could to obscure the date of the event. Here, two years earlier, ABC was actively trying to portray the event as taking place 1 match a week for 11 weeks.

However they do give themselves away. Schenkel says that Borg is 18 years old, and Smith 27. Smith’s 28th birthday was on December 14, 1974.

Moose, I don't have the Laver-Smith final (usually listed as ending the 1974 tournament), but that would be one thing to check; it seems that Schenkel usually mentions the ages of the contestants at some stage during the match.

Schenkel added that Smith earned $204,000 “last year”, which is another way to check what he's referring to, though it's probably tricky knowing what prizes are being included in those days.

Pancho said during the second set that “Both players have played a lot of tennis in just this short period.” He might have meant the match alone, but he could have been referring to the week in which the tournament took place.

The Times reports that the match took place on October 31, 1974.

Pancho said that Smith had had stamina problems, and it showed. Halfway through the second set he already looked spent.

Four months earlier, Smith had lost that two-set lead over Rosewall at Wimbledon. I haven't seen that match yet, so I can't say that conditioning was a factor; but it did come to mind when I watched this loss to Borg.

Pancho had picked Borg to win, for his mobility and youth.

Schenkel refers to Borg having won the Italian, French and United States Open Championships. When he corrects himself, Pancho predicted confidently that Borg would win the U.S. Open one day. “I’d bet on that.”

He was so new then, Pancho twice refers to him as “Bjorg.”

And he said: “that is one of the great shots of today, that forehand of Bjorn Borg.”

Borg was doing a lot of serve-and-volleying and general net-rushing, compared to his later years (except on grass). And he was gunning his first serve.

Pancho uses the word “placements” a lot, seemingly in reference to clean winners (e.g., “hit it perfectly for a placement”).

With Borg serving bullets at 4-3 in the second set, Pancho comments on a service winner. He says that some people think that such shots should be called aces, “but they’re not. They’re forced errors.”

I didn't take my own stats; the following were provided by ABC.


FIRST SET STATS
Borg Smith
1 aces 1
3 doubles 0
66% Serve 79%
3 passing shots 2
0 breaks 2

FINAL STATS
Borg Smith
2 aces 2
5 doubles 4
61% serve 65%
14 passing shots 6
5 breaks 3

krosero
02-14-2008, 07:38 AM
I contacted IMG Media Archives. They've updated their page:

http://www.imgmediaarchive.com/home/browse/event/store127/item1575/
(see the Programming tab)

They rolled all the matches back by one year (to 1973-77).

Kevin Rosero

CyBorg
02-14-2008, 08:51 AM
I contacted IMG Media Archives. They've updated their page:

http://www.imgmediaarchive.com/home/browse/event/store127/item1575/
(see the Programming tab)

They rolled all the matches back by one year (to 1973-77).

That's pretty cool.

Tennis history is like a riddle just waiting to be delved into. Now I wish someone finds those Laver-Rosewall WCT tapes.

hoodjem
02-17-2008, 01:26 PM
Now I wish someone finds those Laver-Rosewall WCT tapes.


Me too. That was an amazing match; you didn't know who was going to win until the last two or three points.

Moose Malloy
02-20-2008, 09:38 AM
The previous year's final, between Laver and Smith, appears to have taken place in August 1973, though I can't find anything more definite.

I rewatched it, in the intro, Pancho says that Smith will be looking to avenge his defeat to Laver in the Davis Cup final, but if this was really in August of '73 they hadn't played that match yet.

Also in the post match interview, Donald Dell says to Laver, we'll find out next week if you'll get the 2nd place prize money, since that's when Newcombe plays his doubles match. I guess CBS revealed the charade to the players as well, pretending in interviews that the matches were actually played every weekend.

Schenkel also ended the broadcast by saying to Pancho see you next week.

how was the quality on your Borg-Smith dvd? I have trouble seeing the ball in the laver-smith match & several other WICT matches I have.

Do you have the Borg-Tanner WICT match? was thinking of getting it, but wanted to know if the ball is visible.

Leelord337
02-20-2008, 12:45 PM
I contacted IMG Media Archives. They've updated their page:

http://www.imgmediaarchive.com/home/browse/event/store127/item1575/
(see the Programming tab)

They rolled all the matches back by one year (to 1973-77).

Is it free to register?

krosero
02-21-2008, 05:52 PM
Is it free to register?I don't have any info on IMG, other than what I saw on their Hilton Head page.

krosero
02-21-2008, 06:45 PM
I've finally found some direct reports on the matches from the 1973 WITC. They didn't come up before because they're merely asides, mentioned in articles about other events.

