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Borgforever
06-15-2009, 07:45 AM
HUGH LAWRENCE DOHERTY (1875-1919) – GOAT-contender, was born appropiately in Wimbledon three years after his famous older brother. Called “H. L.” or “Little Do” (as opposed to his much taller brother called “Big Do”) by the press – he seemed to be called “Laurie” by his closest friends.

Laurie Doherty’s achievements are more or less still unmatched even a hundred years after he retired.

Her can be credited with winning and holding every major tournament of his day, on every surface, on every continent and most of them for several years by far outshining his famous brother.

NOTE: In this study I've focused mainly on Lawrence's and Reginald's singles careers since their record in doubles is simply unique -- only two recorded losses during their prime 1896-1906 -- I lack the words to express the level of admiration I hold for that record!

If we look at the incomplete records that we have during his 11 year career 1896-1906:

Tournament wins: 61 (starting in 81 tournaments) winning 75.30% of all tourneys entered on our record
Finals/Challenge Round-finals: 11
Losses on record: 20 (real match-losses – including chivalrous w/o)

Compare this to his great brother who "only" won 28 tournaments (16 losses including w/o having started in 44 singles championships) winning 63.63% of all tourneys entered on our record.

Hugh Lawrence Doherty:

Olympics Gold 1900 (singles and doubles)

USO 1903 (First GS-major won without set-loss)

Davis Cup – 4 times in a row: 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906

Wimbledon – 5 times in a row: 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906 - final 1898

Queens Indoor – 6 times in a row: 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906

The South of France Championships, Place Mozart, Nice – 7 times in a row: 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906

Golden Grand Slam 1903 – holder of every major championship – Davis Cup, Olympics, Wimbledon, USO, Queens Indoor, The South of France Championships plus many other championships and everyone of the majors he won in doubles with his brother this year since they were undefeated and this fact raises his win-loss record for 1903 to about app. 80 – 0!

H. L. was undefeated in singles and doubles in Davis Cup

Undefeated streak on all surfaces including every championship on every continent: 3 years and 3 months
(July 1901- October 1904)

Retires as undefeated and undefeated holder of every major championship on every available surface in 1906.

His win-loss record in singles for the year 1903 has been stated as app: 45-0 -- 80-0 including doubles!

He also won the first major tourney without set-loss - USO 1903 – 130-44 (174) for a 74.71 % game-winning percentage

19 major championships (arguably of Grand Slam-status of the day -- 24 major championship titles including Davis Cup and the Olympics Gold) although I would contend the Olympics field wasn't the deepest or strongest.

If you include all 8 Wimby titles in doubles (with R. F. of course), 2 USO-doubles titles and 4 Davis Cup doubles titles, 9 British Covered Court doubles championships at Queen's indoors and some other doubles titles H. L. ends up with an arguable and just unbelievable total of over 40 major titles (!!!) in 10 years during a hotly contested era on several continents.

These were the Grand Slam-major championships of the era. Wimbledon on fast grass, US Nationals/Newport/USO played on slightly slower grass, Queens was the unofficial world indoor championship played on superfast wood-tiles and the big South of France Championship at the Place Mozart, Nice was arguably the forerunner to today’s French Open, i. e. the greatest red clay championship in France of the era.

As you see above Laurie Doherty started to win every one of these majors and then kept on winning them reaching his summit in 1903 winning every one in spectacular fashion. He didn’t return to defend his USO-title in 1904 but few doubt that he would’ve failed had he done so had todays comfortable travel been available. During these days traveling was extremely ardous – going by steamer for weeks since the airplanes was just being invented by the Wright-brothers just that same year in 1903.

The others (Wimby, Nice, Queens) for the following years being the only player in history to retire with so many big titles (having won them all many times in succession) while still being the holder.

In 1903 he had the “Golden Grand Slam”-title with the Olympic Gold Medal in singles and doubles, Wimbledon, USO, Queens Indoor, SOF Nice, Davis Cup and at least an additional five tournaments having achieved 10 tournament wins. He also was undefeated this year (as he had been in for half of 1901, the whole of 1902 and even deep into the fall of 1904 – having a three year and three month stretch as undefeated).

What has been the most important factors in determining Laurie Doherty’s achievements in tennis has been the strength of his rivals and the strength of the fields as well as reading a lot of witness accounts and reading up on the records of players who kept playing from his era and still performed well against the greats in the 1920s.

I will go into a short career era overview/analysis before I go into the real meat and potatoes and add comments from witness, rivals and contemporaries.

Then follows the post including my new, updated records of both the brothers so you can study the results yourselves that I have a running commentary for.

I will also explain quite clearly in somewhat in-depth his main rivals – all his great contemporaries in composite quotes from their rivals so you get a dynamic image yourselves of how these players made their impression in matches. It will make the scores come alive.

This era is not to be underrated.

Harry Hopman, Sir Norman Brookes and A. Wallis Myers and the referee F. R. Burrow all rated Hugh Lawrence Doherty as a serious GOAT-contender and there’s enough evidence to suggest that had Laurie having a career today he could’ve matched the other greats – with todays smooth traveling, a lot more scientific in the discipline and ten times better technique and equipment.

The racquet-heads of the early 1900s was slightly bigger than in the 30s to early 1980s and the balls (many Ayres-balls) looked like the ones today but they were weighing about 40 grams average until todays 52 grams was cemented in the 1910s and 1920s.

The game of tennis was during this time a bit faster, more explosive than the game played from 1910 onwards. A little bit retro development mirroring slighty what happened in our age from early 1980 onwards…

pc1
06-15-2009, 08:02 AM
Wonderful. I was waiting for this.:)

urban
06-15-2009, 08:14 AM
Nice writing, Borgforever. For pictures of Little Do see:
www.histoiredutennis.com

sp00q
06-15-2009, 09:32 AM
Great piece! Can't wait to read the rest of it.

SgtJohn
06-15-2009, 01:00 PM
Great post!

HL Doherty was indeed the uncontested GOAT up to the mid-20s and still is a GOAT contender today, and thanks to you he will be a little less forgotten.

Regarding, the 'Queens indoors', I take it you're referring to the 'British Covered Court' tournament, I did not know it took place in Queen's actually.

As for the clay record, I agree that Laurie dominated the Riviera circuit at least from 1904 to 1906 (in 1902-03), his brother, who did not play in England anymore and stayed in Southern France might have been a bit better.
At the risk of nitpicking, I would just add that the Nice tournament wasn't really the 'Roland Garros' of that time. From the articles of these years I could read, I had the impression that it was more like a circuit of big events, including Nice, as well as the Riviera championships in Menton, 2 events in Cannes, and also Monte-Carlo.
Anyway, Laurie had a great record in every one of them.

One last thing, that I think is very important: the 'brotherly gallantry' of the Doherty brothers can be easily forgotten if you don't look at the records in details. The fact is that there are only a few occasions hen the brothers played in a big match, usually one of them simply defaulted.
They seemed to have decided to alternate in this respect, but I always felt that in the very big matches, Laurie had retired more often than Reggie. Examples that spring to mind include the 1901 Irish. Laurie had brilliantly beaten the best players of the world in the All-Comers. His brother was sick that year (he would lose his Wimbledon crown later), and Laurie defaulted. So Reggie 'won' a third consecutive Irish (almost equally prestigious to Wimbledon at the time). Laurie was the true winner of that event. In the 1902 US Championships Laurie again defaulted. Reggie would go on to lose against defending champion Larned. Laurie would beat Larned in that same championship in 1903. One can't help thinking that he could have probably done it a year earlier as well.

Keep up the good work, Borgforever!!

Jonathan

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 01:05 PM
OVERVIEW OF DOHERTY'S ERA:

I will here first give a brief run-through of the development of tennis that further elaborated on in the following texts. Just to get a quick orientation for the rest.

Tennis became extremely popular in the 1850s and 1860s culminating in the "modern" rules being established in the 1870s when many tennis clubs all over the world started to pop up in a tennis epidemic.

When it comes to expertise the first years didn't have great quality. From let's say 1877-1885, even including William Renshaw, the level was just so-so. During the mid 1880s though the scientific model of practicing and learning the classic strokes of today started full throttle. You need probably to start playing tennis in a young age and develop with focus for 8-10 years before reaching top level skills -- providing you have great talent.

The style in the beginning was too "home-spun" while real greatness would wait to take stage until the mid 1890s -- during Pim and Baddeley and the crop of players who flourished during this era and around the turn of the century.

The main negative aspect in "high-level" tennis in 1870s and 1880s was a weak second serve -- this defect was remedied in the early 1890s and at that stage many big tournaments had popped up all over the world -- indoor season during the late fall and winter months, clay season on mainland Europe during the spring (a few indoor tourneys in late spring), then the English grass season followed by the a few red clay tourneys in August (Homburg Cup et al) while the American grass season was traditionally during late July and August. Many similarities with today even back then.

The tourneys were many and big -- even in the 1890s many of them had men's singles draws of about a hundred players -- only Wimbledon tried to maintain the "exclusive" play-off aura with a 50-70 man draw -- built upon all the rankings that flourished.

Tennis has always been one of the most complex and mysterious games on our planet. You can win from any position having, in theory, a billion match-points against you.

Another aspect is the utter lack for logic when it comes to greatness. All through tennis-history we find unbelievable things. USA with 250-300 million people and a lot of public tennis courts even in the 1880s should've had even more No. 1s and elite players than they've had. Sweden with 8-9 million should statistically never have even one No. 1 (they've had 3), Switzerland shouldn't have Federer either and how in the world did Australia with 15 million people produce Laver, Rosewall, Brookes, Patterson, Newcombe, Sedgman, Cash, Lew Hoad and many, many others? Where's India with it's billion population and all their tennis courts and players?

And then USA produces two of the greatest and most unique players of all time -- almost at the same time -- John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. Tennis lacks a lot of logic.

If John McEnroe was filmed just in close up doing his shots (and no one knew how successful he was/is) a classic tennis expert would probably say: "He won't go far -- check out his nonchalant, sloppy "junk-shots", chippin', dinking..."

Well, McEnroe during his peak almost unbeatable because he had an innate tennis skill (without much practice) and was a born competitor. Unique traits. Even Connors is hard to understand. A player with such clean ball-striking, totally flat, with almost no safe margin, how can that guy be so successful as a baseline basher?

Logically that doesn't compute. Jimbo should shank more shots than he did. Why didn't Sampras lose to Ivanisevic when the latter hit so many aces and winners? Why didn't Borg lose to Vitas when Gerulaitis hit so many winners and made so few errors? No one would've believe that Jimbo, with his lack of error margin and his "weak" serve could defeat the great grass king Johnny Mac in Wimby final...

But he did anyway...

Special competitive skill is the answer. And innate tennis skill.

pc1
06-15-2009, 01:45 PM
OVERVIEW OF DOHERTY'S ERA:

I will here first give a brief run-through of the development of tennis that further elaborated on in the following texts. Just to get a quick orientation for the rest.

Tennis became extremely popular in the 1850s and 1860s culminating in the "modern" rules being established in the 1870s when many tennis clubs all over the world started to pop up in a tennis epidemic.

When it comes to expertise the first years didn't have great quality. From let's say 1877-1885, even including William Renshaw, the level was just so-so. During the mid 1880s though the scientific model of practicing and learning the classic strokes of today started full throttle. You need probably to start playing tennis in a young age and develop with focus for 8-10 years before reaching top level skills -- providing you have great talent.

The style in the beginning was too "home-spun" while real greatness would wait to take stage until the mid 1890s -- during Pim and Baddeley and the crop of players who flourished during this era and around the turn of the century.

The main negative aspect in "high-level" tennis in 1870s and 1880s was a weak second serve -- this defect was remedied in the early 1890s and at that stage many big tournaments had popped up all over the world -- indoor season during the late fall and winter months, clay season on mainland Europe during the spring (a few indoor tourneys in late spring), then the English grass season followed by the a few red clay tourneys in August (Homburg Cup et al) while the American grass season was traditionally during late July and August. Many similarities with today even back then.

The tourneys were many and big -- even in the 1890s many of them had men's singles draws of about a hundred players -- only Wimbledon tried to maintain the "exclusive" play-off aura with a 50-70 man draw -- built upon all the rankings that flourished.

Tennis has always been one of the most complex and mysterious games on our planet. You can win from any position having, in theory, a billion match-points against you.

Another aspect is the utter lack for logic when it comes to greatness. All through tennis-history we find unbelievable things. USA with 250-300 million people and a lot of public tennis courts even in the 1880s should've had even more No. 1s and elite players than they've had. Sweden with 8-9 million should statistically never have even one No. 1 (they've had 3), Switzerland shouldn't have Federer either and how in the world did Australia with 15 million people produce Laver, Rosewall, Brookes, Patterson, Newcombe, Sedgman, Cash, Lew Hoad and many, many others? Where's India with it's billion population and all their tennis courts and players?

And then USA produces two of the greatest and most unique players of all time -- almost at the same time -- John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. Tennis lacks a lot of logic.

If John McEnroe was filmed just in close up doing his shots (and no one knew how successful he was/is) a classic tennis expert would probably say: "He won't go far -- check out his nonchalant, sloppy "junk-shots", chippin', dinking..."

Well, McEnroe during his peak almost unbeatable because he had an innate tennis skill (without much practice) and was a born competitor. Unique traits. Even Connors is hard to understand. A player with such clean ball-striking, totally flat, with almost no safe margin, how can that guy be so successful as a baseline basher?

Logically doesn't compute. Jimbo should shank more shots than he did. Why didn't Sampras lose to Ivanisevic when the latter hit so many aces and winners? Why didn't Borg lose to Vitas when Gerulaitis hit so many winner and made so few errors? No one wouldäve believe that Jimbo, with his lack of error margin and his "weak" serve could defeat the great grass king Johnny Mac in Wimby final...

Special competitive skill is the answer. And innate tennis skill.


Borg,

Wonderful post not only for the overview on the Doherty era but on how you just can't make a snap judgment on players on recent years and in the past.

I have a number of books on the playing style of the Dohertys but I'd be curious on your description and evaluation of the stroking style and technique of the Dohertys.

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 01:50 PM
The "invasions" and dominations by a single, different country have been plentiful -- who can say why a nation suddenly produces a whole slew of great players? But it happens in era after era -- unerringly...

In the 1880's, 1890s and early 1900s it was Britain who dominated -- with Ireland "invading" in the 1890's with Hamilton, Pim and Mahony. Then some Frenchmen, Americans, Belgians, Germans and Australians joined the fray for real with many other countries having fine players.

In short, and as soon you will read directly from witnesses of this era (don't take my word or it) taken as a whole 1880 to about 1920 (before Tilden) the two best players on every surface was -- according to the majority of historians, journalists and experts:

Red Clay: Anthony Wilding (who bageled people like Borg on dirt) and then Laurie Doherty.

Grass: Laurie Doherty followed by Larned, USA (special mention Pim (Ireland)/Brookes (Australia)/McLoughlin (USA)/Wilding (New Zeeland)

Indoor: André Gobert, France (McEnroe on indoor wood) followed by Laurie Doherty (who won more titles than André but wasn't as murderous)

I will dwell deeper on the Dohertys indivual years when we get to the records but as a final overview before we get to the witness accounts of the Dohertys game-style and time in detail -- I will chart the era simply as follows:

Reginald Frank Doherty was born 1872 and he and his younger brother had a lot of physical problems -- asthma (called respiratory problems) and ulcers (digestive problems) and were very susceptible to infections. This was the era before modern medicine, even antibiotics were decades away and very few effective remedies existed for any malady. This situation was worsened by the fact that the knowledge of medicine was so limited that the wrong diagnosis was more common than a correct one.

The Dohertys had a tough time to say the least. The built a grass court and started to take tennis lessons and they lived a stones throw from the classic Wimbledon-complex at Worple Road. They practiced with enormous energy and got a better health as a result but Reggie was always never really well.

They got known as young junior players -- winning many tournaments but went to University (Cambridge) and didn't enter the tennis tour until they graduated in 1895.

Before them tennis had been characterized as follows:

1877-1881 Mindless baseline-bashing and low quality when suddenly a great baseliner with enormous consistency and topspin: Herbert Lawford.

1881-1886 William Renshaw, the father of serve and volley and the grass court game, became the antidote to Lawford's consistency at the back of the court. William attacking relentlessly, serve and volley-style, being a sort of McEnroe/Nastase-guy. Lawford was overwhelmed.

1888-1890 The antidote to William Renshaw comes in the shape of more complex players such as Ireland's Willhoughy Hamilton, a a fast, guileful retrieving baseliner who attacked with greatness too.

1891-1896 The complexity and strength is established with many contrasting styles (Joshua Pim (McEnroe-style) - Wilfred Baddeley (Borg-Laver-style -- allround and baseline) - Arthur Gore and Sidney Smith (baseliners like Borg and Agassi) - Ernest Lewis/Barlow (serve and volleyers) - and Harold Mahony (allround like Laver and Federer)

Then came Reggie, or "R. F." or "Big Do" as the newspapers called him. He was an allround player with a foundation as an aggressive baseliner. He became No. 1 in 1897 and more or less kept this top position but he was never that dominating while his game-style certainly was from time to time.

As Sgt. John mentions -- Laurie gave a lot of tourneys to R. F. on w/o and certainly in 1898 I feel certain Laurie was the real No. 1, beating everyone else with much bigger scores than R. F. plus that he gave w/o to Reggie at Wimby and at many other key stages, virtually gifting away the 1898 No. 1-spot.

But from 1900-1906 Laurie Doherty just explodes. One wonders what his records would've been had he enjoyed, as Sgt. John suggest, "free reign" -- not only from his obviously cumbersome w/o-responsibility but also from the problematic traveling conditions of the age.

Laurie reitres because of health reasons after Wimby in 1906 but he appears at a few tourneys in between 1907 to 1910 before he permanently retires.

When Laurie did make his tiny "comebacks" the attention and buzz were enormous and the papers covered quite extensively these few "happenings". Doherty -- with his limitless success had definitely the mysterious aura of Bear Fortress...

Q&M son
06-15-2009, 01:54 PM
Great thread, great posts.

Thanks.

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 02:08 PM
These quotes are taken from magazines THE FIELD and DAILY TELEGRAPH plus a few other papers. I've seen several of similar articles in shorter and longer versions in different publications but I've chosen the most extensive ones first and foremost. After these I will add Sir Norman Brookes comments on the Dohertys.

“The Doherty brothers, however, form a brilliant exception to the general stagnation of the last few years up in our modern day (written in early 1903). As their play is so well known on both sides of the Atlantic, I shall only touch on it briefly.

R. F. Doherty possesses the severer strokes, his service in particular being unrivalled; the delivery is so easy that he hardly seems to put an ounce of work into it; yet the length and pace are superb, and he can place it right out to the side or down the centre line with perfect precision. He only uses top-spin occasionally on his forehand, but it is freely employed backhanded.

H. L. Doherty brings an amount of sagacity, activity and attention to bear on the game that renders him quite as formidable an antagonist as his brother. His service, as deadly as his older brother’s while not as immediately spectacular, owns a infinite variety in placement, spin and speed. His unmatched overall consistency and strategical acumen is mind-boggling. He uses a lot of top-spin on both flanks on his ground shots and his low, deadly volleys are etched in many a memory. While he can kill with remarkable precision and unpredictability, from any position with practically any kind of shot and has a defense that has been proven so fast and elastic as to have never been broken - his extraordinary power of killing lobs from almost anywhere is a most striking feature of his play.” (Harold Mahony, 1904)

The Dohertys were the gentlemen of the centre court. They came to it first as Cambridge undergraduates, and throughout their long reign until the end the impression of unsophisticated chivalry, of the best university tradition, was preserved. Their demeanour, on court as well as off, was ever unassuming and free from "side" Just as their skill as players came unconsciously and without strain, so their manners as men were natural and without affectation. Others, more eager and rigorous in training, might deposit their towels, sponges, and stimulants on the umpire's ladder; the Dohertys used nothing more formidable than a pocket-handkerchief, carried in the trousers pocket, and rarely, if ever, took refreshment between the sets.

Their attitude to the officials of the court was that of quiet compliance. They never disputed an umpire's decision either by word or sign, nor betrayed annoyance if their opponents were less amenable. It was a sheer pleasure to play against them, nor was that pleasure ever qualified by defeat at their hands. On the very few occasions of their own defeat, I never heard either express resentment nor urge an extenuating circumstance, though it was well known that Reggie in his later matches had shed some of his physical ardour.

Their influence over their fellow-players, while exerted quite unconsciously, was incalculable. It has never been played either before or since with more chivalrous sportsmanship. Nor could their irreproachable demeanour fail to influence the crowd who watched them play and, beyond it, the public outside. As players they were, while champions, in a class apart; as men and sportsmen they were typically of the best class.

All who knew them intimately will testify to their personal charm. None will fail to regret their early death. I heard of Reggie's death in Cape Town.

The South Africans honoured him as much as the members of the All England Club. Only two years previously they had seen him win the South African championship without turning a hair and so gracefully that they would fain have kept him in their country for all time.

What impressed them most, I think, was his ability to attract the ball to his own hand. Others might cover miles of territory, chasing his returns; he would seem to be standing still. I believe it to be a fact that throughout the whole of George Hillyard's long tour, R. F. used the same pair of rubber shoes, while every other member of the team wore out several pairs.

WHO WAS THE BEST OF HL AND RF?

Speculation has often been raised as to which was the better of the two brothers. It is one of those questions, like the merits of classic horses, that can never be answered conclusively. Neither was a gladiator; neither sought fame; they rarely played each other a serious match; you could only apply to them a relative test. Since Laurie was longer in the field, and therefore required to combat a game intensified by the specialists from overseas, his record is undoubtedly superior to Reggie's, and I think that, lighter in weight, faster on foot, and nimbler in attack and possibly in mind as well, he was the greater match player of the two. But as a perfect stylist, for ease and elegance of stroke play, for a quiet and natural genius which allowed him to place the ball exactly where it should go, to the maximum embarrassment of his opponent, for sheer instinctive aptitude, Reggie was first.

Had Nature supplied him with a hardier physique, the few defeats which he sustained might never have occurred. Certainly he was not in a fit condition to defend his championship for the last time in 1901. Indeed, the match between Gore and George Hillyard in a previous round (a match which Hillyard has good cause to remember, for he lost it by a net-cord) was regarded, even at the time, as the gate to the throne. Reggie showed us in the first set how he could have beaten Gore again; then his small reserve of stamina was exhausted and Gore's cannon-ball drives, shot unerringly into the corners, had their reward. Similarly, to leave the centre court for a moment, R. F.'s failure to win the American Singles Championship at Newport in 1902 was due to limitations of vitality. He had to finish off his final against Whitman (adjourned overnight) in the morning and then to tackle Larned, the holder, in the afternoon. On that day the linen collars of the spectators were converted into pulp; the great heat, which Larned seemed to revel in, drained R. F.'s resources. Yet, though he did not meet the giants of today, Reggie was a peerless player."

the_drunken_master
06-15-2009, 02:15 PM
magnificent post

BF, i do love your analysis of players, you really bring a human side to tennis greats.... actually i learned alot about borg the man because of you

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 02:25 PM
Before I go on I must add this:

Not all tourneys of the day had applied the Challenge Round-system. The Challenge Round-system developed out of the theories in boxing of the day. There was the thought that if you won the title, you should have privileges. In boxing then you had to knock out the champ (you could not win on points) and the challengers must fight each other to qualify for the position as contender for the title.

In short, the Wimbledon tourney was a challenger-tourney, a hornet's nest, were the finest contenders would battle it out for the tough opportunity of facing the champion. It was tougher for the challenger of course and made it easy for the reigning champion on first sight.

But soon the problems with this system and tennis surfaced. Every reigning champ complained about the toughness of not playing a match during the whole tourney -- just staring at the others.

It was nerve-wrecking and in tennis being rested is good but if you lack real match-play and the confidence that autmatically comes with that as a bonus it hard to make a good impression on D-day.

Every champion in the 1890s complained and wanted to play the field to sharpen the skills.

Laurie offered to play the field in 1903, 1904 and 1905 but was dismissed. This was before seeding and while the spectators wanted to see the best contender against the popular champ, guaranteed -- they didn't want to risk the champ falling too early.

Tony Wilding also offered to play the field in 1911 and 1914, was turned down. There's a huge consensus that the Challenge Round was responsible for Wilding poor perf against Brookes in 1914. And it wasn't the first time.

Many thought that Challenge Round was infinitely tougher and more punishing -- walking out there, feeling the pressure, seeing the dead stare of your seasoned, battle-hardened opponent surfing on his form...

Many tourneys during the day didn't apply Challenge Rounds and everybody played through every year -- such as The South of France Championships...

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 02:31 PM
THE DOHERTYS AS A TEAM ON COURT (The Field, article “Study of the Dohertys as a team”)
None of the Americans in the early 1900s, with the possible exception of Larned, had the ground shots of the modern Americans. That fact should be borne in mind in estimating Tilden's chances against an H. L. of 1921.

The Dohertys trod the centre-court as doubles champions for eight years; save for two defeats at the hands of the Gloucestershire pair, Sidney Smith and Frank Riseley, they were supreme for a decade. By the perfect symmetry of their combined forces, by the severity of their service returns, their low volleying, R. F.'s punishing service to H. L.'s always deadly service, over-head and volley-play from any part of the court, they formed a great pair; but it must not be supposed they were not in peril of defeat at Wimbledon, even in their championship years. The brothers were required to play a five-set match against Nisbet and Roper Barrett in 1900.

A year later they were fighting every inch of the court to save their titles against Dwight Davis and Holcombe Ward. This redoubtable American pair the first of the really great pairs to cross the Atlantic gave an enormous fillip to Wimbledon. They had served, smashed, and lobbed their way through to the challenge round 'mid the cheers of a dazzled crowd. But for the incidence of rain, it is possible they would have won the doubles championship. When the match was stopped, both sides had won a set and were games- all in the third. On the morrow the challenge round was played de novo. There was another long and fierce struggle, and the Dohertys just survived it. An even closer double was that in 1905 when the Dohertys met Ward and Wright in the Davis Cup at Wimbledon.

Wright was a sounder volleyer than Davis; the brothers must be given greater credit for this victory. A false step in the critical fifth set in which the Americans held the lead, and they would have gone down. As it was, Ward hit the net when making a simple smash one of those tragic blunders (of which I witnessed a parallel in Boston nine years later when Parke was playing Brookes) that, occurring when they do, are never forgotten. The following year and this was surely the forerunner of impending disaster the brothers were in some jeopardy against Ward and Little, who, in a four-set match, won twenty-three games to their thirty.

Of the two occasions when the colours of the Dohertys were lowered on the centre court and by the same pair on each I retain a vivid recollection.

In neither match was R. F. at his best; the machine, if not out of gear, was faulty. In between their two reverses the brothers had defeated Smith and Riseley on three successive occasions with something to spare.

In 1906, when the brothers played together for the last time at Wimbledon, the elder Doherty was but a shadow of his former greatness. He was not only lobbing short and allowing Riseley to enjoy what E. G. Meers used to call a "meal at the net" but he was being lobbed over himself by Smith, who on that day tossed to perfection. This frailty on the part of Reggie had its debilitating effect on Laurie's play. Ever the wheel-horse of the team, he worked heroically to stave off disaster, but, with his brother incapacitated, he was asked to pull more than his weight. There was a similar, and even worse, disaster at Nice two years later when, returning as a pair for the last time to open competition, the brothers were beaten by Ritchie and Wilding.

WIMBLEDON FINAL 1905
HL Doherty vs Norman Brookes 8-6, 6-2, 6-4

H. L. was the hero of many centre-court combats. After he first won the championship in 1902 he was never beaten at Wimbledon in a public single. I saw him wage all his matches. I remember vividly each phase of his encounter, so keenly anticipated, with Norman Brookes in 1905. A new-comer to Wimbledon, armed with a sinister service, an inscrutable countenance and a mien suggesting supreme confidence, the Australian had reached the challenge round over the dead bodies of Caridia, Hillyard, Riseley, Gore, and S. H. Smith. Only Smith really threatened (and almost stayed) his onward rush. Fifteen years ago, Brookes mainly employed a "googly" service into which he had been initiated by the wily Dr. Eaves at Melbourne, the "Doctor" returning quietly to England to back his fancy.

Laurie, of course, had stood out of the All Comers, but his eyes and mind had not been idle. A tense crowd gathered to see this first really great international single at Wimbledon. Doherty won in three sets, though the first was close and threatening. His two visits to America had inured him to the terrors of the break service; he handled Brookes's deliveries with increasing confidence. Safer off the ground than his opponent, he was as well equipped on the volley and far more deadly overhead. He attacked the Australian's backhand corner (the forehand corner of a right-handed player) very adroitly, anticipating the angle of his reply and stowing away anything soft with definite finality.

When Brookes was "the man in possession of the net" H. L. would lob with beautiful precision into that same corner, forcing the entrenched volleyer to turn his back on the net. Brookes had a sore heel and did not serve perhaps with so much fire as in his previous matches; moreover, he had borne the heat and burden of the All Comers struggle, from which H. L. had been exempt.

Nevertheless, the better general and more versatile player earned his victory that day. Brookes was a sounder player two years later, when he came again and conquered in a field from which Doherty and Smith had retired; and he was certainly a more subtle challenger still, with better ground strokes, in 1914, his third championship year. I do not think H. L. beat the best Brookes, just as Brookes in 1914 did not beat the best Wilding. But the defeat of the invader in 1905 was a great feather in Laurie's cap almost the last to adorn his handsome head.

H. L. played another volleyer on the same court a few weeks later Holcombe Ward, in the Davis Cup Challenge Round. The American was an even wider break server than Brookes and a perfect magician at low and stop volleys. While he had the strength to follow in his service, Ward was a very dangerous customer, and since he excelled himself on this occasion, Doherty found himself two sets down. This was a dramatic denouement', the Americans in the crowd held their breath. But Ward could not maintain the attack at such high pressure; he dropped back, first a foot, then a yard, finally behind the service line. Quickly and confidently, H. L. went on to his inevitable triumph, losing only three games in the last three sets.

Another American volleyer Ralph Little led him two sets to one a year later. A spent force, he was a beaten man in the fourth and fifth sets. Two days afterwards a third American, William A. Larned, though not an inveterate volleyer like the other two, had a lead of two sets to one against the champion.

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 02:37 PM
“R. F. and H. L. chose Cambridge as their alma mater, and it is needless to say that both were immediately given their blues against Oxford, each being President of the club in turn, and neither losing a single match in an inter-' Varsity contest. Indeed, in 1896 Cambridge beat Oxford to the tune of eighteen matches to love. After coining down, their field naturally widened and the brothers began that attack on the principal meetings at home and abroad which has resulted in one long succession of triumphs. R. F. won the "All Comers" at Wimbledon in 1897, and by defeating H. S. Mahony, the holder of the championship, assumed the premier position, and retained it against all claimants for four successive years. In 1901, however, obviously not at his best, he was defeated by A. W. Gore, whose victory, though merited on the day's play, came as a surprise.

H. L. entered the championship round for the first time in 1898, defeating H. S. Mahony; but the subsequent match with his brother was scarcely regarded as a serious effort on either side, and the latter was practically given a "walk over." The next appearance of the younger in the concluding stage was not made until last year, when, his brother having retired from the contest before competing a round, he met and vanquished Gore by three sets to one.

If, individually, the brothers have held every important open championship, including that of Ireland, Scotland, and the South of France, as a pair they have only once been beaten in recent years in a championship match, and that was the memorable contest at Wimbledon last year, when S. H. Smith and F. L. Riseley wrested the Doubles Championship from their hands by the odd game after they had held it for five successive years. It is a most remarkable thing, but none the less true, that until that event happened only thrice since 1883 had couples, not brothers, won the Doubles Championship of England.

In Dublin the Dohertys, as a pair, have now equalled their English record and retained the Irish Championship for five successive seasons; in the Scottish Doubles on the two occasions thev entered the lists, thev carried everything before them; and lastly their brilliant victory last August over Davis and Ward, at Newport, U.S.A., entitled them to be styled the Doubles Champions of America — the first Englishmen who have ever borne the trophy out of the States. In the covered courts the brothers have been equally successful. H. L. is now Covered Court Champion of Europe, as well as of England, while the brothers have held the Doubles Championship on the wood since 1898. In Mixed Doubles both have won countless prizes, and each has attained to the highest possible honour in this department of the game.

There can be no question that the Dohertys — as a pair — have been for some time superior to any other in Europe or America. It is true they were beaten at Wimbledon last year; but it would be childish to balance one solitary defeat against an overwhelming list of unbroken successes. Whether, individually, either is the finest amateur in both hemispheres, is another matter on which opinions differ, as they do on a comparison of the brothers' respective merits. Lately, there has been a disposition on the part of the elder to allow the younger to step into his shoes; and as all cup holders probably know, once a position of supremacy is lost or relinquished, the Fates do not usually combine to restore its possession. A championship match at Wimbledon must be a great strain both on the nerves and the muscles; I am never really surprised when an "old champion," once deposed, decides to drop out of the lists altogether.

It is said that the true test of a player's greatness is to find the leading racket-maker evolving a new racket and calling it after his name; and if this is the case the Dohertys have every reason to be proud of their achievements. Slazenger's "Doherty" racket, with its double centre-strings, is now almost universal among match players of the present day, both in this country and abroad. E. G. Meers and A. W. Gore are, by the way, other well-known players who have been honoured in the same way by the same eminent firm.

When I first went to Queen's the Dohertys were as victorious under cover as on the turf of Wimbledon. Reggie did not aspire to win the singles championship, but H. L. held that title for six successive years, retiring with it in 1906.

The covered court with its unyielding floor placed Norman Brookes at a disadvantage. The "work" on his service was moderated, but a more important factor the defensive character of his backhand off the floor was visible. On the other hand, the orthodox stroke production of R. F. was vindicated in every department. His perfect service length without break was just as effective as, and less tiring than, any American service; his return of service on both wings was equally good; he could make a winning volley from any position without undue strain.

In the opinion of a great many players, amongst whom may be mentioned no less an authority than the present champion, Mr. H. L. Doherty, the floor of the Queen's is too fast. Through constant use the stain has worn off in many places and the boards have become quite polished. The consequence is a really hard hit stroke "skids," keeping so low as hardly to allow of a proper return being made from it, even if one is lucky enough to reach the ball at all."

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 02:40 PM
THE FRENCH AND EUROPEAN CLAY SEASON AND THE SIZE AND STRENGTH OF THE DRAWS

Reigning kings and fallen monarchs have played and watched others play at the Beau Site. A list of its patrons would include not only most of those who have been crowned metaphorically at Wimbledon, but some who have been crowned in actuality at Westminster, Moscow, and Stockholm. The mother of the German ex-Crown Princess used to compete in the mixed doubles, so did the Grand-Duke Michael. The Duke of Cambridge once gave away the prizes, expressing regret that officers of the British Army had not benefited more by the physical training of lawn tennis. King Edward frequently came to see the Dohertys as he did at Homburg. King Gustav of Sweden, an avid devotee, has sampled the first court more than once. Mr. Balfour has played, and not without success, in one of its tournaments.

The ana of the Beau Site would almost make an independent chapter. It would have to embrace some mention of the Beau Site fancy-dress balls, its freak matches, its supper-parties, even its billiard contests. No setting for lawn tennis throughout the world is quite so enchanting as the Beau Site garden; certainly no shrubs or flowers have listened to so much political and social gossip.

When I first went out the centre of lawn tennis gravity was at the Place Mozart, Nice, the site of the Nice Club (NOTE: It was considered by many as the forerunner to the later French Open – the greatest red clay-court championship in the world – Laurie Doherty won it seven times retiring with it in 1906. While still considered a major clay-court championship in 1910s and 20s it had lost that stature). That institution still flourishes as of 1921 and has lately gained a new distinction by the appointment of M. Charles Lenglen, father of the incomparable Suzanne, as hon. secretary, his daughter practising almost daily on the club courts invariably against men, let me add. But because of its situation in the heart of a city, and consequently of its restricted space, the Nice Club, while retaining its traditions and the South of France championships, has shed some of its prestige both east and west, in the direction of Cannes and Monte Carlo. New and spacious courts for the Nice Club are planned, bringing Nice into line with other Riviera resorts.

I read in the last annual report of the Lawn Tennis Association that 130 open tournaments were held under its aegis in 1920, and that the average field at each of these meetings was 120 competitors. Eastbourne catered for 1298 matches last September, little more than a year after Peace was officially signed at the end of the world's greatest war. In 1883 at Eastbourne there were only 114 matches on the tournament programme ; there were 384 in 1893, 571 in 1903 (during the era of the Doherty domination), and 1249 in I9I3 -- other popular tournaments can show a relative development. If we remember that, in many cases, the war disintegrated the machinery and dispersed the executive (many organisers sacrificing their lives in the great adventure), the recovery of the tournament immediately after the war is remarkable; the fact that new records have been established is even more noteworthy.

Nor must we judge alone by open tournaments. These, after all, only exhibit the cream of competitive skill, though enthusiasts have been known in the past to enter at Wimbledon and elsewhere for the sole purpose of securing a seat in the competitors' stand. Behind the array of tournament players is a much larger army of club and private court players, and behind these again an increasing number of citizens who use the courts in public parks and open spaces. The great expansion in all directions, as manufacturers of lawn tennis goods will testify, is of comparatively recent growth. The flowing tide, while always perceptible, after the Dohertys had arrested a decline, took a violent sweep forward when the American serve and volleyers came over in sequence early in the new century, and when these were followed by the Australasians, the French, the Germans, and other Continental envoys, a new scope and vitality were given to the game.

Cannes has eight or nine open tournaments in 1921 to the two or three at Nice, while the Monte Carlo meeting at the end of February, always a cosmopolitan gathering with an attractive prize-list, now ranks as the piece de resistance of the season.

In the late nineties, the Dohertys began to take pride of place on the Riviera, and for a decade they were nearly as invincible on its red, sun-dowered courts as elsewhere. At Monte Carlo they were ever a powerful magnet, with a following nearly as great as the modern Lenglen, and as popular and as unassuming off the court as on it. From 1897 to 1906 without a break one or other of the brothers won the Monte Carlo singles. Sometimes they both reached the final and played a fraternal match or half a match to please the gallery; they never would fight out, either here or in England, a blood battle between themselves. Was it surprising? They played solely for the love of the game; personal rivalry was unknown to them.

But they did not always win their laurels easily, nor were they immune from defeat...

The joint entry of the Dohertys and Smith and Riseley made the Monte Carlo meeting of 1903 especially memorable. At the same meeting the units of these pairs met in last rounds of the singles event. Smith's footwork, never so fluent as H. L.'s, was impeded on the sand surface; he could not run around his backhand as he could on grass. Playing chiefly from the back of the court, Laurie beat Smith 6-2, 6-2. Then he scratched to his brother, the holder, in the semi-final, and R. F. met Riseley, who had defeated Ritchie with something in hand.

A great match followed. Riseley, reconciling his game to the red clay-court conditions, never his best, played in a manner that excited the enthusiasm of the crowd. In the third game of the first set, however, he had the misfortune to slip and cut his knee in an incident which delayed his challenge. R. F. Doherty was a set up and 5-3 when Riseley fought with great skill and courage. He squared the set, and level pegging was registered until "fourteen-all" when Reggie forfeited his service and his opponent went out at 16-14.

Then Riseley retired, with both fairly well spent…

1903 THE SOUTH OF FRANCE CHAMPIONSHIPS, Place Mozart, Nice, France
Laurie Doherty vs Sidney Smith 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3

A little later in the same season S. H. Smith, now more acclimatised, met H. L. in the final of the South of France championship at Nice. A terrific five-set match resulted, Smith winning the first two sets, the holder the next three. Laurie carried out his usual plan when engaging Smith; he ran "a hundred miles" from corner to corner, chasing the bombarding drives of his antagonist and waiting patiently for the chance to come up with a winner or mount a successful net-attack on something softer from Smith's backhand. It was a scheme of tactics the Americans who met Smith at Wimbledon could never assimilate, and doubtless did not possess the ground strokes to exploit.

After he resigned the championship of Monte Carlo in 1906, H. L. was twice defeated in singles at there -- once in 1907 by his countryman, Josiah Ritchie, and again in 1909, after two years or comparable retirement from his racquet in-between, by F. B. Alexander, the American international. I witnessed both these memorable matches, and, while giving every credit to both victors, I do not think it can be said honestly that the hitherto undefeated ex-champion was at his best or brightest. First-class lawn tennis is an exacting taskmaster; no man can return to it and regain his touch and temper without assiduous practice. After-war results in 1919 proved that beyond question.

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 02:47 PM
THE AMERICAN SEASON IN THE EARLY 1900s

Of the tournaments, first in importance comes the Championship at Newport in August, where the entry list contains usually between fifty and sixty names. The courts are of turf, and the Championship Court, on which the most important matches are played, is one of the best in America or England, although not so fast as the centre court at Wimbledon. This, indeed, is the great difference between English and American courts.

In the former, the ground is very hard and the turf cut very close. The bounce is very “true”, more like what one gets on one of our slow clay courts. The American courts, on the other hand, are not so fast, the ground is somewhat softer, and, owing to the heat of the sun, the grass cannot be kept so closely cut without ruining the turf. The courts of the Crescent Athletic Club (where the last International matches were held) are probably nearer the English standard than any we have, with the possible exception of those at St. George's, Hoboken.

Next in importance to Newport comes the Longwood tournament, towards the end of July. As this event takes place only a few weeks before Newport, and as nearly every "First Ten" man enters, it forms- a good basis for speculation as to the probable winner of the Championship. Forty or fifty, I should say, is the average entry in Singles here.

At the conclusion of the match it is the custom of the defeated man to walk up to the net and shake his opponent by the hand, at the same time congratulating him upon his good play.

Unfortunately sometimes such congratulations are hardly sincere; when, for instance, the loser, tired but smiling, warmly shakes his victor's hand, saying, "Well played, old man, you certainly deserve it," he may be at the same time saying to himself, "If that beastly umpire hadn't made that wretched decision, you never would have won, you conceited dog."

WILLIAM LARNED
With regard to our leading men players, we have two distinct types — Lamed, who is brilliant, and Whitman, who is steady.

Larned, the present Champion, is probably the truest type of the American style. His game is graceful and finished, his strokes are fast and clean-cut, his brilliancy and dash unsurpassed. He is equally good at backhand and forehand; both are made with a free and easy swing, apparently with little effort, the ball being hit at the top of the bound, with the racket held at almost right-angles with the body. In making his stroke, his racket passes over the ball, thus giving it a downward spin. He serves a fairly swift well-placed ball with little or no cut, and usually follows his service to the net. In volleying he is among the fastest and the most brilliant, and, owing to his agility, is a difficult man to pass. His overhead work is very accurate. He is skillful at concealing the direction of his smash until the last second, when a slight turn of the wrist sends the ball to the desired spot.

Probably his weakest stroke is his lobbing, which he has but recently acquired to any degree of skill; he has improved greatly at this stroke, however, and now uses a short, deceptive lob as well as a high, deep one when forced out of position. With all these good qualities, together with his good sportsmanship, he makes an excellent champion and a most difficult man to beat. But, like most brilliant players, American and English, he is erratic; and although he has overcome this fault somewhat, still one can never be absolutely certain, until the match is over, just how well he will play. Although one of the nerviest of players, he is afflicted by conditions and one day may be invincible, and the next may be beaten, by a second-class player. He is something like the small individual of whom the poet says. "And when she was good she was very, very good, but when she was kid she was horrid: Fortunately, however, Larned s erratic days are becoming less frequent - Larned first came into prominence in the year 1892. And from that year until 1901, when he first won the Championship, was "the favourite" at Newport (excepting the Spanish War year, when he did not enter the Championship).

Newport, however, alwavs seemed his Waterloo,"for, after playing through a season almoslt without a defeat, he would invariably lose in The Champtonship and sometimes after he had secured an apparently winning lead over opponent. In 1895, 1896 and 1897, he was rated second; in 1899 and afterwards; and by a large following was regarded the crowned champion" during all these years he never won.

Finally in 1901 after overcoming to a great extent his old fault – unsteadiness - he won the Championship in a good example of what perseverance will do.

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 02:50 PM
SOME THOUGHTS ON THE DOHERTYS AND TILDEN

It may be claimed for the Dohertys that no American (Tilden included) has reproduced, even with less grace, the best strokes of these brothers. The back-hand drive of R. F. down the line and H. L/s faultlessly placed smash from any part of the court were, and still remain, incomparable.

Two Americans before Tilden had reached the last stage at Wimbledon; both had failed, and against the same player, because their ground strokes were not equal to the strain of a long and exacting match. Their successor in 1920 was not as finished in some departments as these two certainly he was not so deadly overhead as McLoughlin but he was armed at points where they were not; the whole was greater than the part. I wish Tilden could have been put to the same test as Beals Wright and McLoughlin could have opposed Wilding in the challenge round. The Wilding of 1910 he would have beaten;

I am not at all sure about the Wilding of 1913.

It is true McLoughlin beat Wilding, as he beat Brookes, in 1914; and I agree with Larned that Tilden's greater variety of stroke and infinite resources as revealed in 1920 would have proved too much for McLoughlin, even in his gala year. But the Wilding of 1914 in America was not the best Wilding, and I am inclined to think that, given maximum zeal and training, the latter would have applied the same methods of attack to the present champion as Johnston, and applied them a little more effectively.

When it comes to the issue of foot faults in America and their predominantly aggressive, net-charging style as evidenced for decades, a subject discussed by H. L. in the past, has now been correctly regulated so as not to give an unfair advantage to the serve and volley player. The foot-fault judge, although he may be relieved in a long match, officiates at both base-lines alternately in the 1920s American championships. He confines himself entirely to adjudicating the service. His attention is diverted by no other duty. When I was in New York, William A. Larned, seven times singles champion of America, was the foot-fault judge in the Davis Cup doubles. As every one of the four players (Brookes, Wilding, McLoughlin, and Bundy) followed in his service with maximum speed to the net, the office was most onerous. Larned discharged it with complete satisfaction to all concerned. When he foot-faulted, as he found it necessary to do on rare occasions (happily, none of them vital), he signalled to the umpire with his hand and the man in the chair called the foot-fault. The latter is, of course, on the look out for this signal; if he were not, the false start would inflict an undue strain. I was struck with the smooth and efficient working of this plan. Its efficiency depends, of course, on the capacity of the man on the line; above all, he must have the confidence of all the players.

After it was won in 1903 England defended the Davis Cup for three years without the loss of a match(!).

I witnessed all these matches…

Of those in 1905 and 1906 the abiding impression remains that America was distinctly unlucky not to win one of the ten. Indeed, the 1905 challenge round will probably be remembered, despite its five-love victory for the Home team, as one of the closest, as it was certainly one of the best, in the history of the Cup.

For America to lose two five-set singles against H. L. Doherty and to come within a few strokes of vanquishing the Doherty brothers on their own court, demonstrates the formidable character of the attack. It was not an attack so young in limb nor so versatile in stroke as that launched by the Americans of 1920, but the opposing skill was of a higher calibre and the close character of the contest was unquestionably a tribute to Ward, Wright, and Larned…

The 1906 matches will always be associated with the retirement of the Dohertys from international lawn tennis. The brothers left the Davis Cup arena at Wimbledon with an unbeaten record, a feat only equalled among Englishmen by S. H. Smith. While H. L. retained his skill to the end Ward never looked like taking him Into five sets again there was less "devil " about his game. In his second singles, R. D. Little, never one of the greatest Americans though always a punitive volleyer, took two sets from him a sign of dallying rather than decay. Little used a forehand drive-volley on the run with great effect, but his ground work was uncertain, and once he fell back the end was certain.

On the other hand, R. F. was obviously not equal to the strain of a big "five-setter." He was pressed into the doubles reluctantly, and the brothers managed to stave off successfully a determined assault by Ward and Little, who won twenty-three games to their opponents' twenty-nine; but in the rapid volleying exchanges and in overhead play R. F.'s slower mobility was a relative weakness, and few of his intimates were altogether surprised when, a fortnight later, Smith and Riseley beat the Dohertys for the second time in the challenge round of the doubles championship. Strewn The brothers' influence on the game will never be forgotten.

In the Davis Cup annals their name will ever be associated with the first capture of the trophy from America and its staunch defence for three years in England. But even more permanent than their play was the example of their sportsmanship. The Dohertys founded a tradition in international courtesy; the moral side of the Davis Cup gained immeasurably by their early participation in the contest.

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 03:09 PM
An eye-witness from the 1880s:

“The courts of the A.E.L.T.C. and their surroundings in what I may term the Renshaw epoch were very much what they are now, except that they were supplemented by the two excellent covered courts — a separate institution from the All-England Club which failed to outlive the period when the game was under a cloud by reason of the temporary supremacy of newer and less exacting forms of amusement. But in those early days Society shed the light of its countenance upon "Tennis" and if you hadn't "seen Renshaw" you were socially out of the running.

People flocked to Wimbledon from all parts and stood three and four deep round the centre court on final days; enthusiasts turned up shortly after noon with sandwiches and flasks, secured the best seats, and lunched and chatted patiently until the fray began; and the South Western Railway ran special trains to and from Wimbledon. Late comers who could obtain chairs stood on them, to the great indignation of those who couldn't, and there is a story that a spectator of diminutive height paid
half-a-sovereign for a few bricks wherewith he made a sort of pedestal, sufficient to ensure the requisite addition to his stature.

And it was fine "Tennis" in those days, too. I would give something to see again one of those historic battles between Willie Renshaw and Lawford in 1884, 1885 and 1886. It is said nowadays that the art of taking the ball on the top of the bound is a modern development; so it may be, speaking of players generally, but William Renshaw knew all about it, nevertheless, and knew when not to do it, too — a knowledge which some modern exponents of the art have yet to acquire. Another feature of his play was the extraordinary pace at which he went. He wanted no pauses between the rests, and did his best, by the alacrity of his movements, to attain his object. An opponent who resorted to Fabian tactics would be curtly (though quite politely) requested to "Come on!" He resigned the Championship in 1887 (owing, if I remember right, to a tennis elbow) and although he won it once more (in 1889) I do not think he ever played quite so well as during his six years of unbroken supremacy — 1881 to 1886.

In the early days the Renshaws were as hard to distinguish one from the other as in later years were the other twin pairs — the Baddeleys and the Allens. A lady once greeted Ernest Renshaw with the embarrassing question, "Is it you, or your brother?" To which Ernest, with great presence of mind, replied, equally enigmatically, "It's me!" The style of their play, too, was much the same, Ernest being at first the more brilliant, more dashing, and less reliable of the two. And this went on during the whole of the period of Willie's supremacy. But in the year 1887, when Willie resigned, Ernest's single game underwent a complete change, and soon reached that pitch of marvellous accuracy (combined with a fair amount of severity) which won him the Championship in the following year, when Willie, playing again, went down before W. J. Hamilton on a wet court.

In that year Ernest was undoubtedly the best player of the day, and I am inclined to think that he was in the following year also, although his twin brother actually beat him in the championship round. But after that he began to deteriorate.

Hamilton was the hero of 1890, and in 1891 occurred that phenomenal match, of which I was one of the gaping witnesses, in which Wilfred Baddeley beat Ernest Renshaw in what were virtually three love sets, and in about the shortest time on record.

As a pair the Renshaws were as invincible in their day as were the Baddeleys in 1894, 1895 and 1896, and the Dohertys after them. They possessed in a marked degree that unanimity of thought and action which is the secret of the success of the other famous pairs of brothers abovementioned, and played a perfect combined game, their return of the service being particularly good. On the other hand, when playing with other partners (I am speaking solely of men's doubles) I never regarded either of them as exceptionally formidable. It was almost a case of "united we stand; divided we fall."’

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 03:12 PM
HERBERT F. LAWFORD (1851-1920)
H. F. Lawford is generally credited with being the originator of severe baseline play, and was certainly at that time the leader in this department of the game. His forehand drive was by far his best stroke, the ball being struck with a horizontal racket and near the top of the bound, and an upward movement at the moment of striking imparting considerable top spin to the ball, causing it to drop very rapidly after crossing the net.

The advantages of this method were that the ball could be struck much higher and harder without going out of court when a full-length stroke was played, and the "duck" on the ball made it possible to play a much faster short cross when playing a volleyer.

This stroke has been so largely employed, and is so essentially a lawn tennis shot, that a further description of it may not be out of place. Nearly all the critics refer to this stroke as "of low trajectory" and as passing only inches over the net. I presume flat trajectory is what is meant. As a matter of fact, the trajectory is anything but flat. A rifle bullet is described as having a flat trajectory when the bullet drops but little. A projectile continuing indefinitely in a straight line would have an absolutely flat trajectory. But the "drop stroke" as it is called in America, has a very curved trajectory indeed, and to keep good length must be struck feet over the net, it being easily seen that the greater the "drop" the greater must be the elevation, supposing the velocity and length to remain constant.

This stroke has been at once the blessing and curse of lawn tennis players. Used by a Pim or a Larned it is a graceful and effective stroke, the ideal drive; although many of the best players have never employed it. But how many promising players have come to grief over it. Vainly endeavouring to get an unreasonable amount of top spin on the ball, all accuracy is thrown to the winds, all other strokes neglected, and a good player spoiled. At the same time a reasonable employment of this stroke
is most effective, and great credit is due to Lawford for evolving it.

The rest of his game calls for little comment; his backhand was powerful and had top on it also, but he struck with a vertical racket, the elbow up in the air — an absolutely incorrect position, necessitating a lot of time in preparing for the stroke and debarring the striker from playing the ball above his shoulder. I think he would have been in trouble with a modern kicking service placed to his backhand, and a good volleyer at the net.

His service delivered overhand was only a push, without any twist or kick; he could follow up a good drive to the net and kill the return if weak, but did not deal well with a low dropping stroke or a good length lob.

WILLIAM RENSHAW (1861-1904)
William Renshaw has been called the father of lawn tennis and he certainly deserves the title, being also the strongest and most brilliant player of his day. His game was absolutely different from that of his great rival Lawford; he used no top on his stroke, rather a slight undercut which caused the ball to skid on the ground, leaving it with a very low, fast hop. This was not done with a view to cutting the ball heavily, as at Tennis, but was rather incidental to his style of play. His main object seemed to be to hit the ball as soon as possible after it left the ground, giving his opponent little or no time to reach, much less to play the return. There has probably never been such a bustling player; his returns were a series of surprises; I am pretty sure his game would have held its own anywhere. To anticipate where the ball would next be placed was an impossibility.

Instead of getting back to play a return off the ground, he would often dart in and volley a good-length stroke almost from the back of the court, just as the striker was about to follow it up to the net, leaving the would-be volleyer helpless. No player who has not had personal experience of this stroke can imagine what it was like. How he had time to make up his mind to adopt this rapid change of position has always been a mystery to me, and only those who have tried to perform this manoeuvre themselves can appreciate the quickness required for its execution.

Against Lawford, who was rather slow about the court, this style of play was most effective.

Renshaw's service was properly delivered, which was by no means usual in those days; but in common with all players of that date, he never seemed to place it down the centre line. His first delivery was very fast, with a lot of kick and twist to the right in the righthand court, but the second would be considered weak according to modern standards.

His backhand stroke down the line was superb, and has served as a model to many. Delivered with startling suddenness and with considerable cut, it would skid and die away upon the ground before there was time to realise what had happened. As he could cross it with equal ease and the same action, it was not surprising that his opponent could often do nothing but look at it.

It can easily be imagined that such play was most fascinating to the crowd, more especially as it was executed with a graceful ease and rapidity of movement that was quite unique. He threw an amount of fire and dash into his game which could hardly fail to rouse the dullest spectator.

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 03:19 PM
WILLOUGHBY HAMILTON
It has been the habit of many critics to deplore the want of brilliancy in more modern play when compared with the game of this period. One writer in particular, using a chess phrase, regretted the "bits of Morphy."

The phrase is a very apt one. Many of Morphy's brilliant games have been shown to result in great part from weak moves on the part of his opponents, and would not be possible in modern chess. I shall endeavour to show that these very brilliant attacks must, as a rule, crumble before a steady and well-judged defence. But, indeed, counter attack would be a more correct term, as the chief object is never to play a weak short return, waiting till an opportunity offers to kill without undue risk.

It is just this undue risk which is the Achilles' heel of the very brilliant school; this was well illustrated in the encounters between William Renshaw and Willoughby Hamilton. These players met three times...

And on each occasion the Irishman was victor...

He adopted the tactics which have always proved correct against a very hard hitter; speed of stroke was, to a large extent, sacrificed to length and pitch. To place the ball right in the corner, whether the stroke were fast or slow, was considered essential to success by the Irish players.