I ran a search in Google News for "Hilton Head Evert", and this came up in a Time magazine article (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,907844,00.html)about Billie Jean King:

This week she plays in the U.S. Open at Forest Hills. After that she flies back to Hilton Head for a $40,000 match involving Court, Evonne Goolagong and Chris Evert. Since that's the women's doubles lineup for the first WITC tournament, I finally knew what dates to search. I found this in the Times:

Mrs. Billie Jean King was taken to a hospital in Hilton Head, S. C., for blood tests yesterday after complaining of feeling ill. Mrs. King, who quit in the third round of the United States open tournament at Forest Hills last week in the middle of a match against Julie Heldman, failed to appear for a doubles match in the World Invitation classic at the Hilton Head Racquet Club yesterday afternoon.

Ted Simmons, spokesman for the club at which the tournament is being played, said doctors were not sure what was wrong with Mrs. King. He said Mrs. King was resting at the villa she owns in Hilton Head and she is to see the doctors again early today.
The New York Times
Published: September 11, 1973And the next day:

Mrs. Billie Jean King’s $100,000, winner-take-all match with Bobby Riggs was placed in jeopardy yesterday by her husband, even though she competed in a television tournament at Hilton Head, S.C. .... Larry King, her husband and business partner, diagnosed her ailment as possible low blood sugar....her husband said yesterday she may have hypoglycemial and may not be able to play Riggs in Houston Sept. 20.... Riggs, meanwhile, maintains it is emotional stain [sic], not physical strain, that will defeat Mrs. King in their match at Houston. “It’s the money and pressure that makes this match tough,” the tennis hustler said. “If it was for $20 she might win. But the minute it amounts to something, with the whole women’s lib movement rooting for her, she will crack."
September 12, 1973This is all in PDF but I bothered typing it out, because it's really interesting to read Riggs talking about that match; and because I can't think of a better example illustrating why it's important to get the actual dates of these matches, even if we're only talking about a difference of months.

Another example: John Newcombe participated in this WITC, only days after winning the U.S. Open (a particularly important win for him, given that he was being called a has-been, from what I was reading).

I couldn't find anything else on the other participants. The closest I found was this:

Seattle, Sept. 13 (AP) – Arthur Ashe of Miami, topseeded but a late arrival, beat Gary Groslimond, 6-2, 7-5, today to advance to the second round of the $37,500 Seattle international tennis tournament. Ashe was to have played last night but was late because of a commitment in the East.It's only in October 1974 -- the second WITC -- that you start seeing press reports for the individual matches in Google News, including Borg's defeat of Smith.

Apparently, then, the WITC began in September 1973, and changed to October the following year.

I found TV listings for ABC broadcasts of the 1973 matches as early as April 14, 1974 (a Sunday), and as late as June 9 (also Sunday).

So the TV listing I mentioned before, from August 1973, headlining a Smith-Laver final at Hilton Head, must have referred to the other Hilton Head tournament, the one mentioned by Urban.

And for that one, I found press reports from May 19-20 stating that the tournament was getting under way. A quarterfinal between Stan Smith and Roy Emerson at Hilton Head was telecast the weekend of July 15, a match between Laver and Roger Taylor the weekend of August 12, and the final on the weekend of August 25.

All of these were called "the second annual CBS Tennis Classic", and as usual I didn't pay for the articles, but all these reports seem to refer to the same tournament. If so, it was also tape-delayed and televised on weekends, like the Hilton Head tournament we're talking about.

I rewatched it, in the intro, Pancho says that Smith will be looking to avenge his defeat to Laver in the Davis Cup final, but if this was really in August of '73 they hadn't played that match yet.This tells us that ABC did at least some of its WITC commentary after December 2, 1973, the date of the Davis Cup match.

Pancho, then, surely knew that the Smith-Laver match was not a rematch of the Davis Cup final. But he and Schenkel presented it that way.

I would not have expected ABC to go this far in actively portraying the tournament as live; but it does fit the pattern. They were saying things like "see you next week"; and as you noted, Moose, the participants oncourt also were involved.

Also in the post match interview, Donald Dell says to Laver, we'll find out next week if you'll get the 2nd place prize money, since that's when Newcombe plays his doubles match. I guess CBS revealed the charade to the players as well, pretending in interviews that the matches were actually played every weekend.What I'd like to know is how much of ABC's commentary in the booth was live. The commentators seem to be interacting with oncourt interviewers. But ABC also presented introductory and concluding segments, where you could see Schenkel and Pancho on screen, not in the booth, apparently at Sea Pines. It was in one of those segments that Pancho was asked to make a prediction, which is okay if they were actually there during the event; but not if they were filming these segments after the tournament was over.

Were the introductory and concluding segments filmed at a different time? If so, was that done only for the 1973 tournament, or also in the remaining years?