I can distinctly remember, when competing in my first English Tournament (1890), being much surprised at the short strokes that many of the competitors considered good enough to follow up to the net. Hamilton's drive was wonderfully safe and accurate, and, if the ball did not bound too high, a very fast stroke, but it was played mostly underhand, which prevented him taking the ball at or near the top of the bound, so that on a very fast court he had either to wait until the ball dropped or take it on the rise. The former method put him very far out of court, while the latter was so risky that to employ it persistently was not to his taste. In practice I have seen him make fancy strokes as well as anyone, but he always maintained that the most important quality for match play was reliability of execution, and that to attempt tours de force with the ball, except when necessary, was to court disaster. Those who have had experience of match play can appreciate how sound is this advice.

One stroke of Willoughby Hamilton, a very delicate short drop, was almost unique, and, made off the weak second services of those days, was deadly; but a good length delivery rendered this stroke impossible. I have seen him bring this stroke off frequently against both the Renshaws and Lewis, but I cannot recollect a single instance of his treating Pim's service in this manner. His backhand was safe, played with a certain amount of cut/slice; he could place it down the line well, but the short cross stroke was weak.

Hamilton’s forehand volley deserves notice, being very severe and accurate. It was played correctly with the head of the racket well up, not with the now all- too-common round arm style, which must, of necessity, be inaccurate and unreliable.

But to return to the Renshaw-Hamilton-matches. Off the very good length strokes of Hamilton, Renshaw now found that his winning shots could only be made at considerable risk, if they could be made at all.

His opponent, by sacrificing some of his dash to method, and slogging to tactics, was content that the odds, on gaining the point, should be slightly in his favour, and his game, in consequence, a winning one.

From this description it must not be inferred that the Irishman played pat-ball, or that his game was one of mere return. His passing strokes were phenomenal, the ball pitching very near the side lines, and his lobbing of wonderful length. The moment Renshaw. made a weak stroke he would instantly assume the offensive, but he hardly ever struck the ball right out of his opponent's reach, an outright ground stroke winner -- at the beginning of a rest, which feat Renshaw performed several times during each set.

Though the match was closely contested, the general impression left on many of the critics was that Renshaw's brilliant game had met its answer in Hamilton's equally effective but less risky tactics, an opinion which the results of the two subsequent matches would seem to justify.

But, sound as was Hamilton's game, there was a rod in pickle waiting for him in the shape of H. S. Barlow. For at Wimbledon, after defeating E. W. Lewis, he had to play Barlow in the semi-final.

“The Northern meeting was held then, as now, alternately at Liverpool and Manchester. We regarded it as the third most important event of the year, and as far as the actual ground went I think most of us preferred Aigburth to Old Trafford; but in point of management and a desire on the part of the executive to make us all happy and comfortable, there was nothing to choose between the two. The North usually outshines the South in this respect. It was at the Northern tournament that I first encountered, in 1888, W. J. Hamilton — popularly known as "The Ghost" — who was then coming more and more to the front every day, and was destined to win the Irish championship next year and the English the year after that. It was unfortunate that a severe illness practically closed his tennis career at its very zenith. He played principally, though by no means exclusively, from the baseline, and was the greatest and best exponent of the Irish drive that ever stepped into court.

His backhand was comparatively weak and he "ran round" frequently, but being very light and speedy and having a preference for hitting the ball while at full gallop, this was no drawback ; in fact, he sometimes deliberately left an opening on the forehand side in order that he might have the felicity of darting across, with a rush and a slide, and banging the ball almost outside the post into your backhand corner.

On a wet course he was a terror, skating about in evident enjoyment of the fun, while others were tumbling right and left. In those days I thought I could volley a bit, but Hamilton convinced me that I was mistaken. I also ran into and was beaten by his brother W. D. in the handicap (giving me 1 or 2 bisques) so that I had about enough of the Hamilton family that week. “

“W. D. Hamilton was a born player, with more variety of stroke than his brother, but too casual to be ever really formidable. His interest in the game was never very constant, and apparently ceased with his brother's retirement.”

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 03:23 PM
H. S. BARLOW
Barlow adopted his well-known volleying tactics against W. Hamilton, running in on the service. He would take no risk of any kind, save that of being passed at the net, and succeeded in winning after a very close match.

Again strokes had to give way to method, and brilliancy to safer and more efficient system. Not that Barlow had not many good strokes; his overhead volleying was absolutely deadly, and he was most difficult to pass at the net, but his great strength lay in his generalship and iron nerve, enabling him to carry out at the critical moment what he saw to be the winning manoeuvre.

Barlow’s general plan of campaign was, when serving, to place the ball down the middle of the court and follow it up to the net. His service had cut on it, which made it cling to the ground, and, being placed down the centre, left the striker a very small space on either side in which to pass him. When his opponent served and did not follow it up to the net, he still played for the same position, playing a cut and twisted ball slightly to his adversary's backhand, and coming in close to volley on it. There was practically only one reply to such play — to rush in and volley everything; and even Pim and Baddeley were forced to adopt these tactics against him.

Barlow's defence to his own attack, while lacking in severity, was very safe; he could slip the ball down the line forehanded very accurately, but the cross stroke was uncertain and slow, owing to his peculiar method of striking the ball. This was due to the curious way in which he held his racket. His backhand was much stronger, being equally good down the line and across the court, but it was generally his lobbing that pulled him out of the fire — it nearly always came as a surprise, being used with great sagacity.

His form at Wimbledon was far in advance of his form at unimportant meetings. In one of the latter his love for losing the first two sets was freely indulged, and he has let matches slip through his fingers which he could easily have won but for this penchant. In consequence his powers have been largely underestimated. Wimbledon was the only meeting for which he ever trained in the least, and his form at the Championships in 1889 and 1890 would show him to be the equal of the Renshaws and Hamilton.

In 1889, in the final round of the Championship, as it has been so often described; it will suffice to say that Barlow was four times within a stroke of victory, which would certainly have been his but for a very bad decision.

I have given this rather extended description of Barlow's play because he represents the extreme type of stroke-play sacrificed to tactics. Why he should have cultivated this type of game is hard to say; probably cricket was responsible for his rather awkward grip of the racket. A lawn tennis player seldom gets any coaching when starting the game, so that his style will, to a great extent, be a matter of chance. This accounts mostly for the execrable style and feeble game played by the great majority of players. Every beginner grasping a racquet for the first time will exhibit some peculiarity of grip and action; with this he will start playing, and by a process of experiment and failure evolve his own style. There is no friendly coach to tell him why he should break down so frequently over very simple strokes; he is thus thrown on his own resources.

If he be fortunate enough to have a strong player with good style to play against, or even to watch, he will often copy his methods largely. Barlow never acquired quite the correct grip of his racket, and though his wonderful activity, strength and sagacity enabled him to win, he could never have been a brilliant stroke player without changing his style.

E. W. LEWIS
E. W. Lewis's methods were the exact antithesis of Barlow.

Capable of making every stroke that can be made on a lawn tennis court, and also of many that would seem impossible, he always played what he considered the most effective return, regardless of the difficulty. The half volley was freely used, at which stroke he was facile, and his cross backhand, both off the ground and on the volley, has left its mark on the Lawn Tennis world.

H. Chipp, in his lawn tennis recollections, sums up his feelings when watching Lewis play, by saying that he cannot imagine how he ever was beaten.

I think this feeling has been shared by all who were familiar with his play. That he ever was beaten has been ascribed by some to lack of nerve, by others to want of staying power.

Personally, I do not think it was due to either; rather to the very complicated nature of his game. To be the least off colour meant breaking down too frequently for success. I cannot help thinking that this, combined with a weak overhead stroke, was the explanation of his few defeats.

ERNEST RENSHAW
Ernest Renshaw had a style quite of his own, perfect grace of movement and ease of stroke being its most striking features. He kept his wrist quite flexible when striking the ball, allowing the momentum acquired by the racket during the preliminary swing to do the work of the stroke, the wrist and hand merely acting as guides to the direction. And though this method deprived his game of some severity (especially on the volley), it conduced to wonderful accuracy in strength and direction. He was very strong overhead, and was more successful against Hamilton than his brother. That he was as good a player hardly admits of dispute, though his record is not so fine.

pc1
06-15-2009, 03:26 PM
I love the use of the analogy of the great Paul Morphy (who incidentally Bobby Fischer, the former World Chess Champion said would have been the best in the world if given a few months to master modern chess. So you see, we don't just have arguments about past greats only in tennis.) in the description of Hamilton.

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 03:27 PM
WILBERFORCE EAVES (1867 in Melbourne - 1920 in London)
I must not omit to mention one or two other home players who, though not champions, have left their mark on the centre court. The ever-lamented Dr. Eaves was at the height of his form before the twentieth century he was one of the few men who came within a stroke of the championship only to see the great prize slipping away but he was a familiar and ever a doughty competitor almost up to the war's advent. A Wimbledon without the spruce and dapper figure of this fine student of form, ever ready to back his opinion in good coin of the realm and bearing good fortune and bad with the same worldly philosophy, is, I confess, not quite the same thing.

Virtually the discoverer of Brookes, he also did much to mature Wilding's skill. All of those who followed his tips for improvement lived to bless his name. An inveterate volleyer himself, he insisted, with genial emphasis, that volleying was the only profitable line under modern conditions. "Get on top of the net and stay there," he would say. "Don't let the other man enjoy the best view of your court while you can see next to nothing of his, and that little obscured by his body. Go up and attack!" It was a gospel for the young and strong, of course, but then Eaves was never blind to the great athletic advance of lawn tennis in the past fifteen years. He could see, as others declined to see, that the days of long base-line rallies (1880s) were gone. And now this very wise counsellor and best of good fellows has left us.

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 03:29 PM
WILFRED BADDELEY (1872 – 1929) retired after Wimby 1897.
Wilfred Baddeley might fairly bs described as the most successful player that ever was (written in 1901). Not that his record in the championship has been unsurpassed, but his successes were gained against stronger players than any other champion has had to meet. His method and generalship were unrivalled. This superiority lay in the type of game he cultivated, rather than in clever or tricky play in a match. Too often "playing with your head" is taken to mean tricky, short drops, disguised directions or unexpected placing. To do this is comparatively easy for anyone possessing a little cunning and nerve; but to decide what is the winning "play," to use an Americanism, with a view to cultivating it in practice, requires no inconsiderable amount of sagacity.

It is here that so many players fail, though possessed of many good strokes, and it was just in this department of the game that W. Baddeley showed his superiority.

He would take just the amount of risk that was justified by circumstances; no one was safer when they had the upper hand in a rest, and few could bring off a risky shot better when the point seemed lost. He did not employ top cut at all, save sometimes on his cross-backhand.

Yet he was one of the hardest players to volley that I have ever played against, which would seem to indicate that top cut is not essential to good passing.

A very remarkable feature of his play was the considerable height at which some of his passing shots down the line would cross the net; this gave the strokes a high factor of safety, and as they were generally clean passes, to have played them lower would not have increased their efficiency, whilst he would have had to pay for additional risk in the shape of an increased number of balls placed in the net. His cross passes were played very low and short, as a cross pass should be, and he always gave the impression that the stroke possessed great certainty and could be repeated at will, in strong contrast to the "hit and chance it"-game which finds so many admirers. His style approximated to a certain extent to tennis methods, as the head of the racket was generally kept well above the hand, and the stroke finished on the same side of the body, the secret of all straight hitting.

JOSHUA PIM (1869-1942)
Dr. Johua Pim is now out of the match court a memory of brilliance shining without practice or effort. At his best, Pim was superior to Wilfred Baddeley, as he was superior to any other man of his own era; but since Baddeley was the essence of steadiness and a master of scientific method, while Pim had natural genius summoned and exploited at will, the matches between these two, if below the standard of today, will always be remembered for their toughness and contrast of style.

This latter characteristic was even more pronounced in his great rival, J. Pim. Possibly neither of these players were aware that this had been recognised as one of the first and essential principles of striking a ball at both tennis and rackets for many years, but the fact that they both carried it out in play testifies to their great natural aptitude. The general opinion of experts would seem to rank J. Pim as the finest player the world has ever seen. His game was of the very severe type, yet executed with such ease and nonchalance as to give the impression that he was taking no interest whatever in the proceedings.

A critic at Wimbledon once described his play as a combination of Lawford's drives and Lewis's volleys, and though his style was quite different from that of either of these players, the description is apt enough.

His drive was a long, easy swing, combining little effort with great pace and accuracy. He would place the ball in the extreme corner of the court time after time in the most daring fashion, and when in good practice with perfect precision. There is considerable difference of opinion as to whether he took the ball on the top of the bound or allowed it to drop. As a matter of fact he did both. His extraordinary dislike to any hurried movement and his determination that the whole swing of his stroke should be carried through, often made him take the ball very late indeed. But the stroke was generally such a good one, and the direction so well disguised, that it was as effective as if he had played it sooner. If it suited him he could take the ball on the rise as well as anyone. I have seen him swing on to a big kicking first service, playing the ball on the top of the bound and right into the extreme corner, winning the point outright.

His volleying was remarkable for its great variety, combining great power and crispness with the softest and most delicate strokes. He could drop the hardest drives short over the net and well out to the sides, a most elegant and effective manner of dealing with them.

Pim’s service was powerful and kicked considerably, the percentage of faults being very small, while the second delivery was nearly as severe as the first, in strong contrast to the ludicrous description given in the chapter on the service in the "Badminton Library." His encounters with W. Baddeley produced the finest expositions of lawn tennis I have ever seen, and most lovers of the game who were present would seem to share this view.

Pim was badly handicapped in 1891 by an injury to his right hand caused by an outside car accident, and in 1892 he had only just recovered from typhoid fever.

How he managed to beat Barlow in the Irish Championship, and gain a set from E. Renshaw the next day was a mystery to his friends, as he was totally unfit for hard match play. But in 1893 and 1894 he had matters all his own way, winning both Irish and English Championships.

Since this period I am inclined to think that the game has not advanced; if anything it has receded -- except when it concern the Dohertys... (1901)

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 03:33 PM
HAROLD MAHONY (1867-1905)

“An old friend whom I met" here for the first time — fortunately perhaps for me only in a social sense — was H. S. Mahony, another coming champion, and to this day (1899) still a first-class player, whose brilliant exhibition against Laurie Doherty at Wimbledon last year -- 1898 -- is still fresh in our minds.” (Written in 1899)

“Harold Mahony, of course, has been Champion of England, as well as of Ireland; ten years ago (1893) he was Covered Court Champion of England, has held the same position in Wales.

In bygone days when Mahony was paired with E. G. Meers on the covered courts, he veiled, though only partially concealed, his identity under the nom de guerre of J. May, and these two players were then regarded as the leading exponents of the double game on the wood. Meers has now retired from the conflict, and his name remains but a memory the "E.G. M." will doubtless perpetuate; but Mahony, the popular and volatile Irishman, is still as much to the fore as ever; deservedly winning applause for his brilliant volleying, often amusing spectators by his witty "asides," and still keeping abreast with the younger generation. Two or three years ago Mahony's form suffered a relapse that caused some apprehensions amongst his warmest admirers, but in 1901 and 1902 — notably at Wimbledon — the old "fire" burst out anew, and a return of form was witnessed which delighted everybody, most of all, perhaps, the ex-champion himself.

Having done battle with cracks of the old school as well as of the new, Mahony's experiences of the game are profound and always valuable. His knowledge of the technique, of knotty point, and of variations in style, is almost unfathomable, and the beginner who is lucky enough to secure the ear of this well-known player for a few coach advices will find them at once affable, practical, and sound. He thoroughly believes in keeping in trim, and probably plays more lawn tennis in the winter than any of his friends. I know few men more keen on the game, or more versed in its history and development.” A. Wallis Myers 1903

Sadly he dropped off his big-wheel bicycle and broke his neck and died, age 38, just before Wimby 1905 -- and subsequently had to give a w/o...

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 03:39 PM
ARTHUR WENTWORTH GORE - 1868-1928
Gore won a big London tournament before Tilden was born…

Gore first played in the challenge round at Wimbledon when Johnston was five years old; he won his third championship at the age of forty-one, and that was a dozen years ago. All of his great centre court combats are pigeon-holed in my memory. The lines of the arena were surely laid down for his drives to hit, so unerringly did he raise chalk. With an elongated arm which seemed to have no joint between the human shoulder and the racket-head, he drove the ball diagonally from his own backhand corner into his opponent's. In vain would the uninitiated and some of them were foreign champions baste his backhand.

To be forewarned was to be forearmed.

Gore had an amiable habit of running round these shots and returning them with far greater speed to the backhand, alleged to be stronger, of his opponent. More experienced antagonists, avoiding this decoy, fed his forehand in the hope, rarely realised, that it would tire and lose its accuracy.

Another, and perhaps greater, triumph for Gore was his victory over Gobert in the final of the All Comers in 1912. Gore was then forty-four years of age, exactly twice as old as his French opponent, at that time mounting to greatness on his splendid service and beautiful volleying. Gobert led 5-3 in the third set, each man having won a set. He only won one more game in the whole match! The younger man made the fatal mistake of attempting to play a prince of drivers from the back of the court. Gore had lured him into that position by a few clean passing shots and adroit lobs, and then teased him into something of a cat and mouse game…

A day or two later Gore made an heroic stand for his title against Wilding and nearly carried the match into a fifth set. Of all fighters on court he was the most stubborn; the men who have beaten him at Wimbledon may deem themselves great.

SIDNEY H. SMITH (1872-1947)
One of the strangest anomalies on the championship roll is that the name of Gore should appear three times, whereas that of S. H. Smith is missing altogether. Not only was Smith's record against the great Americans superior to Gore's; H. L. Doherty always considered him his most dangerous English opponent; and there is little doubt that as a base-line player, opposed either to an aggressive volleyer or to a man using his own weapons, Smith possessed greater ability.

Why did this famous driver fail to secure the crown at Wimbledon?

There were probably two reasons, each interlaced. Smith was a native of Stroud and, unlike Gore, not a regular denizen of the centre court; the environment was strange to him, and he came to it without a key to its subtle mysteries. Then, too, Smith usually arrived at Wimbledon after a strenuous week at the Northern Championships. By the vagaries of the Lancashire climate these were played almost invariably on a soft court; it was a drastic transition to the hard, unyielding surface of Wimbledon. That there was something in these June conditions in the south to militate against Smith's success is emphasized by the fact that when the Davis Cup singles followed in July and he had had time to get acclimatised he was much more certain on the drive -- much more, in fact, the very best Smith. Even so, it is amazing that he should only once have reached the challenge round and only twice have appeared in the final of the All Comers. Some of his contemporaries, admittedly below him, were familiar figures in the last stages.

How often Smith led the field at Eastbourne, Edgbaston, Newcastle and Newport! His giant figure was an annual Saturday afternoon feature; even at Devonshire Park the younger Doherty, after running what he described picturesquely as "a hundred mile" race had to admit defeat in the end.

At Wimbledon, Smith will go down to fame as the terror of the American volleyers. He did not meet players so well equipped as Tilden and Johnston, but Holcombe Ward and Little made no secret of their preference for H. L. Doherty as an opponent. "You cannot play Smith from the back of the court," they used to say. "If you go to the net he passes you like a knife going through butter." Nor can one forget that in 1905 when, on his first visit to Wimbledon, Brookes was making his dramatic advance through the All Comers, Smith so nearly beat him in the final. Indeed, but for the fact that one of his drives fell a ball's breadth over the side-line at a critical stage in the fifth set, the Englishman would probably have carried the day. A month later at Edgbaston, on a court more to his taste, I saw Smith beat Brookes.

“There can he no doubt that there is only one S. H. Smith in the world; and that there will arise another player of the same school, equally formidable, I should be strongly inclined to question. That it is his personal qualities, and not the type of game he plays, that conduce to his extraordinary successes is practically certain.

His terrible drive is so well known that a description of it is unnecessary, but few seem to realise of what variety and modifications this stroke is capable. He can play it from any position and at any pace, from the slowest passing stroke to the fastest shot that has ever been seen on a lawn tennis court. His backhand is neat and very well placed, but he avoids this stroke as much as possible, his great activity enabling him to run round almost anything. It is curiously difficult to deal effectively with his service, and his lobbing is most deadly; he seldom volleys, though he can do so well enough when he likes.

His judgment is wonderful, and it should be a lesson to those players and critics alike who can admire nothing but terrific slogging, to see with what moderation and judgment Smith uses his formidable drive. Only when circumstances indicate that he should go for this stroke does he do so, preferring rather to manoeuvre his opponent out of position before administering the coup de grace.” Harold Mahony (1902)

“Smith has a powerful ‘slog,’ as the English call it, or smashing ground-stroke that depends for its success almost entirely upon its speed. He plays the ball from the very top of the bound, and is known to be good only on hard courts, that give him a high bound to play from. American courts and balls would not favor his game by any means, and few who have seen him play at home would expect to see him at his best…”
American Journalist J. PARMLY PARET (1902)

“Though Sidney H. Smith has not yet reached the pinnacle of fame — and luck seems, so far, to have deserted him at Wimbledon — there can be no question that the famous Stroud player stands as high today as he ever did, and that with the single exception of the champion, whom he has more than once defeated, there is not a man in England who is quite his equal. His judgment and activity, above all his severity from the back of the court, are masterly, the "Smith drive" having passed into the category of popular expressions.

Whatever Smith achieved in previous years, his record last year stands out as his best. He won the Northern and Welsh Championships, and was first at Edgbaston, Northumber1and, Brighton and Eastbourne. Out of the sixteen matches he played, only two were lost — against H. L. Doherty and Ritchie. That must be accounted as a very remarkable performance, but in the doubles game, partnered by F. L. Riseley, Smith did even better. Since the pair began playing together in June, not a single defeat did they encounter, the English Championship, the Northern Championship, the South of England Championship, and several other open events falling to their lot. This record was all the more notable because of the unorthodox tactics adopted by the Westerners.

Smith generally stood at the back, or nearly at the back, of the court; Riseley, one of the finest volleyers in existence, stood a few inches from the net, and given anything approaching a loose ball, never failed to score outright. Smith, too, has developed latent volleying powers which have surprised his admirers — did he not again win the Mixed Doubles Championship with Miss Martin? Weak spots in their combination occasionally showed themselves, notably when Smith sometimes bungled an overhead smash at the net; but it was clearly a very powerful and effective union, which had the unique honour of beating the Dohertys at their own game.

Smith's rise to fame and distinction has been undeniably merited. He has been appearing in public tournaments now for a dozen years, and each season his form has improved and his "bag" of victims swelled in size and importance. Thus ten years ago we find him classified as receiving fifteen from Mahony and almost as much from G. Hillyard — both players to whom at present he could accede two-sixths. He has not been one of those players to burst, like a meteor, into prominence, and it was not until three or four years ago that his efforts were characterised by any display of scientific brilliancy. He has doggedly worked his way up the ladder of fame, improving year by year, profiting by experience on the way. He now holds a unique position as the hardest driver of the day, the surest and speediest "linesman" in England. Smith has never been attracted much to the covered court or to foreign fields, but he is an inveterate "entry" at English and Welsh meetings, as his splendid record will show.” A. Wallis Myers 1902 THE FIELD

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 03:52 PM
HERBERT ROPER BARRETT (1873 –1943)
If Gore's longevity on the lawn tennis court excites wonder, that of Roper Barrett is almost as marvellous.

In fact, since Barrett was selected a member of the British International Team last year a distinction which he first enjoyed twenty years earlier I am not sure that his record does not eclipse his old partner's.

After the Renshaws and the Dohertys, and until the oversea stars illuminated the firmament, Barrett was the greatest draw Wimbledon ever had. This attraction, I think, was more a tribute to his personality and to his strategic brain than to the quality of his actual strokes. He has never been the classic artist in the sense that the Dohertys, McLoughlin, or Brookes were; he had not the perfect drives of the first two, nor the spectacular service of the last two.

Nevertheless, he possessed what none of these four champions revealed in the same measure a capacity for cunning court-craft calculated to embarrass even the greatest in the land. He was, and remains, a prince of tacticians, ever ready to decoy the unsuspecting into a death-trap; a master of varied length and strength, using for his wiles the zone in front of the net just as much as the more orthodox base-line territory ; and, withal, showing a fortitude and a nerve that revelled in an uphill fight and rarely waged a fifth set without winning it.

So many Barrett matches crowd to mind, it is difficult to select those outstanding. In singles his nearest escape from winning the championship was in 1908. Though not fully fledged that year, Wilding was the favourite for the event. Barrett beat him "all ends up" in an early round, using the lob and the short drop with sinister effect. Barrett was the “bete noire” of most young players; even Wilding's resolute and unruffled front were not proof against him, although, when he strengthened his smashing and backhand a year or two later, the ugly fence was usually carried. With a little more luck in the challenge round against Gore, and perhaps with another corps of linesmen, Barrett would have been champion. He felt the need, however, of a service which his opponent, by years of practice, could not handle with power and purpose, and one must not forget that Gore in a decisive fifth set had a heart as stout as Barrett's. While this nimble strategist could make little headway against Brookes, who was more of his own age, he could always be relied upon to rattle the younger giants, and such players as Wilding, McLoughlin, and Patterson were unmistakably pleased when their ordeal was over.

It is a singular coincidence that both Wilding and McLoughlin, in the years when each won the All Comers, should have met Barrett in the first round. In both cases the experience was nearly fatal. Indeed, the American had to wage five anxious sets before he could put the spectre behind him, and I shall always consider that the manner in which Barrett handled the Californian's destructive service in this contest a weapon he was asked to combat for the first time redounded to his infinite credit. And even though Patterson did not forfeit a set to Barrett in 1919, the nature of the first set, in which the Englishman held a strong winning lead, suggested that, given his pre-war legs, Barrett would have been almost equal to the task in hand.

Valiant as Barrett's record has been in singles on the centre court, it is as a doubles player that his name and fame will chiefly be cherished in public memory. In this department he has been the hero of a hundred fights some of them, it is true, entered into when the weapons of modern lawn tennis were not quite so keenly polished as they are to-day and when the demand for mobility was not so insistent. Yet, even in the last two years, after the war had made “old men” seem so much “older” this player shone in the highest company. Both at Queen's and at Norwood in 1920 he took sets from the American players, none of whom were born when he first handled a racket. For positional skill, tactical finesse, and the ability to place the ball in the most inconvenient spot for his opponents and for anticipating and profiting by their reply, Barrett was unequalled. His was the live brain behind the racket, the man who created openings by his own enterprise and invariably took them when they occurred; a fighter to the finger-tips and an adversary who never gave quarter. I do not doubt that some of his success was due to the moral factor. He persuaded those on the opposite side of the net, especially young foreigners, that there was no escape from the net spread to catch them.

Barrett was never more dangerous than when a strong winning lead was against him. Such situations he revelled in, never overlooking the fact that men are often slack when they think themselves most secure.

FRANK RISELEY (1877-1959)
I have already referred briefly to Frank Riseley, in dealing with last year's record of S. H. Smith, with whom he won so many triumphs in various parts of the country. Riseley had already achieved fame (more especially in partnership with his brother, A. H.) before running in double harness with the great "driver," but until last season it is doubtful whether he possessed any claims to be considered as a candidate for the Championship of England. Unfortunately he seems to lack the strength necessary to undergo a five set Single with equanimity; yet, notwithstanding, his advance towards pre-eminence has been very striking, and in a Mixed Double, when his eye is in, he is irresistible. Champion of Scotland and Doubles Champion of England, there can be no doubt that, given health and stamina, this engaging player, with youth and the pleasantest disposition possible on his side, will be able to hold his own against practically all adversaries. His performance with Smith at Wimbledon last year and against the Dohertys will always stand out in the memory of those who witnessed his remarkable agility and his masterly, invaluable volleying.

His service, too, on that occasion was such that it revealed depths of power in this direction perhaps not altogether realized, and from that day onward Riseley's name was mentioned almost with bated breath.

Two still foremost players whose names in lawn tennis annals have been famous for many years are not unmentioned in a previous chapter, while contributions appearing elsewhere demonstrate that their power with the pen is almost equal to their power with the racket.” A. Wallis Myers 1902

Riseley was an aggressive serve and volleyer backed up by a sturdy defense. His deadly sharp service could could on rare occasions falter under intense pressure in a long match although he held fast brilliantly many times as well.

“Frank Riseley proved himself to be the second best player in England in 1906 (he beat Gore both at Leicester and Wimbledon), and it will always be something of a mystery why he was not selected as a reserve member of the Davis Cup defending team. In the doubles challenge round he was inspired, and so deadly was his right arm on the serve and volley that, stricken with neuritis, it could not be lifted again in play for some years.

In the orthodox English school Riseley always shone, but he did not possess Smith's ability, as he did not employ Smith's method of driving, to hit the break service as forcefully as the plain. Riseley retired from Wimbledon before the oversea giants mustered in their prime, though he made a welcome return in 1919. He was thus less tested than some of his contemporaries, but while he was a great player, he was not one of the greatest.” A. Wallis Myers 1922

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 04:07 PM
Sgt. John -- I agree that The South of France at Nice Championships can't be stated as the absolute forerunner of the classic French Open at RG as of 1925 and onwards.

This arguable point I made since several players and experts of the day many times said that it was the most important clay tourney from late 1890s to about 1907, 08 -- then probably replaced by Cannes, Monte Carlo and the Hard Court Championship in Paris followed by the RG 1925. One can also argue that the Paris Olympic Tourney in 1900 on clay -- won by Laurie in style -- was the major clay event that year -- but the draw wasn't really in any way as large as Nice's neither as strong. Besides me stating these points made by others of the era there's mainly these reasons that make me think this carries some (not all) weight:

The red clay tourneys in France attracted the best players in the world during this era and while all of them had their "special" trait and attraction, from 1925 and onwards, the greatest championship in the world on red clay has been placed as the last tourney of the spring clay season also containing the deepest and largest draw -- every player had sharpened their skills when RG arrives.

These traits Nice had from 1895 to 1906 at least. Nice was the last big clay tourney with a huge draw with every major player who's competed in the other preceding tourneys so the field was in form.

The Homburg Cup in August of course was also huge -- wiht several men's singles tourneys (!?) with an even deeper draw with an enormous amount of international players. But it was in August, broken off from the spring section that mounts nicely on the shoulders of Monte and Cannes and others culminating at the seven rounds finals at Nice...

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 04:28 PM
"Although it did not include my American experts The Dohertys were on opposite sides, and meeting in the finals the younger defaulted as usual to his older brother. In the meantime the leading professionals of Europe had finished their section of the tournament, and the winner and second “pro” met the Dohertys in two exhibition matches for big prizes offered by Eugene Higgins, the American sportsman. R. F. Doherty beat Burke, the professional champion, by three easy sets to one in most decisive fashion, and H. L. Doherty beat Fleming, the second-best professional, in straight sets. The Dohertys have never failed to win any championship title they set out for during the last five or six years, and the American championship has now furnished a new laurel to be sought after, which has yet proven to be a little out of their reach. Smith is the strongest of the base-line players abroad, and probably the best in the world, although Whitman might dispute this claim, since the American ex-champion plays a very strong game without ever volleying a ball.

Lawn tennis skill is not an acquisition of the year, or two or three. There are plenty of cases of golf players who have jumped from the bottom to the top in two or three seasons—witness the case of the present champion, James, or even of Travis himself— but we have yet to record a single instance anywhere at home or abroad where a man has entered the first class or has even learned to be a high-class tennis expert without his full six or eight years of experience, and it may be considered a reasonable standard that it takes fully ten years for a lawn tennis player to perfect his game.

Even after such an apprenticeship the star player goes on learning new methods, new styles, and new strokes for years after maturity. A fresh contrast of styles will be seen in the international this season, for the easy, graceful strokes of the Dohertys always furnish a marked contrast to the forceful, energetic, strenuous style of the typical American players.

Our men bend more to meet the ball; they throw their weight harder at it; they “run lower,” as the football coaches say, and they are quicker in turning and starting and stopping. Their execution is not so perfect nor so highly cultivated as that of their British cousins, else they would be clearly their superiors. Smith, however, is somewhat American in his style. He is more energetic in his play than most of the British experts, hitting the ball harder and in the strenuous American style. Riseley is more like the other English players, always graceful..."

American Journalist J. Parmly Paret 1902

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 04:32 PM
JOSIAH RITCHIE (1870 – 1955)
He is best remembered for being a three time medalist at the 1908 London Olympics at 38. At the Games he won a gold (men's singles), silver (men's doubles) and bronze (men's indoor singles) medal. In 1908 and 1910 he and Tony Wilding won the doubles in Wimbledon. In 1909 he lost the Wimbledon singles final. He also won the Irish championships in 1907 and the German championships 1903 - 1906 and 1908 (in 1904 and 1906 also the doubles there). In 1908 he was member of the British Davis Cup team. This fine and much-travelled player, nearly as good at the age of fifty as he ever was.

Ritchie only won the All Comers singles at Wimbledon once, but he was in the final for three successive years (1902 to 1904), and even as recently as 1919, after the long war interregnum, he reached the semi-final, and in that round was the only player in the whole competition to take a set from Patterson. No man living has played more lawn tennis than this hard-grained expert of the British school. I saw him beat H. L. Doherty both at Monte Carlo and Queen's, and always regret I was not in Boston, U.S.A., when he beat Beals Wright. Smith, Gore, Mahony, George Hillyard, Greville all the English and Irish giants of the decade before the last tasted defeat at his hands at one time or another. Even last June (1920) he was good enough to overcome R. N. Williams, the American ex-champion, on a soft court at Queen's.

I have heard Ritchie described as a base-liner. If this means he has sound ground shots on both wings, all of them produced in the best way, it is true, but it is still only half the truth. Ritchie is also a sound volleyer -- not spectacular like Karl Behr nor a player who does not prefer to stay back; yet a driver who, if the occasion demands, can hit as hard "on the fly" as anyone and push home an advantage very adroitly at the net. The greatest of Ritchie's victories have been achieved by timely volleying notably that over H. L. Doherty under cover at Queen's."

“In recent years the name of M. J. G. Ritchie has become almost a household word in every lawn tennis centre on the Continent, so extensive have been his peregrinations, so numerous his foreign triumphs.

In England, though always regarded as a player of great promise, it was not until about three years ago that Ritchie attained the conspicuous position which he now holds.

Last year he did wonders; not only abroad was he credited with the Championship of France, the Swedish Championship, the Danish Championship, the Champion- ship of Berlin, and the Championship of Austria, but in this country he won the Championship of London at Queen's Club, and among other noteworthy performances reached the final both at Wimbledon and Eastbourne.

It is as a Singles player at which Ritchie, up to the present, has shone the more, despite a style which appears to the spectators as perhaps a trifle forced and unnatural. His remarkable driving powers, both fore and back, are undeniable. Yet Ritchie has his vicissitudes — witness his mysterious collapse in the final at Eastbourne last September. Like many another celebrated prayer he owes most of his success to having begun the game when quite a child; indeed, he has told me that from ten to fourteen years of age he played with great zest.”
A. Wallis Myers 1902

GEORGE HILLYARD
Both cricket and tennis have claimed George Hillyard as their votary, and in both has he excelled. Tall and distinguished, finely built, and strong as a lion, it would indeed be a surprise if outdoor sports did not claim Hillyard as an expert. He was showing me his photographic album one day, and I received reliable evidence that his versatility extended to golf, at which game he has won several prizes, among other places at Cannes.

During the last fifteen years has rarely failed to put in an appearance at all the principal meetings in England, while his pilgrimages abroad have been both many and fruitful, and on two occasions he has been returned Champion of Germany. It should not be forgotten that Hillyard was within an ace of beating Gore at Wimbledon in 1901, the ball hitting the top of the net and rolling over on the wrong side. Had it fallen on the right Hillyard might have been Champion of England! As far back as 1889 he won the Doubles Championship of Ireland with E. W. Lewis, which is pretty conclusive evidence that he must have been almost as good in those days as he is at the present time.

In the following year, partnered by H. S. Scrivener, he won the Doubles Covered Court Championship of England and defended the position with succees the following year. Only two years ago we find him "coming through" at Queen's and winning the Mixed Doubles Championship of England with his wife; while this year he played in both the challenge rounds. Recently, in company with Cazalet, Hillyard has come very near — within an ace in fact — to vanquishing the Dohertys, who, I believe, regard the pair as the most difficult of any to beat in England. With a trifle more luck the old Leicestershire cricketer should have held the Doubles Championship of England before now; for his play is of times the most brilliant of the four in any match.

His low cross fore-hand drive, which so often scores outright, his enormous reach, and high muscular service — above all, his stamina, are professional equipments that any man might envy. In private life G. W. Hillyard is a modest and amiable gentleman with a host of friends.

ERNEST BLACK
Ernest Douglas Black is undoubtedly Yorkshire's best player, and in lawn tennis circles his name is quite familiar. He possesses a severe service and a back-hand stroke of great accuracy and speed. His strokes were learnt playing against a wall, covered with boards, and having a line the height of the net. In 1899 he won the Yorkshire Championship outright, and was again champion of the county in 1901 and 1902. By defeating W. V. Eaves in 1899 he secured the Scottish Championship, and at Scarborough, Sheffield and Leeds and his successes have been numerous.

Borgforever
06-15-2009, 05:48 PM
MALCOLM D. WHITMAN
Whitman began his tennis career in the Interscholastic tournaments, and at first was almost invariably defeated by Ware, who, paradoxical as it may seem, although Whitman's inferior, could be relied upon to defeat him in tournament play. Whitman, however, kept at it conscientiously, studying every stroke, and always trying to perfect his game.

In 1896 he was rated in the First Ten in sixth place, and the next year he sprung into prominence by defeating Mahony, one of the visiting Englishmen, at Newport, and by playing a close match against Nisbet. The next year, 1898, he won 11 early every important American tournament, and brought his tennis season to a successful conclusion by winning the Newport Tournament, taking the Championship from Wrenn by default. (Wrenn, with Larned, had been in Cuba with the " Rough- Riders.") Whitman played through the seasons of 1899 and 1900, defending his Cups successfully, and then retired, an undefeated Champion. He was persuaded, however, to take up the game again when it was known that the Doherty brothers were to represent England in the 1902 International matches.

He defeated both Pim and R. F. Doherty at Bay Ridge, only to lose to the latter in the final round at Newport.

Though radically different from Larned in his style of play, Whitman in his way is probably the greatest genius at the game that America has produced. He is slow and careful and steady, and has almost perfect control over the ball. Every stroke is made with care and precision and forethought. His forehand stroke is taken when the ball is somewhat lower than Larned's, and instead of a side stroke, his is more of a "Lawford."

He is clever at delaying this stroke, waiting until the ball has fallen quite low before making the return, and then concealing skilfully its direction. His backhand is more of a defensive stroke ; he puts some upward cut on the ball, striking it at the top of the bound, and with more of a side stroke. At lobbing he is good, and uses this play at opportune times.

His service is rather slow, but well placed and varied in pace and direction. Unless pressed close, he prefers not to follow his service to the net, and on the whole, is inclined to the back court game, I should say, rather than to the net play.

At the net, however, his great height and enormous reach give him a distinct advantage ; and while not a brilliant volleyer, is a safe one, and a very hard man to catch off his guard. His low volleys, I think, arc comparatively weak; but his smashing, while not severe, is accurate, and a low lob means that the point is his.

It is rare, indeed, to find two such masters of the game as Larned and Whitman with two such totally different styles of play; and the saying, "Lawn tennis players are born, not made, "is proved false in this case, for while Larned is a natural born player, Whitman's game was acquired only after long and careful study and conscientious practice. Which is the better man will always be a matter of discussion. Where Larned is dashing, reckless, brilliant, apparently indifferent, Whitman is deliberate, cautious, steady and wholly wrapped up in his play. Larned, at the most critical point, hits the ball swiftly, as if not caring what the outcome of the "rest" will be; Whitman at all times plays his strokes slowly, surely, striving for every point. While Larned will pass his man at the net half a dozen times in succession by a series of almost marvellous shots, crosscourt or straight down the lines, backhand or forehand, Whitman prefers to take fewer chances, to wait for an opening, to play the ball from side to side, until he gets his opponent out of position, and finally wins the point by an easy pass, or more likely by his opponent's error.

Thus Whitman's fine points are not on the surface by any means ; while he seems to be merely batting the ball back and forth, he is, in reality, putting all of his skill into the effort to get his opponent into difficulties, so that the latter will lose the point on an apparently poor play. It is here that Whitman's skill lies; he is a disappointing player for one to watch who has been led to expect great things of him ; for while he himself does not seem to be playing especially well, it is always his opponent who is playing poorly, and who is throwing the match away what seem to be inexcusable errors. It is only those who understand the fine points of the game, or who have played against him, who realise what a master he really is.

Larned's play, on the other hand, is "neck or nothing"; he wins or he loses on his own good or poor play; in his matches, the "rests" are short and are usually ended by a brilliant pass or by a short, sharp volley, that brings the crowd to its feet in a burst of applause. Willing to take the net at the first opportunity, he follows up a swift, deep stroke, and either wins the point or loses it in an extraordinarily short space of time.

Larned either plays wonderfully well, or mighty poorly; his play is never mediocre. It is Larned, of course, who "carries the crowd" with him, and who keeps them in a state of excitement from the first point to the last; in fact, one cannot watch Larned at his best without being enthusiastic. On the other hand, by the very nature of his game,

Whitman's matches do not provoke great enthusiasm; now and then a long "rest" cleverly played, or an unusual "save" after the ball is apparently well out of his reach, will cause applause; but on thewhole, one can watch Whitman's matches with much greater comfort and peace of mind than those of the more brilliant player. Whitman, in a word, strives not to lose points; Larned, to win them; the result, Whitman has been the most consistent player, and the most reliable we have yet produced; Larned, the most dashing and brilliant.

Speaking in general terms, our development of late years has been in a direction of better net play, of faster, sharper volleying, and more accurate overhead work. Rightly or wrongly, Americans, as a class, consider the net the objective point towards which they are struggling always. We have seen this emphasised in our game of Doubles, in which almost everything else was sacrificed by those who formerly held the Championship in order to get to the net ; and these tactics proved quite successful, until overcome by the superior steadiness and better "all-round" play of the Doherty Brothers — the present American Champions in Doubles.

R. F. and H. L. Doherty beat Dwight F. Davis and Holcombe Ward, who had held the Doubles Championship of the United States for the past three years, in 1902.

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
06-15-2009, 10:42 PM
Hi Borgforever,
as you can note I haven't written much stuff in that forum for weeks because I'm very busy professionally. I haven't even answered pc1 about Budge, Kenny, Rod and Björn (but I'll do it).
I haven't even read your such awaited thread about Doherty and his peers at last created.
But I can't prevent myself to have a glance at that forum and I have at last seen your stuff (but not read as said just before) about the pre-WWI players.

I thank you for that thread that I will read in some ... weeks.
I can't stay here more than 5 minutes a day so I quit you and the others.
Bye and once again thank you for that thread (I guess it is wonderful)

Bhagi Katbamna
06-15-2009, 11:13 PM
This is very interesting. Thanks for tracking all of this information down and posting it.

Borgforever
06-16-2009, 03:31 AM
Hi Borgforever,
as you can note I haven't written much stuff in that forum for weeks because I'm very busy professionally. I haven't even answered pc1 about Budge, Kenny, Rod and Björn (but I'll do it).
I haven't even read your such awaited thread about Doherty and his peers at last created.
But I can't prevent myself to have a glance at that forum and I have at last seen your stuff (but not read as said just before) about the pre-WWI players.

I thank you for that thread that I will read in some ... weeks.
I can't stay here more than 5 minutes a day so I quit you and the others.
Bye and once again thank you for that thread (I guess it is wonderful)

Your welcome! I do miss your epic posts though... :-)

Borgforever
06-17-2009, 04:26 AM
Before I go into Norman Brookes comments and start posting the updated records with commentary -- let's check out some Doherty-brothers statistics:

Career losses R.F. Doherty: 23 losses (16 real match-losses)
Career losses H.L. Doherty: 20 losses (11 real match-losses only)

Tournament wins R. F. Doherty: 25 -- out of 49
Tournament wins H. L. Doherty: 60 -- out of 80

H2Hs with the greatest of their era:

H.L.'s H2H first followed by R. F. H2Hs:
J. Ritchie 8-2 0-0
F. Riseley 4-1 0-0
W. Baddeley 0-1 1-2
J. Pim 1-1 0-1
H. Mahony 5-1 1-5
S. H. Smith 6-1 2-1
W. Larned 5-0 1-3
M. Whitman 0-0 1-1
N. Brookes 1-0 0-0
W. Eaves 4-2 2-2
A. W. Gore 5-3 2-1
A. F. Wilding 1-0 0-0
Bill Clothier 3-0 0-0
George Hillyard 6-2 0-0
Summary:
H. L. was 49-14 against his strongest opponents.
R. F. was 10-16 against his strongest opponents.

NOTE: Regarding H. L. and Brookes I didn’t count the worthless test-mach that Brookes won after Wimby and Davis Cup in 1905. Basically because it didn’t carry any weight and the fact that Brookes has said that Laurie was so sick during this match that Brookes asked Laurie to stop the match. Otherwise it would be 1-1 in H2H.

And these H2H statistics are from incomplete records so one must imagine that Reggie’s stats are higher than the summary but still these numbers are way too negative to suggest that R. F. was close to his brother as a quality tennis-player...

When it comes to H2H I will further add that IMO the H2Hs carry more weight if they contain many match-ups as opposed to the reverse. The more meetings the more truthful the stats mainly because then the players have time to learn their opponent and have more opportunities to better their individual stats.

Borgforever
06-17-2009, 04:39 AM
R.F. FIVE-SETTER 4 won – 1 loss (80% winning percentage)
R1: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-3 5-7 6-1 3-6 6-2 (Wimby, grass 1896)
FC: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 1-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 (Wimby, grass 1899)
F: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Clarence Hobart (USA) 3-6 4-6 6-0 6-3 6-4 (Homburg Cup, red clay 1899)
FC: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-4 7-5 7-9 7-9 6-3 (Irish, grass 1900)
FC: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Bob Wrenn (USA) 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-8 6-4 (Davis Cup, Boston, grass 1903)

H.L. FIVE-SETTER 10 won – 4 losses (71.42 % winning percentage)
SF: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-3 4-6 6-2 2-6 10-8 (Queens, grass 1896)
SF: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 0-6 1-6 6-2 6-2 11-9 -- Northern, grass 1898
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-1, 6-2, 4-6, 2-6, 14-12 -- Wimby, grass 1898
Q: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-2 (Irish, grass 1899)
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - George Hillyard (BRI-G) 7-5 6-2 3-6 4-6 6-2 (Homburg Cup, red clay 1900)
R3: George Hillyard (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 0-6 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-3 (Wimby, grass 1901)
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 5-7 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-3 (Nice, red clay 1903)
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Bill Larned (USA) 6-3 6-8 6-0 2-6 7-5 (Davis Cup, Boston, grass 1903)
FC: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 6-2 8-10 5-7 6-4 6-3 (Queens Indoor Spring, wood 1904)
R3: Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-2 6-4 8-10 1-6 6-4 (Queens Indoor Fall, wood 1904)
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Holcombe Ward (USA) 7-9 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-0 (Davis Cup, Wimby, grass 1905)
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Bill Larned (USA) 6-4 2-6 6-8 6-4 6-2 (Davis Cup, Wimby, grass 1905)
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Ray Little (USA) 3-6 6-3 6-8 6-1 6-3 (Davis Cup, Wimby, grass 1906)

NOTE: Borg (strongest stat in open era) 25-5 in five-setters 83.33% winning percentage.

Borgforever
06-17-2009, 04:41 AM
MAYBE LAURIE DOHERTY'S MOST DOMINATING PERFORMANCE

Aug 30 1903
US Championships (gentlemen), Newport USA (G): (Aug 27)
R1: Reggie Doherty bye
R2: Reggie Doherty d. B. Merrill 6-1, 6-2, 6-1
R3: Reggie Doherty d. K. Collins 6-2, 2-6, 10-8, 6-3
R4: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) d. J. Parmly Paret 6-0, 6-1, 6-2
R2: Bill Clothier (USA) d. Beals Wright (USA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-1
R4: Bill Clothier (USA) d. Holcombe Ward (USA) 6-2, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5
SF: Bill Clothier (USA) d. Edward Larned (USA) 6-3 6-1 6-2
R1: Laurie Doherty d. C. Relyea 6-0, 6-1, 6-1
R2: Laurie Doherty d. M. Colket 6-2, 6-2, 6-0
R3: Laurie Doherty d. R. Stevens 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
R4: Laurie Doherty d. Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
QF: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) w/o
SF: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. Richard Carleton (USA) 6-2, 6-0, 6-0
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. Bill Clothier (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. Bill Larned (USA) 6-0, 6-3, 10-8

D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)

7-0 (8-0 including the w/o) in matches
21-0 in sets
130-44 games 74.71 % winning percentage

BOTH SINGLES AND DOUBLES CHAMPION -- first player to win a GS-tourney without set-loss in seven rounds and winning the doubles -- Donald Budge I think won singles, doubles and mixed too when he won Wimby 1938 without set-loss...

elegos7
06-17-2009, 12:49 PM
I agree that The South of France at Nice Championships can't be stated as the absolute forerunner of the classic French Open at RG as of 1925 and onwards.

This arguable point I made since several players and experts of the day many times said that it was the most important clay tourney from late 1890s to about 1907, 08 -- then probably replaced by Cannes, Monte Carlo and the Hard Court Championship in Paris followed by the RG 1925.

These traits Nice had from 1895 to 1906 at least. Nice was the last big clay tourney with a huge draw with every major player who's competed in the other preceding tourneys so the field was in form.


Hi Borgforever,

I also agree that the South of France Championships at Nice was the most prestigious Riviera event in the first decade of the 20th century.
Do you have final results before 1899 (in that year R. Doherty beat Voss)?

I also noticed in this thread you included some early round results of Laurie (notably the 1896 Queens semi). Did you get these results from Carlo (whom I have provided the pre-1914 results) or do you have another data source?

Last year I spent a couple of days in the Wimbledon library where I gather the most important pre-1914 results, but a couple of more would still be welcome, especially early professional results...

timnz
06-17-2009, 01:41 PM
Hello,

I notice that on Tony Wilding's Wikipedia site that it calls 'Homburg' the championship of Europe. Did it really have this status in the first decade of the 20th Century? I note that Wilding won it a couple of times. He also won Nice 4 times. Was Nice more highly rated?

Thanks

Borgforever
06-17-2009, 01:44 PM
Hi elegos7,

I used the stats Carlo (and you I presume) graciously submitted and I've added about 10-20% results that I've got from AELTC, THE FIELD, DAILY TELEGRAPH plus an assortment of vintage magazines bought and (luckily) read at a friends house who's also vintage tennis-nut like me.

I'm still disappointed -- I want the entire Nice results R1 and onwards and so forth. But if one holds an eye open the scores trickle in from time to time.

What struck me is the wealth of info, the strong similarities to own way of tennis now and the strength of the era. Brookes, as Carlo said, took a set from Tilden -- 10-8, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 -- AND Johnston -- 5-7, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 in the Davis Cup-final of 1920 and Brookes was 43 years old...

Brookes made the R4 at Wimby I guess in 1924 at 47! Josiah Ritchie and Hillyard and several other did decently in the 20s -- it doesn't prove anything conclusive -- but it gives proof that suggests it's not a cut and dry issue.

I will post the entire record soon that I got and added on and I will e-mail you anything you ask after this...

But Laurie was so stupendously successful and completely mastered an era that was filled with very competitive people that -- for me -- he easily reaches that high level were a serious question-mark should be attached to his name as regards to the GOAT-issue.

He didn't enjoy any of the comfort-creating or performance enhancing tools and methods that we do -- neither did he even enjoy a decent medical treatment for his ailments -- and still outperformed everybody to such a degree that it simply has to be recognized...

I know that the first Wimby-footage that exists today are from 1904 -- right smack-dab in Laurie's reign -- and he was a famous guy. Maybe some moving images exists of him. I'm looking. It would be the coolest thing in five years for me to find a minute somewhere. I'm not holding my breath but you never know...

I've looked at many photos of both H. L. and R. F. and they have immaculate technique.

Check out the photo down on the right (that Urban linked to earlier) on Reggie as he rips his famous immortal instant BH down the line winner...

http://bmarcore.club.fr/tennis/champions/doherty/laurie.htm

Perfect. Dynamic. Modern. You can see it's a strong shot. Another link:

http://bmarcore.club.fr/tennis/avant14/E-doherty.html

Their technique is absolutely contemporary. I'm very impressed...

Borgforever
06-17-2009, 01:50 PM
Hey timnz -- yes, Homburg was huge and to a certain extent was maybe the Championships of Europe. It had something like 4-6 men's singles events (including the German Championships) simultaneously with an enormous amount of players from everywhere. It was also confusing -- it was easy to play too many tourneys and get swamped. Nice had a finer field that had also a big draw but it was capping the spring Riviera-clay-season so it seems it was more "RG-like" back in the day.

But around 1908, 09 and early 1910s Monte Carlo and Cannes at the Beau Site got stronger and stronger (there were also some other championships in France during this time that was very good) plus that The World Hard Court (red clay) Championships in Paris got underway and kind of actually was the forerunner to RG in the 1910s...

As I understand it...

Borgforever
06-17-2009, 02:12 PM
And remember that Tilden himself played well against Pancho Gonzalez in (I guess 1950) and Pancho was a great player even back then. And remember Pancho's results even so far as into the 70s (and he even killed baby-Borg in 1972 in NYC, 6-1, 6-1) so you can't just dismiss "Little Do". His skills (especially as a match-player and tactician beyond his obvious shot-making prowess) seem, to quote Harold Mahony, "mind-boggling"...

I've always had high regard for Tilden but my research into The Dohertys have also raised my appreciation for Tilden...

Bonus on bonus so to speak...

One shouldn't dismiss anybody unless you really find devastating proof. Look at Sampras -- he's not on in my top tier for GOAT on all surfaces -- but he's secure in my top tier for GOAT on grass, hard court cement and indoor regardless if his era lacked something. Just because Agassi wasn't there a few seasons doesn't automatically cancel out anything. It's not definite proof of anything. Therefore Pete Sampras could very well be the GOAT on these surfaces...

In my opinion that is...

Borgforever
06-17-2009, 03:03 PM
I've also always been fascinated with Anthony Wilding and I've found out a lot about him too -- but I had to restrict myself, I don't have all time I wish I had and this becomes easily Tolstoj "WAR AND PEACE"-length...

On December 11th 1911 Anthony Wilding arrived for the first time in cold Gothenburg, Sweden and two days ago I visited the site Anthony crushed the Gothenburg champion of the day (on the 12th) by 6-1, 6-1, 7-5. The indoor court is torn down now. And he said he really liked the "Gothenburgians" -- even after only two days -- which is always good to hear...

He even drove across this country on his motorbike...

Most macabre detail?

In 1915 on the western front -- Anthony Wilding sat talking with his company in a building when a shell fell down on the roof.

Everybody died instantly.

Anthony's body was completely crushed to pieces. Only his head protruded above the rubble. Completely untouched. Without a speck of dirt on his face. His eyes were shut. Like he was sleeping.

He could've lived into the 1970s. Many did. P. G. Woodehouse, the great comic writer, was born in 1881 and died in 1975 just as he finished his last book -- lively to the end. I even have a television interview with P. G. from 1974 and he talks about how he wrote all those books in the 1910s and onwards...

Borgforever
06-17-2009, 04:50 PM
Sorry -- my mistake -- this is the correct link for watching Reggie's "POW"-BH:

http://bmarcore.club.fr/tennis/champions/doherty/laurie.htm

Scroll down and watch the image to the right and enjoy great BH-technique. If one times that shot well -- there's no speed-limit on it at all...

120mphBodyServe
06-17-2009, 04:57 PM
Can't believe people are discussing these pre-historic players..
*sigh*

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
06-17-2009, 10:41 PM
Hello,

I notice that on Tony Wilding's Wikipedia site that it calls 'Homburg' the championship of Europe. Did it really have this status in the first decade of the 20th Century? I note that Wilding won it a couple of times. He also won Nice 4 times. Was Nice more highly rated?

Thanks

Hi,
my 5 minutes-a day-discussion-in-that-forum-because-of-work.

Yes the South of France Chps at Nice were possibly the greatest Riviera event before WWI.
I listed Wilding's wins in Wikipedia from Len and Shelley Richardsons' book about Anthony.

Bad Homburg is a German inland city while Hamburg is seashore city. At Bad Homburg were held the men's doubles European (amateur) championships and also the most important Continental tournament. It was also the site of the first German (amateur) Chps while there was also a tournament at Hamburg. Later the German Chps were held at Hamburg.
For instance the Dohertys used to favour the Bad Homburg tournament and to skip the Hamburg tournament showing that in the early days the Bad Homburg tournament was the most important one in Europe with some of the Riviera tourneys, Nice and Monte Carlo.

Bye (my 5 minutes have passed)

Carlo Giovanni Colussi
06-17-2009, 10:46 PM
And remember that Tilden himself played well against Pancho Gonzalez in (I guess 1950) and Pancho was a great player even back then. ..

Gonzales beat Tilden in 1952, 62 61 or 61 62, I never remember the score (if someone has to hand "Man with a racket" by Pancho himself or "The History of Professional Tennis" by McCauley he will look at the right score).

urban
06-17-2009, 11:08 PM
Great work, Borgforever. To Bad Homburg. I think from German books on tennis, Roderich Menzel wrote a voluminous book in 1950, thet Bad Homburg was the first tennis venue in Germany, imported by the Brits, who went there to cure their maladies. I think it was played on lawn at first, and i don't exactly know, when they changed lawn to clay. Bad Homburg was the leading place for German tennis alongside Hamburg Rothenbaum and Berlin, Rot- Weiss-Club.The leading German amateur before WWI was Otto Froitzheim, who did well against Brookes at Wimbledon. Some German pros were 'Wackel' Richter and especially Roman Najuch, who played with Tilden and Nuesslein until the early 30s.

elegos7
06-18-2009, 07:12 AM
Hi elegos7,

I used the stats Carlo (and you I presume) graciously submitted and I've added about 10-20% results that I've got from AELTC, THE FIELD, DAILY TELEGRAPH plus an assortment of vintage magazines bought and (luckily) read at a friends house who's also vintage tennis-nut like me.
.

Hi Borgforever,

I am very interested what kind of results you have in addition to my compilation.
Did you find professional results before 1914? (look at the thread I began 2 days ago on professionals before 1926).

Borgforever
06-18-2009, 10:37 AM
Hi elegos7 -- I will get to the additional results when I post the records (including the additional scores -- though I wish I had more) and the crazy thing is that I've only been posting this for two days or so and new (what am I talking about? Centuries old) results keep popping up even during the last two days.

I mean elegos7 -- these guys -- this era, is a juicy, fierce era -- jam-packed with entertaining players. This era is over-ripe for a brick-sized bio -- easy...

This era reads like "300" (with brains!) and no ones been capitalizing on this. Britain's got some of the finest writers on the planet -- including sports -- and NOT ONE BRITISH SOUL has turned their energies toward this particular time in history despite the eye-catching and eye-brow raising events. Everyone's looking for a great story -- if true, the better and here we got something that isn't pitty-pat, silly but the the real, timeless deal.

Can you imagine, as pc1 wrote many moons ago, that Harry Hopman named Lawrence Doherty together with Laver and the top guys as GOATs at the end of his life. Harry Hopman was a genius and no bull*hitter. This is no drunk on the street yelling (not to denigrate or disrespect any drunk on the street :-))

Back to your specific question as regards to the pro players: No I haven't come across any more results as regards to the early pros (such as Burke or Kerr) I just added J. Parmly Paret's quotes on their meeting.

This doesn't mean I'm not interested or dismissive of them or that if I direct my eye in their direction I won't find anything more than already found with the material I already amassed. It's just that I'm going to Wimby very soon I still got stuff to do and I like the guys here at TW former pro player talk and I have work and stuff so I have to make serious priorities...

Borgforever
06-18-2009, 10:38 AM
I must deliver this entire thread before Sunday so I'm a little pressed for time...

pc1
06-18-2009, 10:44 AM
Gonzales beat Tilden in 1952, 62 61 or 61 62, I never remember the score (if someone has to hand "Man with a racket" by Pancho himself or "The History of Professional Tennis" by McCauley he will look at the right score).

According to McCauley it was 6-1 6-2.

Borgforever
06-18-2009, 10:51 AM
Well -- that's a serious blowout. One would like to hear Gonzalez comments about this match-up -- how did Pancho think Tilden did. Taking three games from the super No. 1 (maybe THE GOAT as well -- a lot speaks for it) is nothing to sneeze at when "Big Bill" was 59 (!!!).

I just wonder if Pancho was "in his murder mode" in this match. I believe it's difficult -- how can you not admire Tilden? At least feel a certain awe?

But it would be interesting to hear Pancho's comments on this. Or maybe we should call him Ricardo from here on in?

I'm a Swede and don't know about racial slurs and that "Pancho" was used to call people of Middle America/South American descent. I like "Pancho". It sounds like "Punch-him" almost. Fitting name. As Bear Fortress...

Gonzalez might've been very difficult sometimes -- but from people who knew him I hear he was extremely honest -- to a fault. A good guy. Not a villain even if he sometimes did very "questionable" things...

pc1
06-18-2009, 11:06 AM
Well -- that's a serious blowout. One would like to hear Gonzalez comments about this match-up -- how did Pancho think Tilden did. Taking three games from the super No. 1 (maybe THE GOAT as well -- a lot speaks for it) is nothing to sneeze at when "Big Bill" was 59 (!!!).

I just wonder if Pancho was "in his murder mode" in this match. I believe it's difficult -- how can you not admire Tilden? At least feel a certain awe?

But it would be interesting to hear Pancho's comments on this. Or maybe we should call him Ricardo from here on in?

I'm a Swede and don't know about racial slurs and that "Pancho" was used to call people of Middle America/South American descent. I like "Pancho". It sounds like "Punch-him" almost. Fitting name. As Bear Fortress...

Gonzalez might've been very difficult sometimes -- but from people who knew him I hear he was extremely honest -- to a fault. A good guy. Not a villain even if he sometimes did very "questionable" things...

Borgforever,

I've read a lot of things about Pancho and I've spoken to a number of people who knew him. So while I'm sure he wasn't the easiest to get along with I think I can understand how he developed the attitude he did. No these people didn't say anything negative about others concerning Gonzalez.

I won't mention names but I believe a lot of people took advantage of him and didn't treat him as well they should have. Perhaps he reacted wrongly but who's to say.

I read one author who made himself seem like a saint while Gonzalez was always wrong. Somehow I doubt if that was true.

Amazing that Tilden took three games off a Gonzalez at or near his prime. If either Tilden or Gonzalez played today I have no doubt they would adapt to the new equipment and be at or near the top.

Incidentally if Gonzalez was in Federer's situation when that fan ran onto the court at the French Open final. I think that fan would be in the hospital in critical condition now. lol.

If Federer thought Nadal was the ultimate competitor, I wonder how he would have reacted to playing Gonzalez.

Borgforever
06-18-2009, 11:17 AM
Borgforever,

I've read a lot of things about Pancho and I've spoken to a number of people who were close to him. So while I'm sure he wasn't the easiest to get along with I think I can understand how he developed the attitude he did.

I won't mention names but I believe a lot of people took advantage of him and didn't treat him as well they should have. Perhaps he reacted wrongly but who's to say.

I read one author who made himself seem like a saint while Gonzalez was always wrong. Somehow I doubt if that was true.

Amazing that Tilden took three games off a Gonzalez at or near his prime. If either Tilden or Gonzalez played today I have no doubt they would adapt to the new equipment and be at or near the top.

Incidentally if Gonzalez was in Federer's situation when that fan ran onto the court at the French Open final. I think that fan would be in the hospital in critical condition now. lol.

I agree! With everything. Gonzalez did not suffer fools gladly. That fool was lucky. I suspected that what you're saying about Gonzalez being taken advantage of was true. I've heard some things too. Some people... And it's easy to become bitter. Especially if you're such an elite player as he was. A No. 1 player from the start it seemed. Everyone looks with envy and maybe a little disdain on the No. 1 -- you know -- he's got it all, to heck with him (jealousy!) but they don't know how it is. People think, oh he'll be alright, he's the No. 1. So selfish. So stupid. They don't know the isolation. Makes me sad to hear.

Since I heard this, that and the other thing about being alone on top a No. 1 usually gets my sympathy because I think I know a just a little bit how tough it was to get there and how insane that position really is. Not the easiest thing to handle at all...

Borgforever
06-18-2009, 11:23 AM
Rod Laver was almost like a mini-dad and "consiglieri" to baby-Borg. Laver had long talks with Björn what he should and shouldn't do and what a jungle the tennis circus was. Borg listened attentively. Rod got Björn to sign with McCormack. Rod said "they're the best" among many other things.

If one looks closely -- on the clips by krosero on Laver- Borg at WITC on YT you can see them chattering away like crazy after they shook hands at the net. Laver being Björn's No. 1 idol...

Borgforever
06-18-2009, 11:29 AM
This is not according to the thread -- but the next clips I'm gonna do -- maybe later in August or so -- will focus on Lendl. He's so underrated. I have some rare, super-cool Lendl-stuff that would look really cool on YT -- besides the YEC-final I did. From the green clay at Forrest Hills against Agassi among other things. I promised Crabgrass (where is he?) to make a compilation on Agassi-Lendl at Forest Hills (among other things). That's neat match...

Next post -- back to "LAWRENCE OF WIMBLEDON" to joke around a little with David Lean's masterpiece :-)...

urban
06-18-2009, 11:40 AM
Tilden and Gonzalez (ok since now i will spell him with a z) were maybe the two greatest personalities in the history of tennis (alongside Suzanne). Their inner demons made them fascinating. No wonder, that Hollywood made or wanted to make some films around them. In the 20s and 30s tennis spelled always Tilden, despite players like Vines, Perry or Budge were in pure tennis terms maybe better. Even his defeats to the musceteers made him look greater. It was styled, as if he was beaten by a whole group or team effort, not by an individual. In the new book about Budge and von Cramm, still Tilden is the (not so) secret hero. I call it the Oscar Wilde factor. His legacy is as ambivalent as his career and life: On the one side, he made the game more popular (i mean real popular) than it ever was before or after, on the other side, he generated the cliché of a sissy sport.

Pancho suffered a bit the fate of the famous boxers of the 40s and 50s ( Budd Schulberg wrote about it), who were badly driven and ultimately robbed by their promoters. His love-hate relationship with Kramer comes to mind. But he sought revenge imo on the false front, by attacking and even legally suing his fellow pros.

urban
06-18-2009, 12:04 PM
By mentioning Lawrence, Borgforever, You touched a nerve in my cineatic heart. When i read those pieces about the Dohertys, some Lean or Ivory pictures came along my mind, landscapes of Bloomsbury circles, garden parties and free spirits. Those post-Victorian years generated some intersting people, including Lawrence (i think he came from Oxford) and the mountaineer Mallory, who studied at Cambridge. They called it the Oxbridge fraction. Some time ago, i saw a picture of Wilding, while he was signing autographs to nice women in front of his motorcycle. I think, he went by motorcycle from tournament to tournament. Reminded me of Lawrence of Arabia.

Borgforever
06-18-2009, 12:16 PM
I agree Urban! My taste in movies are extremely varied and many of James Ivory's films are pure masterpieces and truly evoke the atmosphere when I research Lawrence Doherty. And you're dead right IMO about Mr. Wilding and Mr. Thomas Edward Lawrence. The parallels are many. Can you imagine the vibe -- in the horse-carriage-age -- to just zoom through the landscape, like an exotic bullet, through the untouched, rural, ancient landscape.

Must've been a very special experience...

Yeah, the late late/post Victorians was an active and enthusiastic bunch of people -- a boom generation -- with high ambitions. The 1880s to the 1910s was an amazing era filled with promise and intelligence...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Urban...

pc1
06-18-2009, 01:03 PM
You guys are making me think of one of my favorite movies "Chariots of Fire."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0X93EPHQc0

Borgforever
06-18-2009, 01:11 PM
It is a far cry from Monte Carlo to Homburg, and there is a still greater difference between the tennis seasons of the two places, the open event at the latter town taking place during August. It is a charming tournament held at the height of the Homburg season, and well repays the tiresome journey from England. Here we again find our old friend the sand court, and excellent courts they are, with a beautiful dense background of high trees.

Probably, Homburg is the most cosmopolitan tournament in the world, and one may encounter a Frenchman the first round, a Dutchman the second, an Italian the third, and so on! This gives an International flavour to the play which makes it very interesting. Unlike any tournament in England, Homburg rejoices in no less than two open singles, and one has to guard against the temptation of entering for too many events, as the climate is rather hot and enervating, and fatigue cannot be borne so easily as in the colder and more bracing English air.

A somewhat amusing incident happened at one of the meetings there. An English player of the front rank chanced to encounter the champion of — well, let us say Timbuctoo, in the handicap, who had little or no experience of first-class players, when he heard the odds he received, casually remarked: "No man can owe me 30, it is impossible, it cannot be done." In spite of his confidence he was very badly beaten, but his quaint conceit of himself was absolutely unshaken, as he at once remarked: "Ah, that man must have been much above his form!"

There are few games in which good and bad players are so very far apart as lawn tennis, and this, in one respect, is a drawback, as it renders it so extremely difficult to obtain a good game between men of greatly different calibre. At golf, half a stroke, or at the outside a stroke a hole, will bring most people together, and can result in an enjoyable contest in spite of the difference in class, but half 40 soon palls on both the giver and receiver of odds at lawn tennis. At one time, what I must call for want of a better term, the garden party style of player, was strangely ignorant of his real form, or rather lack of form, and because he happened to be champion of "Slocum-in-the-Hole," considered himself quite capable of winning at Wimbledon if he only took the trouble to enter the lists. More than one curious match has been the outcome of this ignorance. I recollect one evening, some years ago now, one of this species had been laying down the law about lawn tennis in general, and his own prowess in particular, until he rather got on our nerves, and someone remarked: "Oh, shut up, I'll give you 30, and play you for a tenner with my ulster on, buttoned up!" Our "garden party hero" immediately jumped at what he thought would prove such a soft thing for him, and the match duly came off with the result that the man in the ulster got very hot but won very easily — to the intense disgust and discomforture of his opponent, who not only lost his money, but was most unmercifully chaffed into the bargain.

This sort of person has usually a profound contempt for ladies' play. I remember once when the local club of a certain provincial town was playing the M.C.C., most of the cricketers were staying in a country house close by, and among the guests chanced to be the lady champion of that year. The conversation during dinner somehow drifted to lawn tennis and ladies' play, and one of the cricketers, a certain officer who fancied himself more than a little, remarked that if any lady could beat him he would break his racket and never play again "Oh!" said our host, who was a humorous person and saw the chance of some fun, "there is a lady here I will back against you for a modest wager!" The gallant captain, not knowing the lady champion was present, and in any case being perfectly confident of his power to beat one of the fair sex, champion or not, instantly accepted the challenge. Next morning a court was marked out on the cricket ground and the match was played, the lady winning three straight sets, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0!

The Hamburg tournament generally precedes Homburg, and is held on the excellent sand courts of the Uhlenhorst Club, and presided over by that most genial of sportsmen, Herr von der Meden, who, I need hardly say, gives the warmest of welcomes to any English competitor. The "gallery" is not as large as we are accustomed to see at most of our home meetings, as the general public is not admitted to the grounds, but what it lacks in size it amply makes up for in enthusiasm, as practically all the spectators are players themselves, and thoroughly appreciate the niceties of the game — to my mind the sine qua of an audience. This tournament, for some reason or other, fell through for a year or two, but was revived again last season, and it is to be hoped that it will not again be allowed to lapse, as it is one of the most enjoyable of meetings, and deserves the support and encouragement of everyone keen on the game.

So enormous has been the growth of foreign play during the last few years it would be quite outside the scope of this article to describe in detail one half of the courts and tournaments scattered far and wide through- out the length and breadth of the Continent..." (E. Wallis Myers 1903)

Borgforever
06-18-2009, 01:13 PM
You guys are making me think of one of my favorite movies "Chariots of Fire."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0X93EPHQc0

Yes, yes, yes -- "CHARIOTS OF FIRE" is one of my all-time-faves too. Rousing to say the least. That's exactly the Doherty-vibe...

Immensely powerful -- even if the amazing main theme by Vangelis has been used to death everywhere since -- it still packs a stunning wallop...

Borgforever
06-18-2009, 01:52 PM
I also think of BRIDESHEAD REVISITED when going through the Dohertys...

Aaaah, Evelyn Waugh... Genius...

timnz
06-18-2009, 11:56 PM
It is a far cry from Monte Carlo to Homburg, and there is a still greater difference between the tennis seasons of the two places, the open event at the latter town taking place during August. It is a charming tournament held at the height of the Homburg season, and well repays the tiresome journey from England. Here we again find our old friend the sand court, and excellent courts they are, with a beautiful dense background of high trees.

Probably, Homburg is the most cosmopolitan tournament in the world, and one may encounter a Frenchman the first round, a Dutchman the second, an Italian the third, and so on! This gives an International flavour to the play which makes it very interesting. Unlike any tournament in England, Homburg rejoices in no less than two open singles, and one has to guard against the temptation of entering for too many events, as the climate is rather hot and enervating, and fatigue cannot be borne so easily as in the colder and more bracing English air.

A somewhat amusing incident happened at one of the meetings there. An English player of the front rank chanced to encounter the champion of — well, let us say Timbuctoo, in the handicap, who had little or no experience of first-class players, when he heard the odds he received, casually remarked: "No man can owe me 30, it is impossible, it cannot be done." In spite of his confidence he was very badly beaten, but his quaint conceit of himself was absolutely unshaken, as he at once remarked: "Ah, that man must have been much above his form!"

There are few games in which good and bad players are so very far apart as lawn tennis, and this, in one respect, is a drawback, as it renders it so extremely difficult to obtain a good game between men of greatly different calibre. At golf, half a stroke, or at the outside a stroke a hole, will bring most people together, and can result in an enjoyable contest in spite of the difference in class, but half 40 soon palls on both the giver and receiver of odds at lawn tennis. At one time, what I must call for want of a better term, the garden party style of player, was strangely ignorant of his real form, or rather lack of form, and because he happened to be champion of "Slocum-in-the-Hole," considered himself quite capable of winning at Wimbledon if he only took the trouble to enter the lists. More than one curious match has been the outcome of this ignorance. I recollect one evening, some years ago now, one of this species had been laying down the law about lawn tennis in general, and his own prowess in particular, until he rather got on our nerves, and someone remarked: "Oh, shut up, I'll give you 30, and play you for a tenner with my ulster on, buttoned up!" Our "garden party hero" immediately jumped at what he thought would prove such a soft thing for him, and the match duly came off with the result that the man in the ulster got very hot but won very easily — to the intense disgust and discomforture of his opponent, who not only lost his money, but was most unmercifully chaffed into the bargain.

This sort of person has usually a profound contempt for ladies' play. I remember once when the local club of a certain provincial town was playing the M.C.C., most of the cricketers were staying in a country house close by, and among the guests chanced to be the lady champion of that year. The conversation during dinner somehow drifted to lawn tennis and ladies' play, and one of the cricketers, a certain officer who fancied himself more than a little, remarked that if any lady could beat him he would break his racket and never play again "Oh!" said our host, who was a humorous person and saw the chance of some fun, "there is a lady here I will back against you for a modest wager!" The gallant captain, not knowing the lady champion was present, and in any case being perfectly confident of his power to beat one of the fair sex, champion or not, instantly accepted the challenge. Next morning a court was marked out on the cricket ground and the match was played, the lady winning three straight sets, 6-0, 6-0, 6-0!

The Hamburg tournament generally precedes Homburg, and is held on the excellent sand courts of the Uhlenhorst Club, and presided over by that most genial of sportsmen, Herr von der Meden, who, I need hardly say, gives the warmest of welcomes to any English competitor. The "gallery" is not as large as we are accustomed to see at most of our home meetings, as the general public is not admitted to the grounds, but what it lacks in size it amply makes up for in enthusiasm, as practically all the spectators are players themselves, and thoroughly appreciate the niceties of the game — to my mind the sine qua of an audience. This tournament, for some reason or other, fell through for a year or two, but was revived again last season, and it is to be hoped that it will not again be allowed to lapse, as it is one of the most enjoyable of meetings, and deserves the support and encouragement of everyone keen on the game.

So enormous has been the growth of foreign play during the last few years it would be quite outside the scope of this article to describe in detail one half of the courts and tournaments scattered far and wide through- out the length and breadth of the Continent..." (E. Wallis Myers 1903)


Thanks very much - I love Tennis history!

Borgforever
06-19-2009, 05:32 AM
I must add this before going into Brookes' and the Doherty's records -- "CHARIOTS OF FIRE" is the greatest film about sports ever made...

No sentimentality -- no sugar -- just protein, vitamines and minerals... And carries a "Pancho" Gonzalez knockout cold wallop...

AND (to use !Tym's capitals) it's very entertaining to boot...

See it -- and be inspired to reach your destiny...

Borgforever
06-19-2009, 05:40 AM
I must say this -- I love Fed -- but I don't like wins made above corpses...

Rafa -- I said it for years -- save yourself -- we all know your great -- don't play every tourney and go for every money bag thrown in front of you? You're a retriever, a rare bird, a very rare bird indeed, don't throw it away... Like Borg to a certain extent...

Being a retriever is the most dangerous and rare of all tennis-birds, most suspectible to injuries but also the most effective IMO...

Don't be seduced please...

Borgforever
06-19-2009, 05:59 AM
If Rafael Nadal gives a w/o in R1 at Wimby this year he will be the first, honest to God, No. 1 seeded, defending champion who's done this...

Ever... In 142 (!!!!!!!!) years -- every GS-tourney included (including all semi-GS and probable GS-tourneys)

I love Fed... But if he prevails under these circumstances -- I WILL put an asterisk next to his victory...

His greatest nemesis -- out of both RG and Wimby because of injury...

Great 2009...

Yeah right...

pc1
06-19-2009, 06:06 AM
If Rafael Nadal gives a w/o in R1 at Wimby this year he will be the first, honest to God, No. 1 seeded, defending champion who's done this...

Ever...

I love Fed... But if he prevails under these circumstances -- I WILL put an asterisk next to his victory...

His greatest nemesis -- out of both RG and Wimby because of injury...

Great 2009...

Yeah right...

Problem with Rafa is that I while I think he's really fast, he tends to take very heavy footsteps. He's not light footed and I think it hurts him physically, especially during the hard court season.

Federer is perhaps not quite as fast but he is more light footed than Nadal and it helps him over the course of a year.

Federer has proclaimed himself as the favorite for Wimbledon. That disturbs me. You should have confidence of course but that to me is a bit classless to say that.

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/31167787/

I may agree with him however but I do think Murray has a great chance against him and everyone.

Borgforever
06-19-2009, 06:18 AM
As I've done before -- I agree with everything you say... Still...

I hope -- maybe one day in the future .. We disgree... :-)

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 08:59 AM
I’ve tried to be as brief as possible with all this info (because of my unavoidable time-limits) but I very much welcome any input as regards to the Dohertys playing style or anything else about this era that I’ve, maybe, been too brief about. Maybe pc1 has nit-pickings?

As many of you know I’ve had an in-depth discussion with someone who had a similar debate with Sir Norman Brookes -- 1877-1968 -- some fifty years ago. I can’t go into everything here right now but I’ll touch upon as much as I can and try to write this as a summary since I didn’t get any direct quotes from Mr. Brookes, just my friends version of the conversation they had long ago.

The discussion lasted about two hours and centred around the GOAT-issue according to Brookes personal views and experiences in general and his own era in the early 1900s in particular. Now, these views by Brookes were expressed some fifty years after the events happened and no film-footage exists of this era as we know of -- so Mr. Brookes only had his memories from half a century away to rely upon in forming his opinion, always a risky and unreliable method. Add to this that my friend sits in the same position as Mr. Brookes regarding this – just out of his own memory he relates to me a details from a discussion that occurred so many years ago without any additional devices (like a tape-recorder as back-up). He did however write down several things from this meeting a day later.

The over 80-year-old Mr. Brookes seemed clear-minded and talkative during the chat and to save time I use NB instead of his full name in the following summary.

On the question who the GOAT was according to him NB said that during the last few years (of the 50s) his perspective on the GOAT-issue had become more complex. NB thought that before he had pretty much done what everyone else had done up until that time – namely just put the latest modern player with giant success as the GOAT, i. e. when Tilden came around, he became the GOAT and then came Vines with his ultimate power-game and he entered the top-spot and then Budge arrived with his amazingly consistent backhand and he earned a high-spot (maybe not the top but close) and so forth. The old guard still had positions on his list but he had generally gone for “the new, fresh contender”. But in the late 50s he became increasingly suspicious of such views.

NB said that in tennis you only try to overcome the specific obstacle that’s placed in front of you and nothing else. To make a long story short, if Tony Wilding or Tilden were your opponent you adapt your game towards their strengths and weaknessess so no one can really know how you would’ve performed against Budge’s backhand and his game-style since you never really faced him or anyone close to his particular style. So he became less impressed with new novelty shots, like Budge’s backhand and rated versatility and competitive skill higher than anything uniquely spectacular in their arsenal of shots.

Previously NB had very high thoughts of Lawrence Doherty but thought he was surpassed by first Tilden and then later by several others but had now become more hesitant and nuanced in his views on this subject. He was finding himself, as he got older and older, to be more on the fence on who was the greatest and that the main candidates changed for him without anybody establishing a clear supremacy in his opinions for a longer time-span.

On a direct question regarding Lawrence Doherty and what he thought about his chances to be the GOAT NB said that that could very well be the truth -- although he wasn’t certain at all. NB said that the more he thought about it Lawrence Doherty rose in his estimation mainly because of what he thought was H. L.’s first-class competitive skill.

Now, after all these years after their famous showdown in 1905 he revealed that he didn’t think he was playing any worse in 1905 in the Challenge Round against H. L. than he did against Gore in 1907 or later (contrary to E. Wallis Myers). He thought both Tilden and H. L. had limitless adaptability, court-coverage and competitive skill.

He thought he played his best tennis in the first set and a half (just as good as he played in 1907 at Wimby, against Wilding in 1914 and against McLoughlin in the Davis Cup 1914) and H. L. (who had never even confronted the exact playing style that NB was an exponent of) just treated him like he played against Brookes his entire life. He rarely saw anybody return his cannonball, leftie serve (even his most tricky spins) the way H. L. did that day really making NB look worse than he actually was. He said he was a bit tired in the end of the second since H. L. had made him run even more than Sidney Smith had in the All Comers Final but he focused in the third but still to no avail.

H. L. won 8-6, 6-2, 6-4...

NB also added that a few weeks later he actually beat H. L. in straight sets (a score which we actually have) but during that match H. L. was really not himself, having stomach-pains, coughed blood during a change-over which made NB implore H. L. to stop the match. A suggestion H. L. dismissed. A few games later the match was over anyway but it was clear to NB that H. L. career was very near his end.

NB also added that Gore and several others had said that H. L. was at his peak (and most healthy) 1902-03 when he could compete in many matches in a row without losing any vigour and that H. L.’s quality had dropped off in relation to his worsening condition – which NB added was very similar to R. F.’s: coughing, stomach-aches and severe loss of breath. NB said he didn’t see any of this in the 1905 Wimby-final but in their second meeting (planned just as fun exxo to begin with) H. L. had played around 10 tough matches in-between (including doubles-matches) and his physique had gone the way Nadal’s have gone today and H. L. wasn’t recognizable to NB in their second match-up -- NB didn't give a score but we now know H. L. went down to the tune of 6-4, 6-2...

All in all NB knew he didn’t face the best H. L. in 1905 and still got severely beaten by a man in a way he’d never been before by a man supposedly on the downward slope of his career who hadn’t even faced NB’s unique style play before and it was of course a shock.

It was very hard to define H. L. according to NB since he was so allround and was such a deft general – in NB’s opinion only matched by Tilden as a competitor and to a certain extent Wilding at his best. During their conversation NB deflected any specific GOAT-ranking with the words that it would change in a few months anyway but that H. L. definitely was in the running as GOAT – more now in NB’s later years than before.

NB talked a lot about Wilding, Gore, Smith, Maurice McLoughlin and Bill Tilden as well but I’m focusing on H. L. here. NB also said that while H. L.’s style wasn’t as explosive most of the time in his shots as R. F. (whom he saw in doubles and in practice with his brother) or Tilden but seemed much more of the master tactician that punctuated the points with winners when it was absolutely right to do so and never relied upon over-powering his opponent by an avalanche of winners.

He added that when NB started to get back into their match in the third set in 1905 H. L. for the first time in the match struck several cold winners that murdered the match and quickly silenced NB’s massive efforts to turn the match around – so everything in H. L.’s game was very calculated but at the same time very unpredictable. According to NB H. L. was quicker in changing his playing style according to the circumstances than anybody he'd ever seen -- including Tilden -- and this fact made H. L. practically impossible to try and anticipate. H. L.'s disguise on his shots were as great as Tilden -- neither more nor less NB thought.

I can’t go into everything here – I still got several more things to post about this but he -- NB -- also said that if you had H. L. and Tilden playing beside each other on two courts “Big Bill” would immediately strike everyone as the more spectacular player since Tilden were taller and went more for his shots -- but that was just a deceptive illusion, according to NB, since he, NB, was also considered an extremely spectacular player with his bomb of a serve and great volley-attack and that didn’t help at all against an H. L. in decline back in 1905.

Most of these points made by NB here in this discussion with my friend really increased my fascination to research this era even further to see if I could verify or find out things that backed up NB views. I think did. But many things still lie enshrouded in misty mystery…

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 09:28 AM
Apropos lobs in another thread -- according to my friend Norman Brookes was impressed for years by H. L.'s numerous, precision lobs against him in 1905 (which took him by complete surprise since he had a great smash and no one dared before). I got no info on the type of spin H. L. employed on these lobs but Mr. Brookes considered H. L. to have the most stunning lob-skill he'd ever seen until he saw Henri Cochet in the late 1920s and, according to Mr. Brookes again, that he'd never seen anybody so talented at throwing great, strange and effective lobs as Cochet...

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 11:25 AM
Forgot to mention this -- Sir Norman Brookes also stated that the two most spectacular players during his active time as player was by far André Gobert (indoors) and Maurice McLoughlin, who most of us know beat Brookes in their famous match in the Davis Cup-final in 1914.

Brookes was famous for being a very punishing S&V-player with a thunderbolt of a serve but according to witnesses this match -- which the "California Comet" won 17-15, 6-3, 6-3 -- had the finest tennis ever seen up until that date.

If Brookes was resembled John McEnroe with a great "south-paw" service and deadly net-game Maurice was Mac of 1984 that day. Difference was that McLoughlin had finer groundies than Mac -- according to sources -- but he was also a little erratic in his level...

André Gobert was another McEnroe-clone (excuse my simple generalizations) who was decidedly most comfy indoors were he got instant pay-offs on his rifle-serves and acrobatic volleys...

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 11:53 AM
Now time for the updated records.

NOTE: I will not point out very addition I've made. I don't have the time now but a few things I will detail...

First off -- the great, allround Harold Mahony has an underrated record, he not only won Wimby in style over one of the eras toughest competitors, Baddeley, he also beat almost every really dominant player from early 1880s to WWI at Wimby (save for Pim -- his nemesis) before he dropped off is bike and left the planet -- from Ernest Renshaw to both R. F. and H. L. to even Anthony Wilding in 1904 (Mahony's last year).

E. Wallis Myers misses this fact in his fine book about Tony:

1893 The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G):
1: William Renshaw gives a walkover to Ernest Renshaw
2: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) – Ernest Renshaw (BRI-G) 1-6, 7-5, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3

to:

1904 The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G):
R1 Wilding vs. A. D. Prebble 2-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
R2 Harold Mahony vs. Wilding 4-6, 6-4, 11-9, 6-1

Furthermore -- one of the results I added was the debut of R. F. which occurred in 1894 -- not 1895. Remember the Dohertys where at Cambridge still (R. F. being already 22 years old -- no baby -- and probably a top 20 player even then) but he went down against the fine player Clement Cazalet, who like Mahony beat both the Dohertys at Wimby (when they were new on the scene) and that's no small feat in any which way you look at it.

Clement Cazalet was an immensely talented S&V'er but he didn't practice with the devotion and fire like the absolutely great players so he usually hovered around the top 20. It says something about this age that already in R1 you could face such tough opponents.

Please note that in the year 1898 H. L. gives w/o to his brother at many key stages PLUS that if you study H. L.'s scores against the closest rivals he beats them with a wider margin than R. F. plus that R. F. has really severe losses on his record this year -- really putting his No. 1-spot on unstable ground.

In 1899 we see that H. L. is almost totally absent -- and what happens?

1899 is, by far, R. F.'s strongest year (his 1903) winning six titles in all. But he's never really that dominating even in his wins.

I don't know why H. L. is absent this year. It's weird since H. L. probably could've been No. 1 in 1898 at 23 years of age. But the usual behaviour during this time was to give w/o to the older brother if he was the holder.

H. L. gave many, many victories to his brother this way. And I share the view that when the Challenge Round was applied (like it was in a lot of tourneys in this era) it could sometimes be even more difficult than playing through the field -- I think in R. F.'s case he benefitted something tremendous from this circumstance since his stamina and health for several matches (as you can see in these records) was limited. R. F. was lucky in the draws -- usually getting a few w/o...

But before I unleash my udated -- but still incomplete records I will post two articles that proves that this era was filled with athletic and psychological achievements that maybe never been surpassed.

One I posted before -- about Jim Thorpe...

The other -- about another guy I greatly admire and always find inspiration from -- Ernest Shackleton...

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 11:57 AM
ERNEST SHACKLETON (1874-1922)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Shackleton

"Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton CVO OBE, (15 February 1874 – 5 January 1922) was an Anglo-Irish explorer who was one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. His first experience of the polar regions was as third officer on Captain Scott’s Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, from which he was sent home early on health grounds. Determined to make amends for this perceived personal failure, he returned to Antarctica in 1907 as leader of the Nimrod Expedition. In January 1909 he and three companions made a southern march which established a record Farthest South latitude at 88°23'S, 97 geographical miles (114 statute miles, 190 km) from the South Pole, by far the closest convergence in exploration history up to that time. For this achievement, Shackleton was knighted by King Edward VII on his return home.

After the race to the South Pole ended in 1912 with Roald Amundsen's conquest, Shackleton turned his attention to what he said was the one remaining great object of Antarctic journeying—the crossing of the continent from sea to sea, via the pole. To this end he made preparations for what became the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914–17. Disaster struck this expedition when its ship, Endurance, was trapped in pack ice and slowly crushed, before the shore parties could be landed. There followed a sequence of exploits, and an ultimate escape with no lives lost, that would eventually assure Shackleton's heroic status, although this was not immediately evident.[1] In 1921 he went back to the Antarctic with the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition, intending to carry out a programme of scientific and survey activities. Before the expedition could begin this work Shackleton died of a heart attack while his ship, Quest, was moored in South Georgia. At his wife's request he was buried there.

Shackleton published details of his new expedition, grandly titled the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, early in 1914. Two ships would be employed; Endurance would carry the main party into the Weddell Sea, aiming for Vahsel Bay from where a team of six, led by Shackleton, would begin the crossing of the continent. Meanwhile a second ship, the Aurora, would take a supporting party under Captain Aeneas Mackintosh to McMurdo Sound on the opposite side of the continent. This party would then lay supply depots across the Great Ice Barrier as far as the Beardmore Glacier, these depots holding the food and fuel that would enable Shackleton's party to complete their journey of 1,800 miles (2,900 km) across the continent.[72]

Shackleton used his considerable fund-raising skills, and the expedition was financed largely by private donations, although the British government gave Ł10,000 (about Ł680,000 in 2008 terms). Scottish jute magnate Sir James Caird gave Ł24,000, Midlands industrialist Sir Dudley Docker gave Ł10,000 and tobacco heiress Janet Stancomb-Wills gave an undisclosed but reportedly "generous" sum.[73] Public interest in the expedition was considerable; Shackleton received more than 5,000 applications to join it.[74] His interviewing and selection methods sometimes seemed eccentric; believing that character and temperament were as important as technical ability,[75] he would ask unconventional questions. Thus physicist Reginald James was asked if he could sing;[76] others were accepted on sight because Shackleton liked the look of them, or after the briefest of interrogations.[76] Shackleton also loosened some traditional hierarchies, expecting all men, including the scientists, to take their share of ship's chores."

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 11:57 AM
CONT'D

"Despite the outbreak of the First World War on 3 August 1914, Endurance was directed by the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, to "proceed", and left British waters on 8 August. Shackleton delayed his own departure until 27 September, meeting the ship in Buenos Aires.

Endurance departed from South Georgia for the Weddell Sea on 5 December, heading for Vahsel Bay. As the ship moved southward, early ice was encountered, which slowed progress. Deep in the Weddell Sea conditions gradually grew worse until, on 19 January 1915, Endurance became frozen fast in an ice floe. On 24 February, realising that she would be trapped until the following spring, Shackleton ordered the abandonment of ship's routine and her conversion to a winter station.[81] She drifted slowly northward with the ice through the following months. When spring arrived in September the breaking of the ice and its subsequent movements put extreme pressures on the ship's hull.

Until this point Shackleton had hoped that the ship, when freed from the ice, could work her way back towards Vahsel Bay. On 24 October, however, water began pouring in. After a few days, with the position at 69°05'S, 51°30'W, Shackleton gave the order to abandon ship; and men, provisions and equipment were transferred to camps on the ice.[83] On 21 November 1915, the wreck finally slipped beneath the surface.

For almost two months Shackleton and his party camped on a large, flat floe, hoping that it would drift towards Paulet Island, approximately 250 miles (402 km) away, where it was known that stores were cached.[85] After failed attempts to march across the ice to this island, Shackleton decided to set up another more permanent camp (Patience Camp) on another floe, and trust to the drift of the ice to take them towards a safe landing.[86] By 17 March their ice camp was within 60 miles (97 km) of Paulet Island[87] but, separated by impassable ice, they were unable to reach it. On 9 April their ice floe broke into two, and Shackleton ordered the crew into the lifeboats, to head for the nearest land.[88] After five harrowing days at sea the exhausted men landed their three lifeboats at Elephant Island.[89] Shackleton's concern for his men was such that he gave his mittens to photographer Frank Hurley, who had lost his during the boat journey. Shackleton suffered frostbitten fingers as a result.

Elephant Island was an inhospitable place, far from any shipping routes. Consequently, Shackleton decided to risk an open-boat journey to the distant South Georgia whaling stations, where he knew help was available.[91] The strongest of the lifeboats, christened James Caird after the expedition's chief sponsor, was chosen for the trip.[91] Ship's carpenter Harry McNish made various improvements, including raising the sides, strengthening the keel, building a makeshift deck of wood and canvas, and sealing the work with oil paint and seal blood.[91] Shackleton chose five companions for the journey: Frank Worsley, Endurance's captain, who would be responsible for navigation; Tom Crean, who had "begged to go"; two strong sailors in John Vincent and Timothy McCarthy, and finally the carpenter McNish.[91] Shackleton had clashed with McNish during the time when the party was stranded on the ice but, while he would not forgive the carpenter's earlier insubordination, Shackleton recognised his value for this particular job.[92]

Shackleton refused to pack supplies for more than four weeks, knowing that if they did not reach South Georgia within that time, the boat and its crew would be lost.[93] The James Caird was launched on 24 April 1916; during the next fifteen days it sailed through the waters of the southern ocean, at the mercy of the stormy seas, in constant peril of capsizing. On 8 May, due to Worsley's navigational skills, the cliffs of South Georgia came into sight, but hurricane-force winds prevented the possibility of landing. The party were forced to ride out the storm offshore, in constant danger of being dashed against the rocks. They would later learn that the same hurricane had sunk a 500-ton steamer bound for South Georgia from Buenos Aires.[94] On the following day they were able, finally, to land on the unoccupied southern shore. After a period of rest and recuperation, rather than risk putting to sea again to reach the whaling stations on the northern coast, Shackleton decided to attempt a land crossing of the island. Although it is likely that Norwegian whalers had previously crossed at other points on ski, no one had attempted this particular route before.[95] Leaving McNish, Vincent and McCarthy at the landing point on South Georgia, Shackleton travelled with Worsley and Crean over mountainous terrain for 36 hours to reach the whaling station at Stromness.[96]

The next successful crossing of South Georgia was in October 1955, by the British explorer Duncan Carse, who travelled much of the same route as Shackleton's party. In tribute to their achievement he wrote: "I do not know how they did it, except that they had to—three men of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration with 50 feet of rope between them—and a carpenter's adze".

"All Safe, All Well", allegedly depicting Shackleton's return to Elephant Island, August 1916. However, a photograph of the departure of the James Caird in April was doctored by photographer Frank Hurley to create this image.[98]
Shackleton immediately sent a boat to pick up the three men from the other side of South Georgia while he set to work to organise the rescue of the Elephant Island men. His first three attempts were foiled by sea ice, which blocked the approaches to the island. He appealed to the Chilean government, which offered the use of Yelcho, a small seagoing tug from its navy. Yelcho reached Elephant Island on 30 August, and Shackleton quickly evacuated all 22 men.[99]

There remained the men of the Ross Sea Party, who were stranded at Cape Evans in McMurdo Sound, after Aurora had been blown from its anchorage and driven out to sea, unable to return. The ship, after a drift of many months, had returned to New Zealand. Shackleton travelled there to join Aurora, and sailed with her to the rescue of the Ross Sea party. This group, despite many hardships, had carried out its depot-laying mission to the full, but three lives had been lost, including that of its commander, Aeneas Mackintosh."

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 11:59 AM
JIM THORPE

"Jacobus Franciscus "Jim" Thorpe (Sac and Fox (Sauk): Wa-Tho-Huk) (28 May, 1888 – 28 March, 1953)[1] was an American athlete. Considered one of the most versatile athletes in modern sports, he won Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, played American football at the collegiate and professional levels, and also played professional baseball and basketball. He lost his Olympic titles after it was found he was paid for playing two seasons of Semi-Pro Baseball before competing in the games, thus violating the amateur status rules.

Thorpe was Native American Indian and European American. Raised in the Sac and Fox nation in Oklahoma, he was named Wa-Tho-Huk, roughly translated as "Bright Path". He played on several All-American Indian teams throughout his career, and barnstormed as a professional basketball player with a team composed entirely of Native Americans.

In 1950, Thorpe was named the greatest athlete of the first half of the twentieth century by the Associated Press (AP). In 1999, he was ranked third on the AP list of top athletes of the 20th century.

His professional sports career ended in the years of the Great Depression, and Thorpe struggled to earn a living. He worked several odd jobs, struggled with alcoholism, and lived out the last years of his life in failing health and poverty. In 1983, thirty years after his death, the International Olympic Commission (IOC) restored his Olympic medals to his name.

For the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, two new multi-event disciplines were on the program, the pentathlon and the decathlon. A pentathlon based on the ancient Greek event had been organized at the 1906 Summer Olympics. The 1912 edition would consist of the long jump, the javelin throw, 200-meter dash, the discus throw and the 1500-meter run.

The decathlon was an entirely new event in athletics, although it had been competed in American track meets since the 1880s and a version had been featured on the program of the 1904 St. Louis Olympics. The events of the new decathlon were slightly different from the U.S. version. Both events seemed a fit for Thorpe, who was so versatile that he alone had formed Carlisle's team in several track meets.[3] He could run the 100-yard dash in 10 seconds flat, the 220 in 21.8 seconds, the 440 in 51.8 seconds, the 880 in 1:57, the mile in 4:35, the 120-yard high hurdles in 15 seconds, and the 220-yard low hurdles in 24 seconds.[3] He could long jump 23 ft 6 in and high-jump 6 ft 5 in.[3] He could pole vault 11 feet, put the shot 47 ft 9 in, throw the javelin 163 feet, and throw the discus 136 feet.[3]

Thorpe entered the U.S. Olympic trials for both the pentathlon and the decathlon. He easily won the awards, winning three events, and was named to the pentathlon team, which also included future International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Avery Brundage. There were only a few candidates for the decathlon team, and the trials were cancelled.

Thorpe would contest his first—and, as it turned out, only—decathlon in the Olympics. Thorpe's Olympic record of 8,413 points would stand for nearly two decades.[9]

Thorpe's competition schedule for the Olympics was crowded. Along with the decathlon and pentathlon, he entered the long-jump and high-jump competitions. The first event scheduled was the pentathlon. Thorpe was the class of the field, winning four events. He placed only third in the javelin, an event he had not competed in before 1912. Although the competition was primarily decided on place points, points were also calculated for the marks achieved in the events. He won the gold medal for the pentathlon.

The same day, Thorpe qualified for the high-jump final. In that final, he placed fourth and took seventh place in the long jump. Thorpe's final event was the decathlon, where tough competition from local favorite Hugo Wieslander was expected. Thorpe, however, also easily defeated Wieslander, finishing nearly 700 points ahead of him. He placed in the top four of all ten events. Overall, Thorpe won eight of the two competitions' 15 individual events.[8]

As was the custom of the day, the medals were presented to the athletes during the closing ceremonies of the games. Along with the two gold medals, Thorpe also received two challenge prizes, which were donated by King Gustav V of Sweden for the decathlon and Czar Nicholas II of Russia for the pentathlon. Several sources recount that, when awarding Thorpe his prize, King Gustav said, "You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world," to which Thorpe replied, "Thanks, King."[15][16](See Sportsperson.)

Thorpe's successes had not gone unnoticed at home, and he was honored with a ticker-tape parade on Broadway.[15] He later remembered: "I heard people yelling my name, and I couldn't realize how one fellow could have so many friends."[15]

Apart from his track and field appearance, Thorpe also played in one of two exhibition baseball matches held at the 1912 Olympics, which featured two teams made up of U.S. track and field athletes. It was not Thorpe's first try at baseball, as would soon become known to the rest of the world.


[edit]Controversy
In 1913, strict rules regarding amateurism were in force for athletes participating in the Olympics. Athletes who received money prizes for competitions, who were sports teachers, or who had previously competed against professionals, were not considered amateurs and were not allowed to compete in the Olympics.

In late January 1913, U.S. newspapers published stories announcing that Thorpe had played professional baseball. It is not entirely certain which newspaper first published the story; the earliest article found is from the Providence Times, but the Worcester Telegram is usually mentioned as the first.[15] Thorpe had indeed played professional baseball in the Eastern Carolina League for Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in 1909 and 1910, receiving meager pay; reportedly as little as $2 a game and as much as $35 a week.[17] College players, in fact, regularly spent summers playing professionally, but most, as opposed to Thorpe, used aliases.[8]

Although the public did not seem to care much about Thorpe's past,[18] the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), and especially its secretary James E. Sullivan, took the case very seriously.[19] Thorpe wrote a letter to Sullivan, in which he admitted playing professional baseball:[15]

“ ...I hope I will be partly excused by the fact that I was simply an Indian schoolboy and did not know all about such things. In fact, I did not know that I was doing wrong, because I was doing what I knew several other college men had done, except that they did not use their own names.... ”
His letter did not help. The AAU decided to retroactively withdraw Thorpe's amateur status and asked the International Olympic Commission (IOC) to do the same. Later that year, the IOC unanimously decided to strip Thorpe of his Olympic titles, medals, and awards and declared him a professional.

Although Thorpe had played for money, the AAU and IOC did not follow the rules for disqualification. The rulebook for the 1912 Olympics stated that protests had to be made within 30 days from the closing ceremonies of the games.[13] The first newspaper reports didn't appear until January 1913, about six months after the Stockholm Games had concluded.[13] However, AAU and IOC officials were ignorant of this rule or chose to ignore it. There also is some evidence that Thorpe's amateur status had been questioned long before the Olympics, but the AAU had looked past the issue until being confronted with it in 1913.

The only positive side to this affair for Thorpe was that, as soon as the news got out that he had been declared a professional, offers came in from professional clubs."

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 12:08 PM
1894

? 1894
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G):
1: Clement Cazalet (BRI-G) – R. F. Doherty (BRI-G) 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3

1895

? 1895
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G):
1: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – N. A. Nisbet (BRI-G) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4
2: Herbert Baddeley (BRI-G) – R. F. Doherty (BRI-G) 6-4, 6-2, 6-4

Aug 11 1895 Probably Aug 10
Exmouth BRI (G):
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Harry Barlow (BRI-G) 7-5 4-6 6-4 6-2

Aug 25 1895
Scottish Championships, Moffat BRI (G) (Aug 24 in Károly’s previous edition):
C: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – R. Watson (BRI-G) 6-1 6-1 6-1

1896

May 31 1896
Irish Championships, Dublin BRI (G) (May 30 in Károly’s previous edition):
2: Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) - Bill Larned (USA) 6-4 7-5 6-3
Q: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-2 6-2 6-4
Q: Wilfred Baddeley (BRI-G) - Herbert Baddeley (BRI-G) walkover
S: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) 13-11 3-1 (retired)
S: Wilfred Baddeley (BRI-G) - H. Chapman (BRI-G) 6-4 6-1 6-4
F: Wilfred Baddeley (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-1 6-2 3-6 6-3
C: not played

Jun 28 1896 (Jun 27 in Károly’s previous edition)
London Championships, Queen’s Club BRI (G):
2: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Bill Larned (USA) 6-4 7-5 6-2
S: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-3 4-6 6-2 2-6 10-8
F: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 11-9 6-4 6-4

Jul 20 1896
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G):
1: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-3 5-7 6-1 3-6 6-2
1: Clement Cazalet (BRI-G) – Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5
Q: Herbert Baddeley (BRI-G) - Bill Larned (USA) 3-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-3
S: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Harold Nisbet (BRI-G) 6-4 2-6 8-6 4-6 6-3
S: Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) - Herbert Baddeley (BRI-G) 6-4 6-3 6-4
F: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) 6-2 6-2 11-9
C: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Wilfred Baddeley (BRI-G) 6-2 6-8 5-7 8-6 6-3
D: H. Baddeley (BRI-G) / W. Baddeley (BRI-G)

Since Laurie lost early he qualified and entered the "PLATE TOURNEY" for the losers in the R1 and R2 (this Plate-idea was also some kind of construction before the seeding system arrived in 1927 -- the point being that the great players having bad luck and losing early could still display their skills in a consolation championship) and Laurie reached the finals against another multiple Wimby-champion Arthur Gore)

Wimbledon Plate-final 1896:
Arthur Gore d. Laurie Doherty 1-6, 6-2, 7-5

Aug 16 1896 (Aug 15 in Károly’s previous edition)
Scottish Championships, Moffat BRI (G):
C: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – Edward Allen (BRI-G) 13-11 6-4

Aug 30 1896 (Aug 29 in Károly’s previous edition for both tournaments below)
Homburg Cup, Bad Homburg GER (C):
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Manliffe Goodbody (BRI-I) 6-0 4-6 6-2 6-1

Sep 20 1896 (Sep 12 in Károly’s previous edition)
Sussex Championships, Brighton BRI (G):
F: Wilfred Baddeley (BRI-G) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-1 6-2 6-3

1897

Mar 10 1897
Monte Carlo MON (C):
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – R. Blackwood-Price (BRI-G) 6-2 6-1 6-2

Apr 11 1897 (Apr 10 in Károly’s previous edition)
British Covered Court Championships, London BRI (I):
Q: Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 11-9 6-1 6-4
S: Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 12-10 6-2 6-4
F: Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-3 6-3 6-0
C: Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) - Ernest Lewis (BRI-G) 6-3 6-3 7-5

May 30 1897 (May 29 in Károly’s previous edition)
Irish Championships, Dublin BRI (G):
S: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 8-6 6-3 7-9 2-6 7-5
S: Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 6-3 7-5 9-7
F: Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-2
C: Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) - Wilfred Baddeley (BRI-G) 1-6 2-6 8-6 6-2 6-3
D: H. Baddeley (BRI-G) / W. Baddeley (BRI-G)

Jun 20 1897
Northern England Championships, Manchester BRI (G) (Jun 19 in Károly’s previous edition):
F: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Sydney Smith (BRI-G) 6-3 6-3 6-2
C: Wilfred Baddeley (BRI-G) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-2 7-5 2-6 6-0


Jul 4 1897
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G): (Jun 30)
R2: Wilfred Baddeley (BRI-G) - Harold Nisbet (BRI-G) 6-2 6-2 7-5
QF: Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) - George Greville (BRI-G) 6-1 6-2 8-10 6-0
SF: Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 6-2 5-7 1-6 6-2 6-1
R1: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Herbert Baddeley 6-4, 6-4, 8-6
R2: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – A. E. Crawley 6-0, 6-2, 7-5
QF: Wilfred Baddeley (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-4 6-2 6-2
R1: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – George Simond 11-9, 1-6 6-4, 6-3
R2: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – G. Milne 6-2, 6-1, 9-7
QF: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – Frank Riseley w/o
SF: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Wilfred Baddeley (BRI-G) 6-3 6-0 6-3
F: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) 6-3 7-5 2-0 (retired exhausted)
C: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-4 6-4 6-3
D: The Dohertys (BRI-G) – The Baddeleys (BRI-G) 6-4 4-6 8-6 6-4

ENG-IRL 5-1 in singles, 9-0 in doubles, London (G): (Jul 2)
Harold Mahony (IRL) - Reggie Doherty (ENG) 8-10 6-4 6-4 6-1
Laurie Doherty (ENG) - George Ball-Greene (IRL) 6-3 0-6 6-3 6-4
George Greville (ENG) - Charles Martin (IRL) 6-3 6-3 6-3
Wilfred Baddeley (ENG) - Manliffe Goodbody (IRL) 6-3 0-6 6-3 6-4
Herbert Baddeley (ENG) - J. F. Martin (IRL) 6-0 6-1 6-4
Harold Nisbet (ENG) - R. M. Clifford (IRL) 9-7 6-4 2-6 7-5

Jul 18 1897 (Jul 17 in Károly’s previous edition for both tournaments below)
London Championships, Queen’s Club grass BRI (G):
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 6-2 6-2 6-2

Aug 8 1897 (Aug 6 in Károly’s previous edition)
Scottish Championships, Moffat BRI (G) (Aug 7 in Károly’s previous edition):
C: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) walkover
(Laurie retires to his brother)

Homburg Cup, Bad Homburg GER (C) (Aug 29 as in Károly’s previous edition):
F: George Hillyard (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-3 7-5
C: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - George Hillyard (BRI-G) walkover
(because of constant rain)

Sep 19 1897 (Sep 18 in Károly’s previous edition)
South of England Championships, Eastbourne BRI (G):
F: Joshua Pim (BRI-I) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 3-6 6-3 7-5 6-3

1898

Apr 21 1898
Monte Carlo MON (C):
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – Count Victor Voss (GER) 4-6 6-3 6-3 4-0 (retired)

Apr 24 1898
British Covered Court Championships, London BRI (I) (Apr 23 in Károly’s previous edition):
C: Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-4 7-5 6-3

May 29 1898 (May 28 in Károly’s previous edition)
Irish Championships, Dublin BRI (G):
2: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 6-2 7-5 6-4
S: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) walkover
S: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - John Boucher (BRI-G) 6-0 6-4 4-6 6-1
F: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-3 8-6 6-3
C: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) 6-1 5-7 9-7 8-6
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)


Jun 19 1898 (Jun 18 in Károly’s previous edition)
Northern England Championships, Liverpool BRI (G):
Q: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 3-6 6-2 6-2 (retired to concentrate on the doubles)
S: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 0-6 1-6 6-2 6-2 11-9
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Clarence Hobart (USA) 6-1 6-1 8-6

Jun 26 1898
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G): (Jun 27)
Q: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 4-6 6-0 4-6 6-3 7-5
S: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-2 3-6 4-6 6-2 6-4
2: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - George Hillyard (BRI-G) 6-1 6-3 6-1
3: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Herbert Roper-Barrett 6-1, 6-4, 6-1
Q: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – J. M. Flavelle 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0
S: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Clarence Hobart (USA) 6-1, 6-4, 6-3
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-1, 6-2, 4-6, 2-6, 14-12
C: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)

Jul 17 1898
London Championships, Queen’s Club BRI (G) (Jul 16 in Károly’s previous edition):
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-3 6-4 9-7

Aug 7 1898 (Aug 6 in Károly’s previous edition)
Scottish Championships, Moffat BRI (G):
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) walkover
(Reggie retires to his brother)

Aug 21 1898
Homburg Cup, Bad Homburg GER (C) (Aug 22 in Károly’s previous edition):
S: Joshua Pim (BRI-I) – Count Victor Voss (GER) 3-6 6-1 4-1 (retired)
S: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-3 6-2
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Joshua Pim (BRI-I) 6-4 6-4 6-4
C: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) walkover
(exhibition match: Pim - R. Doherty 4-6 7-5 7-5)

German Championships, Bad Homburg GER (C) (Aug 20 in Károly’s previous edition):
F: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Joshua Pim (BRI-I) 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-4
(both Doherty brothers give a walkover in the semis)

Sep 18 1898 (Sep 17 in Károly’s previous edition)
South of England Championships, Eastbourne BRI (G):
F: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-3 2-6 8-6 7-5

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 12:11 PM
1899

Mar 19 1899
South of France Championships, Place Mozart, Nice FRA (C):
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – Count Victor Voss (GER) 6-0 6-0 6-0
Károly is adamant that Reggie (and not Laurie as recorded in every Annual of the time
as Ayres’ or Lowe’s or …) won the South of France champ at Nice in 1899

? 1899
Pro-amateur exhibition, Riviera? (C):
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Thomas Burke (BRI-I) 6-0 6-1 6-1

Apr 9 1899 Apr 10 in Sutter’s book
Monte Carlo MON (C):
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – Count Victor Voss (GER) 6-2 (retired)

May 28 1899 (May 27 in Károly’s previous edition)
Irish Championships, Dublin BRI (G):
2: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) – Count Victor Voss (GER) 4-6 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-2
Q: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-2
S: George Ball-Greene (BRI-I) - Frank Riseley (BRI-G) 1-6 0-6 6-4 6-1 6-2
S: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) 6-2 7-5 4-6 6-2
F: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - George Ball-Greene (BRI-I) 6-3 7-5 6-2
C: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-3 6-4 5-7 6-4
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)

Jun 25 1899
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G): (Jun 26)
2: Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) - Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) 6-4 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-4
Q: Herbert Roper Barrett (BRI-G) - Clarence Hobart (USA) 8-6 7-5 6-4
S: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-3 4-6 3-6 7-5 6-1
S: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Herbert Roper Barrett (BRI-G) 2-6 11-9 4-6 8-6 8-6
F: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 3-6 6-1 6-2 6-4
C: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 1-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)

Aug 20 1899
Homburg Cup, Bad Homburg GER (C) (Aug 19 in Károly’s previous edition):
S: Clarence Hobart (USA) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-4 0-6 6-4
S: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 5-7 9-7 6-2
F: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Clarence Hobart (USA) 3-6 4-6 6-0 6-3 6-4
German Championships, Bad Homburg GER (C) (Aug 21 in Károly’s previous edition):
F: Clarence Hobart (USA) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 7-5 6-3 6-0
C: Clarence Hobart (USA) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 8-6 8-10 6-0 6-8 8-6
Championship of Europe, Bad Homburg GER (C) (Aug 22 in Károly’s previous edition):
S: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - Clarence Hobart (USA) 6-4 12-10
F: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) - R. Doherty (BRI-G) walkover

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 12:17 PM
1900

Mar 18 1900
South of France Championships, Place Mozart, Nice FRA (C):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) walkover

Date?
Dinard
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. ?