So much that I'd like to know about this event.

how was the quality on your Borg-Smith dvd? I have trouble seeing the ball in the laver-smith match & several other WICT matches I have.

Do you have the Borg-Tanner WICT match? was thinking of getting it, but wanted to know if the ball is visible.I only own the Borg-Laver and Borg-Smith matches. I'm curious now about the first tournament (1973), so I'm going to order some of those matches. I want to listen to the age of the participants and see what else happens with ABC's presentation.

The ball is just on the edge of visibility in the Smith match; the Laver match is better, and as you know the ball sometimes is hard to see in that one, too.

Leublu tennis
02-25-2008, 01:57 AM
We complain about coverage now, but it must have been really frustrating to be a tennis fan 30 years ago. The Internet is a saving grace.

I was in Boston at the time and the only coverage we saw was Bud Collins on PBS. Those were really great broadcast.

Q&M son
06-06-2008, 11:04 PM
Thanks for share this.
Kevin, I don't you don't like me that bump, but this is good, really.

krosero
07-14-2009, 03:55 PM
I rewatched it, in the intro, Pancho says that Smith will be looking to avenge his defeat to Laver in the Davis Cup final, but if this was really in August of '73 they hadn't played that match yet.

Also in the post match interview, Donald Dell says to Laver, we'll find out next week if you'll get the 2nd place prize money, since that's when Newcombe plays his doubles match. I guess CBS revealed the charade to the players as well, pretending in interviews that the matches were actually played every weekend.

Schenkel also ended the broadcast by saying to Pancho see you next week. I've been watching a few of these WITC matches that the Tennis Channel has been showing, including Evert-King. Since Laver-Smith took place in the same year I finally got around to watching that one, too. I didn't notice ABC giving away any other clues that the event was really played in '73. But the match that followed Laver-Smith and concluded the tournament was a mixed doubles match that partnered King with Arthur Ashe. A few days after her match with Riggs on Sept. 20, she was talking to the press about playing mixed doubles with Ashe "at Hilton Head."

Far as I can tell from the press reports: Laver started the tournament by defeating Newcombe; King lost to Evert in the next match, then failed to appear for women's doubles on Sept. 10. She played it the next day though she was not feeling well (in the Evert match I thought she looked totally off and listless). She did commentary for Laver-Smith, and then participated in the next and final match, the mixed doubles. Some days later she went to Houston to play Riggs.

There's an interesting article in the New York Times archive if you can get it, "Tennis on Television -- A Questionable Love Affair." It was printed Sept. 1, 1974, a month before the second WITC.

CBS tapes its "Classic" during a week in January, then broadcasts an hour's worth of highlights from these matches over a 15-week "season." ABC carries a similar taped tennis show, "World Invitational Tennis Classic," which it doles out piecemeal over an 11-week period.

Not a surprise, but it's interesting that the charade was known then and talked about in the same media that perpetuated it.

But then again, the Times was print media, while these tennis events were made for television (and no longer exist today; I wonder if their disappearance had anything to do with a decline in ratings?)

According to the article, the CBS classic had started in '65 when there was little interest but was re-started in '74, during the tennis boom.

There's also a bit in that article about how players wore what their corporate sponsors wanted them to advertise, and how they were required for a while to wear colored clothing different from their partners/opponents, so television viewers could differentiate everyone on the court (and the WCT even issued a fine to Nikki Pilic once for refusing to wear a "color coordinated outfit").

pc1
07-14-2009, 04:07 PM
That's pretty cool.

Tennis history is like a riddle just waiting to be delved into. Now I wish someone finds those Laver-Rosewall WCT tapes.

I tried to get those tapes but the sad possibility is that they may be lost forever.

CyBorg
07-14-2009, 04:21 PM
I tried to get those tapes but the sad possibility is that they may be lost forever.

That's very discouraging!

krosero
07-17-2009, 07:51 AM
These two matches were held in September 1977, when the WITC was played for the last time.

ABC broadcast them in 1978 and Tennis Channel replayed them this week, labeling them as '78 matches.

Some of this gets strange.

From the New York Times:

Hilton Head Island, S.C., Sept. 27 (AP) - Bjorn Borg, showing no signs of his recent shoulder injury, defeated John Newcombe of Australia, 6-2, 6-4, today in the opening match of the World Invitational Tennis Classic.

…. It was Borg’s first appearance since he withdrew from the quarterfinals in the United States Open at Forest Hills three weeks ago with a painful injury.

(Published September 28, 1977).

The oncourt interview with Andrea Kirby felt scripted, because Borg is talking as if it's already '78. “My ambition this year is to win Wimbledon for the third time, and I know it’s going to be even more difficult this year than it was last year.”