Apr 1900
Monte Carlo MON (C): no tournament this year according to Károly (though almost all the sources including the Ayres’ Annual, list Laurie Doherty as winner; even Alan Little and Michel Sutter have found no results at all)

May 27 1900 (May 26 in Károly’s previous edition)
Irish Championships, Dublin BRI (G):
S: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - R. Gilbert (BRI-I) 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
S: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - S. Fry (BRI-I) 6-4, 7-5, 6-2
F: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3
C: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-4, 7-5, 7-9, 7-9, 6-3
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)

Jun 17 1900
Kent Championships, Beckenham BRI (G) (Jun 16 in Károly’s previous edition):
F: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-3, 7-5 6-3
C: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-4, 6-4, 6-4

Jul 1 1900
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G): (Jul 3)
1: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Ernest Black (BRI-G) 6-4, 6-8, 3-6, 6-1, 9-7
2: Clement Cazalet (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 7-5, 6-2, 6-8, 8-10, 6-4
S: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Harold Nisbet (BRI-G) 6-0, 6-1, 6-1
2: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – E. S. Wills 6-0, 6-4, 6-1
3: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – A. C. Pearson 6-3, 6-1, 6-3
Q: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – R. J McNair 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
S: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 4-6, 8-6, 8-6, 6-1
F: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
C: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 6-8, 6-3, 6-1, 6-2
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)

Jul 15 1900
Olympic Games - Paris Exhibition, Paris FRA (C) (Jul 12 in Károly’s previous edition): Played on “En terre battue” – red clay
R1: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) – Charles Sands (USA) 6-2, 6-3
QF:Harold Mahony (BRI-I) – bye
SF: Harold Mahony (BRI-I) – Arthur Norris (GBR) 8-6, 6-1
R1: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – E. Durand (FRA) 6-1, 6-3
QF: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – Paul Lecaron (FRA) 6-2, 6-1
R1: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – P. Lebréton (FRA) 6-2, 6-3
QF: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Basil Spalding de Garmendia (USA) 6-2, 8-6
SF: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) w.o.
(Reggie refuses to play his brother
earning an automatic Bronze-medal in the process)
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-4, 6-2, 6-3

Aug 26 1900 (Aug 25 in Károly’s previous edition for both tournaments below)
Homburg Cup, Bad Homburg GER (C):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - George Hillyard (BRI-G) 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2

German Championships, Bad Homburg GER (C):
F: George Hillyard (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) w/o

Sep 16 1900 (Sep 15 in Károly’s previous edition)
South of England Championships, Eastbourne BRI (G):
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 6-4, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1

1901

Mar 17 1901 March 16 according to Sutter
Monte Carlo MON (C):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) 6-2, 5-7, 6-1

Mar 24 1901
South of France Championships, Place Mozart, Nice FRA (C):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) 6-2, 6-3, 6-2

Apr 28 1901 (April 27 in Károly’s previous edition)
British Covered Court Championships, London BRI (I):
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-3, 6-1, 6-1

Jun 2 1901 (Jun 1 in Károly’s previous edition)
Irish Championships, Dublin BRI (G):
1: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) – Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) 6-4, 6-3 7-5
S: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - H. Sweetman (BRI-I) w/o
S: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Neville Durlacher (BRI-G) 6-4, 6-2, 1-0 (retired)
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 6-4, 7-5, 6-4
C: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-4, 4-6
(retired owing to rain)
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)

Jun 16 1901 (Jun 15 in Károly’s previous edition)
Kent Championships, Beckenham BRI (G):
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-1, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4

Jun 30 1901
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G): (Jul 1)
2: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – E. S. Wills 6-1, 6-0, 6-2
3: George Hillyard (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 0-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 LAST LOSS FOR H. L. FOR THREE YEARS AND THREE MONTHS...
Q: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - George Hillyard (BRI-G) 6-1, 2-6, 4-6, 8-6, 6-2
Q: Herbert Roper Barrett (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 7-5, 6-4, 8-6
S: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Herbert Roper Barrett (BRI-G) 8-6, 6-1, 7-5
S: Charles Dixon (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-3, 6-4, 11-9
F: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Charles Dixon (BRI-G) 6-4, 6-0, 6-3
C: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-4
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G) - D. Davis (USA) / H. Ward (USA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 9-7

Aug 18 1901
Derbyshire (and All England ladies’ doubles) Championships, Buxton BRI (G) (Aug 17 in Károly’s previous edition):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - George Hillyard (BRI-G) 6-4, 7-5, 3-6, 6-2

Aug 25 1901
North of England Championships, Scarborough BRI (G) Probably Aug 24:
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Ernest Black (BRI-G) 6-2, 6-1, 6-1

elegos7
06-20-2009, 01:00 PM
Hello Borgforever,

Laurie Doherty was not in good health in 1899 and played only one singles during the British grass-court season (losing a the Iirsh Championships). However, he continued to play doubles with his brother.
Up to this point all of your results are identical with mine.

Thanks for the recollections of Brookes. Did he give a list of players who he considered to be GOAT candidates.

Take your time presenting these results, have a good Wimbledon!

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 01:20 PM
Hey Elegos7 -- yes, the record so far is very close the ones I got from Carlo and you -- except (I don't remember all results exactly that I added) 1894 results, the early rounds for Laurie at Wimby both in 1898 and 1900 (got from AELTC) and the Olympics early rounds (got from THE FIELD) among others.

These above mentioned results I didn't receive at first...

As regards to Brookes ranking I think he made some kind of list in the 40s or early 50s with Laurie Doherty on it. I don't remember directly what it looked like. What struck me when I talked to this guy who had spoken with Sir Norman was that my own views on the subject were very similar -- not clear-cut either. A little kinship thinking. I think Carlo Giovanni Colussi have Brookes' ranking -- but I'm not dead certain. Half-certain only! :-)

So Laurie was really sick in 1899? Must've been the asthma and the stomach right? You have any further details elegos7? Very curious since I didn't have access to any tennis magazines from 1899 so it's a white-spot for me...

Sad also because it's easily R. F.'s strongest season -- with no recorded loss for him and he beat great players -- but of course his brother was absent...

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 01:58 PM
By the way -- elegos7 -- you had the Ayres Yearbooks right? Any comments about R. F.'s 1899 and if so what?

I just want to clarify the ball issue of the age.

Today tennis balls weigh 56.7 - 58.5 grams (2 oz - 2 1/16 oz) and that was set as early as 1880s but many of the early years' flannel-covered balls were hand-made and lost a lot of weight just in transport and Ayres was famous for having even lighter balls. I believe the heavier Slazenger was replacing the Ayres around 1908 and 1909 -- but still that ball had problems keeping it's quality and weight consistently -- and it was still too light...

But in general the ball was became heavier and heavier during the teens -- reaching the ideal more and more -- slowing down the pace of the game in the process...

The temperature was also very important in the storage of the ball -- keeping the quality and standard but the cold, fixed temperature-box (not called fridge) wasn't installed at Wimby until 1930 -- so the match-ball was of varying quality until then...

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 02:09 PM
Quite remarkable to see that Jim Thorpe ran the 100-yard dash in 10 seconds flat and 220 in 21.8 seconds -- even back in 1912...

With clearly inferior practice methods and equipment and almost a total lack of what we today call modern medicine...

One wonders what the hard men back in the day could've done under todays circumstances...

Mind-blowing...

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 02:49 PM
So we see how Laurie is the more successful of the Dohertys in 1900 and 1901 winning more tourneys as well as playing through the field in almost event while his older brother still makes a good result here and there but he's mostly absent these years (from our records that is).

Now we arrive at 1902 -- Laurie's first gala year and part of his absolute peak. R. F. was the one with the privileges in the USO so Laurie had to bow down one last time and R. F. almost made it. One mustn't forget that they played a lot of doubles-matches continously (an aspect I've looked away from here). But Laurie owns 1902. And remember Laurie played and won four indoor tourneys from 1901-03 (this includes the Queens Indoor Fall Edition) and won three indoor tourneys in addition to our records up until succumbing to Ritchie in October 1904...

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 02:50 PM
1902

Mar 9 1902 Mar 7 according to Sutter
Monte Carlo, red clay, MON (C):
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - George Hillyard (BRI-G) 6-4 6-4 6-3
(playing the entire field -- maybe five rounds)

Mar 16 1902
South of France Championships, Place Mozart, Nice, red clay, FRA (C):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) walkover
(both played the preceding six rounds into the final)

Apr 27 1902
British Covered Court Championships (at Queens), London, wood, BRI (I):
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 6-4 6-3 5-7 6-3
(only one match for Laurie in defending the title from the challenger)

Jun 1 1902
Irish Championships, Dublin, grass, BRI (G):
S: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - H. Sweetman (BRI-I) 6-3 8-6 8-6
S: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - R. Sweetman (BRI-I) 6-1 6-0 6-3
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 6-1 6-4 6-1
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) walkover
(Laurie again playing the entire draw -- around 5-6 rounds maybe more)
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)

Jun 15 1902 (Jun 14 in Károly’s previous edition)
Kent Championships, Beckenham, grass, BRI (G): (the challenge round is postponed to Jul 7)
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – George Simond (BRI-G) 6-4 6-0 6-3
(Only one match for Laurie in his defense of the title)

Jun 29 1902
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon, grass, BRI (G): (Jun 30)
Q: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Herbert Roper Barrett (BRI-G) 6-3 6-4 6-3
S: Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-4
2: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – L. R. Hausburg w/o
3: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Frank Riseley 6-4, 6-1, 6-3
Q: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – George Greville 6-1, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
S: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 4-6, 4-6, 8-6, 2-0 (retired exhausted)
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 8-6, 6-3, 7-5
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0
(Laurie playing through the entire draw again)
D: F. Riseley (BRI-G) / S. Smith (BRI-G) - L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)
4-6, 8-6, 6-3, 4-6, 11-9

Aug 10 1902
Davis Cup Challenge Round, USA - BRI 3-2, Brooklyn, grass, NY (G): (Aug 8 ) the singles are played simultaneously
Mal Whitman (USA) - Joshua Pim (BRI-I) 6-1 6-1 1-6 6-0
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Bill Larned (USA) 2-6 3-6 6-3 6-4 6-4
Bill Larned (USA) - Joshua Pim (BRI-I) 6-3 6-2 6-3
Mal Whitman (USA) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-1 7-5 6-4
(D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G) - D. Davis (USA) / H. Ward (USA) 3-6 10-8 6-3 6-4)
(here Laurie -- although being No. 1 was put aside in favor of an out-of-form Pim and the sick R. F. Bad choice in the extreme. Unheard of, in fact)

Aug 31 1902
US Championships (gentlemen), Newport, grass, USA (G): (Aug 27)
R4: Leo Ware (USA) - Joshua Pim (BRI-I) 7-5, 7-5, 6-3
R4: Mal Whitman (USA) - Beals Wright (USA) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5
SF: Mal Whitman (USA) - Bob Huntington (USA) 10-8 4-6 6-1 6-2
R1: Laurie Doherty d. L. Hoyt 6-1, 6-1, 6-1
R2: Laurie Doherty d. Clarence Hobart 6-3, 6-3, 7-5
R3: Laurie Doherty d. R. Stevens 6-1, 4-6, 8-6, 6-1
R4: Laurie Doherty d. H. Allen 6-0, 6-2, 6-0
QF: Laurie Doherty d. Leo Ware 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
R1: Reggie Doherty bye
R2: Reggie Doherty d. J. Davidson 6-0, 6-2, 6-0
R3: Reggie Doherty d. L. Mahan 6-2, 6-0, 6-4
R4: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Bill Clothier (USA) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-2
QF: Reggie Doherty d. L. Waidner w/o
SF: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) w/o
F: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Mal Whitman (USA) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0
C: Bill Larned (USA) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 8-6
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G) - D. Davis (USA) / H. Ward (USA) 11-9 12-10 6-4
(Note how Reggie amazingly got two straight w/o -- lessening the strain considerably but still couldn't keep it up)

Oct 5 1902 (Oct 4 in Károly’s previous edition)
Championship of Europe, London, indoor wood (I):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-1
(Laurie playing through the entire field as usual -- maybe seven rounds)

Then we have 8 singles titles for Laurie this year -- and that includes his forced withdrawals from both Davis Cup and USO in favor of his inferior older brother...

1903

Mar 8 1903
Monte Carlo, red clay, MON (C):
QF: Laurie Doherty - Sidney Smith 6-2, 6-2
SF: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) w/o
SF: Frank Riseley - Josiah Ritchie 2-0 in sets
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Frank Riseley (BRI-G) 6-1 14-16
(retired with a knee injury)

Mar 15 1903
South of France Championships, Place Mozart, Nice, red clay, FRA (C):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3

Nice (invitation tournament for both amateurs and professionals on red clay) (C):
Amateurs:
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) w/o
Professionals:
Thomas Burke (GBR-I) – George Kerr (BRI-I) 6-3, 6-4, 6-3
Thomas Burke (GBR-I) – Charles Hierons (BRI-G) 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
George Kerr (BRI-I) - Charles Hierons (BRI-G) 6-0, 6-4, 6-2
Finals between amateurs and professionals:
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Thomas Burke (GBR-I) 1-6, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - George Kerr (BRI-I) 6-3, 6-2, 7-5

Apr 26 1903
British Covered Court Championships, London, wood, BRI (I):
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - George Hillyard (BRI-G) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2

Jun 14 1903
Kent Championships, Beckenham, grass, BRI (G): (challenge round postponed to Jul 4)
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2

Jun 28 1903
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon, grass, BRI (G): (Jun 30)
2: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-4, 6-3, 6-3
3: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-3, 6-4, 7-5
S: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 7-5, 6-3, 7-9, 1-6, 9-7
S: Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) - George Caridia (BRI-G) 6-1, 6-0, 4-6, 6-1
F: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 1-6, 6-3, 8-6, 13-11
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Frank Riseley (BRI-G) 7-5, 6-3, 6-0
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)

Jul 5 1903
Paris Championships, Ile de Puteaux, Paris, red clay, FRA (C):
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – Max Decugis (FRA) 6-4, 6-3, 8-6

Aug 1, 1903
Nahant, grass, USA (G) (finals played on Thursday August 1st)
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. Bill Clothier (USA) 6-4, 6-0
(Laurie played through the draw, several rounds not playing doubles)
D final: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G)/Harold Mahony (BRI-I) d. Wrenn Brothers 6-4, 1-6, 6-0, 5-7, 10-8

Aug 8 1903 (play started Tuesday August 4th and ended on Saturday August 8th)
Davis Cup Challenge Round, USA - BRI 1-4,
played on the Longwood Club courts, Boston, grass, USA (G): (Aug 8 ) the singles are played simultaneously
Bill Larned (USA) - Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) w/o (Tuesday August 4th at 03.00 pm)
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Bob Wrenn (USA) 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 (Tuesday August 4th at 03.00 pm)
(Continous rain stops scheduled play for two days straight)
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G) - Bob Wrenn (USA) / George Wrenn (USA) (Friday August 7th at 03.00 pm)
7-5 9-7 2-6 6-3
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Bill Larned (USA) 6-3, 6-8, 6-0, 2-6, 7-5 (Saturday August 8th at 03.00 pm)
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Bob Wrenn (USA) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-8, 6-4 (Saturday August 8th at 03.00 pm)

Aug 14 1903
Southampton USA (G) (finals played on Friday August 14th):
R1: Laurie Doherty d. Oliver S. Campbell w/o
R2: Laurie Doherty d. Edgar W. Leonard 6-4, 6-4
QF: Laurie Doherty d. A.W. Post 6-2, 6-2
SF: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Bill Clothier (USA) 6-1, 6-3
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Bill Larned (USA) 6-1, 6-2, 6-1

2 days later exhibition - Sunday August 16th:
Bill Larned - Reggie Doherty 6-3, 6-4, 6-4

Aug 27 1903
US Championships (gentlemen), Newport, grass, USA (G): finals played on Thursday August 27th
R1: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) bye
R2: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) d. B. Merrill 6-1, 6-2, 6-1
R3: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) d. K. Collins 6-2, 2-6, 10-8, 6-3
R4: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - J. P. Paret 6-0, 6-1, 6-2
R2: Bill Clothier (USA) - Beals Wright (USA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-1
R4: Bill Clothier (USA) - Holcombe Ward (USA) 6-2, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5
SF: Bill Clothier (USA) - Edward Larned (USA) 6-3 6-1 6-2
R1: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. C. Relyea 6-0, 6-1, 6-1
R2: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. M. Colket 6-2, 6-2, 6-0
R3: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. R. Stevens 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
R4: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
QF: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) w/o
SF: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. Richard Carleton (USA) 6-2, 6-0, 6-0
FI : Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. Bill Clothier (USA) 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
CR: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. Bill Larned (USA) 6-0, 6-3, 10-8
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)

About 21 straight victories -- doubles included -- during 30-35 days in the American season with only 2 sets lost in singles!

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 02:55 PM
At least 11 titles for Laurie in 1903 excluding all his doubles titles..

What's interesting to add to the amazing peak years is the fact that -- according to every source I have both Laurie and Reggie went undefeated in doubles as well during these years (only exception at Wimby-final 1902 against Riseley and Smith) further increasing Laurie's match-streak and records...

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 03:06 PM
1904

Mar 6 1904 Mar 3 according to Sutter
Monte Carlo MON (C):
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 6-1 7-5 3-6 7-5

Mar 13 1904
South of France Championships, Place Mozart, Nice FRA (C):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 6-2 6-3 6-3

Mar 20 1904
Cannes (Beau Site) FRA (C):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 6-1 6-4 6-1

May 1 1904 (May 2 in Károly’s previous edition)
British Covered Court Championships, London BRI (I):
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 6-2 8-10 5-7 6-4 6-3

Jun 26 1904
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G): (Jun 27)
SF: Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) - Paul de Borman (BEL) 6-3 6-1 6-1
R1: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - H. R. Fussell 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
R2: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - George Greville 2-6, 6-0, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
R3: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - Harold Mahony (BRI-I) 6-1 6-4 6-2
QF: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-4 6-3
SF: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 7-5 5-7 8-6 5-7 (retired, Riseley won by a coin toss)
F : Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 6-0 6-1 6-2
CR: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Frank Riseley (BRI-G) 6-1 7-5 8-6
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)
(check out the names Riseley downed in this edition -- the creme de la creme on grass -- the last man to beat Mahony only to be flattened by Laurie in the finals)

Jul 10 1904
Davis Cup Challenge Round, BRI - BEL 5-0, Wimbledon (G): (Jul 5)
Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - William de Warzee (BEL) 6-1 6-4 6-2
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Paul de Borman (BEL) 6-4 6-1 6-1
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)
(Frank Riseley (BRI-G) – Paul de Borman (BEL) 4-6 6-2 8-6 7-5)

Jul 31 1904 (Jul 30 in Károly’s previous edition)
Northumberland Championships, Newcastle BRI (G):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - George Ball-Greene (BRI-I) 6-4 6-1

Oct 9 1904 (Oct 8 in Károly’s previous edition) (LAURIE’s 4th indoor tourney)
London Covered Court Championships, London BRI (I):
3: Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 6-2 6-4 8-10 1-6 6-4 (first loss in years -- and the last during his prime career)
S: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 7-5 6-3 6-1
F: Max Decugis (FRA) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-2 3-6 0-6 6-1 6-4

1905

Mar 12 1905 Mar 9 according to Sutter
Monte Carlo MON (C):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 6-4 8-6 6-4

Mar 19 1905
South of France Championships, Place Mozart, Nice FRA (C):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Edward Allen (BRI-G) 6-3 7-5 7-5

Mar 26 1905
Cannes (Beau Site) FRA (C):
Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) walkover
(Did Laurie play the entire draw here? Think so...)
Apr 16 1905 (April 15 in Károly’s previous edition)
British Covered Court Championships, London BRI (I):
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 6-1 8-6 6-2

Jul 9 1905
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G) (Jul:
R1: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Holcombe Ward (USA) 6-4 6-3 8-6
R2: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Wilberforce Eaves 6-2, 6-2, 6-3
R3: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - H. J. W. Fosbery 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
R4: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - T. M. Mavrogordato 6-2, 6-0, 6-2
QF: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Bill Larned (USA) 6-2 6-4 6-4
SF: Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 6-0 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-1
R4: Tony Wilding (NZL) - Bill Clothier (USA) 5-7 1-6 8-6 7-5 10-8
R4: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Beals Wright (USA) 6-2 7-9 6-3 6-2
QF: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Tony Wilding (NZL) 8-6 6-2 6-2
R1: Norman Brookes (AUS) - E. S. Salmon 6-0, 6-2, 6-3
R2: Norman Brookes (AUS) - George Caridia 6-2, 6-1, 6-0
R3: Norman Brookes (AUS) - L. H. Escombe 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
R4: Norman Brookes (AUS) - George Hillyard 6-3, 6-1, 6-3
QF: Norman Brookes (AUS) - Frank Riseley (BRI-G) 6-3 6-2 6-4
SF: Norman Brookes (AUS) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-3 9-7 6-2
FI : Norman Brookes (AUS) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 1-6 6-4 6-1 1-6 7-5
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Norman Brookes (AUS) 8-6 6-2 6-4
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)
(chock-full of international players with many great match-ups but Brookes storms through only pressured by a supreme Smith)

Jul 23 1905
Davis Cup Challenge Round, BRI - USA 5-0, Wimbledon (G): (Jul 24)
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Holcombe Ward (USA) 7-9 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-0
Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Bill Larned (USA) 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G) - H. Ward (USA) / B. Wright (USA)
8-10 6-2 6-2 4-6 8-6
(Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Bill Larned (USA) 6-4 2-6 6-8 6-4 6-2)
(Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Bill Clothier (USA) 6-1 6-4 6-3)

Jul 30 1905
England vs Australasia test match, Wimbledon (G): (Jul 31)
Norman Brookes (ANZ) - Laurie Doherty (ENG) 6-4 6-2
Reggie Doherty (ENG) – Alf Dunlop (ANZ) 6-0 6-1
Wilberforce Eaves (ANZ) - Frank Riseley (ENG) 1-6 6-4 6-0
Arthur Gore (ENG) – Harry Parker (ANZ) 6-0 3-6 6-1
Herbert Roper Barrett (ENG) - Tony Wilding (ANZ) 7-5 6-1
Josiah Ritchie (ENG) - Barney Murphy (ANZ) 7-5 6-4

1906

Mar 4 1906 Feb 28 according to Sutter
Monte Carlo MON (C):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) 6-3 11-9

Mar 18 1906 (Mar 19 in Károly’s previous edition)
South of France Championships, Place Mozart, Nice FRA:
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Tony Wilding (NZL) 6-3 8-6 6-2
(fascinating match-up -- clash of the eras -- the two red clay legends of the era facing off -- the sick Laurie against the green-horn Tony, who had a backhand-consistency weakness during this time)

Apr 29 1906 (Apr 28 in Károly’s previous edition)
British Covered Court Championships, London BRI (I):
F: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Tony Wilding (NZL) 4-6 2-6 6-0 8-6 6-3
C: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-2 6-4 8-6

Jun 17 1906
Davis Cup Challenge Round, BRI - USA 5-0, Wimbledon (G): (Jun 18 )
Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Ray Little (USA) 6-4 6-4 6-1
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Holcombe Ward (USA) 6-2 8-6 6-3
D: L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G) – R. Little (USA) / H. Ward (USA) 3-6 11-9 9-7 6-1
(Sidney Smith (BRI-G) - Holcombe Ward (USA) 6-1 6-0 6-4)
(Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Ray Little (USA) 3-6 6-3 6-8 6-1 6-3)

Jul 8 1906
The Lawn Tennis Championships, Wimbledon BRI (G): (Jul 4)
QF: Tony Wilding (NZL) - Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) 6-4 6-1 4-6 3-6 6-2
SF: Arthur Gore (BRI-G) - Tony Wilding (NZL) 9-7 6-1 8-6
R2: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - J. S. Talbot 6-0, 6-1, 6-1
R3: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - H. Schomburgk (G) 6-1, 6-2, 6-0
R4: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - K. Powell 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
QF: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - Ray Little (USA) 6-3 6-1 6-4
SF: Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - Sidney Smith (BRI-G) 8-6 2-6 6-2 6-4
FI : Frank Riseley (BRI-G) - Arthur Gore (BRI-G) 6-3 6-3 6-4
CR: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - Frank Riseley (BRI-G) 6-4 4-6 6-2 6-3
D: F. Riseley (BRI-G) / S. Smith (BRI-G) - L. Doherty (BRI-G) / R. Doherty (BRI-G)
6-8 6-4 5-7 6-3 6-3

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 03:11 PM
Laurie health start to decrease rapidly and he slims down his schedule and sometimes this isn't enough. He waves away every worried inquiry into his health status but upon the strong urging of several friends and family he's convinced to retire after the Wimbledon championships in 1906.

An era is over...

Not everything is ending in sunshine though. The greatest winner up to this point in singles and doubles at Wimby loses his last match there -- the doubles-final with his (at this point) very sick brother against Smith and Riseley for the second time...

Borgforever
06-20-2009, 03:51 PM
Also note during Wimby 1905 above that Sir Norman Brookes played 8 (!) matches in the singles that year. One match more than today -- and check out those guys he practically pulverizes en route to the final -- himself then being flattened by Laurie...

Quite remarkable...

elegos7
06-20-2009, 10:14 PM
By the way -- elegos7 -- you had the Ayres Yearbooks right? Any comments about R. F.'s 1899 and if so what?


The Ayres Yearbooks started around 1907/1908, so the only source of this early era was Lawn Tennis (and Badminton). I wish I could spend a couple of weeks there reading through those issues. I barely had time to record the exact scores, let alone reading the reports of each tournament.

It is really a shame no British tennis historian seems to want to write about this era. British and Irish players clearly dominated tennis until 1906, when their reign suddenly ended (the top4 British players retired in the same year: the Doherties, Smith and Riseley). Laurie indeed played a few singles matches here and there, but not in major tournaments. In Germany he was still ranked No1 in 1908 (ahead of Wilding).

As for who was the better between the Doherty brothers: George Hillyard states in his book that when they were both healthy, Reggie was superior in their practice matches. I think we have to accept his opinion as he played them many times. Apparently, Reggie had even more serious health problems that limited his schedule more then his brother's (e.g. Reggie played very little indoors).

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 01:32 AM
Great post elegos7!

Wow...

In THE FIELD Myers' says -- without going into details sadly -- that Reggie really disliked indoor play. My unqualified guess would be that the ventilation and lack of air-condition in those days may have had something to do with it.

And yes, I do take Hillyard's word for who's the best but studying their records its clear that Laurie completely crushes his opponents while Reggie goes to four sets, maybe five or loses...

Myers' states several times that "if R. F. wasn't sick he would've won even those few matches he lost" but if there are more than a few losses for R. F. in our records. I mean the man is 11-16 in SF and F in tourneys against his major rivals (H. L. is 42-11 and he was almost as sick) plus that his scores are not as dominating as his younger brother.

Check out R. F.'s H2H with Mahony -- he's 1-5! Only one measly victory in six important meetings...

And H. L.'s 5-1 against Mahony -- only going down when he was a green-horn early in his career -- and after a few tight matches it was blowout time in every match...

A complete turnaround for R. F. who was steamrolled by Mahony almost every time. That is very hard to ignore those facts. But I do lack a lot of context in these match-ups...

If Myers' is correct -- R. F. must've been close to death in every match making it sound insane for him to compete...

R. F. is 1-3 against Bill Larned (a great player still) but H. L. is 5-0 against Larned...

Study 1898 and its crystal clear. And Myers' says that Laurie was maybe the better tactician of the two. I'm looking for further proof of R. F. greatness beyond some scattered eye-witness accounts. A comprehensive description of 1899 might've done the trick.

I'm not saying anyone is wrong its just that I find very faint evidence to back up these claims which make me uncomfortable repeating them when the difference in quality between the brothers is so enormous in our records.

When R. F. seem to play only a few Challenge Round-finals, sometimes just showing up and receiving a w/o by his brother -- who almost always played the entire draw and still got the short end of the stick...

That's why I state that R. F.'s record are clearly inferior to his brother...

That the Germans ranked H. L. No. 1 in 1908 sounds great. On what basis? Just their opinion or do we lack any Homburg/Hamburg results that we should have...?

And yes its remarkable that no Englishman have focused on these guys before...

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 03:24 AM
Laurie, and Reggie, inveterate competitors , wasn't going to let the threat of terminal desease spoil their fun so when they felt better they -- amid a lot of buzz -- returned to some of their former, minor tennis tourneys and did very well.

R. F. made a last stunning perf in South Africa in January 1909 winning like he used to in great style. He never played a serious tourney again dying almost two years later in December 1910.

Laurie, took up golf, did well but did not achieve his lawn tennis success, and when he was feeling better he practiced a little tennis and played and entered 6 singles tourneys between 1907 and 1910, most notably winning the fine North of England Championships in Scarborough three times in a row 1908-1910 (the last year being his swan-song).

Worth adding is that Laurie almost made a real "comeback" in 1909 starting in three events -- Monte Carlo (losing to Alexander), Nottingham on grass (defeating his rival Eaves) and Scarborough, playing the field. I wonder if the Ayres-books' have any further info about this?

Laurie defends his Scarborough-title on grass in late August, 1910, and after that its "Adios Muchachos" for "LAWRENCE OF WIMBLEDON" forever...

I quote Myers' regarding this:

"After he resigned the championship in 1906, H. L. had not dropped his racket, and had been playing doubles with most of his old skill intact; but he had begun to woo and win another and very different love the royal and ancient game of golf and some of the sting, as well as some of the zest, had departed from his game. However, Ritchie's victory in the final of 1907, gained in three long vantage sets (8-6, 7-5, 8-6), caused quite a flutter throughout the lawn tennis dovecots, both in Europe and in America.

Ritchie had defeated Laurie under cover at Queen's three years earlier, when Laurie was certainly in better trim, so that his second victory cannot be called a fluke. On the other hand, Ritchie had been H. L.'s victim on numerous occasions, on grass, wood, and sand, and I think my old friend would be the first to admit that he found his opponent below his best form on the Condamine court. As at Queen's in the autumn of 1904, Ritchie attacked at close quarters at every opportunity. Volleying is never so profitable as when the other man may not be disposed physically to counter-volley. There was just the extra push in Ritchie's attack to win the fateful points of long vantage games ; just enough disconcerting sun-rays to embarrass a player short of Riviera practice.

H. L.'s two defeats on the same court in 1909 were due to the same causes, exercised perhaps a little more acutely for he "came back" at this meeting after two years' comparative retirement. I was interested in both results in one as a supporter off the court, in the other as an opponent on the court. Before we went over to Monte, Laurie and I had been having some practice singles together at the Beau Site, Cannes, fairly level matches, with H. L. conceding 15. His strokes were as facile as ever, but they seemed to have lost some of their snap, while he tired quickly. We chanced to meet in the third round of the Monte Carlo Cup, and to my great surprise, volleying all the time, I took the second set.

In the next round, the semi-final, he had quite a narrow squeak against Ritchie, who was bustling throughout, and then in the final met Alexander (NOTE: AO champion 1915 among other things), returning home via Europe after a Davis Cup pilgrimage in Australia. With his break service, fast dipping forehand drive and check volleys, executed at unfamiliar angles, Alexander had been shaking up all the members of the Nice Club, and had won the club championship before coming on to Monte for the open meeting. Yet, aggressive player as he was, his chances against H. L., who had never once fallen to an American racket, were not considered rosy. Nevertheless, a countryman of the visitor the late Mr. A. C. Bostwick, a Standard Oil magnate was so enamoured of Alexander's play that he offered to lay a hundred louis level in his favour. Englishmen took up this challenge readily, and a pool was quickly formed. I remember meeting H. L. in the rooms on the evening before the match, and telling him of Bostwick's confidence. His reply was to hand me ten louis, with the injunction, "You might get that on for me anonymously/' Of all players H. L. was the least boastful, and this expression of his assurance did but strengthen my own opinion. Unfortunately, our champion, out of training all through the tournament, came into court a spent warrior. He was beaten in three sets (7-5, 6-4, 6-1).

After leading 4-2 in the first set, Alexander's sweater then unremoved, Doherty never seemed able to get his opponent's measure again. The American's sliced service and chopped volleys skewed in the loose sand ; he attacked with increasing confidence and raced merrily through the third set. Previous to the final, Laurie and the Countess Schulenburg a famous and almost invincible pair on the Riviera had gone down in the mixed doubles to Miss J. Tripp and myself after a very tight finish. I remember that H. L. and the Countess led 5-2 in the final set, and that, mainly as a result of Miss Tripp's Smith-like drives, which appeared to demoralise the German lady at the finish, we took the next five games. In the final we met Ritchie and Miss A. N. G. Greene, the latter having won the ladies' singles. When we dropped the first set at 6-1, I thought how "flukey" our rather sensational victory in the previous round would appear. This reflection must have steadied my ardour, for we won the second and third sets at 6-3. Both in that year and in 1912 Miss Tripp and I enjoyed an unexpected run of success, in the latter year winning successively at San Remo, Mentone, Nice, and Cannes. We were only defeated in the final at Monte Carlo by Wilding and Frl. Rieck..." E. Wallis Myers 1922

elegos7
06-21-2009, 03:28 AM
Hello Borgforever,

I have no idea why the Germans ranked Laurie No1 in 1908. Perhaps we are missing some German tournaments where he played.

It seems Reggie was on his peak only between 1897 and 1900, especially in the last 2 years. He indeed lost a couple of times to Mahony, but many of Laurie's matches with the Irishman were very close as well (even at Wimbledon 1902). Also, Mahony declined after 1899 (he beat Reggie many times in 1897 and 1898 when Mahony was still very good).
Laurie had a very good season in 1898, but in 1899 and even in 1900 he played rather poorly.
Perhaps the peak performance of Reggie in 1899 and 1900 was better than Laurie's in 1902 and 1903. If I remember well the British Davis Cup captain still regarded a healthy Reggie better then Laurie in 1902 (that is why he was selected to play singles in the DC Challenge Round).

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 03:29 AM
1907

Mar 10 1907 Saturday, Mar 9 according to the London Times Archive
Monte Carlo MON (C):
Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 8-6 7-5 8-6

Oct 20 1907 (Oct 21 in Károly’s previous edition)
London Covered Court Championships, London BRI (I):
D: R. Doherty (BRI-G) / G. Simond (BRI-G) – N. Brookes (AUS) / G. Hillyard (BRI-G)
6-4 6-4 3-6 6-1

1908

Jul 12 1908 (Jul 11 in Károly’s previous edition for both tournaments below)
Olympic Games, London (G):
3: Otto Froitzheim (GER) - Jim Cecil Parke (BRI-I) 6-4 11-9 6-4
F: Josiah Ritchie (BRI-G) - Otto Froitzheim (GER) 7-5 6-3 6-4
D: R. Doherty (BRI-G) / G. Hillyard (BRI-G)
Reggie didn't play the singles

Aug 23 1908 (Aug 22 in Károly’s previous edition)
North of England Championships, Scarborough BRI (G):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) - George Hillyard (BRI-G) 6-1 6-4 6-2

1909

Jan 1909
South African Championships, Johannesburg (C, ant-heap):
Reggie Doherty (BRI-G) – Leonard Escombe (BRI-G) 3 sets to 0

Feb 28 1909
Monte Carlo MON (C):
R3: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – E. Wallis Myers 2 sets to 1
SF: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Josiah Ritchie 2 sets to 1
F: Fred Alexander (USA) - Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) 7-5, 6-4, 6-1

Jul 25 1909
Nottinghamshire Championships, Nottingham (G) Probably July 24:
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) 6-3, 6-4

Aug 22 1909
North of England Championships, Scarborough BRI (G) Probably Aug 21:
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Gordon Lowe (BRI-G) 7-5, 6-1, 6-1

1910

Aug 21 1910 Probably Aug 20
North of England Championships, Scarborough BRI (G):
Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) – Gordon Lowe (BRI-G) 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 04:01 AM
Hello Borgforever,

I have no idea why the Germans ranked Laurie No1 in 1908. Perhaps we are missing some German tournaments where he played.

It seems Reggie was on his peak only between 1897 and 1900, especially in the last 2 years. He indeed lost a couple of times to Mahony, but many of Laurie's matches with the Irishman were very close as well (even at Wimbledon 1902). Also, Mahony declined after 1899 (he beat Reggie many times in 1897 and 1898 when Mahony was still very good).
Laurie had a very good season in 1898, but in 1899 and even in 1900 he played rather poorly.
Perhaps the peak performance of Reggie in 1899 and 1900 was better than Laurie's in 1902 and 1903. If I remember well the British Davis Cup captain still regarded a healthy Reggie better then Laurie in 1902 (that is why he was selected to play singles in the DC Challenge Round).

Yeah, there's the rub -- Reggie's 1899 and 1900. When reading all these accounts I get feeling, you know, of how great Johnny Mac was perceived in 1984 (I agree it could be maybe the most ferocious year ever -- but it was only a year -- early in the graphite era). And IMO, Mac is one of the greatest genius talents who ever held a racquet and he could improve faster than anybody if he was into it and the graphite was rocket-fuel in comparison to low-octane gas...

Regarding Mac's game -- I never tire of watching him when he was brilliant and so amazingly creative, his game is just liquid poetry this year (a little bit how I envision the Dohertys at their best but with more classic stroke-production) but it was only one year and while I do think Lendl was great this year, Wilander had an "off" year and Jimbo wasn't what he was in 1982 (or 83 even) and Borg was retired, baby-Edberg was not really born yet and baby-Becker had a broken foot (I was shocked when I saw that a few yards away at Wimby -- stood out like a backwards "L" -- thought he was never to return) and others so it wasn't the fiercest of fields that year. Though not a bad year by any means. Still sublime IMO and close to faultless.

What I'm getting at is that there's always this psycho-hype as soon as someone comes around who pulls off a stunning perf. I remember the insane hype over Edberg (which became a little "off-putting" to me although I love the Stefan -- but not as much as some others) in the late 80s here in Sweden. Some respected historians and journos wrote that Stefan was the GOAT and five heads above Borg. Björn wouldn't get a game from Edberg, yadda-yadda-yadda...

It was like they were blind to the fact that Wilander (with brains) won three out of four GS-tourneys in 1988 and beat Edberg many times (with Mats "weak" groundies and "weak" serve), Becker beat Edberg very often and Lendl performed great and won many times against Stefan too. But no -- they refuse to see this...

I believe I witness a little bit of this pattern in the late 1890s and early 1900s as well. Reggie coming onto the scene, so obviously dashing, tall, hitting hard with beautiful strokes, masterful tactical skill and besting even the greatest of opponents in such a style that it inadvertently raises a lot of eye-brows.

And then, in tow, walks the humble, not as imposing and a head shorter, Laurie who might not serve like (to make a semi-poor comparison) Krajicek, Boris or Goran but maybe like Sampras, Gonzalez or Borg -- clutch-serve instead. Not so much "sturm-und-drang" but more subtle quality. People always fawn over the obvious -- which isn't always the most essential...

You Elegos7 have maybe read more than me in this subject and just might have a more extensive and complete opinion on this...

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 04:34 AM
"...The courts and conditions at Monte Carlo, up to 1920 at any rate, were not so conducive to high-standard play as those at Cannes or Mentone. Even before the arena was moved down to the Condamine, within a few yards of the drying-beach of the Monaco laundresses, the two courts which Mr. Charles Voigt controlled behind the Hotel de Paris scarcely possessed championship attributes, though they were infinitely to be preferred to the green-lacking, hotel-girded courts near the harbour. A sybaritic hotel now covers the original site, but memories of their fame will survive and their legends will doubtless multiply.

Their opening was not without its amusing incident. A quartette of giants were invited over from Cannes to give an exhibition of their championship skill before a crowd of patrons and patronesses gaily caparisoned. The players arrived by train and were met at the station by a solemn, silk-hatted deputation of Casino directors, headed by M. Blanc. Conducted to a sumptuous luncheon-table and there succumbing to the florid oratory of the toast-givers, the visitors so far went out of strict training that when the hour for their match arrived they were more disposed for leap-frog than for lawn tennis.

If I am not mistaken, the genial Dr. Eaves opened the exhibition match by projecting a ball which fell into the Tir de Pigeon, a considerable distance outside the court; his next attempt, also a fault, touched the ground in front of his own service line. For the first two games no rally of any serious consequence could be constructed, and the umpire had some difficulty in securing the interchange of sides every alternate game. Nobody, of course, in the least minded these pleasantries, since most of the spectators had been fellow-guests at the luncheon, and probably few of them smiled when the next day they read in the local press a vivid description of the champions' "unparalleled skill." Myers 1921

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 04:49 AM
"Monte Carlo had a new venue for its open tournament this year (1921). The old Condamine courts, lacking almost everything except a history, were replaced by the luxurious La Festa courts, standing high on the mountain-side above the Casino. It was my privilege last January to play in the in- auguratory matches, and I can testify to the money, time, and care expended on their equipment.

Ground in Monaco is as difficult to find as in the City of London, but the Administration solved the problem by constructing three courts and a club-house on the roof of a huge motor-garage. The surface of the first and the equipment of the second were made as perfect as enterprise would permit. Permanent seating accommodation for six hundred spectators was provided round the first court, and four knock-up courts sandwiched in the limited space.

The Director of lawn tennis at Monte Carlo, Mr. Simond, had the satisfaction of controlling in March the largest tournament ever held in Monaco a meeting at which Mile Lenglen carried off three challenge cups without the loss of a set. It was a tribute to her genius that when Suzanne was out of court the crowd was comparatively thin; you could not get a seat for love or money when she was playing. Neither the Renshaws at Wimbledon nor the Dohertys at Homburg proved such a social draw as this young French lady of twenty-one.

During the seven years before the war the outstanding figure was Anthony Wilding, at his best absolutely unbeatable on the Riviera hard courts. The first year that he came out, fresh from Cambridge, H. L. Doherty beat him at Monte Carlo, but he gave an earnest of coming triumphs by taking a love set from the great man. Wilding was then lodging with me at a small and inexpensive hotel near the station a gay but never riotous youth, eschewing all intoxicants and eating heartily of tangerines at every meal. Defying convention, he would attempt to run the gauntlet of stern officialdom at the Casino by entering in grey "bags" and a Norfolk jacket, for all the world as if he were strolling down Trumpington Street. Challenged by the janitor, who pointed gravely to his belt, hanging loosely down, he removed the offending article and handed it to the official, passing smilingly through the portals before the latter had recovered his composure.

Of all Riviera competitors, Wilding was the fittest and thereby the most confident. On the rare occasions when he indulged, even slightly, in the world's good things, he suffered for his lapse. Thus Ritchie beat him on the Beau Site court in 1907 a week after Wilding had romped through his old opponent at Nice. I remember that Nice tourney well. The brothers Wright, Beals and Irving, were competitors, and Ritchie beat them both in two love sets a gluttonous performance. If one had not known that both Americans, and Beals especially, were in holiday mood, intent on seeing sights rather than a lawn tennis ball, one might have wondered how Wilding, who took two love sets from Ritchie in the final, would have defeated the Wrights!

Wilding won both the Nice and the Monte Carlo cups outright. He probably strewed the Riviera courts with more love sets than any other player of any country. Decugis or one of the Germans usually gave him his best game. I recall one final at Monte Carlo (1912) in which Decugis proved quite a thorn in his side, nor were Wilding's chances improved by a nasty fall on the red sand at a critical moment. His playing palm was cut open and the blood streamed down the handle, drops falling on the court. Decugis, who was superstitious, bent down and touched one of those spots when he crossed over, whereupon an avid supporter of the French champion (who was taking a line and ought to have remained silent in his chair) rose excitedly and shouted, "Bravo! Bravo! Decugis wins!". An exhibition of unseemly partisanship which will never leave my memory. Neither the hurt nor the demonstration shook Wilding's determination. I suggested he should leave the court for a moment and wash his hand. He smiled deprecatingly, went on perfectly calmly, and won.

Several exciting and one or two amusing doubles in the South come to mind. I have mentioned the Dohertys against Smith and Riseley at Monte. The brothers were beaten again at Nice in 1908, their first appearance in public since they lost the doubles championship at Wimbledon in 1906, and their last appearance on any public court as a pair. (This is not a result we have in our inclomplete record elegos7!) In this year R. F. was little better than a "dug out". The brothers had been playing well against Ball-Greene and Eaves in practice at the Beau Site and with their usual good nature they consented to turn out. I had made a special journey over to Cannes to remind the Dohertys that a third victory at Nice would give them permanent possession of the doubles cups a fact neither had remembered. They had won them in 1904 and 1905. People trained and motored from all parts to witness the final between the brothers and Ritchie and Wilding. Eaves was busy behind the scenes with a book, Mr. Vanderbilt, on whose yacht Wilding was staying, having the hardihood to lay as much as two to one on his guest and his partner. These, of course, were not the correct odds, although Wilding and Ritchie then held the doubles championship at Wimbledon.

Vanderbilt won his money. The brothers only won one set in four. R. F. was the weak factor in the combination. He was indisposed, and seemed quite unable to return the service with any force or consistency. H. L. fought gallantly and saved the third set when all looked over ; but the attack remained with the other side. I never saw Wilding and Ritchie in more confident fettle ; they took the fourth set and the match with the loss of only one game a conspicuous triumph. The Dohertys were not at their best; a long way below it.

The year before, on the same court, H. L., this time paired with Ritchie, (another result missing) had won a remarkable final against Wilding and Decugis, the more fancied couple. The brothers Wright, recovered from their singles lethargy, had defeated Bobbie Powell and myself after we had been within a stroke of victory, and had then gone down to Wilding and Decugis. Doherty and Ritchie had easily accounted for Gordon Lowe and D. P. Rhodes. Wilding and the French champion opened the final with convincing confidence. They were soon a set up with a good lead in the second. Then the mercury in the Frenchman's system began to wobble; soon it sank right down. The brilliant server and smasher became a double-faulter and a snatcher at lobs; the weakness affected his service returns; from that moment his side was doomed; the English couple took the last two sets at 6-1. Perhaps it was not altogether Max's fault. Wilding was ever a difficult partner to link up with; I knew that by painful personal experience. He needed enormous elbow-room, and somehow his vigorous drives and profound concentration made his partner self-conscious and weaker than usual in his weak spots. Though we won several open doubles together, both at home and abroad, I let him down badly two or three times, notably in the final at Cannes against Mavrogordato and Rahe, and at Mentone against Ritchie and Simond. Tony needed a partner whose play he could respect. Thus he never had a better one than Norman Brookes ; the master subdued his personality..."

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 05:09 AM
"I was concerned in another amusing match at Mentone (delightfully picturesque courts, by the way, self-owned by the club) in 1913, when Count Salm and I partnered Wilding and Robert Kleinschroth in the doubles. The fiery Salm had beaten Kleinschroth in the singles, and the relations between these two, Austrian and German, were a little strained. But I never dreamed, nor did Wilding, that at the critical stage of our double, when each side had won a set, Kleinschroth and Salm would be in deadly grips in the middle of the court. One or other had said something in German as we crossed over, and the next thing the astonished gallery witnessed was an angry wrestling bout. The eccentric Salm had brought a comb down to the umpire's chair, and I remember Wilding picked it up and started combing the hair of his militant partner. I endeavoured to put my arms round the Count. Eventually they quieted down and the match proceeded, Salm celebrating a pyrrhic victory by some very wild driving. The final was a match full of further extravagances. Rahe and the younger Kleinschroth lost only three games in the first two sets; they did not win a single game in the next two sets; in the fifth set Wilding and Robert Kleinschroth just lost on the post.

Cannes now possesses something like two dozen courts, and with Tom Fleming, Tom Burke, and his sons available as coaches this delectable place is an admirable nursery for the game. By age and tradition, the Beau Site must come first. Every champion from Renshaw to Mile Lenglen has trod its famous orange-grove court. There is even a link between past and present in the person of Napoleon, the Peter Pan ball-boy, who scouted for Lawford and the Renshaws and still scouted up to last year. Going back to the Beau Site after the war I inquired for Napoleon. There was an ominous silence. Nobody had heard of him since he had gone forth as a poilu. It was assumed he was dead. But one fine morning in January, 1920, there crept to the edge of the piazza a little man wearing a growth of beard and a winsome air. It was Napoleon, recently demobilised..." Myers 1922 THE FIELD

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 05:22 AM
"Elsewhere I refer to Ward's dramatic match against the younger Doherty. Larned had much superior equipment off the ground ; he fought the British champion on more orthodox lines ; but his effort, if less thrilling in its opening stages than Ward's, was really more threatening, for he led H. L. by two sets to one and was still in the running for the match in the fourth set. Our second string, Smith, defeated Larned with the loss of only one set, though all four were close, and he beat Clothier (who deputised for Ward when the issue was decided) quite easily results which, even more than the Doherty singles, revealed the relative superiority of the English driving at that time. To the mind of the American volleyer, Smith was wielding a heavy sword, Doherty only a rapier ; and while the finesse of the second might in a long duel defeat the force of the first, the American preference for short engagements (or at any rate for matches with a mid-course respite) made Doherty a less difficult problem than Smith.

I regard the doubles match between the Dohertys and Ward and Wright as one of the finest I have ever had the good fortune to witness. It may have lacked on either side the fierce, destructive service which McLoughlin or Tilden can supply, but the ground strokes of the brothers, especially R. F/s backhand service returns down the line, H. L.'s quiet but faultless smashing of deep lobs, the cross volleying of Ward and Wright, checked or deep as the occasion offered, and, above all, the wonderful manner in which the two visitors hunted and recovered smashes "in the country" these, and the fluctuating fortunes of each side, gave a rare quality and excitement to the battle. The Americans richly deserved their ovation at the finish. They had suffered the worst of the luck, and the crowd did not forget the fact. Once at a critical stage in the fifth set, when every stroke was of vital consequence, Wright served a winner to R. F. from the left-hand court. The ace would have meant the game an index game. R. F. made no attempt to return the service ; he was under the impression so he informed me afterwards that the score was deuce and that H. L. was receiving. The hallucination not uncommon in long and tense contests might have cost the brothers the match. The Americans dissolved the look of perplexity on the umpire's face by demanding a let. They subsequently lost the point and the game. It was a fine act of sportsmanship. Again, at a later and even more momentous stage I think when the brothers were within a stroke of losing the vantage game in the fifth set, with Ward's service to follow Ward, in negotiating a decisive kill at short range, grazed the net in his downward swing. The aberration cost his side the game, for the Dohertys went out at 8-6.

A week before this challenge round at Wimbledon there had been some memorable matches in the preliminary round at Queen's. Both Brookes and Wilding made their Davis Cup debut against Austria, Brookes with his terrifying service proving much too formidable for Kinzl and von Wesseley, and Wilding, then at Cambridge, winning both his singles against the same players with the loss of one set in four. A partnership that was to become famous subsequently was then founded."

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 05:28 AM
"I come now to Queen's, admittedly the world's headquarters of covered court lawn tennis...

Queen's has other distinctive virtues besides the excellence of its three indoor courts. It is the traditional rendez-vous for players from every land, the place to which the stranger turns intuitively for welcome, the clearing-house for "form," and (may I add?) the home of true sportsmen. The world without Queen's would be a very cheerless and inhospitable place a feeling which persists in spite of competition from clubs more luxuriously equipped and more salubriously situated. Other games are pursued there, great crowds gather to watch Inter-Varsity sports and football; yet if you drop into Queen's on any day which is not dedicated to one of these great festivals, you will find more lawn-tennis-playing members than any other. There are grass courts and hard courts, and great pressure on both; but it is the covered courts which have made the name and fame of Queen's.

Queen's was not the first home of the covered court championship. That event was inaugurated at the Hyde Park Court the nursery of many fine players in 1885, its promoters having migrated from the first covered lawn tennis court of all, the asphalt court of the Maida Vale Club, formed on a transformed skating rink in the Portsdown Road. But for the past quarter of a century as far as my personal association with the game goes back Queen's has crowned the covered court champion. The entry has fluctuated in size and quality. In the early Hyde Park days the number of competitors was quite small even as few as three in 1889 but the opening of the Queen's arena gave impetus to the indoor game. An autumn meeting (the London Covered Court Championships) was added to the programme in 1903, and in some years has proved an even greater attraction than the spring tournament. .."

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 05:34 AM
"...But of all the fine victories which Ritchie has won on the east court at Queen's during the past quarter of a century and his name appears on the singles and doubles panels eleven times I do not doubt he looks back with greatest pleasure on this one (referring to Josiah beating H. L. in five sets in October 1904).

Military training and then military service of the grimmest kind checked Gobert's lawn tennis career for seven years, but he came back to Queen's in 1920 and regained the championship with a display which had lost none of its brilliancy and probably gained a little by its tactical restraint. Of all the giants ever seen under cover at Queen's he must rank first.

There have been more reliable ground-stroke players R. F. Doherty, H. L. Doherty, Wilding, and Ritchie but none of these players could command Gobert's deadly service or the decisive volleys which are the complement to his ground strokes. A wood floor is his natural surface, partly because its faster play does not give his opponents time to erect tactical defences to his attack a weakness on either wing, even a relative weakness, is fatal and partly because his perfect timing of the ball, essential alike for force and finesse, can be accomplished more confidently under traffic conditions which are familiar and staple.

It cannot be claimed for Gobert, nor for any other great artist, that he has always shone. Influences beyond his control immoderate heat, or a bad line decision, for example may check and even thwart his progress; like all Frenchmen he is susceptible to environment and stimulated by success. But he has won too many uphill battles, some of them from desperate positions, not to be regarded as a cool and courageous fighter, as one who has disciplined his mind as well as his strokes..."

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 06:31 AM
"At Puteaux there is an Annual Summer Meeting, at which the championships of Paris are played, and a very enjoyable tournament it is from a social point of view. The Comte de Janez is President of the club, and the meeting is under his management, consequently it is well looked after. R. F. Doherty carried all before him there in 1902.

In the provinces; Dinard, Cannes and Nice are the most important tournaments. Dinard is managed exceedingly well by Sir George Duntze, who has been Hon. Sec. to the Dinard Lawn Tennis Club for many years. Chapman and A. W. Gore learned a good deal of their, tennis on these courts, whilst many of our leading players; have played there at one time or another; amongst others, H. A. Nisbet, M. F. Goodbody, and W. V. Eaves have been frequent visitors. In 1896 Eaves won the cup outright after some very hard rights. R. V. Forbes, the present holder of the cup, is a player who competes very little in tournaments excepting at Dinard and at St. Servan (where he won the cup outright in 1902). He. plays with a peculiar cut stroke, and when at his best is a difficult man to beat.

The Nice Courts are managed by a good Committee, of which those well-known players, A. G. Morganstern and F. L. Fassitt, are leading members. Two or three tournaments are held there every season, at which some of the very best English and Continental players compete.

Burke, the professional player, also has. some courts at Nice, and anyone wishing for first-class practice and good instruction cannot do better than engage Burke to give lessons.

At Cannes there are several courts, mostly belonging to different hotels. Here almost every one of our best players have played at some time or another. The Renshaws in their day, and the Dohertys now, have all played a great deal on the well-known Beau Site Courts; whilst G. W. Hiltyard and Count von Voss are most regular visitors.

However, for purely French players, it is the Paris Club which has done the most to advance the game. The Committee first engaged the Irish professional, Burke, to improve the play of their members. Burke is, as a player, inferior only to the Dohertys; he is also an excellent teacher. He has gained the professional championship on both the occasions it has been played for during the past few years, beating Tom Fleming and George Kerr, after very hard matches, at Paris in 1898 ; whilst he beat Haggett, of Stockholm, and Tom Fleming of Queen's Club, at Nice, in Professional Champion of the World in 1902. Burke’s teaching is very marked in some of the French players, and the Irish drive is quite a feature of their game. After Burke left, Marshall, the Llandudno professional, was engaged. Marshall was not so good a player as Burke, but he hit hard, had good style, and taught the game well. Both Burke and Marshall were well paid and the services of les professetirs, as they were called, were largely in demand. Unfortunately, Marshall had a severe sunstroke whilst playing at Etretat in the summer of 1901, and has been unable to play since. Henton was engaged during the covered court season of 1901-2. This year the services of Cowdrey, the very excellent professional from Llandudno, have been secured. With good professionals at their disposal, players like Ayme, Lebreton, Max Decugis, Worth and others made very rapid progress, and being all quite young, a great future seemed open to them.

Unfortunately, French players seem to reach a certain point in play and then to lose interest in the game. Especially has this been the case with Brosselin, Ayme and Riboulet, all players who might have become very good indeed. There has been, however, one very notable exception to this unfortunate rule, and this exception is Andre Vacherot. I consider this gentleman the most consistent player France has yet produced. On a covered court Max Decugis would probably beat him today, but there is little to choose between the two players. Andre Vacherot has had very bad health for several years, and for a long time was unable to play at all.

Notwithstanding this, with very little previous practice he won the single championship of France for French players in 1901,: beating Max Decugis. Vacherot's style is very good, every stroke is graceful and played with excellent judgment. The one thing he lacks is severity. He is a particularly quiet player, and is consequently regarded as almost too reserved, until one knows him well.

At Dinard in 1894, Andre Vacherot, who was then seventeen or eighteen years of age, was in receipt of 15 in the first- class handicap, in which W. V. Eaves, owing 15, was back marker. In 1895 at Dinard, Vacherot got into the last four in the open singles, and won the handicap singles from the 5 - 6 mark. In November of that year he won the Open French Championship, being the only French player who has ever won this event. Vacherot has, until 1902, won the championship confined to French players whenever he played. It is not likely that Andre Vacherot will ever play much better than he is now doing, as his health is too poor. As a double player he is very good indeed, and he and his brother make quite the best pair in France.

Of all the French players, none have done so well as Max Decugis; he is but twenty years of age, and already has come quite to the front."

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 06:50 AM
Before I depart for the flight to go and see Roger Federer go on a 21 set streak of consecutive bagels en route to his 6th Wimby (I really like Murray but I would be happily shocked if he could carry the enormous pressure that hangs upon him and challenge EL RELOJ SUIZO) I must also add this regarding R. F. and H. L.:

Right on top of my head -- I think H. L. gave R. F. a chivalrous w/o in something like 7-8 tourney-finals. R. F. gave a w/o to his younger brother, I guess, three times...

So -- if we exclude these wins R. F. had something like 16-17 singles titles and H. L. 57 singles titles -- an approximate discrepancy of over 40 titles...

That is a lot a difference if you ask me...

Let's toy with the idea that H. L. actually outmaneuvered his brother in most of these matches instead of gifting away the title Laurie would stand with, maybe, 66-67 singles titles out of 80 starts...

Instead of Laurie, as of now according to our records, having a winning percentage in singles tourneys of 75% of the ones he entered (!) -- he would've had a winning success in 82.25% out of the singles tourneys he entered...

And Laurie did this against tremendous obstacles...

I understand why they said -- after the fact that R. F. had won the "Junior Championship of England" in 1884 -- that the reason the nine-year-old H. L. didn't even play in the event was that he was considered "too good"...

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 01:16 PM
Okey -- here's comes new, cool Doherty-stuff...

I post three articles from THE NY TIMES and in them they add three new American tourneys that we didn't know they entered and we know they won at least two of them and since H. L. had the "w/o-privileges in 1903 I also revised H. L. singles titles tally to a new total of 61 wins in 80 starts changing his winning percentage in singles tourneys to 76.25%...

NOTE: I've added all facts on Laurie's new tourney win at Nahant with dates, surface, opponents, score and scores for Southampton and the same for the doubles event plus that I added another loss for Laurie in the Wimby-plate-final of 1896 against Gore, as well as revising the H. L./Gore H2H.

Straight off the printing press (almost :-)) here's R. F.'s finals adventure against Larned (with a stat breakdown no less!) in 1902 and Laurie's revenge in the SF and F of USO in 1903 that also includes a neat little interview with the GOAT-contender...

LARNED BEATS DOHERTY; American Tennis Champion Saves Title from English Player. EXPERTS' THRILLING MATCH Final Contest on Newport Casino Court Produces a Sensational Struggle.

NEWPORT, R.I., Aug. 27 -- In a masterful exhibition of high-class lawn tennis, William A. Larned to-day was successful in defending his title as American champion in the singles. He defeated the famous British player R.F. Doherty, formerly champion of All-England, who is reputed to be the best man that the courts of Great Britain have ever produced.

The victory was decisive. At every point the American outplayed the English expert, and the result was a fitting achievement to a glorious career, for Larned has been runner-up four times in the all-comers’ tournament, and has won the title twice.

Larned won in four sets, the score being 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 8-6. After the repulse sustained yesterday by the American forces when Malcolm Whitman was beaten, the Americans had little hope of saving the championship trophy from the English visitors. The one chance left was the present holder of the title Larned, the brilliant, and the uncertain. It was the attack on Larned by R. F. Doherty which made today the red letter day of the season. The conditions, so far as weather was concerned, were certainly in Larned’s favor...

...It was hot, even more so than yesterday, and as the heat certainly then worried the Englishman, it was expected that he would suffer the more today. The court was in perfect shape and the light was even.

There was quite a lot of speculation in the early morning, and Doherty was a slight favorite in the wagers laid. Just before the match began a lot of Doherty money was let loose, and he became a strong favorite at odds of 2 1/2 to 1.

Despite the efforts to put the match on in time, it was long after the scheduled hour when the two rivals worked their way through the crowd and into the court...

Doherty elected to choose courts on account of the light, and Larned served the opening game. Larned began to rush the pacemaking for the net as soon as the ball left his racquet. Larned was in a bad streak in the third, losing his service for a love game.

The Englishman camped right on top of the net in the fourth game, and was in splendid form in the sixth. His volleying and half volleys brought gasps from the gallery, as they were simply perfection.

Larned then made a series of magnificent plays and tied the set. Larned lost the next game and then failed to gather in the tenth. Doherty scoring a love game and the set.

The score:

FIRST SET:

R. F. Doherty…2 5 4 5 2 4 2 2 5 4-35: 6
W. A. Larned…4 3 0 3 4 2 4 4 3 0-27: 4

In the second set Larned pulled up from 15-40 to deuce, and then won. He continued up in the second game, working his long drive to the corners for repeated aces (i. e. groundie winners – aces being a term more used to clean winning serves later on) Doherty played very steadily in the fourth and took his first game, pulling it up from love 30.

The fifth was marked with close rallies at the net. Although Larned had the lead (40-15) in the seventh, Doherty beat him back and got the game.

Larned, however, got out of the small slump and won the eighth at 30 by magnificent play. He got the set, 6-2, and the match stood one set all. The score:

SECOND SET
W. A. Larned …5 4 4 2 4 4 3 4-30: 6
R. F. Doherty…3 2 0 4 2 2 5 2-20: 2

Doherty was showing the effect of the heat and the running was taking strength out of him. Larned, after the second deuce in the second game, got the win on two splendid passes. Although on the bad side of the court and in distress, Doherty won the fourth game at 15, Larned’s volley being a bit off.

The sixth game was a critical one. It went to deuce three times, and Doherty's winning point was a short, low lob over Larned’s head.

The tenth went to a deuce, Larned being repeatedly within a point of the set win. Finally, after the third call, he got the game and the set, 6-4. The score:

THIRD SET:

W. A. Larned…4 6 1 1 5 5 4 2 4 7-39: 6
R. F. Doherty..1 4 4 4 3 7 1 4 1 5-34: 4

Larned was at the very height of his game in the fourth set. He was much the stronger of the two and his strokes had more force to them than those of the Briton. It was not all in favor of the American, however, for Doherty made many splendid rallies, although he was suffering from the intense heat (Blasted asthma! Whew!). Larned lost the first game of the set, chiefly on errors. The second was notable for the fine place shots of the American champion.

It was beautiful tennis, and the crowd, being on tip-toe for an American victory, kept up a chorus of applause.

Doherty made a determined stand, and, by getting to the net despite the efforts of Larned to hold him off, the Englishman broke through Larned’s service game and scored. Larned lost the twelfth to Doherty at 30 by striving to cut the side lines by a too narrow margin. The Englishman was not able to stand such a fierce attack any longer, and he only scored once in the next two games, and then R. F. made a faulty return from the severe service of the American, Larned had saved his title and trophy. The score:

FOURTH SET:

W. A. Larned…2 5 6 4 3 4 1 0 4 2 4 2 4 4-45: 8
R. F. Doherty.4 3 4 2 5 2 4 4 2 4 0 4 1 0-39: 6

Larned is now champion not only by default, but by well deserved victory over a worthy foe. Doherty played a persistent and consistent game full of life and precision, but was not so much at his ease as in other contests seen here. In the last set he made as good plays as in the others, and never once lost his head.

The Britons are scheduled to go from here to Canada, where they will compete at the Canadian international meeting at Niagara-on-the-Lake."

(Another meeting/tourney we have no scores for)

Larned won 141 points
R. F. won 127 points

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 01:20 PM
DOHERTY'S TENNIS FINAL; British Player Beat Clothier in De- ciding Match at Newport. Victory Gives "Little Do" the Right to Challenge W.A. Larned for the American Championship.

NEWPORT, R.I., Aug. 26. -- H.L. Doherty, the lawn tennis champion of Great Britain, to-day won the final match in the AllComers National Championship tournament on the Casino courts.

The Englishman defeated William J. Clothier in three straight sets by the score of 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. Tonight the younger Doherty stads as the challenger for the National championships title and trophy in the singles, an honor that has never been lost to this country, despite the assault in former years of the flower of the English courts. He stands as did M. F. Goodbody in 1894, Dr. Wilberforce V. Eaves in 1897, and Reginald F. Doherty in 1902. Bob Wrenn defeated both Goodbody and Dr. Eaves in thrilling battles over the net, while last year William A. Larned, the American champion, successfully defended the cup against the play of the elder Doherty.

A triumph for Larned tomorrow means much more this year than it has in the past, for the Britons have also won at Nahant and Southampton. They retained their holding of the American title and the valuable cups in the doubles that they won last year from Ward and Davis.

Clothier won the toss and chose the service. His work in the opening game caused the experts to shout with glee, for he passed Doherty in making his returns, and, although the latter vainly tried to keep the ball out of the tall Harvard man’s reach, Clothier was very speedy in covering his court and won the game after Doherty twice forced the points to deuce.

Doherty won his own service game more easily, for the American was too fast in coming up to the net to volley and cross the ball, and at these times the Briton shot the ball down the side lines of his court for passes. The pace was a killing one up to the seventh game, and the manner in which Clothier passed him worried the little Briton considerably.

He changed his tactics somewhat in the seventh game on the advice of his elder brother, who sat on the side line. The change was that, instead of hitting the ball high to Clothier, the little “Do” (sic) began to send it to his feet and to drive it very low (perfect grass-court return tactic).

The change threw the American off at once, and, although it was his service, Clothier made a mess of his returns, hitting the ball into the net so frequently that Doherty was able to get the upper hand and the lead(Supreme leadership skills, Caesar-like, swift, lightning maneuvers, feign and pounce).

From this point on to the end of the contest the Briton drove the ball low, and, to the surprise of the tennis following, the Harvard man was never able to fully recover himself.

Repeatedly Clothier made a furious attack at the net that fairly carried Doherty off his feet, and had the Briton not been the marvelous and steady player that he is he would have been overwhelmed.

Time and again Clothier carried the points to deuce by the sheer force and brilliancy of his racquet work. He was aggressive at all times, but the Briton never let up in his pace, and at the critical moments he was always ready and equal to the call for which he placed the ball along the side lines of the opposite court.

In this, he never varied during the entire match, and although Clothier was adequate at his court covering, he was aced cleanly several times when the winning of the points would have turned the tide of victory in his favor.

The racquet work of the American in the second set was disappointing and he was apparently fading from the competition, while Doherty redoubled his effort (!) and made short work of the set.

With the sets at two love against him, Clothier made a fine stand in the final set. It was only a flash, however, for he was not able to keep the pace, and Doherty tried lobbing with more success than he had in any of his former contests. Dashing between his baseline and the net caused so many of Clothier’s well-intended shots to go wide of the mark that he was the loser of many of the most fiercely contested games of this set.

In the last three games the rallies were of such a spectacular nature that the crowd was on its feet with excitement more than half the time (!), but it was only the last flicker of the American’s great effort, and he was beaten, but not without giving Doherty a hard struggle and playing a fine match.

Despite the defeat there is much for Americans to congratulate themselves upon in this match. Clothier is but twenty years of age, and lacks the seasoned experience of Doherty, who is twenty-seven years of age, and has played with all the famous tennis players of England and Europe.

H. L. plays the game almost all the year round and has won many of the titles and trophies on the European courts. His marvelous accuracy and resourcefulness have caused him to be regarded as the greatest tennis player that has ever stepped upon a court, and he probably surpasses any man in the world at the sport…

Borgforever
06-21-2009, 01:22 PM
DOHERTY'S CHAMPIONSHIP;

English Tennis Player Wins Challenge Match from Larned.

Took the Match and the American Title in Straight Sets

Englishman's Brilliant Play.

NEWPORT, R. I. Aug. 27.-H. L. Doherty, the tennis champion of Great Britain, today won the the National championships in the singles this country by defeating William A. Larned, the American holder and defender of the title, in straight sets by the score of --

-- 6-0, 6-3, 10-8!

This is the first time that the American title and trophy have been won by a foreign player, and addition to that it crowns the complete series of triumphs that the Britons have scored against the players of this country since their arrival.

Today, for the first time in history of lawn tennis, the champions of Great Britain and America met in a challenge match for the American championships.

The weather returned to its good behaviour, and the day broke fair and warm. As an attraction of the match overshadowed all the preceding ones, and there was a large attendance.

When the rivals appeared and began their preliminary working out, the interest reached a high pitch, and the tension was as severe in the gallery as it was aming the players. Larned was at his best physically. His work of preparation had been hard and consistent, and he was just right.

H. L. Doherty could not ask to be in better shape, his course of work through the all-comers being just enough to keep him right.

The players were very late in taking to the court, and it was long after 11 o’clock before they, with linesmen and officials, pushed their way through the crowd and entered the inclosure. The reception accorded the men was warm.

Larned chose the intial service. He was very unsteady and lost the game at love, Doherty only earning 1 point. Then followed one of those sickening exhibitions of the American at his worst. He earned several points in the remainder of the set by the most brilliant sort of passing and placing, but he was so overcome by nervousness that he could not get the ball up over the net. In consequence out of the 30 points that Doherty scored in this set he took 24 of that number on the American’s nets and drives out of court.

Such a thing as a love set was beyond all the calculations of the gallery, and they tried to cheer Larned on for a better endeavor. With the playing of the second set, in which Larned only showed faint improvement, the gloom settled down over the vast gathering and they prepared to await the end which appeared to be inevitable.

Doherty had all through the first and second sets had been sending the ball to Larned’s backhand and scoring off his weak returns (shadows of Rafa vs. Fedex – second-to-none groundie consistency at hammering the backhand forcing the weak reply to pounce on).

At the beginning of the third set the resourceful little Englishman was forced to change his tactics. He was in that same marvelously steady stroke that has been the feature of all his contests. When he changed he began to strike the ball at a speedy pace along the side lines of the opposing court, but in this he was not as successful as he had previously been in the other, for Larned varied his work from the baseline to the net and was so good at passing that after Doherty had taken the lead at 5-3 Larned pulled up to deuce at 5-all by one of his most brilliant streaks of play.

This caused the crowd to shout with glee at the prospect of Larned winning a set.

Probably no better tennis was ever played than that in the next two games.

Larned emerged from a series of a long-distance rallies with more confidence, and in the twelfth game he was superb, for Doherty was again four times within one stroke of taking the match, only to be turned back by the cleverly executed passes of the American.

A this stage the contest was of a highly spectacular nature, and several times the ball was kept in the air for a prolonged period, the point being earned by a pretty place or a smash by the men. Fighting valiantly, the two players came up to eight-all on even terms. As the next was Doherty’s service, Larned made a brave attempt to break through, but the Briton made some sensational gets of the balls that appeared to be beyond his reach, and took the advantage position at 9-8.

Then the American champion wavered and was lost, for Doherty was keen to take advantage of the openings and errors of his opponent, and, hitting the ball with all his force, he soon had Larned in bad positions.

In his last game Larned’s errors were the most costly, for he had the Briton almost out of breath, and he might have won the set and possibly have saved the cup, for he was coming into his true form very fast.

Since coming to this country the Doherty brothers have won the Davis International Challenge Cup. At Longwood, Nahant, and Southampton, L. I., they also carried off the honors. They successfully defended their holding of the American doubles championship that they won last year from Ward and Davis and today H. L. Doherty gains the title in the singles.

This clean sweep of the American tennis courts has demonstrated their superiority over the players of this country.

When seen after the match Doherty said that it was not likely that they would return to this country next season, especially if there was a challenge received from this country for the Davis Cup, which he aknowledged had practically been promised and was assured. As these tournaments and the English National championships is played much earlier than those in this country, it might be possible that they would come over, but as the matter stood now he thought that he and his brother would default their holding of the American titles and trophies next season (1904). He said that he had but one regret, and that was that he had been unable to measure his skill against that of Malcolm D. Whitman.

Borgforever
06-22-2009, 02:15 PM
I will add an analysis and a few more match-stats with the Dohertys and I've made corrections to the H2H-stats and all other stats according to my new findings.

Searching NY TIMES I found the complete singles finals scores for Laurie's US-tour of 1903 -- adding this to the record on page 5 among toher things and correcting the tourney win totals:

Aug 1, 1903
Nahant, grass, USA (G)
F: Laurie Doherty (BRI-G) d. Bill Clothier (USA) 6-4, 6-0
(Laurie played through the draw)
D: Reggie Doherty (BRI-G)/Harold Mahony (BRI-I) d. Wrenn Brothers 6-4, 1-6, 6-0, 5-7, 10-8

The Dohertys didn't play the singles tourney at Longwood but Mahony did and lost. The Davis Cup-final went down at Longwood and the Dohertys were successful. The Canada-tourney in 1902 after Newport is still a mystery though (maybe the grizzly CyB can play Philip Marlowe on that one -- I mean we already got a great Moose Malloy on this site, BTW Moose I love your posts)...

I must add this though about Sir Norman Brookes and the interview mentioned earlier. My friend asked several questions about NB's position and level in all of this and he deflected these questions instantly. He refused on this occasion to place himself anywhere in the equation with the great Wilding, Dohertys et al. The Aussies, I've always found without exception, to be amazingly graceful when it comes to humility. Almost to a fault. I would've loved hearing some views of Brookes from himself and in relation to his contemporaries but he wasn't allowing that on that day. Maybe someone has some info on this. Brookes himself was no sissy. He was a Giant Great White in the shark-infested waters of lawn tennis of the day. Unquestionably.

Since pc1 said earlier that he "had many books" about the Dohertys I would appreciate hearing some input from him on "The Dos" or "Doozys" (:-)) with these books as basis..?

SgtJohn
06-23-2009, 06:33 AM
Remarkable post, 'Borg'!

Like Carlo, I don't have much time to contribute long posts unfortunately, but I sure am reading!
This era is fascinating indeed, and learning more and more about it suggests there really never was a 'Golden Era' such as the 1920s and late 70s. Apart from some lackluster periods (early 50s, early 00s - in my opinion only), every generation in tennis has brought its own magic, and this one is among the greatest, without a doubt.

Keep up the good work!
Jonathan

Borgforever
06-23-2009, 06:38 AM
Many thanks SgtJohn! :-) It makes me very happy to think that some enjoys and respects this -- as I do...

Idzznew
06-24-2009, 07:53 AM
To add some statistics to this tread: Heres what I have up till now on
www.tennisarchives.com

Stats
Matches in database: 69
Victories in database: 57
Tournaments won in database: 12
Results

1896 Wimbledon
Round 1 Cazalet, Clement H.L. d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (6-4 4-6 6-4 7-5)

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1897 Wimbledon
Round 1 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Baddeley, Herbert (6-4 6-4 8-6)
Round 2 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Crawley, Alfred E. (6-0 6-2 7-5)
Quarterfinals Baddeley, Wlifred d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (6-4 6-2 6-2)

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1898 Wimbledon
Round 2 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Hillyard, George Whiteside (6-1 6-3 6-1)
Round 3 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Roper-Barrett, Herbert (6-1 6-4 6-1)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Flavelle, J.M. (6-2 6-3 3-6 6-0)
Semifinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Hobart, Clarence (6-1 6-4 6-3)
Final Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Mahony , Harold Segerson (6-1 6-2 4-6 2-6 14-12)
Challenge Round Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (6-3 6-3 2-6 5-7 6-1)

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1898 Monte Carlo
Round 2 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Robinson, ? (6-3 6-1)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Robiglio, ? (6-2 6-3)
Semifinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Lemaire de Warzeé, Willie (6-3 6-1)
Final Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Voss, V. (4-6 6-3 6-3 4-0 ret.)

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1899 Wimbledon
Round 1 Mahony , Harold Segerson d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (w.o.)

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1900 Wimbledon
Round 2 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Wills, Ernest S. (6-0 6-4 6-1)
Round 3 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Pearson, Allan C. (6-3 6-1 6-3)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. McNair, Roderick J. (6-1 6-2 6-4)
Semifinals Gore, Arthur Wentworth d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (4-6 8-6 8-6 6-1)

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1901 Wimbledon
Round 2 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Wills, Ernest S. (6-1 6-0 6-2)
Round 3 Hillyard, George Whiteside d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (0-6 4-6 6-1 6-4 6-3)

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1901 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Blacker Douglas, ? (6-3 6-4)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Hillyard, George Whiteside (6-2 6-4)
Semifinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Martin, Walter (6-2 6-2)
Final Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Eaves, Wilberforce Vaughan (6-2 5-7 6-1)

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1902 Wimbledon
Round 2 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Hausburg, L.R. (w.o.)
Round 3 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Riseley, Frank Lorymer (6-4 6-1 6-3)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Greville, T. George (6-1 4-6 6-3 7-5)
Semifinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Mahony , Harold Segerson (4-6 4-6 8-6 2-0 ret.)
Final Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Ritchie, M. Joshia George (8-6 6-3 7-5)
Challenge Round Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Gore, Arthur Wentworth (6-4 6-3 3-6 6-0)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1902 US Lawn tennis championships
Round 1 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Hoyt, Lydig (6-1 6-1 6-1)
Round 2 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Hobart, Clarence (6-3 6-3 7-5)
Round 3 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Stevens, Richard (6-1 4-6 8-6 6-1)
Round 4 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Allen, Harry F. (6-0 6-2 6-0)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Ware, Leo E. (6-3 6-2 6-2)
Semifinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (w.o.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1903 Wimbledon
Challenge Round Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Riseley, Frank Lorymer (7-5 6-3 6-0)

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1903 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Beukema, ? (6-4 6-4)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Smith, Sydney H. (6-2 6-2)
Semifinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (w.o.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1903 Southampton (Long Island)
Round 1 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Campbell, Oliver S. (w.o.)
Round 2 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Leonard, Edgar W. (6-4 6-4)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Post, A.W. (6-2 6-2)
Semifinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Clothier, William Jackson (6-1 6-3)
Final Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Larned, William Augustus (6-1 6-2 6-1)

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1903 Nahant Invitation Tournament
Final Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Clothier, William Jackson (6-4 6-0)

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1904 Wimbledon
Challenge Round Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Riseley, Frank Lorymer (6-1 7-5 8-6)

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1904 Monte Carlo
Round 2 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (w.o.)

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1905 Wimbledon
Challenge Round Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Brookes, Norman Everard (8-6 6-2 6-4)

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1905 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Cazalet, Clement H.L. (w.o.)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Gladky, ? (6-1 6-2)
Semifinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Allen, E.R. (Roy) (6-1 6-0)
Final Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Ritchie, R.P.J. (Dickie) (6-4 8-6 6-4)

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1906 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Bertoult, Baron de (w.o.)
Round 2 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Ritchie, M. Joshia George (6-1 6-2 8-6)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Gladky, ? (8-6 6-1 6-4)
Semifinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Wilding, Anthony Frederick (Tony) (8-6 6-3 0-6 6-0)
Final Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Eaves, Wilberforce Vaughan (6-3 11-9)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1907 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Storms, Reginald (6-1 6-4)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. De Bray, ? (6-2 6-2)
Semifinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Powell, Kenneth (6-1 6-3)
Final Ritchie, M. Joshia George d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (8-6 7-5 8-6)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1908 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Stone, ? d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (w.o.)

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1909 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Vidil, J. (6-0 ret.)
Round 2 Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Rahe , Friedrich Wilhelm (7-5 6-0 6-4)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Myers, Arthur Wallis (6-0 2-6 6-3 6-1)
Semifinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Ritchie, M. Joshia George (9-7 7-5 1-6 7-5)
Final Alexander, Frederick B. d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (7-5 6-4 6-1)

Borgforever
06-24-2009, 08:00 AM
Holy smoke! I tip my hat for you and bow slowly in a very thankful gesture...:-)

Many thanks...

Borgforever
06-24-2009, 08:03 AM
And check out that Southampton win in 1903!?

J. Parmly Paret insisted that only Mahony played singles there...

Hard to trust these "authorities"...

Borgforever
06-24-2009, 08:09 AM
So now we have Laurie with 12 big tourney wins in 1903 (most of these were big tourneys, arguably in Masters-level). That's a jaw-dropper. But I already had my jaw on the floor when I researched this guy :-)

What a underrated player -- Mr. Lawrence Doherty was...

Borgforever
06-24-2009, 08:14 AM
Idzznew -- I'm very, very impressed with you!

Idzznew
06-24-2009, 11:04 AM
Thanks very much Borgforever!
I think when my site grows further we will see more surprises..
www.tennisarchives.com

Borgforever
06-24-2009, 11:29 AM
You bet Idzznew! Great work. Were did you get this info -- if I may ask -- this is jewels. So hard to find. I'm very grateful.

Idzznew
06-24-2009, 11:33 AM
I have a contact who got me info from:
Spalding's Lawn Tennis Annual 1904

Its interesting to know which sources you use.
If you want you can mail me. (idzznew at yahoo.co.uk)
or via my website.

Alex

Raphael
06-24-2009, 11:42 AM
This is a great thread! Thank you for all the interesting information. :)

Borgforever
06-24-2009, 11:58 AM
Thanks yourself Raphael -- I find this very interesting myself but if someone else do too its twice the reward.

I've also found film-footage of Lawrence Doherty playing against Sidney Smith at Eastbourne in 1900. Can you imagine that?

The old silver nitrate film stock from that era are extremely flammable and easily deteroriate -- just to store that material so its not destroyed swallows so much resources its not really economically sound -- and its been established that 90% of all films prior to 1957 is lost forever. But a bit from "Little Do" has managed to survive.

We have some moving images of this master...

Quite a shock to say the least. Even if its not epic in size...

And give credit were credit is due -- elegos7 is man who should be credited for leading me to it...

And I will contact you Idzznew...

Idzznew
06-24-2009, 12:02 PM
Woww where can we see this??
Unbelievable and a great find!

Idzznew
06-24-2009, 01:33 PM
Three more titles for H.L.

------------------------------------------------------------
1901 Kent championships
Final Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Gore, Arthur Wentworth (6-1 6-3 3-6 6-4)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
1902 Kent championships
Final Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Simond, George Miéville (6-4 6-0 6-3)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
1903 Kent championships
Final Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Gore, Arthur Wentworth (6-1 6-2 6-3)

Borgforever
06-24-2009, 01:38 PM
Well -- what can say that I haven't said already...? You're the man.

Yes, the snippet on "Little Do" is found on the 4-hour HISTORY OF WIMBLEDON DVD. Haven't seen it yet -- since I am not back at Wimby until the weekend so I have to wait to review these priceless seconds...

I don't care if its two milli-seconds of footage -- when it comes to this guy I'm not picky -- considering how uniquely rare moving images of this player really is...

Borgforever
06-24-2009, 01:45 PM
Okey -- checked the Kent-scores and they're already in the records except that you have Laurie beating Gore in 1903 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 and in the posted record it is 6-2 in the third. You're certain its 6-3 in the third?

Just verifying...

Idzznew
06-24-2009, 01:47 PM
source: http://www.beckenhamtennisclub.co.uk/photos/Beck_M_Roll.pdf

Borgforever
06-24-2009, 01:58 PM
Aye, aye, Captain!

Borgforever
06-25-2009, 09:11 AM
Good news...

I will make a little YT-clip of the Dohertys taken from the minute-long clip featuring them playing on grass at Eastbourne on September 16th, 1900.

First there's about 30 seconds with both Dohertys (great) playing doubles against an unknown pair.

Secondly, there's about 30 seconds from the challenge round-match between Laurie Doherty and Sidney Smith. A match that Laurie wins in four sets -- 6-4, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1. Laurie serves and Smith hammers his famous Lendlesque forehand forcing "Little Do" out on the severe defensive retrieving his cannonballs. Laurie disappears out of court and is not seen from the whole court camera-perspective during the rally but is sucessfully chasing down Smith's bombs (!).

This is way better than I ever imagined.

I will zoom in on their shot-making and make slow-motion studies of this and then post them on YT. Very satisfying. There will be glimpses of these giants during their heydey.

Personally I think there's more. Considering how much footage there exists of early 1900s boxing-matches. They have up to 10-15 minutes from fights.

What bothers me about the Tilden-footage I've seen its that they too much focus on directly on his shots and not so much on a rally. I don't think I've seen enough though of the existing footage of Tilden...

Borgforever
06-25-2009, 04:32 PM
I was mightily impressed by Murray today. He looks like he's ready maybe. It must be tough for him though -- with all the pressure...

Let's jump into our time-machine -- back into August 1902, right into mid-tourney of USO on the shining, pristine grass-courts at the Newport Casino on Rhode Island. This is an era were the airplane has yet to be invented. If there's people here who've seen the fine (but brutal) TV-show DEADWOOD you will know who the cursing Calamity Jane was, she's still alive this year...

Well, here's New York Times reporting from the second biggest tennis tourney on our planet:

"WHITMAN TO DEFEND TITLE

AMERICAN EXPERT WIN A PLACE IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP TENNIS FINAL.

H. L. DOHERTY DEFEATS WARE

ONE OF THE ENGLISH BROTHERS EXPECTED TO DEFAULT TO OTHER, IN CLOSING PLAY AT NEWPORT

NEWPORT, R. I., Aug. 25 (1902) – Another victory was added today to the unbroken record of the famous English lawn tennis players. H. L. Doherty, the champion of England, won in three straight sets from the old-time Harvard player, Leo E. Ware. The result brings the Dohertys opposite each other in the semi-final round. On the American side Malcolm D. Whitman defeated the veteran Robert P. Huntington…

…If Doherty wins he will challenge W. A. Larned for the championship and an interesting match will be played Wednesday for the National championship honors (USO-title). If, however, Whitman wins tomorrow he will default to Larned and leave him in undisputed possession of the championship. This was understood to be Whitman’s intention on the start. He entered the tournament to the defend the all-comers title from the Englishmen, and with no intention of playing again for the championship. Despite this early decision on the part of Whitman, it is not a popular one, and every effort is being made to force him to compete in the championship match, so as not to rob the tennis season of one of its choicest bits of play.

For the first time in the tournament the big match was late in going on the court, and Whitman and Huntington were well on their way to finish before Ware and Doherty got over netting, tossed for choice, and began warming up. Ware selected court and Doherty took the opening service. The first game went to deuce, Doherty being a bit unsteady on his service. He rallied, however, after the call, and won the game. Ware played the second very steadily and won at 15.

The tennis in the third was magnificent, and Ware pretty effectually stopped Doherty’s attempt at net work. On his own service, Doherty camped right at the net in the fifth, using the American's short-angle shots. He won the game at love. Ware won the sixth prettily enough, but he then let up and hit soft, and the Englishman took the next two games. When Ware won the tenth, playing grand tennis, the game went to deuce. A bad decision by a linesman cost Ware the advantage game. He forced it back to ”games all” with the twelfth, and then Doherty again got the advantage.

Doherty was twice within a point of the set in the fourteenth, but could not get the needed score. Ware making a gallant stand and winning, after the third call of deuce. It was a case of own service wins, as in the matches of last week, and the constant effort of each was to break through the others service. Doherty got the advantage, and then in the sixteenth broke through Ware’s service and won. The score:

FIRST SET

H. L. Doherty…5 1 2 4 4 1 4 4 3 0 4 1 4 5 4 4-50: 9
L. E. Ware……...3 4 4 2 0 4 1 0 5 4 2 4 2 7 0 2-44: 7

Ware began the second set by hitting softly and Doherty got the first game after deuce once. He won his service in the second game at 30. In the hird Ware had the lead love 40 and one point would put him through Doherty’s service. His slacking up was fatal, and he lost the game, and then in the fourth lost his own service, giving Doherty a lead, 3-1. Doherty, though unsteady on his service, got the fifth after deuce, and in the sixth he again broke through Ware’s service. Doherty killed beautifully in the seventh, winning the game and the set, 6-1. The score:

SECOND SET

H. L. Doherty…5 2 5 4 5 4 4-29: 6
L. E. Ware……...3 4 3 0 3 2 0-15: 1

With two sets to his credit, Doherty was in a commanding position. Ware’s soft returns were easy for the champion of all England. He killed them very easily. Doherty, in the third, broke through Ware’s service and won the lead, 2-1. (Ware immediately struck back brilliantly but the Englishman just raised his level yet again both on serve and return). Doherty went through the fifth to a love win, smashed everything in the sixth, and then took the seventh at 15. He finished it off in the easiest kind of manner in the eight at 15, and the set was his, 6-2, and the match won in straight sets. The score:

THIRD SET

H. L. Doherty…2 4 6 1 4 4 4 4-28: 6
L. E. Ware….…..4 2 4 4 0 0 1 1-16: 2

9-7, 6-1, 6-2

H. L. Doherty was 107-75 in points won...

With the Doherty-match out of the way attention was turned to the Whitman-Huntington meeting, which up to this point had been overlooked…"

It was all set up for the younger Doherty -- arguably the more brilliant -- Laurie to face-off with Whitman in the All-Comers' Final -- but in my next post I will reveal what kind of shenanigans that went down in detail...

Borgforever
06-26-2009, 03:17 AM
So came the next day...

Was Laurie, the brother in clearly the best form both this year and during the American season be the one getting the chance to meet Whitman in the all-comers' final?

Interesting to note that during the challenge round days reaching the all-comers in any tourney was a great achievement and winning that match was a great success. They said you've won the tourney. But hadn't won the title -- for that you have to also beat the reigning champion. I think some people liked this arrangement -- two finals for the price of one tourney -- a bargain -- although in America they realized that challenge round had defects and, very progressively, abolished it in the early teens as the first of the great majors to do so.

Wimbledon was to follow suit in the teens (on Wilding's repeated requests coupled with many other champions input) but they hesitated and waited until 1922.

Back to USO 1902...

From THE BYSTANDER it said that Reggie's health was rapidly leaving him in 1902, but in patches he was still great. The boat journey, weeks over stormy seas, was tough on both of them but Reggie had of course suffered the most. Since he was so ill at this time he couldn't practice they way he should. When he felt better and intensified his training regimen upon arriving in New York he strained his shoulder.

Reggie's form and results had been uneven during the matches leading up to USO.

The humid, hot weather was also a danger to his asthma but the season had been okey for him on that score so it didn't look that bad.

Before the Whitman showdown they thought long and hard. Then it was decided. They took a chance. Laurie stepped back and Reggie promised his brother -- we go back next year and if we're in the same predicament again I step down (and that's how it went down):

"BRITON WON AT TENNIS

R. F. Doherty Captured American Championship Tournament.

Malcolm D. Whitman Beaten

In Final of Newport Competition Visitors Outplayed Home Expert – Challenge Match Today.

NEWPORT, R. I., Aug. 26 (1902) – In a tennis match filled with brilliant playing, but wholly demonstrating the superiority of the English player, R. F. Doherty, the former champion of England, today won over the American in the final match of the All-Comers’ championship tournament on the Casino courts. The result was a surprise, as it was confidently expected that Malcolm D. Whitman would be able to check the victorious career of the Englishman. The clever Briton, however, out-manoeuvered Whitman at every point, and wore him down to a state of pitiful exhaustion by keeping him on the run.

The American plainly was not in the best of of condition. Doherty’s work, on the other hand, was faultless, and he won by the score of 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0.

The day began with a peculiar doubt existing as to the matter of the Dohertys’ default. Yesterday it was reported that H. L. Doherty would meet Whitman today. This morning, with Larned as authority for it, there was a rumor that R. F. Doherty would be the one called upon to make the attack upon the American laurels. This doubt, to say the least, was trying to the followers of the game. The experts among the spectators and the players restlessly haunted the bulletin board at the clubhouse, awaiting the placing of the name of the opponent of Whitman. They were kept on the edge for hours without getting anything more authentic than rumor to work upon.

Finally, however, at 10:45 o’clock, R. F. Doherty’s name was posted, and that much of the uncertainty was removed. Just why the Englishmen made the eleventh-hour change was a puzzle to every one interested, and the feeling grew that something was being held up their sleeves by the Englishmen. Certainly H. L. Doherty, who played better tennis than R. F. Doherty, would be the man. This change of programme on the part of the English players made Whitman even more the favorite than he was before, and even allowing for his poor showing early in the week, the memory of the lacing which he administered to R. F. Doherty at Bay Ridge put great confidence in the American forces.

It was after 11 o’clock when the famous players entered the enclosure and made ready for their great test. On the toss Doherty won, and elected to serve. Doherty’s initial strokes were not encouraging, and Whitman’s first point was off a double fault. The men played very carefully and were well back, though for the winning point Doherty went to the net and made a pass (clean winner). He followed his win in this by breaking through Whitman’s service, passing him at the net, and winning the second game at 15. The third game went to deuce once, and though Whitman had the lead, 40-30, Doherty pulled it up and won on consecutive errors. Again in the fourth Whitman lost his his service. Doherty won the fifth game, leading then five games to love. Up to this point Doherty was certainly playing on both sides of Whitman. In the sixth Whitman made a stand, and by a win at 30 saved himself from losing a set at love. It was only a temporary stop, for Doherty gathered the seventh at 30 and had the first set, 6-1. The score:

FIRST SET

R. F. Doherty…….4 4 5 4 4 2 4-27: 6
M. D. Whitman….1 1 3 1 1 4 2-13: 1

Whitman made a win of the opening game of the second set, though, after having led 40-15, he allowed Doherty to pull it to duece, and the call came twice before he got the game. For the first time in the match Whitman earned a win off Doherty’s service in the second game, which was three times at deuce. In the fourth game -- under pressure from Whitman's severe service-returns Doherty made his first stand for a win for two earned winners in the corner and won the game. Whitman, growing steadier, made a magnificent effort in the eigth, scoring at 15, and earning three of the four points on sharp angle shots from the net, and, needing one more game, for the set, got it in the ninth. The score:

SECOND SET:

M. D. Whitman….6 7 4 3 4 1 4 4 4-34: 6
R. F. Doherty…….4 5 1 5 1 4 6 1 2-29: 3

The third set was begin with the two men on even terms. Whitman began well, breaking through Doherty’s service and scoring after deuce. In the second, twice at deuce, Doherty won. The Englishamn followed with a win of the third at 15, leading two games to one. Whitman’s volley into the net came near getting him into trouble in the fourth, but he gathered in the time after one deuce and tied Doherty two games all. Whitman again broke through Doherty’s service, and with the sixth at 15, had the lead again. Alternating then the play went to the tenth, which was a vital game, deuce being called four times before Doherty got the points and had the set 6-4. The score:

THIRD SET:

R. F. Doherty….…3 6 4 3 1 1 1 4 4 8-35: 6
M. D. Whitman….5 4 1 5 4 4 4 1 0 6-34: 4

The men looked fit enough when they came on for the fourth set, after a rest (American rules back then allowed a 7 minute rest). Doherty had the opening service and won the first game at 30. The second, too, went to Doherty and off Whitman’s service. Whitman was certainly off his game, and Doherty gathered the third at love. Doherty was playing all around the American, and had him completely at his mercy. In the sixth Whitman made a despairing effort, but it was unavailing, and, though he pulled it to deuce, it was all over, for he double faulted for the advantage point and Doherty won on a direct pass (winner). The score:

FOURTH SET:

R. F. Doherty….…4 4 4 4 4 5-25: 6
M. D. Whitman….2 2 0 1 2 3-10: 0

Tomorrow R. F. Doherty will play William A. Larned the challenge match for the championship. The latter was beaten by Doherty at Bay Ridge, while both the Englishmen have showed a stronger game at Newport than they did in the international contest. In the championship match Larned must play his best game to win, but if he plays his best he can win. Tennis followers are hoping that he may be in his best form.

R. F. Won 113 points to Whitman’s 88"

Well, now we can jump back a few posts in this thread and read how it went down between a great Larned and R. F. in the challenge round title-match during a very hot and humid day...

William Larned, a brilliant player, was for many quite clearly the world No. 1 in 1901 (I also think he was with a serious margin) so to beat him at his best you really had to be great.

NEXT POST -- MORE FROM THE USO FOLLOWING YEAR 1903...

Idzznew
06-26-2009, 03:30 AM
Great stuff Borgforever!

Heres some statistics to go along with it.


US Lawn tennis championships 1902

Round 1

Hunt, Reuben G. d. Watson Jr., C.F. (w.o.)
Williams, S.C. d. Wood, T.E. (6-0 6-0 6-1)
Dunn, G.L. d. Brice, W.K. (6-4 6-1 6-0)
Knapp, W. Percy d. Grant, B.M. (1-6 6-2 6-2 6-0)
Whitman, Malcolm D. d. Smith, F.R. (w.o.)
Seabury, Joseph S. d. Wright, L.C. (w.o.)
Warner, H.W. d. Wood, W. Barry (6-0 6-0 6-0)
Pell, Theodore R. d. Lyons, R. (6-0 6-2 6-2)
Wright, Beals Coleman d. Ballinger, J.H. (6-1 6-1 6-2)
Paret, J. Parmly d. Lyons, I. (6-2 6-0 6-1)
Mason, H.W. d. de Navarro, A. (w.o.)
Stevens, Richard d. Bates, W.H. (6-0 6-0 6-1)
Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Hoyt, Lydig (6-1 6-1 6-1)
Hobart, Clarence d. Talmadge, J.F. (w.o.)
Appleton 2nd, D.F. d. McFadden, George (6-1 6-1 8-6)
Willis, Joseph G. d. Hatch, W.D. (6-1 6-1 6-0)
Budlong, Clarence R. d. McKibben, W. (w.o.)
Allen, Harry F. d. Sever, R.C. (3-6 4-6 6-2 7-5 6-4)
Ware, Leo E. d. Neely, John C. (6-1 6-3 6-4)

Round 2

Huntington Jr., Robert P. d. O'Connor, P.S. (w.o.)
Hoffman, F.B. d. Mahoney, F.C. (w.o.)
Waller, Stewart d. Oelrichs, Harry (6-1 6-1 6-0)
Davis sr, Dwight Filley d. Sands , Charles Edward (5-7 6-4 6-2 6-1)
Little, Raymond D. d. Codman, Alfred (3-6 6-2 6-1 6-3)
Sharples, P.P. d. Manning, R.F. (w.o.)
McMaster, A.L. d. Brice, J.F. (6-0 6-2 6-1)
Avery, Harry E. d. Biddle, Craig (6-2 6-2 6-4)
Whitman, H.H. d. Otis, F.J. (w.o.)
DeForest, Louis d. Miller, Deane (w.o.)
Collins, Kreigh d. Franckenstein, Baron G. (6-0 6-1 6-0)
Hunt, Reuben G. d. Williams, S.C. (9-7 6-3 6-3)
Knapp, W. Percy d. Dunn, G.L. (6-0 6-4 6-3)
Whitman, Malcolm D. d. Seabury, Joseph S. (6-0 6-1 6-0)
Warner, H.W. d. Pell, Theodore R. (6-3 4-6 0-6 6-3 6-4)
Wright, Beals Coleman d. Paret, J. Parmly (6-3 6-4 6-2)
Stevens, Richard d. Mason, H.W. (6-0 6-0 6-2)
Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Hobart, Clarence (6-3 6-3 7-5)
Appleton 2nd, D.F. d. Willis, Joseph G. (6-4 6-3 6-4)
Allen, Harry F. d. Budlong, Clarence R. (8-6 6-0 6-3)
Ware, Leo E. d. Heaton, Augustus (6-1 6-3 6-2)
Lee, C.S. d. Fischer, R.R. (6-0 6-0 6-1)
Pim, Joshua F. d. Plummer, H.A. (6-1 6-3 8-6)
Whipple, S.C. d. Sedgwick, H.R. (6-2 6-2 3-6 6-1)
Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Davidson, John C. (6-0 6-2 6-0)
Mahan, Lyle E. d. Cutting, R.B. (6-3 7-5 6-3)
Walker, J. d. Hoffman, W.W. (6-1 6-1 6-0)
Clothier, William Jackson d. Behr, T.H. (6-2 6-2 6-2)
Glazebrook, L.W. d. Stillman, Alfred (6-2 7-5 6-3)
Ward, Holcombe d. Warnock, W.H. (w.o.)
Leonard, Edgar Welch d. Foulke, W.L. (6-0 8-6 6-3)
Waidner, Louis Harry d. Herrick, Gerard P. (w.o.)

Round 3

Huntington Jr., Robert P. d. Hoffman, F.B. (6-1 6-1 6-1)
Waller, Stewart d. Davis sr, Dwight Filley (w.o.)
Little, Raymond D. d. Sharples, P.P. (6-4 6-0 7-5)
Avery, Harry E. d. McMaster, A.L. (2-6 6-2 6-3 7-5)
Whitman, H.H. d. DeForest, Louis (w.o.)
Collins, Kreigh d. Hunt, Reuben G. (8-6 6-4 4-6 6-8 6-1)
Whitman, Malcolm D. d. Knapp, W. Percy (6-0 6-1 6-1)
Wright, Beals Coleman d. Warner, H.W. (6-2 6-0 6-1)
Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Stevens, Richard (6-1 4-6 8-6 6-1)
Allen, Harry F. d. Appleton 2nd, D.F. (6-0 8-6 6-1)
Ware, Leo E. d. Lee, C.S. (6-0 6-1 6-0)
Pim, Joshua F. d. Whipple, S.C. (6-0 6-0 6-4)
Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Mahan, Lyle E. (6-2 6-0 6-4)
Clothier, William Jackson d. Walker, J. (w.o.)
Glazebrook, L.W. d. Ward, Holcombe (w.o.)
Waidner, Louis Harry d. Leonard, Edgar Welch (5-7 3-6 6-2 8-6 6-4)

Round 4

Huntington Jr., Robert P. d. Waller, Stewart (6-0 6-4 6-3)
Little, Raymond D. d. Avery, Harry E. (6-4 6-4 6-4)
Collins, Kreigh d. Whitman, H.H. (6-1 6-2 6-3)
Whitman, Malcolm D. d. Wright, Beals Coleman (6-3 4-6 6-3 7-5)
Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Allen, Harry F. (6-0 6-2 6-0)
Ware, Leo E. d. Pim, Joshua F. (7-5 7-5 6-3)
Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Clothier, William Jackson (3-6 7-5 6-4 6-2)
Waidner, Louis Harry d. Glazebrook, L.W. (6-1 6-2 6-2)

Quarterfinals

Huntington Jr., Robert P. d. Little, Raymond D. (8-6 6-2 6-2)
Whitman, Malcolm D. d. Collins, Kreigh (6-0 6-1 6-4)
Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Ware, Leo E. (6-3 6-2 6-2)
Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Waidner, Louis Harry (w.o.)

Semifinals

Whitman, Malcolm D. d. Huntington Jr., Robert P. (10-8 4-6 6-1 6-2)
Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (w.o.)

Final

Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Whitman, Malcolm D. (6-1 3-6 6-3 6-0)

Challenge Round

Larned, William Augustus d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (4-6 6-2 6-4 8-6)

Borgforever
06-27-2009, 06:50 AM
You're bona-fide trooper Idzznew...

Let's jump into the time-machine again back to August 1903...

Four months after this the American Wright-brothers invented something that the chairman of the British Scientist Society, Lord Kelvin, had adamantly stated in 1897 as a complete impossibility for human beings ever to achieve: namely being able to build a flying machine. He said it was a "technical impossibility"...

The Wright-brothers made him look like a fool and stunned the world...

But let's focus on Lawrence Doherty, another improbably great phenomenon on the bright green tennis courts.

In 1903 Laurie did the straight flush in the American season winning everthing over everybody in the big singles tourneys he entered in marvellous fashion -- only losing two sets (!) (to an astonishing William Larned in an amazing five-setter-clash in the Davis Cup-final) during his entire sejour there.

Worth mentioning is that he steamrolled the great serve and volleyer Clothier three times and steamrolled the great Larned twice (6-1, 6-2, 6-1 in the Southampton-final and 6-0, 6-3, 10-8 in the before-mentioned USO-final).

According to sources the Dohertys arrived after a very stormy journey with the steamer "Campania" but Laurie was hungrier for victory than a starved Nile crocodile was for meat and he proceeded to mow the American lawns accordingly.

Courtesy of the fine jouralists at New York Times almost 106 years ago we have this report from Laurie's adventures in the fourth round that year.

I must also add that I heard yesterday that the oldest living male today was born 1896 (thus 113 years old and counting) still have very clear memories from the early 1900s and mentions how he vividly remembers the news arriving of the sinking of Titanic in 1912 among other things. Theoretically he could've remembered this match if he had seen it...

And as regards this newspaper-article Reggie crushed J. Parmly Paret with something like 6-1, 6-0, 6-2 -- and Paret wasn't a bad, pitty-pat player -- he was a USO-finalist just a couple of years before this. Clearly high-class competition:

"THE DOHERTY BROTHERS BOTH WON THEIR MATCHES IN THE COMPETITION AT NEWPORT.

NEWPORT, R. I., Aug. 21 (1903) – The fourth day of the twenty-third National lawn tennis championship began with conditions just the reverse of yesterday. It was clear and bright, not at all hot, and everything combined to make the conditions close to the ideal…

…Clothier proved in his match that he is one of the speediest players in this country to get to the net (Clothier was steamrolled by Laurie in the all-comers' final just a few days later)...

…The courts were in splendid shape and showed none of the bad effects of yesterday’s heavy showers. They were rolled and nursed this morning until every bit of moisture was out of them and the sun put on the finishing touch, caking them absolutely dry and speedy…

…Both of the famous Englishmen had an easy time of it in getting through their competitions. Lawrence Doherty met the veteran Briton, Harold Segerson Mahony, and although the latter forced the playing, he was beaten in straight sets. J. Parmly Paret was likewise overwhelmed by R. F. Doherty, who only allowed his opponent to score three games in the match.

As the result of the Doherty’s victories they are brought on opposing brackets, and the elder brother will default to the little champion, as they have never been known to meet in a tournament. This gives Lawrence Doherty his place in the semifinal round without the tiring ordeal of a match. He will meet R. H. Carleton, the former Harvard man (Laurie amazingly made mince-meat of him too -- 6-0, 6-2, 6-0!), who gained his semifinal bracket by defating R. C. Seavor by a one-sided score. The junior championship in the singles was also decided today. It went to Karl Behr…

…Lawrence Doherty – Harold Mahony 6-3, 6-2, 6-4

FIRST SET

H. L. Doherty….4 1 4 3 4 0 4 4 4-28: 6
H. S. Mahony….2 4 1 5 1 4 2 1 2-22: 3

SECOND SET

H. L. Doherty…1 4 4 4 4 2 5 4-28: 6
H. S. Mahony…4 0 1 0 1 4 3 1-14: 2


THIRD SET

H. L. Doherty…0 5 4 4 5 3 4 4 3 4-36: 6
H. S. Mahony…4 7 1 2 3 5 2 2 5 1-32: 4

H. L. Doherty won 92 points
H. S. Mahony won 68 points"

gpt
06-27-2009, 07:25 AM
Borgforever thanks so much for this wonderful thread. Great stuff.

Borgforever
06-27-2009, 08:59 AM
Thanks for your kind words gpt! :-)

I will add some interesting (I hope) analysis and thoughts later tonight but I have to see if Lawrence Doherty's ghost will be channeled through Andy Murray in his match soon on the centre...

Idzznew
06-27-2009, 11:58 AM
I really love your posts Borgforever! Keep it up!
Contact me if you want via email.

Iddznew/ALex

Borgforever
06-30-2009, 05:42 AM
I really love your posts Borgforever! Keep it up!
Contact me if you want via email.

Here's what I have at the moment on R. Doherty at www.teenisarchives.com
Not as brilliant as his brother but impressive anyway

grtz
Alex



Stats
Matches in database: 55
Victories in database: 42
Tournaments won in database: 11
Results

1894 Wimbledon
Round 1 Cazalet, Clement H.L. d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (6-3 6-4 2-6 6-3)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1895 Wimbledon
Round 2 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Nisbet, Harold A. (4-6 6-4 6-4 6-4)
Quarterfinals Baddeley, Herbert d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (6-4 6-2 6-4)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1896 Wimbledon
Round 1 Mahony , Harold Segerson d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (6-3 5-7 6-1 3-6 6-2)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1897 Wimbledon
Round 1 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Simond, George Miéville (11-9 1-6 6-4 6-3)
Round 2 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Milne, Oswald (6-2 6-1 9-7)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Riseley, Frank Lorymer (w.o.)
Semifinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Baddeley, Wlifred (6-3 6-0 6-3)
Final Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Eaves, Wilberforce Vaughan (6-3 7-5 2-0 ret.)
Challenge Round Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Mahony , Harold Segerson (6-4 6-4 6-3)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1897 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Girard, ? (6-1 6-1)
Round 2 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Fombertaux, ? (6-1 6-2)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Cazalet, Clement H.L. (6-3 6-4)
Semifinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Voss, V. (6-2 6-2)
Final Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Blackwood Price, C.W. (6-2 6-1 6-2)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1898 Wimbledon
Challenge Round Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (6-3 6-3 2-6 5-7 6-1)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1898 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Russell Brown, ? (6-1 2-6 6-0)
Round 2 Robiglio, ? d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (w.o.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1899 Wimbledon
Challenge Round Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Gore, Arthur Wentworth (1-6 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-3)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1899 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Barlow, Harry S. (6-1 6-1)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Lemaire de Warzeé, Willie (6-0 6-1)
Semifinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Amiet, ? (6-1 6-4)
Final Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Voss, V. (6-2 ret.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1900 Wimbledon
Challenge Round Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Smith, Sydney H. (6-8 6-3 6-1 6-2)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1901 Wimbledon
Challenge Round Gore, Arthur Wentworth d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (4-6 7-5 6-4 6-4)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1901 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Hillyard, George Whiteside d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (w.o.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1902 Wimbledon
Round 1 Hough, Robert B. d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (w.o.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1902 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Blacker Douglas, ? (w.o.)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Allen, Charles Gladstone (w.o.)
Semifinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Lemaire de Warzeé, Willie (6-4 6-3)
Final Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Hillyard, George Whiteside (6-4 6-4 6-3)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1902 US Lawn tennis championships
Round 2 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Davidson, John C. (6-0 6-2 6-0)
Round 3 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Mahan, Lyle E. (6-2 6-0 6-4)
Round 4 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Clothier, William Jackson (3-6 7-5 6-4 6-2)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Waidner, Louis Harry (w.o.)
Semifinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (w.o.)
Final Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Whitman, Malcolm D. (6-1 3-6 6-3 6-0)
Challenge Round Larned, William Augustus d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (4-6 6-2 6-4 8-6)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1903 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Goodbody, Manliff F. (6-1 6-1)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Allen, E.R. (Roy) (w.o.)
Semifinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (w.o.)
Final Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Riseley, Frank Lorymer (6-1 14-16 ret.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1903 US Lawn tennis championships
Round 2 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Merrill, B.F. (6-1 6-2 6-1)
Round 3 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Collins, Kreigh (6-2 2-6 10-8 6-3)
Round 4 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Paret, J. Parmly (6-0 6-1 6-2)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (w.o.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1903 Southampton (Long Island)
Round 2 Torrence, A. d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (w.o.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1904 Wimbledon
Round 1 Goldberg, Fritz W. d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (w.o.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1904 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Grote, ? (w.o.)
Round 2 Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Doherty , Hugh Laurence (Laurie) (w.o.)
Quarterfinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Allen, E.R. (Roy) (6-2 9-7)
Semifinals Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Lansdowne, ? (w.o.)
Final Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) d. Ritchie, M. Joshia George (6-1 7-5 3-6 7-5)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1905 Wimbledon
Round 1 Powell, Kenneth d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (w.o.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1905 Monte Carlo
Round 1 Gladky, ? d. Doherty , Reginald Frank (Reggie) (w.o.)