He also said he wasn't in great shape at the moment (he wasn't, in Sept. '77) but that he would be for Wimbledon.

Hilton Head Island, S.C., Sept. 30 (UPI) – Virginia wade won the World Invitational Tennis Classic today when she and Vitas Gerulaitis rebounded from a mixed-doubles deficit of 3 match points to defeat Roscoe Tanner and Kerry Reid, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6.

… Bjorn Borg, who captured the men’s singles final with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Tanner earlier, finished second and collected $35,000. Tanner placed third and earned $30,000.

Borg appeared to have reinjured his right shoulder. The ailment forced him out of the United Sates Open at Forest Hills earlier in the month.

(Published October 1, 1977).

Kirby asked Borg if his arm was still hurting him, and whether he would stay and watch the mixed doubles from the seats. But Borg said he was just going to get into bed for some rest. So ABC did let in some clues that the whole event did not take place over 11 weeks.

During the match, though, Chris Schenkel said that Borg won the Italian and French Opens “this year on clay, right?” Pancho just replied, “I’m not surprised”, due to Borg’s ability on clay. That sounds like they’re talking in June 1978, after the French and before Wimbledon.

That makes sense, because this match was the 9th in the series of 11, and ABC's 11-week broadcast usually ended in July. One year Pancho and Chris, in their post match segment, apparently standing in front of the trees at Sea Pines, said "today" was a great day, and wished the viewers a happy Fourth of July; that was near the end of their 11 broadcasts. In their prematch and postmatch segments they're always standing together and making "predictions", saying to each other, "See you next week," and "let's go down to the court where Andrea Kirby is interviewing the players," and so forth.

One year Pancho even said to Chris that he looked forward every week to making the long trip to Hilton Head.

But if Schenkel was talking about Borg's 1978 victories in Rome and Paris, then even the match commentary was done after the fact -- at least this year.

Yet the example makes no sense at all, because the previous matches in the series had been broadcast starting in April '78, so why wouldn't ABC have their announcers do all their commentary for the tournament in a single session? Why does it look as if Pancho and Chris really were getting together once a week to do commentary (on matches that had long since been captured on tape)?

Hard to believe.

But there's no doubt about the date of the matches.

I actually get uncomfortable watching these made-for-television tournaments, even all these years later. The event itself was a good idea, with an interesting format, and good tennis. But the constant efforts to fool the viewers, and to rope the players into the effort, leaves a bad taste. I'm actually glad they're not doing these events anymore.

If there's going to be a made-for-television event, IMO, at least it should be shown live.

krosero
07-17-2009, 07:55 AM
Incidentally, Schenkel said that Tanner had beaten Borg 6-3, 6-3 in 1972 with 23 aces.

He said it was on cement. Per the ITF it took place in September in San Francisco, with no information on the surface. The ATP puts it down as Albany, California.

Both list it as their first meeting.

Moose Malloy
07-17-2009, 08:37 AM
I'm actually sorta impressed at the lengths ABC went to fool its viewers. Looks like the players had some good acting skills as well.

what annoys me is how edited these broadcasts are(I assume this was the case at the time they originally aired as well)

watching the "78" matches this week I had a feeling they were played earlier, Borg's clothing looked a little different in '78.

35ft6
07-17-2009, 11:34 AM
When I get the chance I'll post a clip of Borg playing Roscoe Tanner. Wow, the game has changed.

coachrick
07-18-2009, 06:05 PM
On Oct. 15 (Friday), Borg defeated Ashe in the final, 6-1, 6-2.



It was the fourth annual WITC, and the purse was $195,000 – the same information reported by ABC’s commentators for the Borg-Laver match, Chris Schenkel and Pancho Gonzales.
.

I attended that match...worst exo I've ever seen, especially for a 'final'. As I recall, Ashe had not double faulted all week until he DF'd TWELVE TIMES in that match. The announcer had to ask the crowd to 'make some noise' so they could 'can' some crowd excitement. Two of my students invited me down from Columbia for the match and actually apologized for the quality. Later, some of the ball boys said they had heard AA and BB tallying the score to make sure AA would finish second in total games won...he won just that many games. Not a HUGE deal since these weren't 'tour' matches and we were happy to see eight of the top players in such a small venue. I recall parking under the pine trees within 50 yards of stadium court.

We drove down from Columbia for many of the WITC and Family Circle matches over the years...couldn't afford to stay overnight. The first tournament we attended was the first CBS Tennis Classic. John Alexander and his red/white Bata shoes...what a ham! Ladies loved him! Ah, the good old days!

I'm pretty worn out from skimming the accounts of the match schedule you guys have provided. We were just happy to have tennis within a few hours drive and delighted to see any of it on TV. If only I had bought property on HHI back then!!!