Iddznew/ALex

Thanks man! I'll try my best. I will mail you as soon as time allows...

I'll get to the player analysis and career trajectory of "The Doozys" and their closest most fierce rivals soon...

Borgforever
07-01-2009, 04:49 AM
Last night I came across some great Doherty-stuff. Articles containing GOAT-debates, more biographical detail, the works...

So I hit the brakes and waded through it. Now it is a great day at The Championships so I'll do that first then later this evening -- beware of Lawrence...

Borgforever
07-01-2009, 12:09 PM
Since I've updated and revised this opening page as new information has come to light -- I quote this new OP. It's worth re-reading I'll tell you.

It's now quite clearly the greatest record ever made by a tennis-player -- and might IMO very well stand for another century or two:

HUGH LAWRENCE DOHERTY (1875-1919) – GOAT-contender, was born appropiately in Wimbledon three years after his famous older brother. Called “H. L.” or “Little Do” (as opposed to his much taller brother called “Big Do”) by the press – he seemed to be called “Laurie” by his closest friends.

Laurie Doherty’s achievements are more or less still unmatched even a hundred years after he retired.

Her can be credited with winning and holding every major tournament of his day, on every surface, on every continent and most of them for several years by far outshining his famous brother.

NOTE: In this study I've focused mainly on Lawrence's and Reginald's singles careers since their record in doubles is simply unique -- only two recorded losses during their prime 1896-1906 -- I lack the words to express the level of admiration I hold for that record!

If we look at the incomplete records that we have during his 11 year career 1896-1906:

Tournament wins: 61 (starting in 81 tournaments) winning 75.30% of all tourneys entered on our record
Finals/Challenge Round-finals: 11
Losses on record: 20 (real match-losses – including chivalrous w/o)

Compare this to his great brother who "only" won 28 tournaments (16 losses including w/o having started in 44 singles championships) winning 63.63% of all tourneys entered on our record.

Hugh Lawrence Doherty:

Olympics Gold 1900 (singles and doubles)

USO 1903 (First GS-major won without set-loss)

Davis Cup – 4 times in a row: 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906

Wimbledon – 5 times in a row: 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906 - final 1898

Queens Indoor – 6 times in a row: 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906

The South of France Championships, Place Mozart, Nice – 7 times in a row: 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906

Golden Grand Slam 1903 – holder of every major championship – Davis Cup, Olympics, Wimbledon, USO, Queens Indoor, The South of France Championships plus many other championships and everyone of the majors he won in doubles with his brother this year since they were undefeated and this fact raises his win-loss record for 1903 to about app. 80 – 0!

H. L. was undefeated in singles and doubles in Davis Cup

Undefeated streak on all surfaces including every championship on every continent: 3 years and 3 months
(July 1901- October 1904)

Retires as undefeated and undefeated holder of every major championship on every available surface in 1906.

His win-loss record in singles for the year 1903 has been stated as app: 45-0 -- 80-0 including doubles!

He also won the first major tourney without set-loss - USO 1903 – 130-44 (174) for a 74.71 % game-winning percentage

19 major championships (arguably of Grand Slam-status of the day -- 23 including Davis Cup)

Borgforever
07-01-2009, 12:20 PM
I have some real jewels to post and my final summary which is a real chocolate-box of new, stunning info -- plus that I will link to a few wonderful pages were you can see and download a public domain copy of some really cool magaizine-articles about Laurie Doherty as GOAT in the 1920s and other articles called "THE SECRET BEHIND THE DOHERTYS"...

You know "National Enquirer" of the 1890s -- kidding, rather the opposite: Really well-written, very entertaining articles filled with beautiful, rare photos of Smith, Dohertys and large atmospheric panorama photos of the great tennis arenas they battled on. These things are really rare and stunning. Very contemporary in style.

Then some great match-stats -- I've actually found wonderful, contemporary stats from one of Laurie's greatest victories -- the classic five-setter against Larned at Longwood in 1903 Davis Cup-final. The decisive rubber to boot. His brother looked like he was going down on the court next to him. He couldn't trust his brother. He looked like he was losing and if Laurie did too, well, he was losing for the first time in over two years if he also went down -- besides the Davis Cup -- and this was his third match in only three days -- everyone knew this...

So he fought on "Little Do". And clutched. 7-5 in the fifth.

The 4000 in the stands all Americans spontaneously just rose and gave "The King" a ten-minute applause with cheers, many with tears in their eyes when The Master alone, with tired steps, walked the long walk over the field to the club-house...

Full match-description included with all juicy drama plus a nice pile of winners, errors stats as apfertif...

Life is good.

At least sometimes.

Then I will go into their style-summary -- some cool criticism of the Dohertys (can't end this with just going through the gushing!:-)) and a career conclusion summary of their lives and their end...

Borgforever
07-01-2009, 01:50 PM
After I posted these last items and final words I will produce a little short movie that I will post on YT on Lawrence Doherty GOAT-contender which will include several studies in different speeds with the man himself in action in the only moving images we have of him in action six-months into his unsurpassed prime -- almost 25 years old at that filmed moment in 1900 -- almost 109 years ago...

It will contain his records and some other telling bits and photos...

Maybe all set to Vangelis' celebrated -- and for me always moving and affecting in the right way no matter how many times I hear it -- "CHARIOTS OF FIRE" score...

How's that sound?

I just can't finish with text. It needs to go out with a little "Bang-Ooomphf!" at the end...

EtePras
07-01-2009, 01:57 PM
rofl, this guy couldn't even beat prime Sampras I bet.

Borgforever
07-04-2009, 10:49 AM
Well, I've been swamped with great Laurie Doherty-stuff lately. I feel I have it all. Interviews with The Maestro, every Wimby-final of his described by several magazines in such detail I know how many rain-delays there were that particular year and several fat stat-sheets as well.

Incredible...

I'm stunned. I know about their elder brother, how great he was at tennis, how he retired and I got film of him. This is not going to be a small finish if I am going to do this right. On the other hand it's going to be fun.

It's such a kick so watch this guy, H. L., move on film, in the sunshine at Eastbourne, next to his legendary brother, playing doubles, almost 109 years ago. Laurie is just ashes now. Has been for almost 100 years. No one knows who he was anymore.

But then he was the greatest tennis-player the world has ever seen. And probably will see. He played in front of thousands, a house-hold name, won in front of kings, princes and world leaders. And as alive as Federer will be in tomorrow's Wimby-final on the antique, priceless images. Thousands of people have exploded into deafing, extended cheers at Lawrence's greatness so many times all over the planet we will never comprehend it.

I have put nice sounds to the footage and corrected the speeds and done an analysis of the footage, maybe I'll be able to post LAURIE-GOAT on YT in a couple of weeks. With correct sound and atmosphere with correct speed it becomes so eerie and real -- one just wishes there were much more.

It's like switching onto a channel with a fascinating and beautiful match and then after a minute the TV-crashes...

Aw, well, at least we got something! We could've had nothing and that would be un-cool...

"The Maltese Cat" they called him. For his smooth, cheetah-like speed as well as referencing Kipling's short-story of the same name told from the perspective of a brilliant horse -- with the poem-title as his given name -- who wins glory in a polo-match in India.

Like the cat H. L. always seemed to have nine lives -- sometimes even more. Only losing twice in singles in six years! Those losses occurred in the summer of 1901 at Wimby and in the Fall of 1904 at Queen's Indoor Championships Fall Edition (later transformed into Wembley Pro).

Every other match from 1900 to his retirement 1906 he won. Six years, two losses.

How good was Laurie? Frank Riseley, who pounded serves and volleys like McLoughlin-himself in top form in the 1906 Wimby-final, was asked this question right after his steamroll-defeat and I'll attach his answer after this newspaper-clip of the Wimby 1906-final. Laurie's last grand show.

"DOHERTY STILL CHAMPION

by F. B. Wilson

"What I have I hold" should be H. L. Doherty's motto. He had the lawn tennis championship in the world yesterday, and held it against F. L. Riseley.

Riseley played magnificently; but H. L. proved himself, like "The Maltese Cat", past-pluperfect prestissimo judge of the game. Riseley's service was magnificent, his agility wonderful and his resource infinite: Yet, "Little Do" won, and won easily. His network was wonderful, and his headwork was unsurpassable.

Nobody knows how good Doherty is, except, perhaps, Riseley:

"When we go down the Vale, we may meet a better player: But it will not avail much to talk much rot (about Doherty) and lose many matches!"

The score in Doherty's favour was 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3..."

Truer words, as they say...

When we are dead there might come a better player -- but how do you surpass a player who practically never lost a match and went out like that?!

And now he's just dust... And no one knows his name...

pc1
07-05-2009, 05:58 PM
Borgforever,

Could you provide me with the links to footage of Laurie Doherty?

Borgforever
07-06-2009, 10:16 AM
Yes, pc1, I'll link soon to a short clip of Laurie in action, in a couple of hours. Then you will se some brief 10 seconds of The Maestro doing three shots...

Borgforever
07-09-2009, 08:48 AM
Taken time for travel, sorry...

This footage for which I'm now going to link to is filmed, I am certain, on that Sunday afternoon on September 16th 1900 at Eastbourne. It it from the final men's singles match with the 24-year-old (being 25 that coming October) Lawrence Doherty in the foreground of the image -- with his back to us -- playing against 28-year-old Sidney "Smith of Stroud" Smith on the far end.

Smith had a great year 1900 -- he won the first Badminton Championships of England and he reached the Challenge Round-against Reggie at Wimby -- for which he lost in four sets 6-8, 6-3, 6-1, 6-2. The reports say that Smith stunned the four-time champ in the first set with winners with his famous slog from everywhere but then Reggie just raised his level sealing his fourth straight Wimby-singles title with eye-popping play -- ace after ace, groundie-winners at will from both backhand and forehand, no errors whatsoever and sublime net-attacks (drawing gasps) furthering the legend of Reggie as the flashy, elegant Federeresque unstoppable GOAT-Doherty (a hard act to follow for Laurie to say the least).

Lawrence Doherty -- on the other side had also an amazing year in 1900. He was actually in recovery this year from a bout of influenza (suspected consumption-attack, i. e. tuberculosis) in 1899 that nearly took his life.

H. L.'s technique developed quite a lot between 1900 and mid-1903 when he settled for a service motion identical to Reggie, which was a very simple, smooth Laver/Federer/Borg-like service motion. Before, to conserve his limited by sickness energy-depeaus he sometimes served with a shortened Rafa Nadal-like service motion. Laurie was stopped from developing his finer points in his game in 1899 just because of his dangerous sickness but from early 1900 until mid 1904 he was in better and better shape.

In the year 1900 he swept the Riviera and Homburg torneys on red clay just outright in a stunning performance -- buzzsawing through all the rounds at Nice -- getting his first chivalrous brotherly walkover from Reggie, mainly because Nice lacked challenge round so the tourney-format with a lot of matches every year suited Laurie since he was stronger built.

Laurie then sawed off the tourneys at Dinard and Olympics at the Puteaux-courts not losing a set before he capped his stellar, undefeated red clay season with a classic five-set victory in front of world leaders and royalty in Germany in August at Homburg Cup.

The blotch in H. L.'s record here and the sign of weakness comes in between the clay-victories of his this year. In six weeks Arthur Gore outgunned him three times at the Irish, Kent and Wimby, all in tough matches, draining battles -- too much for the recovering H. L. at this time...

So when Eastbourne came around in September on grass against Smith it was a turning point for Laurie. A grudge-match a bit I guess since Smith had beaten Laurie right on that court in the final two years earlier in 1898 and this was H. L. first big match on grass since his Wimby SF-loss to Gore that July.

Laurie and Smith had met twice in 1898 -- first in final at the Northern Championships at Liverpool just before Wimby in June with H. L. breaking Smith after a marvelous showdown coming back from no where and win with the score 0-6, 1-6, 6-2, 6-2, 11-9. Then three months later on grass at Eastbourne Smith got his revenge winning 6-3, 2-6, 8-6, 7-5 -- then H. L. disappeared into fever-dreams for many, many months, close to year.

This time around H. L. suffered the precision, bombardment of "Forehand Smith" just great. Scrambling with great gets, passing shots and suprise net-attacks. Smith was described as a walking forehand. Quick as a weasel around the court with his homespun nuclear-weapon a' la Rafa's whippy-forehand. He could hit backhand and volleys and serves just fine but he loved to sharpshoot with his forestroke that was clear. And strangely deadly.

(CONT'D)

Borgforever
07-09-2009, 10:32 AM
In their third-meeting H. L. crushed Smith with their score 6-4, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 winning the Eastbourne-title. The Eastbourne tourney was considered the world's biggest tourney because of the many tourneys on offer to enter, its many courts all splayed out on a huge field and that the crowd was allowed to saunter around between all these courts.

There wasn't really a centre-court in this tourney like Wimby but the images from the final between H. L. and Smith was played on the corner court which had smaller stands and some room on the court-sides. Status wise it couldn't hold a candle to Nice, Homburg, Queen's Indoors or the USO and arguably a few more.

It was a Masters-series size event with the highest ranked players continually appearing year after year.

It was a turning point in H. L.'s life this era, from brink of death to the elite in the tennis-world in a few years. Winning Nice, Dinard and the Olympics that spring and summer 1900 was arguably his first RG-win -- out of seven in a row and after Eastbourne H. L. won continue to win six tourneys -- all counting from his Wimby SF Gore-loss in July 1900 to his shock-upset in a five-set thriller against George Hillyard at Wimby R3 1901.

Laurie repeated his victory at Nice in the spring of 1901 in stunning performance against Wilberforce Eaves (BRI-A) -- 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 -- and won his first arguably world indoor championship on laser-quick wood-tiles at Queens mauling and avenging his three grass-losses to Gore with a memorable 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 victory and reaching the finals at the Irish giving it to his brother after a 6-4, 4-6 match was interrupted by rain (only their second match playing in front of a crowd).

So after his loss to Hillyard at Wimby in 1901 H. L. went on his unsurpassad and famous three years and three months as undefeated everywhere on everything against everybody.

Also remember that this footage was filmed when Oscar Wilde was still alive just to mention one of the many names from this age that has eternal life.

Now to the boring news:

This footage is only ten seconds long sadly. It is two rallies intercut in the middle so we don't get to see neither the start or the end of any of these two points...

So this is the most massive build-up to the briefest fluttering of imagery ever :-)

The footage starts mid-point after Smith, very likely after a loopy forehand from him, has sent the ball deep out on H. L.'s forehand side -- out in our lower right hand corner.

H. L. dashes after this in his typically smooth yet speedy way and swings a forehand on the run just outside the picture -- for which we can see his racquet as it enters the picture in his FH-follow-through.

H.L.'s shot is hit with fine topspin and great depth as it zooms away toward the far end and bounces near Sidney's baseline (out on his forehand side) with surprising strength -- a supreme defensive shot made on the run by all measures -- and Smith just manages to fire a -- what else? -- his jerky forehand for a decent response landing over on H. L.'s mid-court area a few feet near the baseline.

H. L. re-appears now flowing into the image in his incomparable way -- his sleeves flapping open -- and makes a slice backhand angled out to Smith's backhand-side. Smith scrambles to this sliced ball and surprises no one when he runs around and hustles a good but not great inside-out forehand (that gives a wonderful only money-back on the odds at the betting-man) out toward H. L.'s backhand-side.

We don't see what happens after the ball bounces on H. L.'s court after this occur since it is a jump-cut and we're off into the next rally.

If one looks closely, in the following rally Smith has actually just hit a backhand, for which he coould hit great as well as serve and volley, but he just loved to sharpshoot with great speed and accuracy with his forehand. The ball bounces out of H. L.'s backhand side and we witness the third and final stroke by him in another backhand slice out on Smith's forehand-side. I would prefer to see his famous topspin groundies, volleys and famous overhead and high volleys rather than two slices but what do you do?

We get to see something. I'll bet there's more. The footage on this link is coming from the same source and reels as the footage from the WIMBLEDON-HISTORY DVD. There we see both Reggie and Laurie in doubles and Laurie and Smith in one rally that isn't shown on the soon linked footage. There we see a finer version of Smith's famous inside-out forehand when he really discharges the field cannon.

I have looked at both these clips and they are from the same batch. I would bet there a few minutes existing from both the doubles and singles finals. It would demand some connections and some calls so maybe get access to the entire footage which is hyper important for further study since every stroke from this era is worth is weight in every precious mineral and metal there is.

Maybe someone knows somebody. I think many would be interested to watch this with correct speed, sound and you could colorize it perfectly on computers now, not just animate disosaurs. That would be whoah! And real evaluation time.

The footage here though is only few percent slower than natural speed -- but it is very close so one gets it slightly if all too briefly and incompletely.

One has to watch this clip several times in a row and maybe one gets a slight glimpse. I've done a closer and larger study with changing speeds on the other footage on the DVD so I've gotten a slight grasp of it together with the info I've gathered meanwhile.

(CONT'D)

Borgforever
07-09-2009, 10:52 AM
(CONT'D)

So here we see at least a glimpse of a dead-legend -- the famous H. L. in the foreground with his back to us -- and Smith's home-spun Rafa-like whippy-forehand -- at least giving display of fine defensive-abilities with a deep half a forehand and we get to glimpse his famous court coverage and two sliced backhands, one on the run angled wide to Smith's backhand and the other down the line to Smith's forehand.

The footage is found inside the Well of the Souls, you know the one with the floor filled with 6000 snakes!?

No, credit for this find goes to elegos7 yet again. He's the Indy when it comes to H. L. here. Where did he find it?

On TW. Right under our very cyber-feet! The world is weird.

After you've arrived at the page I'm now, fiiiinnnaaallllyyy, are going to link to -- you scroll down until you see the symbol of a film-camera on your right hand side with the adjoining text "product video" underneath you safely click on that symbol.

A new window appears and start to download. Soon a film-window opens, a window too small and I can't change the size sadly. The clip is a few minutes long and about a minute into it -- it jump cuts to John Barrett's voice talking about Queen Victoria's death in 1901 while moving images flow of that event taking place it suddenly cuts to an on-going black and white tennis match with rallies. That's the footage we're talking about here. Queen Victoria's death was actually the year after the footage of H. L. and Smith at Eastbourne...

So move the marker back and forth and stop when necessary to study this incomplete and all too brief nugget of tennis history...

Also go back to the detailed analysis I've made and you might elicit something out of this fleeting time-machine-moment...

Enjoy:

http://www.tennis-warehouse.com/descpageDAVIS-DCUPSTRY.html#

Borgforever
07-09-2009, 11:02 AM
People should by that Davis Cup DVD too. Sorry to plug it but I've seen some mean tennis on film lately from the 1900s, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s -- and it's all good, all great. I never looked down upon them -- on the contrary, but now, with the incredible limitations they faced on a daily basis combined with the footage I've seen them do -- I'm convinced more than ever that they would make great results even if born into todays generation -- and that goes for Tilden, Cochet, Wilding, Brookes, Dohertys, Lacoste, Borotra, Vines, Perry, Budge, Kramer, all of them would make it.

Perhaps -- or rather more probably -- even more of them IMO would produce phenomenal results today as well...

Q&M son
07-09-2009, 11:16 AM
Thanks for this thread Borgforever.

One thing I don't have clear, when it's the exact time when reggie and laurie get finally retired?

Borgforever
07-09-2009, 12:08 PM
Thanks yourself for reading and your interest...

I was getting to that. I'm going to get to this in my finish of this thread which will be -- well, not too small at least.

But they retired after Wimbledon 1906 -- Laurie being 31 years-old and sharply on decline, uneven, starting to show the strain the years of traveling and daily, arduous practice-sessions developing in the elite keeping all his rivals at bay on every surface -- and in doubles too simultaneously.

Lawrence said after Wimby 1906: "I'll retire now -- at least a year -- for health reasons..."

Coming back to Monte Carlo in 1907 created buzz of course but Laurie didn't reurn. He didn't practice. He played golf. I have his golf-results which I will post later.

H. L. played a few smaller, maybe Masters-size, tourneys between 1907-1910 -- mostly around 1909 and 1909 almost making a "come-back" in 1909 but changed his mind. He was too weak.

But he won the big Scarborough-event on grass against fine opponents for three years running finishing his career in front of a paying crowd in 1910 after apparently spectacular play -- for the very last time.

Anthony Wilding writes in 1912 in his book "On and off court" that there's was still talk that H. L. just might make a comeback but he never did and then came the war.

Reggie stopped playing singles in 1901 basically -- at least in a "title-holder-brother-privilege"-fashion. He stated this that he will play a singles match and tourney here and there, when health allows, but focus mainly on doubles from here on in. His doctors was adamant for a stronger slimming of his schedule. Painful decision.

It was their mother who convinced them to retire from top competition. She had watched all their matches at Wimbledon and saw their great battle with Riseley and Smith for which Reggie looked like he was ready to kick the bucket so to speak. They also lost the match.

Laurie didn't look to well either it was reported. They were to promise not to extend themselves beyond normality because it was very dangerous.

In 1906 Reggie retired definitely too...

He also returned, mostly in doubles -- often doing a very poor impression while his brother would shimmer a little of his old greatness sometimes -- during the 1907-9 timespan.

Reggie actually also ended with a great last show mirroring his brother's sensational, last three year run on the grass-courts at Scarborough from 1908-1910.

Reggie won the South African Championships in Johannesburg on the hot grass-courts in January 1909 -- in a performance everyone thought was just exactly like in his gala-year ten years before. He was peerless.

In December 1910 he was dead...

pc1
07-09-2009, 05:48 PM
I saw the video and I'm not sure which one was H L. Was he the one in the background or foreground.

Borgforever
07-09-2009, 05:57 PM
The foreground :-) Most definitely...

pc1
07-09-2009, 06:36 PM
The foreground :-) Most definitely...

Both players look pretty good. Who was the one in the background? Was that Reggie?

Borgforever
07-09-2009, 06:40 PM
That's Sidney Smith, please read above posts for greater conext :-)

Q&M son
07-11-2009, 06:11 AM
Thanks for your response buddy.

Borgforever
07-11-2009, 10:06 AM
A somewhat complete biography of the three Dohertys are very hard to find. Here's one very rare from the OVERSEAS glossy from around 1903.

W. V. Doherty, born 1871 and I don't know when he passed away (maybe he's still alive?!*cue TWILIGHT ZONE-theme)

I've read that W. V. entered the draw at Wimby in the late 90s but gave a w/o at the last minute. He quit tennis and became a priest I've heard. He was considered in his younger brothers' league and he did play at Homburg 1898 entering singles there. I don't have any report on how he performed, his style/technique or his results. Almost complete blank here sadly.

Regarding the Dohertys deseases I don't like to dig deep into others private business, maybe they like it private, but the things I've dug up are consumption/tbc mentioned four times (I would hazard to guess they suffered from this), asthma two times (one of the typical symptoms of tbc), ulcers twice (also typical symptom of tbc), digestive problems three times, respiratory problems mentioned nine times and unfluenza mentioned twice. All these symptoms sound to me like a nice variations of tbc which strikes suddenly after few years in hibernation when you're weak or drained -- but I must point out I have not gotten any truly definite answer in this area.

They practically admitted (almost -- still not court-proof of any kind) in a 1903 interview in the New York Times that they didn't "start to play tennis because of consumption..."

Well here's the wonderful, rare bios on the Doozys we know from the glossy mag OVERSEAS:

R. F. DOHERTY (1872-1910)

185 cm (6 feet 1) 63,5 kg (140 lbs)

As demonstrated in the late seventies by the Renshaws and, somewhat later, by the Baddeleys, partnerships between brothers have more than once made for championship in lawn tennis doubles, and the lawn tennis world has during the past few seasons once more been made to accept the same fact by the brothers portrayed on the next page. Though much of their interesting career in the game which they have made their own is necessarily one story, it will be more in keeping with the plan of this volume if their individual performances be briefly considered in order.

Mr. Reginald Frank Doherty, the elder of the two — there is not, as will easily be seen from the photograph, any of the ridiculous resemblance which, more than once, led umpires to mistake one of the Renshaws for the other — was educated at St. Peter's College, Westminster, and Trinity College, Cambridge. His first game was football, in which, though a useful player at school, he never particularly distinguished himself. He also plays both golf and real tennis.

It is, however, in lawn tennis that he has won his laurels, and, with one or two small failures to relieve the monotony of a success that would otherwise have been tedious even to his admirers, his career has been one long triumph.

Already at the age of twelve R. F. played in a tournament at Llandudno with an elder brother, one year his senior W. V., the two winning on that occasion the Juvenile Doubles; but it was not perhaps before the year 1892 that he came into prominence as a player in open tournaments.

In the following year, 1893, R. F. attracted considerable attention by winning the handicap singles at both Brighton and Eastbourne, as well as by making a determined, though unsuccessful, fight in the level event against the then invincible W. Baddeley.

In 1894, when up at Cambridge, he played against Oxford, and won all his single matches without losing a set, and those who confidently expected that his play and example would do much to improve lawn tennis at the University were not disappointed. It was in that year that he won the Fitzwilliam Purse at Dublin; but his best performance at the time was in the Long Vacation when he, in the Exmouth Tournament Singles, successively defeated Messrs. E. R. Allen, W. Renshaw, H. S. Barlow, and C. G. Allen, losing only three sets throughout.

In 1895 he was made President of the C.U.L.T.C, and in the same year he won important matches at Homburg, Baden-Baden, distinguishing himself later at Cannes, Nice, and Monte Carlo. His crowning success was when, in 1897, he won the “Double Event”, thereby becoming All England Singles and Doubles Champion; and in 1899 he won the Irish Championship, which he held for three years, or one year less than the period during which he held the Championship of England.

In 1901, handicapped by indifferent health, he lost the Singles Championship after winning the first set, but he retained the Doubles Championship with his brother, the two defeating the celebrated American champions, Davis and Ward. In 1902 he lost the Doubles by a few points, being chosen with his brother to represent England against America.

The two, who received an enthusiastic reception, succeeded in winning the American Doubles Championship, but unfortunately the matches won by R. F. Doherty from Whitman and Larned (Champion) were not in the International Match, so that the cup was not brought back.

Borgforever
07-11-2009, 10:13 AM
H. L. DOHERTY

178 cm (5 feet 10)

Mr. Hugh Lawrence Doherty, the younger brother, was at the same school and college as his brother, and, like him, he plays also real tennis and golf, the latter with some distinction, particularly at Cannes, where he won the prize given by H.R.H. the Grand Duke Michael, and several besides. Many of his successes have necessarily received notice in the course of the foregoing remarks on his brother's play, but he has had some victories on his own account, and he is further distinguished from his brother by a very strong talent for drawing and painting, which, however, he has never cultivated as it deserves.

His lawn tennis career dates from the year 1892, when, at Scarborough, he was the winner in the All England Championship for boys under sixteen years of age. During the next year or two his principal successes were made in partnership with his brother, and need not therefore be repeated. He also filled the position of President of the C.U.L.T.C. After, with his brother, defeating the Baddeleys in the Doubles Championship in 1897, he held the championship for five years in succession.

Ill-health also interfered with his play, and, as one of the many victims of influenza (1899), he was for some time an absentee at first-class meetings. In 1900 he won the championship at the He de Puteaux and Dinard, and in 1902 he went to America, but did not compete in the singles. Since his last victory in June 1903, which gave him the All England Championship for the second time, he also holds the Doubles Championship for the sixth, an almost unique record.

To any one who has any notion of the constant and unremitting practice needed to achieve and retain first place in so exigent a game as lawn tennis, it will hardly come as a surprise that these brothers have no time for other forms of sport.

Some folks aspire to a moderate proficiency in many arts; the brothers Doherty are modestly content to be first in one...

NOTE: This means H. L. started his career at Scarborough in 1892 and fittingly ended it at the same very site in 1910 -- 18 years later...

pc1
07-15-2009, 08:55 AM
Borgforever,

I saw the video of H L but are there any of R F? I keep reading about what a fabulous backhand he had and I'm quite curious.

HL looked very good in what little I saw by the way.

Incidentally did you see the WITC yesterday with Newcombe and Borg? It was fascinating to see Pancho Gonzalez discuss Newcombe and Borg's game. Gonzalez said Borg would be a player he feared on that surface which surprised me because while it may be true I wouldn't think he would admit it.

What I liked was the analysis of Newcombe's and Borg's form in slow motion. The funniest line was when Gonzalez said Borg looked fast even in slow motion.

The different forehand styles were great. You could see that Newcombe was not what he used to be but he still pulled off some nice shots.

Gonzalez mentioned (I think the match was in 1978 ) that Borg has gone up another level even from last year. So clearly Gonzalez felt the Borg of 1978 was superior to the Borg of 1977.

Borgforever
07-15-2009, 10:44 AM
I'll return soon -- I am a little busy and I am just polishing my last posts on this thread regarding the Doozy's style and its development, source critique, some Doozy-bashing, deeper analysis of key moments in their career while underlining certain unknown facts.

This took much longer than my previously prepared posts since I happened on so much Doherty-stuff.

I am also soon finished with my YT-Doherty-clip (since the contrast in the clips is fine I've transferred the footage digitally) which will include a version of the footage with correct speed and sound (and maybe colorized) and then some close up-super slo-mo studies of both R. F. and H. L. on their shots as well as on Smith -- with a lot of great photos on them intercut.

Then I will link to some really great, glossy-mag-articles on the subject that are must reads. Great, great articles. I would write in the text here but I simply haven't the time and why not read it in a wonderful, several pages long article in a PDF-file with panorama photos.

I will also link to some great newspaper-articles from the day. Even a rare obituary on H. L.

The thing is pc1 that there's much more footage of these guys than we see either on the Davis Cup-clip and on the WIMBLEDON DVD. I'm an expert on film history and nitrate film rolls was usually about two to ten minutes in length. We see about one and a half minute all in all on these two sources without any footage repeating itself.

So if someone has some connections to access all of the Eastbourne-1900-footage give me holler -- I will study this and make something fine for a lot of people to see.

On the WIMBLEDON DVD there's only one shot visible from R. F. although we see his sharp, inimitable features -- he's described as the tall, Greek god of the two -- next to H. L. in the doubles footage. R. F. hits a throwaway forehand-volley. Then R. F. hits a stroke returning a serve out of picture on game-point for the opponents: A beautiful lob down the line which prompts both of the Doozys to charge the net in perfect formation.

It's great to see them share glances and move around between points -- especially when one has only seen them on faded, B&W still-photos for decades -- they look so stylish and confident -- Fedex doesn't stand a chance against their charisma.

Great to know that R. F. on this footage has won his fourth and last Wimby just two months before, the reigning champ there while H. L. is on the up and up -- but still two years away from the Wimby-throne.

I just have to see all of the footage...

Regarding R. F.'s backhand we don't get to see that (or his brothers famous, or their famous, overheads that were thought of as the greatest ever -- they never missed an overhead and it was extremely severe -- some likened it to the finality and whack-factor of teeing off in golf). But it must be seen in the rest of the footage -- which very few seem interested in apparently -- but me...

I will include still-photo studies of both their backhands on the YT-clip --they're very, very similar. In early 1903 they said their technique was absolutely identical -- hitting the hardest both of them -- but R. F. (who had the same technique all along) still had a notch harder backhand and serve while H. L. was the speed-demon, the Karpov/Kasparov ot the tennis-court (like Kipling's polo-pony THE MALTESE CAT -- "past pluperfect prestissimo judge of the game") and he also had the stronger forehand (he always had the forehand-side of the court in doubles) and the more severe and precise overhead (still unmatched in precision, consistency, speed and instant deadliness they say).

H. L. could smash from anywhere on the court.

You will be able to compare their style in the stills I include on the YT-clip soon...

Borgforever
07-15-2009, 11:04 AM
No, pc1, I haven't seen the Newk-Borg WITC. I don't have tennis channel here up in the North Pole you know...

Since I am a Newk-nut it's double the disappointment. Since I am a Gonzalez-nut it's a triple disappointment. And that a genius like Pancho openly states his fear of Borg on clay and that Borg in all probability would win USO coincides with my views, deductions and research -- and that makes it a quadruple disappointment.

I would love to hear and see this... Sigh...

And yes, I agree that Borg in 1978 was more polished than he was in 1977. Injury free I see Borg as practically invincible in 1978. Not that he couldn't play as good or maybe better in patches before, IMO he did, but that bona-fide, seasoned, 24/7, almost inhuman, Apex Predator-quality settled in for real in early 1978.

I only have the last set and a half of Newk's great victory over Borg at WCT 1974 but it is the Apex Predator Newk of AO 1975 we see here -- that's for sure.

Borg said it was his best match in 1974 and his best match until his five-setter victory over Rodman at WCT 1975. Borg serves out of his mind here, with a different, googly-hasty, early service motion. This was no easy win for Newk. He beat a really great Borg in a really great match...

Borgforever
07-15-2009, 12:40 PM
And also I've been chewing Doozy-stats. I have some stats -- winners-errors, how much they held serve et al -- from a few matches of theirs and I have crunched numbers and made an analysis of the findings.

I've done these stats so that krosero won't fall asleep -- just kidding...

Borgforever
07-16-2009, 07:23 AM
Before I get into this stuff Urban awoke my interest in something while he commented on Tilden a while back. Discussing Bill's status he mentioned the race horse MAN O' WAR who raced in 1919-1920.

Now I am not a horse-racing fan but I was curious and did check around a little. It seems even here yesterday was much more impressive than our so, so, sophisticated times. Despite that MAN O' WAR raced in an era lacking a lot as compared to today -- that horse truly was a flesh-cannonball, probably the fastest horse who ever lived.

He was always held back, never going all out, carrying about 30 pounds more of weight than any other horse, running on deeper-cushioned and "slower" dirt tracks it still beat out its, arguably, closest competitor in SECRETARIAT (1973) with one second, although the latter ran on superfast grass -- not to mention the weight and not being held back.

In these brief but nice clips there's footage from the legend MAN O' WAR's last race in his career. The one in which he met SIR BARTON at Belmont, the legendary horse who won the Triple Crown in 1919 and, despite being well ahead of MAN O' WAR in the first curve he was beaten by 17 lengths (not 7 as is often mistaken -- in the turmoil after they forgot to add the one before the seven). There's YT-clips of the entire race were it is clear MAN O' WAR is at least more than 10 lengths ahead, while markedly slowing down...

Just to get you an idea of this GOAT-race-horse check out these clips:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DilPEF9t3c8&feature=related

And then this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aESLobHGVeM&NR=1

And then a cool study in moving images of this extraordinary speed-demon:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euAJujgb6Hg&feature=related


And read this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_o%27_War

hoodjem
07-16-2009, 08:01 AM
Yep for the newbies, ignoranti, and ingenues, newer is always better.

Heck my wife, who knows alsmost nothing about tennis and doesn't play, has been saying lately that Federer is the best of all time. These persons just repeat what they read or hear.


"Harder, better, faster, stronger."

pc1
07-16-2009, 09:04 AM
Yep for the newbies, ignoranti, and ingenues, newer is always better.

Heck my wife, who knows alsmost nothing about tennis and doesn't play, has been saying lately that Federer is the best of all time. These persons just repeat what they read or hear.


"Harder, better, faster, stronger."

People always have a tendency to think what they see in front of them is the best. It's just natural and especially for some who haven't seen players of the past. I would like to think that I'm objective and I do think there are some players who may be the GOAT today, like Tiger Woods.

With any sport it's always the GOAT of the minute, Nadal was the GOAT last year or even early this year. A few months later Federer is the GOAT. Federer's stats aren't better than players of the past and a lot of the super shots he makes is because the new rackets allow it. It's hard to make those shots with a small wood racket.

The predictability of the GOAT argument in every sport is often what gets me. Yes I understand it's fun to talk about but sometimes the team or player they call the GOAT isn't even close to GOAT credentials if you examine it closely.

Borgforever
07-18-2009, 07:50 PM
Okey -- I am lining up the posts and getting ready to post the last batch.

One really cool discovery is the written proof that H. L. straight setted his older brother R. F. in a practice match at Southampton, USA 1902 -- in front of NY Times journos, no less. There's the myth finally punctured and correctly answered that H. L. did, easily, defeat his famous brother under good circumstances during H.L.'s and R. F.'s prime. I know late prime for R. F. -- but he did beat Whitman, two weeks later and almost beat Larned despite the heat and succumbing to exhaustion.

No small finding. I link to the article so you can read the proof yourselves.

To cap it off H. L. crushed Pim in straight sets directly after he sawed off his brother. Hmmm... That's sounds like H. L. was quite dominant indeed during his prime.

Straight sets...

The talk about H. L. here by the reporters during this time sound exactly like the die-hard Federer-fans of today. Limitless praise.

The crazy thing about H. L.'s game-style was that he was as consistent as Borg and Nadal, the greatest getter of his time like them, never made an error, super-precision, unmatched anticipation and tactical sense -- and this is most unusual -- he also had one of the greatest attacking games of the age with super volleys, low as well as high, and arguably the greatest, most consistent and most precise smash ever seen.

Too be as safe as Borg and Nadal at the back of the court AND be a McEnroe-Maestro at the net is highly unusual -- unique I think...

Mostly, or always it seems, a great player are stronger either at the baseline or the net, not unmatched level in both areas...

Remarkable...

Borgforever
07-22-2009, 04:01 AM
Things trickle in about these Doozys every day so the conclusion expands. And I changed the structure of the end -- it's so easy to present things in the wrong order, confusing things. I'm guilty of that earlier in this thread, sadly, but I will try to keep everything going in the correct timeline.

H. L.'s and R. F.'s big brother:

William Vernon Doherty (1871-1936) was in the beginning the finest player of the siblings, playing tennis as a Captain for the Oxford team. He became an Anglican priest.

He was entered into the draw once at Wimby -- in 1899 when Laurie was sick and didn't enter -- and was meant to meet Harold Mahony in his first match but scratched for reasons unknown to me. He did play later at Homburg in August that year. He was well-known person of course -- being brother to two superstars of the sport...

hoodjem
07-22-2009, 05:42 AM
He did play later at Homburg in August that year. He was well-known person of course -- being brother to two superstars of the sport...
Wo ist Homburg?

Where is Homburg?

Borgforever
07-22-2009, 06:20 AM
Hood -- this is the place I think:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Homburg

Borgforever
07-22-2009, 03:29 PM
LAWRENCE DOHERTY'S STYLE (PRELIMINARY CONCLUSION):

Some of these things are stuff that will pop up in the articles, stats and posts that will pour in here the next few days as I finish off this. I state my conclusion of H. L.’s style now so that you can nod knowingly whenever one of these points are brought up in the posts to come.

Consistency – the greatest seen in his era, only matched perhaps by Wilding. H. L.’s enormous consistency was honed to perfection by acting as cannon-fodder for his older brothers incessant barrage. In between 1892-1901 his technique was described, although correct from a contemporary perspective on principally all his shots, as still a little rough, haphazard and primitive (called “ugly” by some) but remarkably effective – he returns everything always and never makes an error. By 1901-1902 his technique was ironed out and considered by many as the smoothest and most beautiful player to watch, even by those who complained about his style in the 19th century. In his real peak/prime 1902-1906 only matched and perhaps surpassed by R. F.’s model technique. H. L. employed great topspin on both wings and didn’t slice often (Larned never sliced a shot!) but we have two slice backhands by Laurie on film out on a link on TW.

Precision – unmatched in his era by far - could hit hard and deep forever, exactly were he wanted it. I will link to a newspaper article when the Dohertys practice soon after getting rid of their sea legs when they arrived in the USA for the first time in 1902. Larned being described as having beautiful technique and the hardest shots in the world (harder than R. F. even but was probably matched by Sidney Smith’s Howizer-forehand), with a severe serve but he couldn’t do what the Dohertys did. Playing in front of an excited gallery they just bombed away from the baseline with jaw-dropping precision, back and forth forever, stunning the gallery with their speedy, precise placements without any errors. Larned couldn’t match such steadiness in precision.

Competitive strength – he sounds even cooler than Borg and definitely as strong a matchplayer. Don’t matter how many times you bomb your serve, that you flood your opponents court with the Niagara-falls of winners – if you don’t win the pivotal, deciding points in clutch – you’re not a great champion. H. L. always won them and he had a manner that was also extremely likeable and popular. Always giving away the next point with an intentional error if he thought he got a priviliged line-decision, just to show his opponent that he could beat him without the “help” of the umpire. This led to increased popularity of course and his opponents became intimidated by this incredible strength since he still didn’t lose although he was gifting away points.

Swift tactical maneuvers – I’ve never come across anyone who’s been described to make so many quick tactical changes with such immense success than H. L. He immediately, within a few games at the max, detected all his opponents weak-spots and assaulted these with his astonishing precision and variety. For all the gushing about all his other skills his generalship must place him at the very least on the same level as the other greats in this department. He could master any kind of style and he definitely had the record to prove it.

Court coverage – Another classic trademark of Laurie. Unmatched in his era with spectacular “gets” (think Rosewall, Borg, Fed, Rafa). Drew gasps and roaring cheers constantly for his genius retrieving skill. I will link to several articles that particularly underline his cat-like, Federeresque court coverage. His prowess here also recieved instant recognition, applause and was regarded as the finest ever.

Overhead – among the greatest of all time. Some have smashed harder than H. L. (McLoughlin among a few others) but Laurie’s overheads were always perfectly placed, more so than any other player I’ve studied in fact. He would place the smash were you never would ever reach it with enough power to make it fact. No second or third overhead from H. L. in a rally. The desciptions of his overhead was usually “with perfect finality”. H. L. could smash any high bouncing ball from anywhere in the court and make an instant winner of it. He never ever missed this shot. The amazing skill, timing and deadliness of this shot says a lot about his potential for venomous serves. Even deep into Vines era Laurie’s smashes were considered the best ever. H. L. said a great smash was a barometer how great a player was. If that was so – he was perfect.

Volleys – both low and high, unmatched even by Brookes and Riseley (finest volley-specialists of his prime) or anybody else in his era. He was a legendary doubles player.

Serve – weak physique and recurring illness produced a somewhat weak, under-developed, over-simplified serve motion (looking like early Rafa, early Mac and almost like Agassi’s putting the racquet on the shoulder in the service motion). H. L. received some complaints on his serving sometimes and defended himself saying he conserved energy in that shot for many years (the serve is the single most energy-draining shot in a tennis-player’s arsenal). H. L. perfected this stroke in 1901-1902 and apparently resembled R. F. even in this shot by late 1902, with a marked high toss and a classic, uncoiling, jumping striking motion. I will submit a slow-motion study of his early, primitive serve-motion from 1900 in the YT-clip and will also add stills of his later, perfected motion with a high ball toss. Still his serve wasn’t as hard as his older brother’s even at his best but he could cannonball it with remarkable accuracy and surprising placement, and used that for tactical surprise, using a lot of disguise, making this stroke a true clutch-weapon. Still, it was reported, he could serve in a mediocre fashion early on in matches in early rounds. H. L. answered that criticism with the words “I do what’s necessary to win” and more than any other player in history with a percieved serve weakness, he did just that – he was record-wise the greatest winner the game has ever seen, by far. By 1902 his strokes were so beautiful, effective and varied that everybody expected him to cannonball his serve. He used sliced serves, kick-serves and flat serves mixing it up with infinite variety – proclaiming that if your opponent could anticipate your shots you were a very poor player.

Service return – one of the finest of all time. Dealt with cannonball-servers and nasty, spinning lefty-servers with spectacular and unmatched efficiency on all surfaces. I think he broke more serves than any other player ever. A true fore-runner to Laver, Rosewall, Borg and Jimbo at anticipating and delivering lightning screamers based on sheer anticipatory genius and an incessant flow of venomous, dipping, shoe-lace missiles.

Anticipation – apparently unmatched. Could read the trickiest player usually within a set.

Power – said to be hitting markedly harder on every shot in 1902 as compared to 1901. The American journos said in unison that, while they thought H. L. played better tennis than R. F. in 1902, Laurie was hitting around 20% harder in 1903, developing, among other things, an even more exaggerated kick-serve in the meantime adapting to his opponents and newly evolving circumstances with remarkable talent and speed.

H. L. Doherty’s style describes an invincible player impossible on the big points. His proven adaptability and perfect style make him the true superstar of the first 40 years of tennis. His tbc would have been cured in a finger-snap today and he wouldn’t be hampered at all. I shudder at the thought of his level if he had been free of all these crazy ailments. Since all his rivals continued to be very successful up until 1914 I think he easily could’ve been much more successful than he already was. Had the easy travel, perfected training methods and high-tech tools been available – well, who knows…

H. L. played with a racquet having a bigger sweet-spot than Borg’s. He strung his Doherty-Slazengers like Björn did – super-hard like board, saying Renshaw couldn’t get a ball in court with a racquet like that. Unconsciously Laurie was trying to imitate the graphite-like qualities in a racquet: Bigger sweet-spot and stiffer frame for increase in consistency and spin. He also had a few extra strings in the middle of his racquet. I will put in a good photo of this in the YT-clip of his racquet were you can clearly make out the extra strings in the middle of the blade.

NEXT: CAREER OVERVIEW WITH GREAT ARTICLES

pc1
07-22-2009, 03:36 PM
Borgforever,

You mentioned anticipation, but what was the general opinion of his speed?

Borgforever
07-22-2009, 04:02 PM
Looking at the footage on the Wimbledon-history DVD we are served with a real treat -- seeing H. L. (in doubles standing at the net) being lobbed and dashing after the ball -- rushing toward us at full speed (very fast I must say it looks) finally swatting a deep counter-lob just as the ball has bounced inside his baseline. His return goes high, cross-court and bounces (according to me) a few inches outside the opposite baseline in the deuce-corner. A great get by any measure that's just a fraction long sadly -- but it says a lot about his prowess between the lines -- you catch my drift...

My opinion on his relative foot-speed and the descriptions I've come across regarding this is inconclusive. I would say he was a natural -- very fast, but not the fastest. He was a Jim Thorpe-like tennis player but not as a sprinter is my uncertain and unqualified guess. He was fast, no doubt about it, but with his recurring injuries (I mean even in 1903 he wasn't totally without ailments) must've hampered any great evolvement as far as foot-speed. I honestly don't think (I could be wrong) H. L.'s as fast on foot/footwork as Rafa, Borg or Gerulaitis for example -- true Thompson-gazelles on the court -- but he had, perhaps and arguably, even greater anticipation then they had making up for his speed.

R. F. was always praised for his amazing anticipation, he made the right choice even if you disguised your shot and pulled it off in immaculate fashion. He would read you like a book and since H. L. was according to all sources way faster on foot (and healthier to boot) coupled with his incredible anticipation proved way too much even for a true-blue great. Look at his record for 1903 for example. I think we have (in our incomplete record) H. L. winning like 120-150 sets and losing, what, five sets in all in a year against the finest opponents, true greats, in peak form.

Also add that they played with leather shoes with heels on the grass, shoes normally worn to a stylish suit or jacket and tie. Give him our super-duper, ultra-ergonomic sports-shoes and I shudder at the thought...

Borgforever
07-22-2009, 04:06 PM
The Doherty's said that anticipation, consistency (no errors ever) and brilliant surprise was the key pillars of tennis...

R. F. (and H. L. later in his prime) was often mentioned as never serving the same serve twice. It was total guess-work for their opponents...

Borgforever
07-22-2009, 04:28 PM
Okey -- are you ready for a great glossy-mag article about the GOAT-issue written in 1921, right smack-dab in Tilden's peak of his greatness and esteem. This writer, writing like he was like many of us here, who was the greatest.

Funny, we still debate this question exactly like he did 90 years ago in the 1920s. He comes to the conclusion that believes that Tilden is still the GOAT, with severe threats from H. L. and Brookes. The writer is particularly ambigous as regards to Laurie, even hesitating at making a clear advantage-statement of Tilden over H. L. (I love this!).

H. L. was, and still is, absolutely unique in the pantheon of tennis...

I would love to hear some reactions from pc1 on this article:

http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/AmericanGolfer/1921/ag2420l.pdf

timnz
07-22-2009, 05:26 PM
Thanks BorgForever for the pdf article. Really interesting reading. I don't think that Wilding was necessarily the greatest player to emerge until 1921 - but I do think he should have been included in the discussion.

It may be that the article was written by an American and because Wilding didn't play in America until Davis Cup in 1914 the year before he was tragically killed in the 1st world war- that the author didn't really get much in the way of exposure to Wilding.

I think Wildings clay court expertise in particular can be compared to "Little Do". (Though he also has an impressive grass court resume). He was 5 times Monte Carlo champion, 2 times world Clay Court Champion and he won all of the major European tennis championships such as Nice and Homburg and World Covered Court Championships.

Again, not saying he was better than "Little Do" but he definitely is in the list of discussion of greatest pre-1921 player.

I'd add, Australian tennis fans particularly have a great debt to Wilding, because without him the Australian Open wouldn't be a Grand Slam event. Even though he was a New Zealander, he combined with Brookes to provide an multi-Davis Cup winning team for Australasia (Australia and New Zealand combined) - which was the basis of the Australian Open becoming a Grand Slam event.

DunlopDood
07-22-2009, 05:32 PM
Oh please, I could destroy this guy with my modern racquet, lets be reasonable with this GOAT stuff.

Borgforever
07-22-2009, 05:41 PM
I agree Timnz -- this is a little bit of the problem of this era. This writer, easily very wise and had seen a lot, there wasn't any videos or films to re-watch anything and the travel hampered him from seeing the greats in other countries. Think about it -- H. L. still has the position, including everything and 18 years after he saw him, next to Tilden still fresh on his retina. And it wasn't as easy to communicate with other experts over the planet as it was later on and now.

I do love his "Red Mac"-name on McLoughlin, makes me think of another. Tennis do run in weird circles and cycles...

That's why I had to read a lot and think a lot to critique the sources. Still he's great this writer -- if we forgive his natural lapses.

Tony definitely deserves mention on clay -- arguably even over H. L. Tony had fiercer victories on clay (but I've read Wilding's book and he openly states how he steals every great idea H. L. put forth -- and that's the smart way to go). Tony didn't win as many important clay tourneys as H. L. and wasn't as invincible but he just might've been even better than Laurie on this surface. That's my present conviction and it's based on many witnesses.

So I don't take Laurie's 2-0 H2H against Tony with seriously. They only met twice and it was arguably baby-Tony (but still great) with a clear weakness on his backhand (if one massaged it like early Lendl's and Rafa against Fedex) and a volley/ovethead defect. Still it was fitting that the last Nice-major Laurie capped was in straight sets against Wilding, changing of the guard, since Tony ruled unchallenged until he died with great distance on those courts right after "Little Do" grabbed his golf-clubs...

That said -- let's take away Laurie's tbc with correct medication so his career might've spanned up to 1914 (remember H. L. was born 1875 and Brookes was born 1877 -- who beat a weak Wilding at Wimby 1914 and Norman was still great then) I think that H. L. would've evolved in an even more aggressive fashion on all surfaces than he did already -- and H. L. would've racked up even more majors and his record would've looked way grander still (like he already needs it -- not). Laurie (and R. F.) was an innovator, as much tennis-philosopher as he was an extremely naturally talented athlete. A Shakespeare of tennis as someone called him.

Borgforever
07-22-2009, 05:53 PM
As regards to length of matches -- the battles in the early 1900s wasn't easy or fast -- they were as grueling as any match before or since. I must quickly add that Tony Wilding mentions in his book one of his toughest battles in, i guess 1905 or 1906 or 1907 he battled down an in the zone Beals Wright at Wimby in a five setter taking 3 hours and 29 minutes to finish in furnace weather...

I he also mentions that he applied Laurie's tactics in taking out the American -- retrieving like mad, never making any errors, prolonging the rallies as much as possible and then starting to pounce deeply into the dogfight...

Borgforever
07-22-2009, 07:12 PM
I must point out about the above writer in the GOAT-article had also only seen Laurie when he played at USO in 1902 and 1903 -- nothing else in Laurie's repertoire and he still couldn't really decide between the two. Tilden he had seen a trillion times recently -- knowing exactly how he dealt with different things. He couldn't possibly know everything about Laurie based on two months in the early 1900s. And looking just at H. L.'s record you see he did a lot more than USO 1903 -- the seemingly limitless success on every surface everywhere is mind-boggling, proof of his amazing versatility.

Brookes had a hard time adapting to indoors surfaces for instance. And in 1905 when he was out-generaled by Laurie at Wimby in straight sets -- Norman also lost to Smith and Larned -- in the Davis Cup and Brookes wasn't injured and Larned then lost to Laurie for the fifth and last time out of five meetings -- when Laurie was in decline, think about that...

Laurie only lost to Smith once -- in the Eastbourne-final in September 1898 and never after that and he never lost to Larned, whatever slugger-streak he pulled out of his hat.

Here's another great article from 1903 -- right after H. L. has been more dominant all over the planet than any other before or since. The writer is American, and hasn't seen that much of Laurie's game and its variety. He suffers from the same problem as the above writer. Still it's a doozy of an article. More or less spot-on.

You know, I've read many articles saying (which reveals the limits of the writer's experience in the subject instantly) that Laurie only serves and volleys. Oh, yeah, he's the greatest net-player there ever was -- at least as good as Brookes on a great day -- so what!? That's all he's doing some say after seeing a few matches.

Then comes a batch with some other writers (who hasn't seen Laurie's other stuff) going -- he's only parked at the baseline swatting away with great accuracy, sure, but where's the variation they continue.

If they only had HD and airplanes and cells and the net -- it would be so easy...

You will also read a lot about his invincibility in the coming articles. How he retired, sick and in decline, still undefeated with a great distance -- even against in the zone peak greats. Just as unbelievable as Jimbo going back to his T2000 and still performing well...

This writer won't celebrate some things that Laurie did great while he will zero in on some traits that are true bullseyes. American writers around this time are reliable and honest I find. They do mention things like R. F. collapsing in the humid, furnace heat at Newport in the USO-final 1902 but they over-celebrate certain aspects in their favorite player without mentioning that they haven't seen the entire register of the opponent based on, what, maybe 10-15 matches, 30 at the max if the saw everything, which I highly doubt for practical reasons...

Here goes a chocolate-cake of an article. Cherish these, these things cost a pretty penny to get your hands on in a real vintage magazine on sale. And they are just bliss.

Enjoy:

http://www.la84foundation.org/SportsLibrary/Outing/Volume_43/outXLIII01/outXLIII01z.pdf

Borgforever
07-24-2009, 01:14 AM
Arthur Gore Interview August 1920:

A. W. Gore, three times champion tennis player, is still one of the stalwarts at the game, and did well at Wimbledon last year, although at that time 50 years old. He contributes a capital article to The National Review, entitled "Wimbledon Memories." He declares that "no one is too young to begin learning, and no one is too old to continue learning." He himsalf won his first prize at Dinard, in France, when he was 12 years old. He was 33 when he first won the world's championship, and 40 when he won it for the second time. He gives the following advice to tennis players: “My advice — which, whether sound or un-sound, is, at any rate, founded on prolonged experience — would be to everyone who wishes to become proficient at this most difficult and fascinating game: "Concentrate on timing and then hit the ball as hard as you can. Direction will come in time if you have a tolerable eye, and if you haven't it is not worth your while to bother over any ball game; you are intended for other purposes in life.”

Mr. Gore apparently considers that Willie Renshaw was the greatest tennis player he ever met, although he writes very, very highly of H. L. Doherty. Gore defeated his brother, R.F., in 1901, but in the following year H. L. handsomely avenged his elder brother by defeating Gore (6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-0), three sets to one.

This was H. L’s first championship, which he held for five years, during which period he is pronounced by not a few great judges to have been the greatest of all lawn-tennis players.

But there are no means of comparing him with his famous forerunner, W. Renshaw, and we shall never know whom the palm should be awarded.

I have often been asked who was the best player of my time. It lies between H. L. Doherty and Pim — many would say R. F. Doherty, who was no doubt the more graceful of the brothers, but never the all-round player that H. L. was.

I always considered the latter held the key to their extraordinary success in doubles.

H. L. had no weak point. Even his serve was sublime during his last years on top.

Pim at his best ran H. L very near in my opinion. Undoubtedly the competition was keener in the Dohertys' than it had been in the Renshaws' day. The United States, for example, was not a serious , factor in the 'eighties, as may be gathered from the fact that the first American champions, Messrs. Dwight and Sears, could be beaten by ordinary University pairs on their first visit to this country. Nor had Australasia been heard from at the time of the Renshaws.

The Dohertys found themselves up against a very different proposition.

Borgforever
07-24-2009, 07:36 PM
Now -- when we're talking about the style of the day, the Dohertys game and their era it's time for some critical voices to be heard -- so why not post some choice quotes from the great Anthony Wilding from his book "ON AND OFF COURT" published in 1912. Remember Tony had not seen anything of Laurie during his healthiest and strongest peak 1900-1903. He first saw Laurie in the spring and summer of 1904 when Laurie's strength was in decline -- and then he saw him play only some of the time.

Tony saw and played against H. L. mostly around 1905-1908 when Laurie was in serious decline -- especially 1907 and 1908.

His main complaint is that H. L. didn't hit extremely hard on the regular -- only on necessary shots, on the run or for surprise, except on overheads, high volleys and short volleys.

Tony is, like many, playing serious "Kramer-style" favorites here, but who can blame him. It's his views. He has an excellent mind IMO and writes superbly. Here goes the legend Anthony Fredrick Wilding -- enjoy:

"Another point to remember in serving is to hit the ball from as great a height as possible. If the ball leaves the racket at a high altitude it will result in a very much faster service, and there is more room for placing. I remember once playing tennis in Spain. My Spanish friends were very fair players; but directly a service began to bend ever so slightly any further effort on their part to take the ball was quite out of the question. On the other hand, give A. W. Gore a slow bending service and the result is entirely different.

Holcombe Ward came over to Wimbledon with the American international team in 1906. He was then the foremost living exponent of the American service, and a magnificent volleyer. In fact, he could make a ball "talk" more than any player I have ever seen. He was matched to play S. H. Smith, “The Forehand Drive Man" in the Davis Cup challenge round. Over this tie much discussion waxed in tennis circles. "How is Smith going to take his service? Ward makes it break on to his backhand...”

That was the question heard everywhere. But those who pictured him in sore distress had forgotten two things, first, that Smith was once a good half-miler, a fraction of a second sufficed for Smith to convert a backhand into a forehand stroke; and, secondly, that Smith never takes his eye off the ball. How many of us, by the way, can say the same?

The contest resulted in an absurdly easy victory for Smith by three sets to love. Two points are, I think, emphasized. The first is that a slow service with excessive break can be literally "buried" by a man possessing a forehand drive like Smith. The second is that Ward had not sufficient pace or accuracy of placing to serve on to what was really Smith's backhand, although he executed his own style of service to perfection.

Severe ground strokes, I repeat, will always repel a jumping service, if the jump be systematic and honest. But the ability to hit right through the advancing volleyer must be present. When H. L. Doherty certainly a better player than Smith, but lacking severe ground strokes played Holcombe Ward in 1905 five sets were necessary before victory rested with the Englishman. Doherty had to rely for success on the sustained accuracy of his own game and the weakening of Ward's volleys by a loss of stamina, a loss which prevented him, after two sets, from obtaining a winning position at the net. That leads me to the point that a fine American service, even if it is supplemented by punitive volleying, is not enough in itself. It may win a two-set match by the force of its own brilliancy, but the eclipse is bound to come in a long contest, and then, unless a man has ground strokes to fall back upon, by the use of which, so to speak, he may keep his fires alight and wait for the chance to put on full steam once more, the engine will cease to work and defeat will only be a matter of time.

How a player could nearly but not quite win five-set matches with a swerving service and lightning volleys is well illustrated by the case of Karl Behr. A member of the American Davis Cup team of 1907, he was one of the most brilliant players I have ever seen. Not content merely to return a volley, he invariably won or lost the ace on sight. He has done the hundred yards in level time and his pace enabled him to arrive at the net almost as soon as his service had pitched. But, like all players of his type, he had lapses of extraordinary weakness. He had a fine service with a certain amount of work on it; and he volleyed, as I say, whenever possible. His volleying was very hard, more hit than the ordinary volley stroke.

He had a clean and very severe forehand drive and a swinging backhand stroke. But these were apt to be uncertain. That uncertainty was doubtless due to the fact that his ground strokes were only incidental weapons of attack. More practice with them would have made them surer and of primary importance.

On his return to America, Behr seemed to drop right out of the first flight. Yet in, his day, and judging by his form in England, Brookes and I both considered him as good as Beals Wright.

With regard to grips there is undoubtedly a right and a wrong way to do everything. But a player has to execute strokes in so many different positions, and in so many different ways, that one stereotyped hold of the racket cannot be too strongly con- demned. Watch Norman Brookes closely for a few games, and you will see that he uses an infinite variety of grips. Again, Gore, Decugis and Brookes all have splendid forehand drives; but their strokes and grips all differ, in less or greater degree. Lawn tennis is essentially a game in which each player must have individual peculiarities.

For the man who says that only one grip is right and all the others are wrong I have little use. Dynamical essays and diagrams which affect to demonstrate the futility of that hold or the absolute perfection of this only bore me. I've played against too many players in all parts of the world, players who employ distinctive grips and make fine shots with them, not to realize how absurd it is to be dogmatic in this matter.

Leaving out S. H. Smith and A. W. Gore, the English players appear to lack the severity essential to a good forehand drive. In this respect the Colonial player seems to me better equipped. But the backhand stroke generally in vogue throughout Australia and Maoriland is not only weak, but is taken in quite the wrong way. Among the rank and file of English players the university and county teams, for example you do not find strong forehand and lamentably weak backhand play combined. On the contrary, the backhand is generally quite as effective as the forehand stroke. This is not the case in Australia. The majority of Australian players have a backhand stroke which is likely to score an ace outright. But can these strokes be relied upon at a crisis, or can a steady safe shot be made when occasion requires?

(CON'T)

Borgforever
07-24-2009, 07:45 PM
"The late R. F. Doherty imparted a tremendous amount of top spin to his backhand strokes. In fact, his backhand shot in effect was not unlike the average Australian's forehand drive. There can be no doubt that the grip of the racket has to be changed considerably in executing a backhand and forehand stroke. Baddeley advocated a fixed grip, but every player of international rank makes the change, even if that change be slight.

A few players employ it with success, but for all-round efficiency those players would have been more successful with a straight or top drive. Gore and Smith both drive with nearly straight rackets, the second putting on more top than the first. Larned, Brookes, Alexander, Decugis and nearly all the leading modern players adopt top.

Doherty used a fairly straight racket, and, though superbly accurate in his ground play, did not possess the severity of these latter-day players, H. L. however, was very severe as well as accurate in dealing with anything on the fly.

R. F. Doherty's backhand was as near perfection as any I have ever seen. It was very hard, very accurate and always deceptive. I think it stood fifteen above all other strokes possessed by the famous brothers. R. F. seemed to know exactly how much spin to give the ball.

Of the players putting on cut possibly Beals Wright is the best. But it has been Wright's endurance, daring volleying and magnificent service that have made him victorious in many a famous match. It has not been his ground strokes. As long as he keeps back Wright is little better than a second-class player. It is his wonderful excursions to the net that confound his opponents. He always selects the right moment for his own purpose and the wrong moment for yours, to come in. No player I know gives less clue as to position or surprises you more by anticipating your shot. Ritchie is typical of the player who hits his ball full and straight. At times he may put on a little top spin, but very little.

Though the majority of players of note can hardly be called weak on their backhands, very few can claim the same severity and accuracy on this side as on the other. The space for taking the backhand is more circumscribed, the action more cramped. The stroke therefore needs more study, practice and perseverance. The habit of running round and taking every ball on the forehand may be condemned; it only militates against a player ever becoming proficient at this stroke. Beware, however, of robbing Peter to pay Paul. A few keen players the late H. S. Mahony, for example have devoted so much study and attention to the cultivation of their backhands that their forehand strokes were relatively of little account.

But I remember H. S. Mahony, a magnificent player and profound student of the game with whom I was fortunate enough to be associated in doubles for two years, went so fax as to say that all strokes should be executed with the head of the racket above the wrist. Whether he was right or wrong, none of the modern players has excelled for grace, accuracy and pace the Irishman's backhand ground stroke or volleying. When I was a very young player, Mahony helped me immeasurably, and I shall never forget his kindness.

George Caridia is the best half-volleyer I have ever seen...

Volleying or practising ground strokes against a wall is, as I have said elsewhere, a splendid education, providing one of the best forms of exercise. It may be difficult to find a serviceable wall in your immediate neighbourhood, but a search is well worth while, Stables or garages often have just the wall for this purpose.

The late Ernest Renshaw was once asked by a feminine admirer what he considered the secret of success at lawn tennis. "Get the ball over the net, madam" was his laconic reply. That oft-told story puts the case in a nutshell. You cannot become a good general until you have adequate forces at your command. All preconceived theories will be upset if your backhand or forehand is so unreliable that the opening you have planned cannot be accepted. But of the value of tactics when the strokes are there to support them one cannot be too emphatic. How often an old and experienced player defeats a younger and more brilliant opponent! Tactics and tactics alone pulled the old head through.

The simplest application of tactics is, I suppose, to play to your opponent's weakest spot generally his backhand. That simple rule is capable of such extension in every direction that no single stroke need be executed without the striker having some object or scheme behind it. In such a case tactics may appear to the beginner in much the same light as higher mathematics to the primary schoolboy. Then the beginner must take Mr Renshaw's advice to heart before he goes further.

All successful players have the power of anticipation developed to a remarkable degree. Players like Brookes and H. L. Doherty seem to know intuitively exactly where the ball is coming.

Nothing demoralizes a back-court player so much as the consistent anticipation of his passing shots.

Trusting to luck is the secret of many a dismal failure in doubles.

The advantages of preliminary training, so much in vogue in America, are manifold and obvious. Accurate perception of what to do yourself, and what to leave to your partner to do, can only be acquired by constant practice in double harness. In a perfect combination hardly a word need be spoken by either player. The two Dohertys were remarkable in this respect. Scarcely a sound was uttered on the court by either. Of course silence is not essential to success; if it were the twin Allens would not have been in the front rank for over a score of years. From love all to game, set and match they will indulge in incessant banter, to the huge delight of the gallery. They were (for the resemblance is less striking to-day) so exactly alike in form and feature that one had the greatest difficulty in distinguishing them. Many a time Charlie, the better server, might have delivered his brother's service undetected by umpires and spectators. Personally I found salvation in identifying the respective twins by examining their teeth. Charlie had a few less than his brother Roy...

But however much their demeanour may have differed on court, in one all-important matter the two famous pairs I have alluded to, the Dohertys and the Allens, were identical. They were absolutely and entirely in agreement as to tactics. Whenever possible, both kept in line. In other words, they worked as one big man. The principle of sinking the individual in the interests of the combination was rigidly adhered to by these pairs, who for team work were on an equality with any other ever seen on the tennis court.

Another important point in double play affects the position of the striker's partner. To take a concrete example: Should Alexander stand at the net when Wright is receiving the service? The Americans said no. The Dohertys and Allens said yes. Now we find the modern tendency is for both partners to keep back on the American principle and move net-wards together, the very second or, better still, the second before an opportunity occurs.

One has always to speculate ahead at lawn tennis. To put it in other words, one must always be anticipating the return. A great measure of the success achieved by Brookes and H. L. Doherty was due to their wonderful power of anticipation, especially when at the net. When a second or third class player opposes Brookes he marvels, if he is a thinking man, why Brookes is always waiting on the side of the court for which he has decided alas! too late to aim."

(CONT'D)

Borgforever
07-24-2009, 07:53 PM
"Talking of Brookes, I have often been asked which I consider the finer player the champion of 1907 or H. L. Doherty.

Let me say at once that, in my opinion, the two Dohertys were individually and in combination the most graceful and finished players that have ever lived. And there can be no doubt in my mind that H. L. Doherty was a finer player than Smith, Beals Wright, Larned, Alexander, and any other giant of today or yesterday.

But whether he was a finer player than Norman Brookes is another matter. Personally and I speak from a wide experience of both I confidently maintain that Brookes is a better player than Laurie Doherty was at his best.

The two met twice, but neither match could be called satisfactory or conclusive. On the first occasion, when Doherty won, Brookes had an injured shoulder which was a very considerable handicap. On their second meeting Brookes won; but, taking into consideration the fact that the match was a friendly affair, and that neither player had enjoyed preliminary practice for it, we can hardly attach the same weight to the victory as if it had been earned in a Davis Cup competition or championship match.

Nevertheless, I consider Brookes the finest player the world has ever seen.

At the time of writing (1912), Doherty has descended the tennis ladder; and from what I hear is scarcely likely to mount it again. But if he gave up golf, and took seriously to his first love again, I see no reason why he should not be as good as he ever was. He is still a young man, and, even if he were not, age, up to a certain limit, seems to be an advantage in lawn tennis! Gore, thrice champion, is over forty years of age. But I believe, if Doherty ever came back, he would find certain definite changes in the type of attack. Up to a few years ago his game was accepted as the only really correct style, without which it was impossible to become a champion.

But is that quite the case today?

His game was essentially an all-round one; a characteristic much to be commended but he was not always severe; except overhead and on short volleys. His backhand and forehand were equally reliable and accurate, but it was proved that a really up-to-date and cunning volleyer could hold him at the net.

What one really misses in England to-day amongst the rising generation are players of the type of the late H. S. Mahony. Mahony was a student before a player, just as critics have said of Mr Balfour that he is a philosopher before a politician.

BROADLY speaking, the best training for lawn tennis is to play lawn tennis. But for championship matches it is impossible to get into a state of physical efficiency by tennis alone. Play must be combined with various other exercises. The prizefighter does not limit his training to sparring. Boxing may be his staple food, but walking, running, skipping, ball-punching are equally vital to his existence. And therefore I deny that it is possible for a lawn tennis player to be at his best for hard match play if his previous preparation has been confined exclusively to tennis.

It may or it may not be worth the trouble personally I think it is but the player who desires to do himself full justice on court must undergo a hard and strenuous preparation off the court. I have had a fairly extensive experience in watching the effects of various systems of training in almost every branch of athletics; it is a subject that has always interested and appealed to me from my early youth, and I should be sorry not to give it prominence in this volume. I am quite sure that a man who brings his body to a state of perfection is happier and better off than the man who has neglected his body and developed his mind. Of course mens sana in corpore sano is the ideal at which all should aim.

About three weeks previous to the Davis Cup contest in Australia played, as it happened, with the thermometer pointing to 98 F. in the shade Brookes and I went through a course of systematic training, and it proved invaluable. Some men, in training can stand a lot of work the more you give them the more they thrive but Brookes does not come into that category. He had to be very carefully handled, for the slightest over-exertion knocks him up. Perhaps, therefore, the following daily routine may seem comparatively light work, but I give it for what it is worth:

7 A.M. Up and a cup of weak tea; walk and a little running.

8.30 A.M. Breakfast,

11 A.M. Some stroke practice and then three, four or sometimes five sets against each other as hard as we could go.

1.30 P.M. Lunch.

3.30 P.M. Possibly three sets of doubles or some other stroke practice. If smashing had been weak it received special attention.

Skipping, running or a little game with the wall ended the athletic day. Two baths and a good deal of massage, and to bed at 10.15.

We ate anything within reason, and, as a rule, drank barley water; but in this respect we were not rigidly particular, and sometimes a little very light beer was consumed. The difficulty of course is to practise for one and a half hours in a boiling sun and then confine yourself to about one glass of fluid in the middle of the day. It is excusable to drink more at night, when the day's work is done.

I admit that strict training is irksome, and I have carried matters to an extreme only three times in my life, and probably will never do so again; but by observing a very few simple rules a player can easily keep himself fit enough for ordinary match play. These rules may be tabulated:

Go to bed and get up early. This ought not to be any hardship.

Be as much in the fresh air as possible and always sleep with the window open.

Be moderate in all things, especially in eating, smoking and drinking.

Never play just after a meal.

Some players "go" in one part of their body, while others go in another. I have come across players who get cramp in their legs in the fifth set as regularly as clock-work. It is very easy to spend five minutes before the morning tub developing the fractious limb. Other players get so blown after a sequence of long rallys as to become practically useless for the rest of the match.

In such cases good breathing exercises will work remarkable results in a short time. In addition, such players will develop beautiful chests!"

(CONT'D)

Borgforever
07-24-2009, 08:43 PM
"Diet, of course, is of vital importance. Some years ago I was bound for Cannes, my first visit to the Riviera. I was then not quite as good as Ritchie and players of his class, and I had determined to make up by faultless condition what I lacked in tennis ability. By a lucky coincidence I made friends with a charming, grey-haired old gentleman who was travelling in the same compartment. It eventually transpired that he was a retired Indian medical officer, and I soon perceived that what he did not know about training was not knowledge.

Norman Brookes is the embodiment of quiet serenity. I have many times envied him his confidence.

My very first meeting with Brookes was at Wimbledon, ten minutes before he played A. W. Gore in the final of the Kent Championship, decided at the All England Club. After chatting about Australia and Davis Cup prospects, I ventured to say, "Do you think you can win this match, Brookes?" "Win it?" he replied. "I'll be thundering surprised if I don't"

And of course he went straight into court and did exactly as he expected. The mental attitude of Brookes before a match would seem to be this: "Fancy this chap having the cheek to play me! Beat him! Of course I can beat him!" He is perfectly sure both before and during the match that nothing but some dreadful catastrophe could ever cheat him of victory. This confidence is not conceit in any shape or form.

BY "Championship" of course I refer to Wimbledon. Other arenas may draw larger and more demonstrative crowds Melbourne, Sydney, Johannesburg, and Newport, for example but there is no place so hallowed as the centre court of the All England Club, and no championship so worth striving for or so highly prized as the World's Championship at Wimbledon!

I recall very vividly the first match I ever saw on those famous lawns. It was between poor H. S. Mahony and G. L. Orme in 1903.

The friend who had taken me to Wimbledon, saying that he knew Mahony, offered me level money that he would be wearing odd socks, and made me a further bet that neither sock would belong to the genial Irishman. Just before play began my friend, evidently on intimate terms with the great man, called him up and said, "Let me have a look at your socks, Harold” To my surprise (that was before I knew Mahony) one sock was marked "R. F. D." and the other with less famous initials that were certainly not "H. S. M."

At the time I wondered if I would ever have the pluck to enter for Wimbledon, for the play seemed to me then nothing short of wonderful. Yet the following year I was battling on my own, and who should I meet in the second round but the man with the odd socks! To my great delight I captured a set and made Mahony talk to himself a great deal. I struggled along well the two following years until I met A. W. Gore, who carried too many guns and by mercilessly attacking my backhand from first to last wore down any attack I may have started with, I generally got away at first against him, and on two or three occasions had two sets to my credit, only to ultimately succumb. His pluck and pertinacity on these occasions always appealed to me."

(CONT'D)

Borgforever
07-24-2009, 08:59 PM
"The year that Gore beat me in the semifinal, 1906, I think I played the longest single of my life. My opponent was W. J. Clothier, of America, a fine, loose-limbed man with the frame of a Guardsman. He had me two sets up and five games to two and 40-15 a pretty tight corner for any man. However, I enjoyed a little luck, the tide began to turn,, and altogether we played three hours and twenty-nine minutes, I won the final set at 12-10. I remember feeling at the finish that I could have gone on for another set.

My next Wimbledon I met Beals Wright in the very first round. He had just arrived to take part in the Davis Cup matches, and, thanks to the fact that he was not properly acclimatized, I won by three sets to one. Beals did not go all out that day, I fancy. The following day I had an even stiffer proposition my friend and colleague, Norman Brookes, who was ultimately to win the title. We played one of the fastest matches I have ever waged, the tennis being very fair.

We got two sets all and three games all in the final set, when I dropped my service.

That meant good-bye to any chance of the Championship in 1907...

However, Brookes and I won the doubles comfortably, and, if my memory serves me rightly, we didn't drop a single set, beating the Americans, Beals Wright and Karl Behr, in the final. So much has been said about our defeat in the subsequent Davis Cup Doubles and so little about our decent performances in England and Australia that I believe we are rather underrated in England.

Nevertheless, I would prefer Brookes by my side to any other living player.

My final against Beals Wright proved a long and very interesting match to play whatever it may have been to watch. I lost the first two sets 6-4, 6-4. Both were very close and might have been won by either of us. I was forty love in the tenth game of the first set and lost it. During this early stage of the match I stayed at the back of the court more than usual and as far as possible saved myself. I had proved before to my own satisfaction that it was possible to get the better of my good friend Beals by hustling up to the net, thereby depriving him of his only really dangerous weapon of attack his volleying. But I had also come to the conclusion that it was nearly impossible to start hustling a man like Wright and to keep it up to the end. When I had last met Wright in Australia I hustled at first and paid the penalty.

At Wimbledon I kept the hustle for the end. My tactics may have been right or they may have been wrong ; they were, at all events, profitable in this particular match. Throughout the entire contest, I felt fairly confident. I knew that Wright's close quarter attack, maintained at such a high pressure, must weaken in the third set if I could only give him enough to do, Once I forced him to drop back, as drop back he did, I felt my chance would come. Several spectators of this match seemed to think judging by their subsequent remarks that I won solely on condition. Perhaps I may be allowed to quote the special correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, who, writing on the morrow of the final, said;

"The secret of Wilding's victory was, I think, the husbanding of his strength, the "holding himself in" during the first two sets. He discovered it in Australia pitted against Wright himself in 1908 and Brookes in 1909.

It is a secret that H. L. Doherty found out and employed with great success in the past.

Applied to American and Colonial volleyers who follow their service to the net, put plainly, it is this give them enough rope and they will hang themselves.

In other words, let them drain their resources in the first two sets, encourage them by a stout resistance to go all out; but keep a little something in reserve for the third set, when the hustling campaign is bound to exact its penalty (shades of many modern match -- Rafa vs Fed, Fed vs Roddick et al).

As I say, Wilding had all this impressed on his mind after his two Australian matches. Against Wright, at Melbourne, he hustled for all he was worth in the first two sets, and was a spent force at the crisis.

Against Brookes, in the final of the Victorian Championship, he tried the experiment of more physical restraint. It succeeded beyond his hopes. Brookes won the first two sets, Wilding the next three. So at Wimbledon yesterday. You may say Wilding won on condition. That is only partly true. He won because, like a sagacious commissariat officer, he apportioned his resources over five sets instead of three. He stood his ground in the thick of the American bombardment and when the ammunition of his antagonist had run dry -- he had enough strength and powder left to capture the fort!'

(CONT'D)

Borgforever
07-24-2009, 09:31 PM
"Norman Brookes is, indeed, my favourite partner and the opponent by whom it gives me least pain to be defeated by. He learnt all his tennis in Australia, and to Dr Eaves in large measure must be given the credit for bringing him up to his wonderfully high standard. The "doctor" initiated him into the mysteries of the American, service, and, as all the tennis world knows, Brookes made the ball "talk" to such an extent that when he came home for the first time, in 1905, such prominent English players as Frank Riseley, Hillyard, Gore and Ball-Greene could make neither head nor tail of him.

Brookes is probably the only instance of a player winning the World's Championship with local practice. In his early days at Melbourne virtually his only opponent was his brother (NOTE: these anomalies have always been a trademark for tennis throughout history), to whom he could easily give half-thirty and a beating. A more versatile games man I have seldom met.

In 1908 I had a fairly smooth journey to the fifth round of the Championship, but at that stage any further progress was peremptorily barred by the energetic figure and nimble brain of Roper Barrett. I won the first set with something to spare, but in the second I began to go to pieces, and by the time the fourth had arrived I wasn't worth a dog's chance. Roper Barrett is probably the cleverest player living. He is so wonderfully quick about the court, so eager to seize the smallest opening, almost uncanny in his powers of anticipating. His volleying is versatile and sound, but I rate his generalship higher than I do his strokes.

Once more I had to console myself with the doubles. My partner on this occasion was Ritchie, to whose splendid spade work, rare tenacity and sound judgment, especially in a crisis, I, knowing his good qualities at first hand, can testify. We played together consistently for three years, twice winning the Championship at Wimbledon, and until last July in the challenge round at Wimbledon had never been beaten.

I recall that we got the better of the Dohertys in the final at Nice -- 1908 -- a match over the result of which a good many of the prophets, ignorant of the fact that R. F. Doherty was much below par, had their reputations shaken and their pockets drained.

I have been much amused in England by the negligently charitable attitude of some of the players when speaking of Australasian tennis. It seems to breathe the sentiment, "We are the tennis players. Run away, little boy. We have nothing to learn."

This same mental condition existed many years ago in regard to cricket. It is not so apparent now.

Before long, when I have managed to work the matter up a little more, I hope to give our English players a taste of the Colonial boys' quality.

Australasian tennis has been judged by the performances of a stray New Zealander, who found his way to London, played in the Championship of England, was beaten three sets to one by A. W. Gore, who afterwards won the Championship, and who himself told me that he had to go for it against the Colonial player; and by the form of an English player who won a Championship at Sydney. Both these performances are unreliable as indications of the capabilities of Colonial players.

It has, I think, been admitted that the Australians, if not so now, were when they tackled us first at cricket, superior to us in resource. It is in just the quality expressed by that word, which sounds so vague and yet so expressive, that I think many of the leading Colonial players exceed the capabilities of the Englishmen!

The Englishman's stupendously calm self-satisfaction -- that is so intensely irritating to some people -- is, when on can view it in the right light, which apparenty his neighbours find it hard to do — sublime, and entitled to the greatest admiration. He does not need to "blow," he doesn’t need even to ask: "Would the Colonial boys have chance with us?" The thing is absurd. He knows his own unassailable supremacy in everything from his Navy to Free Trade, excepting always of course cricket. He does not bother to exert any introspective, analytical powers— if he has any — on his own position. He knows it is -- that is enough.

This is not business — it is not even polite — but, as the Frenchman is alleged to have said of the charge of the Light Brigade, "It is magnificent!"...

I could pick an Australasian team of eight or ten almos any day, who would make things very interesting here. They know a little about tennis, I can assure you, I would take four of their best single players against four of England's, and the odds would be evens."

(CONT'D)

Borgforever
07-24-2009, 09:54 PM
"Reverting again to the respective play of the Australians and the English.

It is in some Englishmen's deliveries (NOTE: As of the tennis-seasons of 1911) that I noticed particularly room for improvement. I cannot help thinking that the service has become very stereotyped. There is not enough attention paid anymore to varying the pace, length, spin, and placing of the service. Again, their length (I am speaking of last year's Championship form) was certainly not too good, and was undoubtedly inferior to that of the ladies(!).

I did not see at Wimbledon last year a back-hand off the ground equal to at least three I know in Australasia. The backhand drive, as I am accustomed to seeing it played, seems a lost art, if indeed it were ever known. There is a strong and marked tendency with many players to reduce the game almost to pat-ball on that flank.

I hope you will pardon my little Transatlantic ebullition, but the fact is that we all belong to the same dear old Home, are all actuated by the same keen love of sport that always has been, and I hope always will be, one of the grandest, healthiest and best features of our national life, and if "Papa Bull" does assume, as a fact beyond argument, that he is still "one too many" for his children, who shall really, in earnest, find fault with him? Are we not every day in our own little homes doing the very same thing? Well then, let it rest at that, but some day, Papa, I shall bring the boys to "see" you...

When, however, I come to compare the ladies, I must capitulate at once. This I assure my fair readers is absolutely genuine. They are much further away from the Colonial ladies than are the men. England, of course, with her large population has an immense advantage, and her ladies get so accustomed to tournament play that they do not in many cases seriously feel the strain."

Borgforever
07-25-2009, 11:03 AM
pc1 -- I would humbly thank you if you could re-post the Aussie Sphairistike Legend Harry Hopman's GOAT-list -- yet again here?

I can't seem to find it. It belongs here I think -- a reference to that. I'm also curious if you know which years Mr. Hopman expressed this opinion?

pc1
07-26-2009, 08:57 AM
pc1 -- I would humbly thank you if you could re-post the Aussie Sphairistike Legend Harry Hopman's GOAT-list -- yet again here?

I can't seem to find it. It belongs here I think -- a reference to that. I'm also curious if you know which years Mr. Hopman expressed this opinion?

Here it is.

1. Tilden
2. Budge
3. Perry
4. Laver
5. Cochet
6. Lacoste
7. Johnson
8. H. L. Doherty
9. Vines
10. Tied between Gonzalez and Emerson.

It's from the book "The Encyclopedia of Tennis." The book was written in 1974. The writer of the article wrote that Hopman was recently asked from his all-time ranking so I would assume this list was done around 1974.

urban
07-26-2009, 10:10 AM
I am not that familiar with the English language, but the prose, which Borgforever edited, is quite exciting. The guys then, schooled in the Oxbridge tradition, could really write. I have read some of the early Everesters' reports, they were similar good prose. They read themselves Shakespeare sonnetts in their tents on North Cole. I will sent some comments on Borgforever's magistral work on Laurie later, after studying it more precisely.
One note on Hopman: It seems, that he had no high esteem for the pros, neither Rosewall nor Hoad nor Sedgman out of his own classroom are mentioned. Gonzales only at 10. I once read, that Hopman revered Perry, because he couldn't read the direction of his forehand.

pc1
07-26-2009, 10:23 AM
I am not that familiar with the English language, but the prose, which Borgforever edited, is quite exciting. The guys then, schooled in the Oxbridge tradition, could really write. I have read some of the early Everesters' reports, they were similar good prose. They read themselves Shakespeare sonnetts in their tents on North Cole. I will sent some comments on Borgforever's magistral work on Laurie later, after studying it more precisely.
One note on Hopman: It seems, that he had no high esteem for the pros, neither Rosewall nor Hoad nor Sedgman out of his own classroom are mentioned. Gonzales only at 10. I once read, that Hopman revered Perry, because he couldn't read the direction of his forehand.

It's amazing how well this thread is written. Borgforever writes better than English scholars. I've learned a lot from this thread.

Borgforever
07-26-2009, 12:13 PM
Sphairistike -- yes, I kind of like, I really love Sphairistike. People look at you like your crazy if you say that.

Many thanks pc1 for your kind words! You cannot believe what I have in store for you left. You will not be disappointed. I've basically written 90% and its revised (sensibly as a former poster used to say). You all noticed how silent it is around nowadays as compared to before. Since someone stopped polluting Chopin and all the other former greats have stopped spinning in their graves like propellers...

The things is my time has shortened because of life and work and I need to present the last things on this thread in the right order for everything to be best structure -- going against my own emotions since I am usually more excited about the new things I discovered that day. A nice problem however.

It's a great adventure excavating this under all that forgotten sand -- this lost emperor on all the planets tennis-courts are quite rewarding from a knowledge stand-point. I feel like I am stepping inside the untouched tomb of Tutankhamon, only this tennis equivalent built the Cheops Pyramids...

I am excited about many things. About having the stats on several of Laurie's key matches against supreme opposition were his winners and erros percentages are wonderful and his percentages in holding his serve and winning points on his serve -- likeswise on his opponents serve are nothing short of revelatory. I am impressed by several other remarkable facts of H. L.'s and comparisons in stats between other greats within his era and other eras, as well as, some of the documents I will provide to back them up.

I won't have time write everything down but I will link to a lot of solid stuff.

I will soon continue to post a fierce critical debate that arose around 1905 between several experts and observers of the day. It's priceless. And very, very informative.

Then I will proudly discharge my season by season run-down of their careers -- followed by an intense focus on H. L.'s peak 1902-1906, primarily, R. F.'s and H. L.'s American tours. I will link to priceless articles, with interviews, followed by analysis and the complete records by me.

During the American tours I will reveal my stats, link to sources and my conclusions with all the numbers presented. A conclusive round-up with finishing analysis.

It's enlightening to say the least. I want to reveal it all now. But it's going to take about two days to finish posting from today and it will be, I guess around 20-30 posts.

I will reveal one thing first. Did you all know that US President Theodore Roosevelt was a tennis player? A devoted one. Followed it like crazy. And he followed the Davis Cup matches between Britain and the USA in 1902 and 1903 intensely and called up Larned personally after his victory over R. F. at the USO at Newport in 1902.

Mr. Balfour followed tennis just as much and knew the players. It was at a fever pitch.

Tennis was big -- 106 years ago...

Borgforever
07-26-2009, 12:28 PM
It seems President Theodore Roosevelt personally watched H. L. and R. F. wage their campaigns, I think in 1903 even...

You'll see...

I would like to add that my rundown of the years that will follow the closely focused US circuit-invasions, namely 1904 to 1906, and the final analysis -- will follow in about a week. Everything up until that will arrive in the next two days. In between I am finishing my little H. L. Doherty GOAT-contender clips and tributes for YT.

This guy was a bona-fide Doozy...

Borgforever
07-26-2009, 03:34 PM
I pollute my own thread a little instead regarding this -- H. L. won't mind he tells me through a medium I've hired. Brilliance is brilliance in every shape and form and should be celebrated -- not disdained.

I'll get back to you about great Swedish hockey players, IMO at least, but as far as nowadays or the recent 15 years -- I have one who's quite good. Sterner, who as a young but already great player was in the team that beat the great Russians and the great Canadians in the early 60s, I believe. At any rate -- Ulf banged well-timed scores, like Foppa's Olympic Lillehammer penalty, like clock-work back in the day.

There's a priceless clip from the time when he was a young, brilliant player in Modo back here and in a final an umpire screwed it up and during the TV-interview he lost it and threatened the umpire with a beating, raging with anger blaming the loss completely on him. Priceless. He's fuming.

By the way -- that astonishingly smooth dagger-in-the-heart-at-clutch-move at Lillehammer, pure sublime and blissful poetry on ice, fittingly finishes this great study of The Sleek Legendary Modo Assassin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYsLM06hRuI

Ice and club craft of the highest artistic order IMO...

Borgforever
07-26-2009, 03:41 PM
Okey, so I line up the rankings mentioning H. L. as very close to top even 5-6 decades after the man had left us.
GOAT-list from HARRY HOPMAN (1906-1985):

1. Tilden
2. Budge
3. Perry
4. Laver
5. Cochet
6. Lacoste
7. Johnson
8. H. L. Doherty
9. Vines
10. Tied between Gonzalez and Emerson.

It's from the book "The Encyclopedia of Tennis." The book was written in 1974. The writer of the article wrote that Hopman was recently asked from his all-time ranking so I would assume this list was done around 1974.

Borgforever
07-29-2009, 08:08 AM
Urban's fine work in compiling GOAT-lists from various experts pre 1950:

"pre 1950 rankings, i found in the book by Paula Stuck von Recnizek, Tennis Faszination, edited in Munich in 1968. They rely on a sampling by Dr. Esser, some German expert, i assume, mostly there are from ca. 1930:

F. G. Low:
Tilden, H.L. Doherty, Brookes, W.M. Johnston, R. Doherty, Wilding, Lacoste, Cochet, Larned, McLoughlin

Arnold Herrschel:
Tilden, H. L. Doherty, Wilding, Cochet, Borotra, Brookes, R. Doherty, Richey, Pim, Roper-Barrett

Lacoste:
Tilden, H.L. Doherty, Cochet, Johnston, Wilding, Borotra, R. Doherty, Brookes, Larned, W. Renshaw

Maurice Blein:
Tilden, H.L. Doherty, Borotra, Cochet, Johnston, Wilding, Borotra, Larned, Vines, W. Renshaw

E.C. Potter:
Tilden, H. L. Doherty, brookes, Cochet, Johnston, Wilding, Lacoste, Whitman, Borotra, Perry.

P. M. Harry in Revue de Tennis:
Tilden, Cochet, H.L. Doherty, Wilding, Johnston, Lacoste, brookes, W. Renshaw, R. Doherty, Sears

Ph. Nutt:
Tilden, H.L. Doherty, Brookes, cochet, Lacoste, R. Doherty, Johnston, Wilding. McLoughlin, S.H. Smith (whoever this is)

Two rankings from ca. 1950:

Edgar Joubert:
Tilden, Cochet, Budge, Kramer, Borotra, Lacoste, Perry, R. Doherty, H. L. Doherty, Brookes, Wilding, Patterson.

Roderich Menzel:
Tilden, Budge, Cochet, R.Doherty, Vines, L. Doherty, Kramer, McLoughlin, Lacoste, Perry, von Cramm, Brookes, Withman, Johnston, Borotra, Crawford, Wilding, Riggs, Larned, Wright, Richards, Patterson, Williams, Anderson, Mahoney.

I will let those rankings speak for themselves. Some short comment: In all the older lists, Laurie Doherty is always ranked second only to Tilden. Only in the younger lists by Joubert and Menzel, Reggie is ranked above him, Why? I don't know.
Edgar Joubert"

Borgforever
07-29-2009, 08:17 AM
I add a couple of all-time rankings prior to 1960:

In 1924 in his book ‘Forty years of first class lawn tennis’ George Hillyard (formerly a good British player and a secretary of The All England Lawn Tennis Club) compiled a list of the best players of all time, each of whom at his best would have beaten any player outside this list also at his best.
9 men: Ernest and Willie Renshaw (nothing to choose between them), Joshua Pim (at his best perhaps the greatest), Laurie and Reggie Doherty (Reggie the better in head-to-heads), Norman Brookes, Tony Wilding, Bill Johnston, Bill Tilden.

Closely behind them are: Wilmbledon champions Lawford, Hamilton, W. Baddeley, Mahony, A. Gore, Patterson. The Dohertys had the highest opinion of Whitman, but he has not played in England. Four more men should also have won Wimbledon with a bit of luck: Lewis, Eaves, Smith, Kingscote.

7 ladies: Maud Watson, Lottie Dod, Blanche Bingley (Hillyard), Louisa Martin, Charlotte Cooper (Sterry), Dorothea Douglass (Chambers), May Sutton.

In 1932 in his book ‘Memory's Parade’ Wallis Myers compiled a list of the best players all-time.

1. Tilden and L.Doherty (with Tilden perhaps slightly ahead) 3. R.Doherty 4. Cochet 5. Johnston 6. Brookes 7. Lacoste 8. Wilding 9. Borotra 10. Patterson 11.Gore.

In 1948 in his book John Olliff compiled a list of the 20 best-ever men in the 20th century. His list is as follows:

1. Tilden 2. L. Doherty 3. Lacoste 4. Vines 5. Cochet 6. Perry 7. R. Doherty 8. Budge 9. Brookes 10. Riggs 11. Wilding 12. Johnston 13. Borotra 14. von Cramm 15. Kramer 16. Crawford 17. McLouglin 18. Patterson 19. S. Wood 20. Austin.

He listed only 4 ladies: 1. Lenglen 2. Wills 3. Marble 4. Betz

In 1952 Mercer Beasley, one of the most outstanding tennis coaches, picked his top 10 players:

1. Tilden 2. Cochet 3. Lacoste 4. Kramer 5. Perry 6. Johnston 7. Vines 8. Budge 9. Richards 10. Sedgman

1. Wills 2. Marble 3. Lenglen 4. Bjurtedt 5. Jacobs 6. Betz 7. Osborne 8. Hart 9. Round 10. Brough

In 1956 Norman Brookes ranked in his book "Crowded Galleries" the Top10 players he had played against or had seen play for both men and women:

Men: 1. Tilden 2. R. F. Doherty 3. H. L. Doherty 4. AF Wilding 5. William Johnston 6. Perry 7. Lacoste 8. Budge 9. Kramer 10. Crawford

Women: 1. Lenglen 2. Wills 3. May Sutton 4. Dorothy Douglass Chambers 5. Marble 6. Round 7. Connolly 8. Brough 9. Hart 10. Wynne Bolton.

Sir Norman Brookes did mention for the mens others such as Sedgman, Patterson, Beals Wright, Hoad, McLouglin, Rosewall and Trabert would be up there in the next ten. In the case of the French muskateers he chose Lacoste as the best of the four but mentioned Cochet and Borotra. He omitted ranking Segura and Gonzales as he had limited knowledge of their games and only saw them infrequently.

Borgforever
07-29-2009, 08:24 AM
Hopman is the last of the giant experts to rank Laurie in the top ten. Harry was born the same year H. L. retired so he never saw him -- but almost seven decades after this he still ranked H. L. near the top...

Arthur Wallis Myers (He was never called Arthur) doesn't make any judgments on Tilden over H. L. or the other way around. He says that Tilden might've taken Laurie but hesitates. That is important. This was also 1932. Tilden's brilliance fresh in the eyes. Still hesitation. Myers died suddenly in 1939 never revising this list. And R. F. even as number three considering the other names on the list. With Brookes and Wilding there as well he is implying that the 1895 to 1914 era was stronger and more filled with greatness -- including the growth of the game in the meantime and with the increase in the pool of players...

John Olliff in 1948: Even in after four decades after H. L. put his racquet and prime away, with no videos reminding people of aspects of his quality, just hazier recollections growing fainter as they are relentlessly rough-checked by the ever flowing new waves of eye-popping, inventive talent and new developments. Proof of stunning shelf-life. I mean Tilden was playing when he wrote this. No one had ever seen H. L.'s greatness for 42 years basically...

Sir Norman Brookes, a few years before my friend had an interview with him, he still held the Dohertys in absolute reverence: Brookes, must be said, only saw 1905 Laurie and a few times in doubles after that I guess after 1906 and 1910. So everything that they did before 1905 he had never seen. Laurie wasn't what he was in 1905 even compared to 1904. If 1903 is 100%, the sources imply 1904 90% and 1905 80% and 1906 75-80% and then from 1907-1910 only flashes of his former brilliance, a ghost of himself...

Borgforever
07-29-2009, 09:29 AM
Now, it's time to get into the lively and heated debate regarding several experts. Now I have so much to write now I must try to be a little brief with several post to we can advance in this thread with a little more urgency -- unless I will write this thread to Christmas 2011 -- which I don't wish to do :-)...

Mr. Vaile published several articles forwarding several critical assessment. For time reasons I will summarize Vaile's main points with a few quotes. Vaile wasn't even a decent journeyman at tennis. He was strictly an observer and while he he has several good arguments and sharp points -- he is way out there on many other points. Vaile had only seen H. L. in 1904 onwards, and only a few matches at that. Not a very strong basis for making an authoritative judgement.

Many people lambasted Vaile for his far-fetched theories. One of Vaile's theories was that Laurie lacked length in his shots against Riseley as Wimby 1904 (the first match he saw of H. L.). The main flaw in Vaile's writing was that he didn't understand was that H. L. lured Riseley into the net with short ball so he could coldly pass him or lob him. Other players tried to keep Riseley from the net, with hard strokes but Frank loved this and he mastered that style eminently -- the kryptonite for Frank's onslaught was H. L.'s masterly tactics. H. L. and Riseley had met in the juniors in the early 1890s and H. L. always had the better of Riseley even then -- although Frank's famously successful S&V game made him be called the new "Renshaw" as an up-and-comer. Frank did beat Laurie only once -- in the 1890s, after that -- normal service was resumed.

People shook their heads at Vaile's lack of understanding in tactics in dealing with Riseley effectively and that Vaile had the stomach to make such accusation based on such limited knowledge of H. L., his matches and subsequently his capacity and prowess in tactics.

I'll post some comments by Vaile were he tries to redeem himself and balance out his fierce critique of of H. L. and R. F.:

"In dealing with individuals one naturally takes H. L. Doherty first. It is his due. I may say at once that of all the men I have seen of late years H. L Doherty the most nearly fills my idea of a perfect singles-player, and yet I think his tactics are unsound in some ways. I am not one who worships success, and a man may be champion of the world — and yet have serious blemishes in his game, Mr. Doherty is neither "A Wild Rusher" nor a "Baseline Wanderer" nor yet can I call him an absolutely judicious combination of the two.

H. L. goes in on the net on every service nearly, I cannot help thinking than both in singles and doubles he stays too far away from the net. Certainly he plays low volleys from his feet with a lovely stroke and great precision...

...His tennis virtues are too well known to the public to require any remarks from me.

I may however say that the secret of his very fine game is undoubtedly timing and the perfectly harmonious action of body and arms. He gets every ounce out of his stroke without much apparent effort.

He makes his body do its share of the work. How few really do this, or even realise its importance! Imagine trying to hit a man with your body still and using only arm action. You want your entire body to be in your work, particularly in smashing.

This would mean a lot of saving in exertion in five sets, let alone the tactical advantages. I noticed also that his returns were generally pretty straight down the court. It seemed to me he was taking no risks, either with the side lines or the base line, and this is where the centre theory must save you many an ace. You only have length to worry about.

These criticisms were written, as is well known to many tennis players, long before the Covered Courts Championships were decided.

The final for the singles quite proved — to my satisfaction at least — the soundness of my contentions about H. L. Doherty's tactics. On the day he met Ritchie (British covered court championship 1904 played at Queen’s indoor wood courts in April 1904)-- H. L. was undoubtedly off his game. This brought him down into Ritchie's class, and Ritchie's tactics on the day being quite as good as the Champion's, it was anybody's match, and had Ritchie possessed the temperament of the winner the result might even have be in the “other way”…

I am dealing very plainly with H. L. Doherty's theory. To praise his execution when in form is to gild refined gold, but even at the risk of being thought severe I will maintain that that execution is worthy of better theory and tactics.

I have not said anything about demeanour on court and so on. With those who play tennis it should be unnecessary, but there are a few who might with much advantage take an example from H. L. Doherty always, outwardly, at least, unruffled, calmly accepting wrong decisions and allowing nothing to worry him, This tells; make no mistake about it. Getting savage is only providing cheap amusement for the gallery, than putting yourself on your game.

I hope it will not be thought that I am dealing too severely with Mr. Doherty's game; I am taking H. L. as the ablest and most finished practical exponent of this single game that I know, and I am dissecting that game for the benefit of the game.

Anything I can say of H. L. Doherty’s game I think I might almost say for his brother, R. F. Doherty's.

R. F.’s strokes are all very fine, and considering his grip it is wonder to me how he gets them. His service is very good, as is H. L.'s by now -- quite similar to his brothers', and R. F's second service; the best I know.

I have not seen him "all out" in a single.

I would love to see the two brothers, the best of all time, for once, having "a real go" at each other. I would miss my luncheon for it — if necessary!

R. F. and H. L. Doherty form without doubt a very fine combination, I think, however, that even more the double than in the single is the low-volleying deft noticeable. The answer may be, It is their game, and it has succeeded." This does not bother me a trifle.

What I am worrying about is, whether it is the right one or not, and the one most suitable for the majority of players, and most calculated to make the game brilliant, scientific, and more popular; and frankly I do not think it is.

It is apparent that the Dohertys are at present a little away from the others, and I could not get it out of my head that they, as indeed is natural, take liberties with the game."

Vaile also proclaimed in 1905, and this is the most controversial aspect of his views against H. L., that Norman Brookes was a much better player than "Little Do".

Among other silly statements by Vaile, was, among other things, that he recommeded you to "watch the part of the ball you aimed to hit as it was arriving at you". Many laughed at this. No one can watch a bit of the ball as it flies fast toward you. Needless to say, Vail got murdered in the debates that followed.

This caused an uproar of course...

Immediately after Vaile's comments the very good British player Puyn published no less that three books refuting Vaile's statements in 1905. One article by Puyn was called "Lifting the Vaile" -- complete thrashing of Vail's evaluations --

(CONT'D)

Borgforever
07-29-2009, 10:16 AM
Puyn was very good player and a Briton -- but famous for his integrity, skills, extensive knowledge of everything concerning the game of tennis plus that he wasn't a troublemaker -- a man of high respect -- but he was vocal when he saw blatant mistakes and counterproductive initiatives.

As regards to Vaile's nominating Brookes as the finest player who ever lived in late 1905 (when H. L. was in serious decline already) was scotched with ease by Puyn -- here comes his scathing reply to the pseudo-tennis-expert Vaile:

"So if Norman Brookes is so much better than H. L., as some A. F. Wilding among others contend, let's examine Mr. Brookes record for his British and European circuits in 1905. Our own Mr. H. L. Doherty didn't lose a single match, as usual, neither in single, doubles or mixed regardless if the contests was on wood, sand or grass -- either here or abroad in 1905. In 1902 and 1903 he managed a similar remarkable achievement that's never been done before in international competition.

So here's campaign-results of 1905 of the great Mr. Brookes', the man with the instant guilloutine of a serve; At the Kent Championships, Beckenham, he won, at Queen's he was beaten by Holcombe Ward, in the Davis Cup by both Beals Wright (12-10, 5-7, 12-10, 6-4) and William Larned (14-12, 6-0, 6-3), at Wimbledon by H. L. Doherty (8-6, 6-2, 6-4), at Edgbaston by Sidney Smith, at Newcastle by Alfred Dunlop, and at Dinard by George Hillyard. At Eastbourne he won, and few grudged him his victory after so much ill-success.

But in face of these facts Mr. Vaile's denunciation of English lawn tennis need not trouble us much. And for the Americans and their “immense variety of beautiful strokes" compared to our own, it is unfortunate for Mr. Vaile's arguments that the two champions of the United States were each beaten by three sets to love in the first and second rounds of the Championships at Wimbledon last year. At the end of his article Mr. Vaile says that the way for a man to get on in England is to "hold his candle far above his head on a lofty pole, and run swiftly up the street, shouting loudly the while that his modest rushlight is a fifteen thousand candle-power arc lamp of the finest quality." This is exactly what Mr. Vaile appears to me to do.

(NOTE: Here comes a few other severe criticisms by Puyn on challenge round, Gore and some other details that caused debate back in the day)

“In 1903 a vote by the players for abolishing the challenge round ended 42 to 24 in favor of of a change. Many former champions, uncluding our present one, were vocal for change. A. W. Gore disregarded this vote and passed a motion for the continuation of the challenge round as is."

“I could mention other things, such as the payment by the Association to the Captain of the DC-team -- Mr. William Herbert Collins’ expenses to America to select two out of three men to play for the Davis Cup there in 1902, and the loss of the cup for Great Britain through his omission of Mr. H. L. Doherty, our present champion of England, from the Singles team. The official reason given for this proceeding was that "it was desired to keep the champion fresh for the Doubles," which were played at a later date. The people who have often seen him play eleven or twelve sets in an afternoon doubtlessly appreciated this explanation with regard to one match per day for three days.

A "double" match is mostly far less exhausting than a "single”...”

One must remember that in H. L.'s day -- basically everyone played singles, doubles and mixed PLUS handicap tourneys -- in practically every event entered, even on his US-tours he did this at Longwood, Nahant, Southampton in the US. He was playing an extraordinary amount of tennis -- at least double the amount we have on our incomplete records. Estimate H. L. playing around 100 to 130 matches a year -- winning -- if not all -- around 95%, conservatively speaking -- all according to A. Wallis Myers. When he practiced he usually went off 10-12 sets against somebody in one session.

H. L. Doherty had TBC. One simply cannot one even fathom H. L.'s achievement with this ticking health-time-bomb ready to go off at any minute -- the sword of Damocles could fall at any time...

Borgforever
07-29-2009, 11:04 AM
The fierce debate continued and the American expert observer J. Parmly Paret dismissed Vaile outright -- saying that while Vaile lacked sophisticated knowledge of elite tennis and its mysteries he still had a few good thoughts.

Harold Mahony -- only weeks before his fatal bike-accident in May 1905 fired back at Vaile with this article, denouncing everything that Vaile had asserted. The following article can be read in full (for money -- or if you're enrolled at a University -- so if there's anyone out there who has these privileges, please, access the full Mahony critique, and, if possible, post it here in full). Now you can read the first page here:

http://www.jstor.org/pss/25113914

At least here's a sliver of Harold Segerson Mahony's response...

Borgforever
07-29-2009, 11:25 AM
pc1 wondered in a post some time back -- who had the fiercest draw to the title at the World Championships at Wimby. My vote goes for the first Irish No. 1, the allround, guileful retriever Willoughby Hamilton, who never lost to Willie Renshaw -- ever. When "The Ghost" captured his Wimbledon victory in 1890 he did it against the greatest of the era. Must be added that Hamilton defeated some of his rivals before they reached their peak/prime -- but many were close to it, and Willie Renshaw, among others, were in their prime.

Also noteworthy there's a wonderful photo of Hamilton from 1890 were he is standing next to the Wimbledon-trophy, resting on a chair next to him (the exact same trophy one we see today -- which makes it very eerie -- Borg and Fed and all the others are all holding the same golden trophy that Hamilton, H. L. and all the others over 120 year ago lifted skywards after their victories).

Willoughby Hamilton road to victory 1890 at Wimby:

R1 vs Arthur Gore 6-0, 6-1, 6-1
R2 vs William Taylor 7-5, 6-1, 6-1
QF vs Wilfred Baddeley 6-3, 6-0, 6-1
SF vs Joshua Pim 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
AC vs Harry Barlow 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5
CC vs William Renshaw (holder) 6-8, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1

That is the monster draw IMO. Hamilton defeated rivals that had amassed, at the end of their career, 15 Wimbledon championship titles...

Borgforever
07-29-2009, 11:50 AM
I don't buy Tilden as king of 1900-1920. His record is distinctly inferior to H. L.'s, easy by miles and miles and miles, and lacked such tough rivals as H. L. had during his peak/prime -- plus that he beat everyone with greater distance plus that H. L. had every antidote to Tilden's weapons.

Tilden was just slightly better than Larned -- according to a great majority of experts who's seen both.

1 - Tilden had a cannonball serve (a fraction faster than Larned's), a super forehand (like Larned) and very good backhand (like Larned). He was a bit stronger than Larned psychologically and tactically but the difference was slight.

2 - Tilden, according to all sources, was weaker than Brookes tactically and Brookes was not as good as H. L. in tactics. So H. L. was a better general than Big Bill.

3 - H. L. would crush Tilden's weak volley, use his super-accurate lobs to capitalize on Tilden's weak overhead and absolutely hammer Big Bill's weaker backhand (similar to Larned's and Fed's -- crumbling under constant consistent accurate barrage).

4 - H. L. was faster and had more anticipation than Tilden and his consistency outmatched Big Bill's by miles. H. L.'s incredible "getting"-skills would prove Tilden's hammer-blows not so effiecent, as many said.

5 - H. L. never made any errors and he could -- according to Wilding, no less, hit very severe as well as accurate on the fly -- just nailing Tilden's hammer-blows with interest for instant winners.

6 - H. L. had no weakness. Tilden had several.

7 - H. L. could master any kind of serve as he did with Brookes' and Larned's with ease -- anyone think Tilden would succeed any better? H. L. was one of the best returners of serve the world has ever seen. Perhaps the greatest.

8 - Both Tilden and Johnston -- BOTH OF THEM -- lost sets in singles to a 43 year-old Brookes (!) at Davis Cup when both the former ones were at their peak of their powers and in their twenties.

H. L. straight-setted a muuuuuuuch better Brookes in 1905 when Norman was 28 years old. I could write a novel on this..

Borgforever
07-29-2009, 12:06 PM
To make a comparison in style between contemporary players in their peak:

Slugger, so-called "brilliant" style, a. k. a. aggressive baseliner:

Roger Federer, Jimmy Connors, William Tilden and William Larned -- and to a certain extent Laver -- but he was more allround, a stunning volleyer -- more of an H. L.-type but relying more on power...

All of these players had met an equally great rival -- differing in style, super-consistent retrievers that had awesome counter-punch skills that could take out brilliant-type player totally when they were at their respective peaks:

Rafael Nadal, Björn Borg, Rene Lacoste, Ken Rosewall and H. L. Doherty...

Need I say more...

Borgforever
07-29-2009, 12:10 PM
When it comes to R. F. and H. L. I see them as:

R. F. = Roger Federer -- beyond belief great most of the time but prone to clunky tactics and lacking supreme GOAT-clutch against another player of his level...

H. L. = Rafael Nadal mixed with Borg and Rosewall -- with the volley of McEnroe and Edberg and the overhead of Sampras (but arguably not as hard -- but just as efficient) beyond belief great and unmatched tactical acumen and competitive sense having thunderball clutch against rivals in their level...

Borgforever
07-29-2009, 04:12 PM
THEORIES WHY H. L.'S REPUTATION HAS DWINDLED:

I can't say I have the full answer to this.

I have theories though. Myers can't separate them H. L. and Tilden. Fred Alexander, an American -- top three at best, early 10s and met both Tilden and H. L. -- playing style similar to McEnroe but more consistent at the baseline -- was adamant that H. L. would beat Tilden for the reasons I mentioned in my post above, which is proven through the texts and evaluations, witnesses, facts and records that we have.

Myers, who played both H. L. and Tilden and saw pretty much everything they did (including that of Vines, Budge, Perry and the Muskeeters) -- and handicapped by never again seeing H. L. at his best after 1906 -- still couldn't decide. Isn't that telling?

Fred Alexander was totally for H. L. as the greatest.

Tilden had an enormous weakness against super consistent, super-intelligent, resilient and clutch-like players -- such as Lacoste, whom he didn't face during his real peak. But Lacoste slaughtered him.

And the brilliant tactician, "The Magician" Norman Brookes, second only to the incomparable H. L. (arguably his mentor in a way in that skill) was sneaky enough to steal a set from the "so-called" invincible Tilden at his peak -- when he was 43!?

But as time went by -- he dropped in estimation, many had never seen him. Only shaking their heads at "the oldies" "waxing lyrical" like it was some old wives tale Or a Robin Hood myth.

Same story today -- Laver was GOAT, no Borg was, wait a minute McEnroe is, perhaps Lendl, I mean, no, no, no -- SAMPRAS -- no, not so fast, Federer -- but what now? What is Rafa doing...

And so forth. We want our new one, who impresses us on such daily basis to be the best. We don't want our contemporary hero to suck now, would we?

Human nature...

What is remarkable is that H. L. remained at his No. 2 spot for almost very single ranking, except Alexander and Myers (those who actually had extensive experience of both players) who had him as easy No. 1, until 1950. Almost every ranking after them (when it was only hazy hearsay) H. L. was undisputed No. 2.

Ahead of Budge, Vines, Kramer, Musketeers, Pancho -- you name them...

And H. L.'s entire game was built for the purpose of destroying a Tilden-like player. And his rivals and record can concur with that undisputed fact.

That said, I would put money on H. L. in a potential meeting between the two with great tools, prep et al. But that doesn't mean AT ALL that I think it's a given outcome. If Tilden prevails in a best of 20 match-up on all surfaces -- indoor, red clay, grass, us grass -- I would be surprised no doubt, since I think H. L. is the more complete player and more versatile on all surfaces plus a greater general and tactician.

But Big Bill Tilden was a formidable giant at his peak. A super-strong GOAT-contender to say the least. So he could pull it off.

My money is with "The Maltese Cat" still...

But stranger things have happened -- as the saying goes...

Q&M son
07-29-2009, 04:18 PM
Really nice posts Borgforever, thanks.

Borgforever
07-29-2009, 04:27 PM
"The Maltese Cat" -- H. L.'s "Ice Borg"/"Ice Man" nome de guerre -- sprung mostly from, except the nine lives meaning, Kipling's short-story of the same name.

In short, it follows a small but sleek and beautifully grey-colored pony -- that lived a terrible life driving a fruit-wagon on Malta. His color, swiftness and beauty reminded one of a Maltese cat. Bought for his beauty he arrived in British India were he suddenly ended up playing polo.

Despite being a modest little pony -- much smaller than the quick, strong and great other polo-horses -- "The Maltese Cat" proved to be a Maestro at polo, leading his team to victory after victory -- thanks to his speed, anticipation, aggressive counter-moves and unmatched tactics.

"The Maltese Cat" was very humble though. He was so happy to not dragging around fruit under his awful owner on Malta and he just loved playing polo.

In the final "The Maltese Cat" leads his team defeating a formidable team in an unforgettable finish -- scoring and at the same time saving the life of his rider and owner from certain death in a collision with an onstorming giant horse set on stopping them.

It ends with total glory on the beautiful polo-grounds and palace salons in the celebrations. "The Maltese Cat" gets applauded, placed on a dinner table just to be admired and honored and toasted its brilliance in every department -- even morality and empathy.

"The Maltese Cat", though, are used to it and thinks it's a little bit boring.

He's just happy not to be dragging that awful wagon of fruit on Malta getting beaten by his former owner.

And he just loves polo.

Like H. L...

Borgforever
07-30-2009, 05:55 AM
I am nearing the home stretch now.

Next up I will focus on the brother's 1897 to 1906 careers -- year by year -- with additional info and analysis, spiced with great PDF articles giving a classy and very exciting panoramic view of the exploding tennis scene during this time.

When we reach 1902 and 1903 I will start linking to newspaper articles giving you interviews and a lot of other stuff -- sprinkling fresh, contemporary assessments and perspectives to the Doozy's fantastic peak performances. They were stars back then. The newspapers were sometimes filled with photos of them and many articles. It's a feast for the tennis buff I'll tell you.

Then I will finish my YT-clip. What's most exciting about this is that I've found action stills of H. L.'s perfected serve (ca 1902 to 1906) so that we can envision how it looked. A little like Mac and Federer.

That's not the case on our Eastbourne clips. We know he tinkered a lot with his serve 1898-1902 and, like Johnny Mac's, Andre's and Rafa's they weren't really polished and grooved until after a couple of years.

H. L.'s serve -- on the film we have doesn't look that imposing (for a super-GOAT-contender that is) -- and one can understand why he worked on that aspect a lot. He was still in 1898 to 1901 around the top 5, sometimes even No. 2 -- like Novak Djokovic and Murray and Roddick -- but when his serve was as finished as everything else in his game (no little thanks, I presume, to a certain Mr. R. F.) he ascended the gilded tennis-throne instantly.

The interesting thing is that H. L.'s service is really a lot different between 1900-01 to 1902-06. In 1900 he goes for a short, quick toss -- like Tanner and Curren (without their enormous forward momentum in their body motion) and spins it in with "kick" -- having fine precision though.

On film we only have ONE decently hit hard first service that H. L. slams at the top of the tape -- then a softer, twist second service -- curving itself nicely down the deuce-court T.

"The Slog", a. k. a. S. H. Smith, a. k. a. "The Forehand Drive Man"/"The Walking Forehand" et al -- Sidney Howard Smith is just all over H. L.'s second serve here, even if it decently nails Smith's backhand flank.

Smith hammers his forehand out on H. L.'s backhand side and "Little Do" chases this bullet out of frame, managing a short response -- bouncing out on Smith's backhand, around the service-line -- but it's too weak.

Smith enjoys his "meal at the net" and just explodes his legendary inside-out forehand spearing it out on H. L.'s backhand.

In this clip I will feature the stills, flowing them slightly in motion, so you can see H. L.'s ultimate service motion from his peak/prime.

I have been very lucky in this respect.

Imagine in a 100 years and the only thing they find about Borg is one minute from 1974 in the Rome-final. Just one minute. And Borg's serve wasn't at all what it was in 1976-81 back in 1974. But now I will demonstrate H. L.'s development in this area quite well -- even though the material is scarce to say the least.

I will, in the clips, also include photos of Sidney Howard Smith, Eaves, Riseley among others and photos from the great arenas back in the day such as Wimby, the Riviera, Homburg, USO at Newport, Longwood and much more...

It will be my mini-"CHARIOTS OF FIRE" :-) (I hope)

After this I will finally go through the years 1904-1906 with closing arguments and a few great article-links.

There are some real surprises I have in store -- some of which I hardly can't wait to reveal. But discipline is a virtue.

It's not so easy to keep a schedule though, so please be kind if it takes a few days more to finish than expected...

urban
07-30-2009, 08:41 AM
It's really monumental work by Borgforever. Its awfully difficult, to compare players of that long time ago, with so few visual documents available. The excellently written eyewitness-accounts give a plastic picture of the style of play, however; nevertheless the time spans make it difficult even to evaluate experts opinions. In The Encylopedia of Tennis by Max Robertson and others from 1974, there are two other experts alltime rankings alingside that of Hopman's list, which pc 1 cited, from Allison Danzig and Lance Tingay. While the American Danzig doesn't rank Laurie among the top ten, Tingay, the Englishman, has him at Nr.9 in that order: Tilden, Budge, Laver, Gonzalez, Hoad, Perry, Cochet, Wilding (!), H.L. Doherty, W. Renshaw.
In the article, Danzig gives reasons for omitting the Dohertys. He confesses, that he didn't see them (only saw the old Brookes), and relies on a report by H.S. Scrivener in the Morning Post from 1930. He cites this paragraph:
" The Dohertys in their palmiest days had not the precision combined with power of Tilden and the few players like Borotra who are standing up to him. They did not make the lightning thrusts and parries of Tilden and his peers for the simple reason, they didn't have to. Their beautifully regular and severe, but less intense game was good enough... If there had been a few more like their great rival S.H.Smith knocking about in those days, they would have raised their game higher. Today they probably would have fought their way to the top, though the furious rate at which lawn tennis is played today might have proved too much for their not very robust constitution."
Scrivener's opinon, which Danzig cites, is not my opinon nor is it the one and only truth. I have great difficulties to compare Federer with Borg or Laver, let alone Doherty with Tilden. But his assesment sounds quite familiar to todays opinions by reporters, who argue in favor of the younger players.

Borgforever
07-31-2009, 04:25 AM
Great post Urban -- and I do agree with you that it's very hard to compare different eras, especially if they are separated by almost a century.

However I've seen a lot of 1920s to 1950s tennis lately and -- no surprise -- it's the same thing as now IMO. Slight differences here and there of course but no big differences.

Thanks for quoting Scrivener also -- I respect him -- but not in this issue as regards to the Dohertys.

Remember how many hardcore experts had H. L. as No. 2, even if they never saw him?

Remember Alexander having Laurie as undisputed No. 1 -- along with many others I might add -- and Myers had them tied for No. 1 although the circumstances and the passing of time would favor Tilden?

Don't forget the GOAT-pdf-article I linked to. Even this guy, a bona-fide Tildentard couldn't separate Laurie and Big Bill.

Now onto the weaknesses in Scriveners opinion on the Doozys:

1 - He says openly that he thought they could reach the top even in 1930 -- asserting their greatness.

2 - He names their TBC. In the 1940 they vaccinated TBC, the great writer Dashiell Hammett was saved by this. Give the Doozys their dose of that and, well, you know...

3 - That only Smith was slugger in that era are really poor research by Scrivener. The hardest servers in H. L.'s day was R. F. (considered 1897-1900 to have the worlds hardest and greatest serve), Frank Riseley (think Sampras), Norman Brookes, William Larned, Wright, Ward, Karl Behr among others.

The Dohertys faced many players with the same hard-hitting skills as Tilden. Undisputed.

Now let's focus on Tilden's weaknesses for a bit:

1 - During Tilden's peak he mostly played in the US -- almost never in England or mainland Europe or anywhere. He exposed himself a lot less to international rivals than H. L. and R. F. did -- by miles -- markedly bringing his peak onto unstable ground.

2 - When he did face international competition for real -- in 1926, 33 years old, incidentally around the same age Laver, Pancho, Rosewall, Gore, Jimbo and others made great results -- Lacoste walked all over him. And not only that; Lance Tingay, Danzig, Edwin S Baker, Florence Blanchard, Will Grimely, Mary Hare, Roy McKelvie and Ted Tinling named the 21 greatest matches of the 20th century and named the following concerning Tilden:

# 3 Cochet's defeat of Tilden at Wimby 1927

# 13 René Lacoste crushes Tilden at USO-final of 1927 11-9, 6-3, 11-9

# 15 René Lacoste crushes Tilden at the Davis Cup in 1927 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2

# 18 Tilden defeats René Lacoste in a fierce five-setter in the Davis Cup 1928.

Also Cochet, the tiny little soft hitter was, I guess 9-2 in H2H with Tilden. Mostly blowouting the slugger.

So much for the arguments that a tiny soft hitting man can't steamroll a giant slugger in form.

I stand by my words even stronger than before. H. L. before Tilden.

H. L. never had such blemishes in his career...

urban
07-31-2009, 07:39 AM
It was somewaht ironic, that Tilden's defeats since 1926/27 against the musketeers did more to enhance than to diminish his status in the eyes of the experts. It was seen more a matchup between one man and a whole team. The lone opposition vote comes from Walter Pate, the US captain, who always preferred Budge over Tilden because of those DC results. But its right, Lacoste was certain in no better physical shape than the Dohertys.
I read a bit in the fine book by Gianni Clerici '500 years of tennis'. And he writes in detail about the Davis Cup match at Longwood between the US and the Dohertys. It seems that there was some controvery on the last day. In the two matches, which were played together at the same time in the same stadium, there were a crucial incident, which affected the last set of both matches. Some line judge or line judges had left the court, and an umpire call that would have give the US - i think Ward - a lead of 5-4 in the fifth was overruled.
Some other aspect i found interesting is the beginning of some kind of internationalisation of the game: Besides the US, Britain (Irish) and Australasia, there some good players on the continent. Decugis, who studied in England, for France, Count Voß, Kreuzer and Froitzheim for Germany. Are there any head to head results between the Dohertys and Decugis for instance?
Clerici by the way names Reggie the more genial and Laurie the more classical player of the two. He seems to prefer Reggie. But i must say, Laurie's US win was a demolition job and maybe the best exploit of this era. Clerici writes, that Reggie scratched their upcoming meeting in the quarters there.

Borgforever
07-31-2009, 08:46 AM
Great points.

I will arrive at the Davis Cup-final in 1903 soon and the incident you describe I will detail in full. I will also link to no less than five separate articles describing this final. It took me darn a week to double check and clarify exactly what happened. You will not be disappointed. You'll get all the juiciest details and all the fireworks soon. Maybe today even.

What Clerici seems to be referring to was this -- in short -- I don't want to spoil it already:

The last days singles at Longwood in Davis Cup 1903 H. L. faced Larned (for the first time in six years) and R. F. faced Wrenn on the court just next to the others. They started playing at the exact same time.

R. F. -- really showing the strain after the doubles-match the day before (plus his already by now fragile physique) plus his strained right shoulder -- was expected to lose big-time against Bob Wrenn, an excellent and very clever player. Since R. F. had scratched against Larned the first day, because of his injured shoulder and that he wanted to save his strength for the tough doubles rubber, and if he indeed would lose to Wrenn, as expected, USA would've evened out the score to 2 all.

So everybody knew that H. L. vs Larned was the key match and the thousands (around 5000 I've read in the gallery seats with about 2000 standing around) in the stands was placed nearest THE KEY RUBBER.

And it became, arguably, the greatest battle of this era. Jam-packed with fantastic tennis -- both H. L. (who looked a little tired, he had been playing too much) and Larned was in absolute peak form.

You'll get the action soon so i won't reveal it all here -- but at 4 all in the fifth when H. L. served Larned had breakpoints to go up 5-4 and then unleash his cannonballs for the set and match -- and the coveted Davis Cup-trophy...

Wrenn had already had match-points against R. F. on the next court so this was really crunch-time -- or clutch-time.

The knife was pressed hard against the Britons throats in this knife-fight in a phone-booth.

H. L. saved the breakpoints with Rafa-like, stunning "gets" but later served a second serve that could've been out and giving Larned the game and the crucial lead.

Right at this time Wrenn and R. F. was at 3 all in the fifth on the next court...

The umpire couldn't decide if the ball was indeed out -- and Larned blew his top. Nothing like Mac -- but very upset and shaking his head, losing his nerve as it were.

The umpire said "play a let will you" so they replayed the point, H. L. made a winner -- won the game -- but Larned was still upset.

Customarily H. L. made a conscious error (?!) to try and appease Larned getting a roar of appreciation by the spectators and, while Larned was still visibly agitated he held his serve to 5 all. You get the rest later...

And Urban, all the names you mentioned were true top tenners and I have some H2H's. Froitzheim was the first German to reach a Wimby-final (that's what the All Comers' final always was called) in 1914 and was so close to beating Brookes it was amazing. Check up on that.

André Gobert really should've beaten Gore in the Wimby-final of 1912 (the All Comers') but made a fatal tactical mistake of playing Gore from the baseline. Had Gobert attacked everyone says he had a great chance of taking the title.

The American Beals Wright was the first American to reach a Wimby-final in 1910 (All Comers') and almost beat Wilding also. Sooooo close to victory. Wilding talks about that match in the Wilding-extracts from a few posts ago.

I will check up the names you mentioned Urban and get back to you. Just give me a little time. Voss was very, very strong player. A little weak in a full five setter but for three-four sets he was deadly on clay. He took sets from R. F. and beat several big-names.

Incidentally, how about that Henri Cochet!? Look at how he just blowouts Tilden in the records. It's unbelievable. Tilden rarely, if ever, gets a set from "The Little Lion from Lyon".

Mind-boggling...

krosero
07-31-2009, 09:20 AM
Now let's focus on Tilden's weaknesses for a bit:

1 - During Tilden's peak he mostly played in the US -- almost never in England or mainland Europe or anywhere. He exposed himself a lot less to international rivals than H. L. and R. F. did -- by miles -- markedly bringing his peak onto unstable ground.

2 - When he did face international competition for real -- in 1926, 33 years old, incidentally around the same age Laver, Pancho, Rosewall, Gore, Jimbo and others made great results -- Lacoste walked all over him. And not only that; Lance Tingay, Danzig, Edwin S Baker, Florence Blanchard, Will Grimely, Mary Hare, Roy McKelvie and Ted Tinling named the 21 greatest matches of the 20th century and named the following concerning Tilden:

# 3 Cochet's defeat of Tilden at Wimby 1927

# 13 René Lacoste crushes Tilden at USO-final of 1927 11-9, 6-3, 11-9

# 15 René Lacoste crushes Tilden at the Davis Cup in 1927 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2

# 18 Tilden defeats René Lacoste in a fierce five-setter in the Davis Cup 1928.

Also Cochet, the tiny little soft hitter was, I guess 9-2 in H2H with Tilden. Mostly blowouting the slugger.

So much for the arguments that a tiny soft hitting man can't steamroll a giant slugger in form.

I stand by my words even stronger than before. H. L. before Tilden.

H. L. never had such blemishes in his career...Is this really a blemish, when Lacoste was 11 years younger than Tilden, and Cochet almost 9 years younger?

When Tilden started meeting the Musketeers he was already 32 and facing a group of players all in their 20s.

Yet Tilden, as you point out, defeated Lacoste in five sets in 1928, when he was 35 and Lacoste 24.

And that was on clay, at Roland Garros.

Is blemish really the right word for Tilden's great efforts against the French team?

I've also read on this board that Tilden was missing a piece of a finger on his racquet hand due to an injury, I think in 1925. I don't know anything else about it, do you know more?

urban
07-31-2009, 09:40 AM
Krosero, Tilden lost a great part of his 'keystone' finger on his racket hand due to an infection in October 1922 and he had to alter his grip. On his career, it is to be said that he was a late bloomer, reaching his peak at 27 since 1920. Cochet broke Tilden's long unbeatable reign at the US champs in 1926. It's interesting, that he constantly beat Cochet, when he actually was older, when both played at the pros for some time since 1933. Maybe Cochet had lost his form by then (he had a very bad record against Nüsslein, too).

Borgforever
07-31-2009, 10:11 AM
Great points Krosero.

I wish to make it absolutely clear that by pointing out these facts I don't aim to diminish Tilden's standing as a supreme GOAT-contender. That is undisputed. I want to add context and further understanding for the debate.

My main aim with these points was to prove that Tilden was not invincible against genius players in his own class, particularly against so-called frail opponents. Lacoste wasn't the strongest athlete to say the least -- but his tennis was genius level.

Back in Tilden's days -- with less draining schedules (travel, hard punishing surfaces, super-tough opponents from R1 et al) -- careers could last longer than in the open era.

And no -- you're right -- it's not a real blemish on Tilden's record. But he was only 33, 34 years old. Laver, Jimbo, Pancho, Rosewall and other iron men never suffered such one-sided H2H's as Tilden did against the genius Musketeers, who were in their early to mid 20s.

Remember Big Bill didn't reach his full potential until he had ironed out his backhand so it became solid -- and then he was 27.

Big Bill's only serious rival during his absolute peak 1920 to 1926 he only really faced one player of his own class -- Little Bill Johnston, and he could touch Tilden as we know. And Myers, an expert as unbiased as they come, was adamant that Wilding in 1913 was stronger than Johnston at his best and could've very well defeated Tilden at his best, he says.

Tilden's Wimby wins, while decisive, weren't that dominating and it hurts Tilden's supremacy that he refused to travel after his 1921 Grand Slam. It's not a blemish -- but it makes it harder for everyone to assess his status more specifically. It doesn't prove anything either way -- but it muddles things a bit.

And no -- I didn't know that Tilden had problems with his finger. I would like to hear more about that -- if someone has info on this.

The thing is that the other evergreen-masters in history still wasn't totally dominated and outclassed by miles in H2Hs by their main rivals when they were 33. Look at Pancho for instance; It was arguably even tougher to perform at an elite level for Gonzalez in 1961 than it was for Tilden in 1925-28. Rosewall in 1965-1967 made stronger results against his closest rivals than Tilden did, who was in his prime still by this time.

But look at the Davis Cup-final of 1925 -- the first time USA met France. Tilden almost lost both his rubbers against Borotra -- 4-6, 6-0, 2-6, 9-7, 6-4 -- and Lacoste -- 3-6, 10-12, 8-6, 7-5, 6-2.

He just barely survived. And after this Cochet, who was not tall (5 feet 6 or something of just raw talent and supreme tactical and match-playing skill), just steamrolled Big Bill and Lacoste did the same. And the French experts -- one must say -- were green, young and inexperienced. Not seasoned, God-like, stone-cold GOAT-contenders like Big Bill. His age, skill and experience should be a major advantage here, also since this was their first meeting.

Big Bill's age here wasn't that big of an issue. When he became 37-38 then he started to show his age and one can say his quality wasn't anymore what it once was. But he won Wimby 1930 just the same and several big ones.

So he didn't meet the French Maestros when he was over the hill...

But I'll say this -- as far as "blemishes" is concerned Tilden's many losses to these superb French players is nothing compared to Federer's blemish against Rafa. Federer was at his peak, Rafa near peak to peak.

Remember Borg's 7-7 against Mac (10-7 including all matches) ONLY ON SUPER-FAST SURFACES.

That's like Federer being 7-7 against Rafa on clay -- only meeting on dirt (in our fantasy allegory here) since Rafa wasn't good enough to reach the final stages on faster turf. Mac wasn't strong enough on dirt to even face Borg once on clay.

And Tilden's victory over Lacoste on clay is justly celebrated as a monster achievement. But remember, everyone ranked Cochet's and Lacoste's victories as greater and finer achievements -- higher on their list as more impressive achievements. And you can't say Cochet and Lacoste defeated Tilden with superior stamina or seasoned skill.

All in all -- my main point was to demonstrate that a fragile, but super-human great player, without Tilden's power could indeed dominate him.

And dominate him quite seriously...

krosero
07-31-2009, 12:31 PM
Krosero, Tilden lost a great part of his 'keystone' finger on his racket hand due to an infection in October 1922 and he had to alter his grip. On his career, it is to be said that he was a late bloomer, reaching his peak at 27 since 1920. Cochet broke Tilden's long unbeatable reign at the US champs in 1926. It's interesting, that he constantly beat Cochet, when he actually was older, when both played at the pros for some time since 1933. Maybe Cochet had lost his form by then (he had a very bad record against Nüsslein, too).If he altered his grip (which finger is the keystone?), how much do you think it affected his game?

And I remember reading that it was not public knowledge, is that true?

Borgforever
07-31-2009, 12:51 PM
I agree. That was really strange. How much of the finger was gone I wonder?

Did it hamper his game anything?

It sounds severe. But tennis history is filled to the brim with the strangest things -- things that really stretches the imagination beyond the limits many times...

krosero
07-31-2009, 01:10 PM
Back in Tilden's days -- with less draining schedules (travel, hard punishing surfaces, super-tough opponents from R1 et al) -- careers could last longer than in the open era.

And no -- you're right -- it's not a real blemish on Tilden's record. But he was only 33, 34 years old. Laver, Jimbo, Pancho, Rosewall and other iron men never suffered such one-sided H2H's as Tilden did against the genius Musketeers, who were in their early to mid 20s.

Remember Big Bill didn't reach his full potential until he had ironed out his backhand so it became solid -- and then he was 27.I do agree that when we talk about how old the players were back then, it's not like today. Careers lasted longer, that much is certain.

But biologically speaking, a 24-year-old has more stamina than a 35-year-old. And the younger body recovers much faster after a match is over. That fact cannot have changed at all over the years. With better nutrition and training, I think you could even make the case that the older player, today, has better stamina and recovery time than he did decades ago.

And it's true that players reached their peak at ages that we might already consider "over the hill" today. Careers at the top, before the Open Era, "began" later and "ended" later. And it was true of Tilden -- he didn't enter his peak, couldn't enter it, until he fixed his backhand weakness at the age of 27.

But that would do nothing to halt his body's decline in his late 20s and 30s. That's an irreversible process.

And Tilden's victory over Lacoste on clay is justly celebrated as a monster achievement. But remember, everyone ranked Cochet's and Lacoste's victories as greater and finer achievements -- higher on their list as more impressive achievements. One reason they might have done so was because that's how they regarded a defeat of Tilden: as a greater achievement.

And you can't say Cochet and Lacoste defeated Tilden with superior stamina or seasoned skill.

In his NY Times report on the US final of 1927, Danzig described it as a struggle between age and youth. Lacoste beat Tilden in "straights" the way we might say today, but it was longer than most five-setters.

True, Danzig was American, but what he says about Tilden is very specific:

- he started chopping balls in the second set, rather than driving them, to conserve his energy. "The day has passed when Tilden can maintain a burning pace for two full sets."

- his forehands lost punch in the second set

- he was drooping in the third set and entirely spent

He called Lacoste "an untiring sphinx" and had very high praise for him:

"You can drive away at him all the day long, mix chops, slices, drives and volleys in a mad melange, run him to the corners until he is dizzy and always you get nothing for your pains but the chance to hit the ball again. It always comes back like no champion ever does."

So I find it amazing that the following year, over five sets on clay, Tilden was able to beat a 24-year-old who played defense so well.

And that match was on the opening day of the tie, when Tilden was well rested and recovery time would not be an issue.

Borgforever
07-31-2009, 01:56 PM
The last remarks Danzig writes about Lacoste could've been a copy of a description of H. L. -- when he faced Smith six times in his career (winning five quite easily -- and Smith had arguably a harder forehand than Tilden according to many observers who saw them both), H. L. ran "a hundred miles", "quick like a squirrel" and such stuff. Super clever tactics for hours on end.

And H. L. had TBC. Tilden hadn't. Being 34 and not sick is way better than H. L.'s situation.

When H. L. was 31 he faced Riseley on fire in the Wimby-final 1906 -- his last. Reports say that, maybe, just, maybe, McLoughlin served just a fraction harder in 1914 and more fierce than Riseley did that year in 1906. Just maybe. Many say they were equal. Look at the draw Riseley had at Wimby in 1906. He steamrolls the who's who of that era only to be turned into mashed sardines by "The Maltese Cat"...

H. L. steamrolled Frank -- turning in one of his five best performances of his career.

Research TBC. One of the most devilish diseases there ever was. It's a true miracle that H. L. managed this. Lacoste was so frail he retired before the 20s were over. He was, arguably in weaker shape than Tilden -- the records show that. And Cochet was 9-2 against Tilden during their amateur years. Most of the matches ended in straight set victories.

What's your point exactly?

If Tilden can't manage a decently tough four setter or a three setter -- what kind of GOAT-candidate is he?

H. L. was near death all the time, coughing blood and never lost. He straight setted a stronger prime 28 year old Brookes while an over the hill 43 year old Brookes pushed a 27 year old peak Tilden to four punishing sets in the DC-final. And Brookes was no marathon man you know -- even in his prime...

Borgforever
07-31-2009, 02:38 PM
The 21 greatest matches list was a vote-deal that was remarkably similar in the votes -- but many of these fine experts were of the same generation. It seems everyone in the "jury" had actually seen these matches -- but hardly anyone had seen anything before WWI, making them biased for the 20s and onwards.

They, as they said, voted for matches that they thought had the finest tennis played. A phenomenal achievement by the runner-up was a prerequisite of course -- but the winner must show the real goods. The better winner perf, the higher standing on the list.

I am not saying I agree with their choices. I respect these experts highly but I have never seen all of these matches myself so I have no clue on them from my own perspective.

By the way, the almost unanimous list was as follows, except the ones already mentioned:

# 1 Budge vs von Cramm DC-final 1937
# 2 Lenglen vs Wills, Cannes 1926
# 3 Cochet vs Tilden 1927
# 4 Crawford vs Vines 1933
# 5 Rosewall vs Laver WCT 1972
# 6 Lenglen vs Lambert Chambers Wimby 1919
# 7 Perry vs Budge USO 1936
# 8 Court vs BJK 1970
# 9 Ashe vs Connors 1975
# 10 Gonzalez vs Pasarell 1969
# 11 Gonzalez vs Schroeder USO 1949
# 12 Fortress vs Gerulaitis Wimby 1977
# 14 Connolly vs Hart Wimby 1953
# 16 Hoad vs Trabert DC-final 1953
# 18 Drobny vs Patty Wimby R3 1953
# 19 BJK vs Grandpa Riggs 1973
# 20 Wills Moody vs Jacobs Wimby-final 1935
# 21 Fortress vs Johnny Mac Wimby 1980

Borgforever
07-31-2009, 03:05 PM
I must pollute my own thread, though briefly, with some really great stuff...

Yesterday I had the privilege of seeing Newk vs Smith Wimby 1971.

Holy Moses what a great match that was!

In golden sunshine and oven-like heat Newk and Smith went after each other like gladiators on a bad day. What cannonball serves, the sizzling passingshots and the supernatural volleys. Hundreds of them -- pure bliss...

I like this final just as much as the 1972 final, which had just a tad better fifth set IMO, but only by inches. The rallies are spectacular and it has become one of my absolute faves.

No one talks great words about this classic battle. Why? I can't grasp it. There's few errors and such superb grass fireworks my jaw dropped on the floor with such thumps I sounded like Gene Krupa on fifty cups of coffee...

Jack Kramer's and Maskell's commentary is also one of their best. Sprinkling sharp, important observations all the time and littering their comments with fascinating and astute stats...

Highly, highly recommended...

krosero
07-31-2009, 03:21 PM
The last remarks Danzig writes about Lacoste could've been a copy of a description of H. L. -- when he faced Smith six times in his career (winning five quite easily -- and Smith had arguably a harder forehand than Tilden according to many observers who saw them both), H. L. ran "a hundred miles", "quick like a squirrel" and such stuff. Super clever tactics for hours on end.

And H. L. had TBC. Tilden hadn't. Being 34 and not sick is way better than H. L.'s situation.

When H. L. was 31 he faced Riseley on fire in the Wimby-final 1906 -- his last. Reports say that, maybe, just, maybe, McLoughlin served just a fraction harder in 1914 and more fierce than Riseley did that year in 1906. Just maybe. Many say they were equal. Look at the draw Riseley had at Wimby in 1906. He steamrolls the who's who of that era only to be turned into mashed sardines by "The Maltese Cat"...

H. L. steamrolled Frank -- turning in one of his five best performances of his career.

Research TBC. One of the most devilish diseases there ever was. It's a true miracle that H. L. managed this. Lacoste was so frail he retired before the 20s were over. He was, arguably in weaker shape than Tilden -- the records show that. And Cochet was 9-2 against Tilden during their amateur years. Most of the matches ended in straight set victories.

What's your point exactly?

If Tilden can't manage a decently tough four setter or a three setter -- what kind of GOAT-candidate is he?

H. L. was near death all the time, coughing blood and never lost. He straight setted a stronger prime 28 year old Brookes while an over the hill 43 year old Brookes pushed a 27 year old peak Tilden to four punishing sets in the DC-final. And Brookes was no marathon man you know -- even in his prime...My point had nothing to do with H.L. at all. I'm not comparing him to Tilden. I'm talking about Tilden and the Musketeers, and the fact that 10 years in age makes a difference in the results. Just that. It's not because Lacoste was a great athlete -- it's just that he was a decade younger. You have two players who are both frail or out of shape, equally so, but one is ten years younger, who is going to be stronger on court?

Your statement – that you can’t say the results had to do with youthful stamina – was too strong.

And a comparison with H.L.'s generation is tricky. To compare against H.L., what I think you need is a case where he faced a competitor who was ten years younger and of the Lacoste/Cochet caliber. Four such competitors, preferably.

Comparing two matches (Doherty-Brookes and Tilden-Brookes), is the kind of comparison that doesn't impress me much. I'm just super-cautious with such comparisons because you've got so many factors. Comparing Lacoste and Tilden to each other, by looking at their own matches, is one thing. But throw in two matches, two different matchups, among three players at different ages, in different circumstances, and what exactly can be demonstrated? Very little IMO.

Borgforever
07-31-2009, 03:27 PM
I must add that while, IMO, the 1972 final had a 10% better fifth set, the 1971 final had 40% better first four sets.

The way Newk plays in the beginning is extremely impressive and then Smith starts to smack everything inside the lines until it builds to a fine pressure cooker situation. A really great Wimby final IMO...

Borgforever
07-31-2009, 03:37 PM
I disagree strongly with your latest assertions. You're the first one I talked to who said the things you said.

Brookes is Brookes. You say Tilden isn't what he was when he was only 33 as compared to when he was 27. Yet you say that you can't compare 28 year old Brookes with 43 year old Brookes.

My dear krosero, that lacks logic. You make it sound like a frail Renč, so frail he retired as a matter of fact, is twice the man that a ten year older player was. You're cherry picking arguments and it doesn't hold water at all.

By your impressive logic McEnroe's blowout victory over a seven years older Jimbo at Wimby in 1984 was nothing.

C'mon man! You're kidding me.

And little 5 feet 6 Cochet, pat-balling, beat the thunderball kid Tilden and Cochet was only eight years younger. 9-2 in H2H's.

This isn't like you krosero. You usually show better judgment than this...

What about Pancho and Laver? There's a million examples -- and you know it...

If it was fifteen years difference or twenty -- well...

krosero
07-31-2009, 04:18 PM
I disagree strongly with your latest assertions. You're the first one I talked to who said the things you said.

Brookes is Brookes. You say Tilden isn't what he was when he was only 33 as compared to when he was 27. Yet you say that you can't compare 28 year old Brookes with 43 year old Brookes.

My dear krosero, that lacks logic. You make it sound like a frail Renč, so frail he retired as a matter of fact, is twice the man that a ten year older player was. You're cherry picking arguments and it doesn't hold water at all.

By your impressive logic McEnroe's blowout victory over a seven years older Jimbo at Wimby in 1984 was nothing.

C'mon man! You're kidding me.

And little 5 feet 6 Cochet, pat-balling, beat the thunderball kid Tilden and Cochet was only eight years younger. 9-2 in H2H's.

This isn't like you krosero. You usually show better judgment than this...

What about Pancho and Laver? There's a million examples -- and you know it...

If it was fifteen years difference or twenty -- well...Hang on, we're not talking about the same thing. Of course, Brookes at 43 can't be expected to be as good as he was at 28. His performance against Tilden at 43 is impressive; and if that's the only point then of course I agree with it.

My point was that you've got too many factors to consider, when you compare two matches, three players, two matchups, different ages, different circumstances. Any two matches can go totally different ways: just look at McEnroe-Connors, 84W and 84 USO. The contrast is like night and day. And that's just two players, in the same year. Throw in a third player, and the passage of many years for one of the players, and the whole thing becomes even more complicated -- too many factors to control for.

And on that, we're supposed to hang a cross-generational comparison? You can't even get a good picture of a single rivalry based on two matches alone, much less attempt to do a comparison of two GOAT contenders who never met, by trying to link them with a third player, with just two matches as your data.

Show me instead where Brookes has the same lifetime H2H against Tilden that he did twenty years earlier against Doherty. That would be impressive. But two matches? C'mon man! That shows me nothing except that Brookes was still a good player at 43.

I find this whole comparison with Tilden to be problematic because H.L. did not grow old on the tennis court; he retired at 31. Tilden didn't even meet the Musketeers until he was 32, and he didn't meet them in their best form until a little later. No knock on H.L., but why are the Musketeers in this comparison at all?

Borgforever
07-31-2009, 11:23 PM
In many ways I follow you here and now I see, I hope, your line of reasoning.

I must confess that I am too deep into finishing the last posts here -- which are illuminating in as regards to this issue -- but I do think our debate here is very interesting and very relevant so I give it a shot (and thanks to you I now blow my carefully made schedule -- just kidding :-)).

I do also think your writing on this issue is indeed very worthy of a detailed debate...

But to really delve deeper into the comparisons I need to provide a lot more examples and they do exist but I don't have the time just now.

I give it a little try here, otherwise I will have reveal certain things that shall come in chronology as I've lined them up.

First off -- to defend Tilden -- he wasn't a push over against Cochet and Lacoste. They named no less than three Tilden-defeats in their great matches list and that speaks for Tilden's amazing perfs in these matches.

Second -- that Big Bill did indeed beat Lacoste on clay, was about as tough as they come (I rate that victory, way higher than Roger's Söderling victory on clay). Cochet and Lacoste had the skill of Nadal (not exactly -- but I hope you follow my main train of thought, supreme defense artists with super-solid red clay records) and still an older Tilden defeated a great René -- and not only that -- Tilden had two matchpoints against "The Crocodile" at RG 1927, finally losing 6-4, 4-6, 5-7, 6-3, 11-9.

That's nothing to sneeze at and it proved how strong Tilden was on all surfaces (not to exclude his IMO Grand Slam of 1921) against some of the finest proponents of clay-mastery there ever was. I do understand that they included this victory in the list.

It's Roger battling down a peak Rafa at RG...

My main aim was this (and in this were I've probably been too unclear) to show that the type of game-style that Lacoste could deploy (and to a certain extent Cochet) was very effective against Tilden. Very, very effective to say the least.

The main point some experts use to dismiss the Dohertys from the equation of GOATs was that the game wasn't as fierce lower down the rankings as it was in, say, the 20s. I would agree that the first few rounds in an early 1900s tourneys was less intense than the first rounds in the late 1920s tourneys. You can make the same statement that the late 20s didn't have as strong first rounds as the first few rounds in the 60s and then go further elevating first rounds in the 70s (and on and on) that had even stronger first few tourney rounds.

But for me that dog won't hunt. It's the top players, the first and second class, that's important in every era -- not the relative strengths of the R1 to R3 players. Some observers (not serious ones IMO) always use to denigrate other era with the IMO -- and many others -- with the statement that the 50 to 100 ranked players wasn't as good as they were in later eras. With that reasoning H. L., Tilden, Pancho, Laver, Rosewall, Borg, Sampras could never be GOATs because their R1 opponents wasn't what they became later.

I cringe when I hear that argument -- which doesn't prove a thing -- and the further back you go from our time the more often one hears that utterly weak dismissal, which to an uninformed person could sound reasonable.

H. L.'s era -- really underrated and not studied enough -- you hear this a lot. Although there is plenty of players who actually did play both eras and performed extraordinarily well to torpedo such assumptions.

For me the 1900s to 1914 era was, in quality of the top ten, as strong as the 1920s and 30s -- but the later eras had stronger earlier rounds -- but not by miles. I will return to this later in posts.

I must add however, that I love that you question these things, and if I have my say -- continue to do so here, this debate is highly relevant here, and I have the highest respect for you and your reasoning -- I think you know that -- and I very much appreciate them.

I don't have time to cover all bases here in this post -- but the main gist, at last:

When René Lacoste was No. 1 around late 1926 and 1927 he was so sick, so frail physically that he had to withdraw from Wimby in 1926. He defeated Big Bill in the Davis Cup-final of 1926 and won RG in 1927 (in five, no less, against a supreme GOAT-contender!?) and beat Tilden in straights at the USO 1927 (just as frail as ever) and again in the Davis Cup-final of 1927, with great distance -- but then even his frail health just collapsed totally. "The Crocodile" wasn't a young sprightly stamina phenomenon to say the least -- Tilden had the edge there, so much that Lacoste retired at 24 years of age, his health then completely leaving him.

I don't want to denigrate Tilden's strengths with these points -- simply to illustrate Tilden's weaknesses and what a certain type of player could possibly achieve against Big Bill applying the same strategies.

So, Lacoste, like H. L. had stamina and serious health problems but still, like H. L., defeated supreme first-class sluggers by being a living wall and counter-punching while capitalizing and forcing Tilden into his weaker areas like volleys and overheads. The super-frail Lacoste employed these H. L. vs Larned-tactics and he (with his injuries) defeated Tilden three times out of three that year.

H. L. and Lacoste had very similar styles when playing on the baseline, many writers allude and makes references to this from this era. Several in fact.

In Malcolm Rowley's fine (but IMO too short book) "WIMBLEDON - 100 years of men's singles" there's even another clear H. L. reference made to Lacoste's brilliant style in the Wimby 1925 final (when René four-setted a great Borotra) by a contemporary (but anonymous) writer who on page 54 goes:

"...And a right worthy champion Lacoste is. One of the classic players of the game. He has the same rhythmical ease of the late H. L. Doherty..."

There's many other examples. Lacoste played Tilden the way many, many would argue H. L. would've done. It doesn't of course prove anything beyond reasonable doubt -- but it does prove that Tilden was very vulnerable to stunning tactical maneuvers of this type, even on all surfaces.

It's very debatable who had the strongest elite era -- H. L. or Tilden. I, six months ago, was of the opinion that there was a huge leap in quality difference between their eras. But after serious study --

-- that's not the case now for me at all. I stand corrected on this issue and it surprised me to no end.

A weak point for Tilden was that he actually was dominated by a few (very few -- but still) of his main rivals -- in his first class -- in international competition in his prime -- against opponents more physically weak than he was -- but with peerless executions of their intricate battle-plans. And Tilden avoided international travel and competition during his arguable peak. Not good for Big Bill's legacy...

The amazing thing with H. L. is that Larned, Smith, R. F., Riseley, Clothier, Brookes and to a certain extent Wilding and others, should've -- on paper at least -- had the capacity of dominating H. L. with all their firepower and proven first-class peak-form -- but they never did.

It was the other way around.

Always...

People often talk about how invincible Tilden was when he reigned supreme. I am not challenging that per se -- but H. L. was TRULY the invincible -- the records prove that beyond question. He just never lost. Wherever "Little Do" went on the planet (not just playing in Britain in his peak/prime) he came out on top.

Thing was that H. L. wasn't just a swift Lacoste genius at the back of the court -- he was a McEnroe-Newk-Edberg-man at the net too. Wouldn't that, with his superior generalship, give him further edge and possibilities in a fierce battle with Big Bill?

Many think so. I agree. But it doesn't prove anything either way in a court of law in any case. But it strengthens H. L.'s case quite considerably IMO.

A complete anomaly in the tennis history annals...

H. L. never ever lost a Davis Cup match even. A perfect record both in singles and doubles.

That Tilden never matched. Not even close.

I will also mention later that the story of H. L. and R. F. -- if they had vaccine for TBC back then -- wouldn't have ended as early as it did. They were too great.

In June 1910 R. F. practiced with all the elite contenders for the Wimby-title before the tourney began. He beat everyone, Gore, Barrett, all of them easy...

Six months later R. F. Doherty fell down dead in his house at 4 Albert Hall Mansions, SW, London...

In the same above-mentioned and recommended book; regarding the 1907 Wimby-final -- a DAILY MAIL press-clipping of that final says the following about Brookes:

"His (Brookes) defeat of A. W. Gore, England's last survivor, was severe and conclusive, and without question revealed the famous left-hander as the greatest exponent of the year. He does not possess the same polished style as Mr. Doherty (H. L.), nor has he that combination of accuracy and effortless action in which that inimitable champion commanded. Mr. Brookes is almost clumsy in court compared to "H. L.", but he has great strength, infinite cunning, and quite the Doherty-like power of anticipation..."

If the argument that intenseness of play and "hustle-bustle"-action is logically superior over a smoother, calmer kind of court activity -- then Sampras would've never beaten Krajicek, who looked more explosive when on song. There's plenty of examples.

Borg looked very intense, active, explosive and fast -- while McEnroe was more smooth -- effortless, seamless and Johnny Mac certainly wasn't steamrolled by the "intense" Borg...

urban
08-01-2009, 12:06 AM
I find this debate very interesting and well reasoned from both, Krosero and Borgforever. I share Krosero's difficulties with those cross eras comparisons on the basis of one or two matches and some eye witness accounts. I think, Borgforever makes here an argument for specific matchups. And its indeed a discutable point, that Big Bill had so much problems with smooth players, who nullified power and disturbed his rhythm. In contrast, serve and volleyers like Borotra or Richards were easy victims of Tildens defense, and he did very well against sluggers like Patterson, Johnston, who had a mighty forehand, or even Vines, whom he played very competitively in his pro years.

For the pre 1914 period i found it most interesting, how these old Oxbridge guys with their stylish elegance reacted to power. The name, who naturally comes up is The comet McLoughlin. Now, he played some memorable matches against Brookes and Wilding in 1913-1914, with both parties winning its share. On the basis of some older books, I will study those matches more closely in the future. Maybe there are old Times articles on these matches available now.

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 12:36 AM
Thanks Urban. Appreciated that I am not talking to myself alone here.

But as regards to S. H. Smith, that man was so dang great, having had just one Wimby-title match (he lost to R. F. in four easy sets) and had three Wimby-finals in the All Comers' for the Renshaw Cup (and he rarely played outside Britain, like Big Bill) which was the trophy the All Comers' champion was allowed to lift after an eventual triumph in the All Comers' Wimbledon championship tourney-final.

"Smith of Stroud" didn't really even win an arguable great major championship before he retired in 1906, sadly, at the same time as The Doozys and Riseley. That's like Federer, Nadal, Roddick, Murray all retiring tomorrow. How's that for weakening that era.

Anyway -- Urban wrote on the pre 1950-rankings thread a ranking written around 1930:

Ph. Nutt:
Tilden, H.L. Doherty, Brookes, cochet, Lacoste, R. Doherty, Johnston, Wilding. McLoughlin, S.H. Smith (whoever this is)

That's how great "The Slog" was regarded by hardcore experts who had seen all these players.

We know that Wilding had a slight backhand and net-play weakness in 1905-1909 but he only got one set from H. L. in two meetings in 1906 on Tony's best surface, no less.

In 1907, the super dominating Norman "The Wizard" Brookes almost lost to Wilding going the full five. And Brookes was a greater general than Tilden, even the Tilden for GOAT-guy in the pdf-article I linked to said so...

Why have Tilden or Pancho or Borg or Rosewall or anybody in the GOAT-discussions if we constantly banish H. L.'s achievements?

That's not business - to quote the great Mr. Wilding...

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 01:03 AM
In all I've made about 40 examples of era comparisons between the early 1900s, 1910s and 1920s.

And H. L. came out on top in every case.

I don't care one bit of convincing others. I was just interested in convincing myself. Satisfy my thirst for truth and scrutinize amazing feats...

These few comparisons (Lacoste, Cochet, Wilding, Brookes et al made above) and examples just made are but a very few out of a sea of examples -- if one bothers to study the facts and info that exists, but if R. F. doesn't stand for Roger Federer, no one is very interested.

I for one -- want the vintage original...

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 01:41 AM
NOTE: Lacoste retired at 24 years of age because severe health and stamina problems. His spirit made him commit to a comeback attempt at 28 but his body screamed no -- so he retired for good...

Amazing...

And talking about amazing anomalies -- Hans Redl, lost his arm in the Battle of Stalingrad, but serving by tossing the ball with his racquet he made a stunning perf at Wimby 1947 and reached R4...

How is that possible?

krosero
08-01-2009, 06:59 AM
My main aim was this (and in this were I've probably been too unclear) to show that the type of game-style that Lacoste could deploy (and to a certain extent Cochet) was very effective against Tilden. Very, very effective to say the least.I didn't see this point before and it's interesting -- and in my own small knowledge of the Tilden era I've always gotten the sense, reading about these battles with the Musketeers, that they nullified Tilden's strengths. Played him exactly as he should be played, and beat him not because they were better but because they were younger and they knew exactly what to do.

But a few leftover points:

1) This point about Lacoste's health is one I don't understand, because he may have been frail, but the difference between them was their age. 11 years. It's a huge gap. You say that Tilden did not have an edge here, but the gap is there, and it has nothing to do with Lacoste's health. Rene could have been in world-class condition, or he could have been even worse than he actually was. It doesn't matter. The point is that he got an advantage from the age difference. He was 24, Tilden wasn't. Danzig clearly says that Tilden has declined, and that he was facing someone whose youth allowed him to make an impenetrable defense (over the course of a single match, however frail he might have been in general).

2) This point about poor health does not apply to Cochet (who was 8 years younger than Tilden).

3) If the point you wanted to emphasize was that certain types of players could match up well against Tilden -- and I think it's a good point -- then I still think that the Musketeers are an unfair example in the comparison with Doherty. What I'd like to see is Doherty facing those who were his own nightmare matchups -- and doing it after the age of 32, against players ten years younger. That's when I'd say that you'd really have H.L. facing the challenges that Tilden faced.

But H.L. retired early -- he "went out on top", so to speak -- so I don't think that particular comparison is possible.

You said that there were many other examples in the Doherty/Tilden comparison, and that's fine. I just wanted to say why I have problems with the two examples you gave (the Musketeers and Brookes).

krosero
08-01-2009, 07:05 AM
I find this debate very interesting and well reasoned from both, Krosero and Borgforever. I share Krosero's difficulties with those cross eras comparisons on the basis of one or two matches and some eye witness accounts. I think, Borgforever makes here an argument for specific matchups. And its indeed a discutable point, that Big Bill had so much problems with smooth players, who nullified power and disturbed his rhythm. In contrast, serve and volleyers like Borotra or Richards were easy victims of Tildens defense, and he did very well against sluggers like Patterson, Johnston, who had a mighty forehand, or even Vines, whom he played very competitively in his pro years.

For the pre 1914 period i found it most interesting, how these old Oxbridge guys with their stylish elegance reacted to power. The name, who naturally comes up is The comet McLoughlin. Now, he played some memorable matches against Brookes and Wilding in 1913-1914, with both parties winning its share. On the basis of some older books, I will study those matches more closely in the future. Maybe there are old Times articles on these matches available now.Matchup issues from any era for which there is little footage are always interesting to hear about!

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 08:06 AM
I didn't see this point before and it's interesting -- and in my own small knowledge of the Tilden era I've always gotten the sense, reading about these battles with the Musketeers, that they nullified Tilden's strengths. Played him exactly as he should be played, and beat him not because they were better but because they were younger and they knew exactly what to do.

Tactical slugger vs tactical retriever has always been a mainstay in elite tennis since early 1880s. As relevant as ever even today. Maybe the most important match-up factor there is.

Tilden played exactly like Larned. Undisputed. Everyone is in agreement with this. There's no debate. Larned, Brookes, Smith, Clothier, Pim and Riseley were all nightmare opponents for H. L.

Tilden was slightly, but not much, better than Larned. Perfect example right there. They were copies of each other in game-style, strokes, skill, weaknesses and tactical strength -- with Tilden just a bit sharper (Myers thinks 6-4 or 7-3 in a potential peak H2H of ten matches)

Why Larned did defeat R. F. so many times had to do with the age old wisdom that you should never feed a slugger hard shots. Ashe vs Connors a perfect modern example. The greatest slugger, in his peak, cannot really be beaten by pace, unless you're really a greater slugger than your opponent.

R. F. loved hitting hard. He wasn't really in 1902 what he was in 1899 and he constantly fed Larned's field cannons with hard fodder -- and he was outblasted. Same pattern with Tilden and many other giants after him. There's nothing wrong at all with this comparison.

Now Tilden isn't Larned. Therefore the question is more open. Like Pancho, Laver, Rosewall and Borg. Hard to estimate.

Riseley was 6 feet 4 and pounded his serves like cannonballs consistently.

Principally every top opponent H. L. dealt with was a nightmare for him. But as I said -- he faced more great, diverse, multi-continental experts and greats than Tilden did -- easily and undisputed -- and he won EVERYTHING...

H. L.'s peak is more defined and more versatile -- and he had health problems so severe it's unbelievable.

Plus that H. L. had the versatility of style, the acumen and skill to easily do what Lacoste and Cochet did and had the record to prove it. Tilden had a poor result against players that could play the steadier tactical style. Also fact and undisputed.

5-0 against Larned in their exact peaks...

5-1 against Smith in their exact peaks...


1) This point about Lacoste's health is one I don't understand, because he may have been frail, but the difference between them was their age. 11 years. It's a huge gap. You say that Tilden did not have an edge here, but the gap is there, and it has nothing to do with Lacoste's health. Rene could have been in world-class condition, or he could have been even worse than he actually was. It doesn't matter. The point is that he got an advantage from the age difference. He was 24, Tilden wasn't. Danzig clearly says that Tilden has declined, and that he was facing someone whose youth allowed him to make an impenetrable defense (over the course of a single match, however frail he might have been in general).

In 1926-27 Tilden was 33 to 34 years of age. Lacoste 22 and inexperienced to say the least. Not to mention his super-poor stamina.

Do you mean to tell me that Tilden's experience as tennis-player wasn't an advantage in 1926-1927?

Tilden couldn't handle the H. L., Lacoste, Cochet, Rosewall, Borg tactical retrieving style. There's a consensus in this.

33 years of age wasn't what it is today. Several years later Tilden won Wimby again -- 1930 -- are you saying it was a really crappy USO and Wimby-edition he won by then when he was 37-38? That the overall quality of tennis had sunk so much below his sagging over-the-hill skills that he could just prance in there and snatch the trophy?

The only first class rival Tilden really faced around 1920-25 was a slugger, Johnston -- whom he also lost to (Myers, and many with him, ranked Wilding higher than Johnston) during this time. H. L. faced more top notch, different, more versatile first class rivals -- and he never lost during his peak. Tilden did plus that he never left home base. That really muddles his case.

Tilden never faced the tactical retriever-style at first class level until 1925 -- and he lost almost immediately. Connors beat McEnroe several times when he was around 29-30 years of age and Mac was 20-21. Not an out there comparison when it comes to age.

Tilden went to five against Bitsy Norton even at Wimby 1921. H. L. was never pushed to five during his peak at Wimby or USO to five -- by anybody.


2) This point about poor health does not apply to Cochet (who was 8 years younger than Tilden.

What I meant was that tall hard-hitting Tilden was famed for his power and forceful athletic skills. Cochet was a miniature man in comparison without those traits. Still Tilden could hardly get a set off the Lyon Lion. Cochet's very limited power and body strength was a super negative in their match-ups -- but Cochet was the better general. Brains beat pace if the brain is great enough.


3) If the point you wanted to emphasize was that certain types of players could match up well against Tilden -- and I think it's a good point -- then I still think that the Musketeers are an unfair example in the comparison with Doherty. What I'd like to see is Doherty facing those who were his own nightmare matchups -- and doing it after the age of 32, against players ten years younger. That's when I'd say that you'd really have H.L. facing the challenges that Tilden faced.

But H.L. retired early -- he "went out on top", so to speak -- so I don't think that particular comparison is possible.

H. L. didn't go out on top. He was in serious decline. It was clearly apparent in 1904. But like Laver in 1969 he still knocked the socks off every nightmare opponent that on paper should beat him. Re-read the DOHERTY SECRET pdf document I linked to. There's the whole thing in nut-shell.

And Tilden facing the French are a perfect example. You seriously think Gore was a better player when he won Wimby in 1909 at 41 and took sets off a great Wilding in 1910 and 1912 Wimby-finals -- than he was against Laurie in 1902 at 33?

R. F., the tactically clunkier of the Dohertys, straight setted every Wimby contender six months before he died in 1910. The Dohertys tactical brilliance is a fact and undisputed. Tilden's isn't. Also a fact.

Even die-hard Tilden-fans admit Brookes being the better general. And the only way to beat a peak Tilden was to outgeneral him. Trying to outpace him -- your dead, like R. F. against Larned in every match they played.


You said that there were many other examples in the Doherty/Tilden comparison, and that's fine. I just wanted to say why I have problems with the two examples you gave (the Musketeers and Brookes).

No problem, I appreciate your questions. Please don't interpret my sometimes strongly worded statements and fierce arguments for a certain point too literally. It's partly a stylistic choice I think. It's also just that I have so many things I could write up as examples I go crazy almost :-) I have five different and detailed match-descriptions taken from magiazines and newspapers for every one of H. L.'s big finals and I can't write down all I want because then I would be sitting here until Christmas -- 2020!

Just because I strongly hold these opinions doesn't mean that I think this is a clear cut issue -- by a long shot.

I agree in full about your statements that there are unknown factors and contextual details that could skewer the picture of a potential match-up between these guys.

Tilden's position as a supreme GOAT-contender 1920-1930 is undisputed -- even by me. His records are too great to ignore. The reports of his prowess is well documented and remembered. I treasure that historical reverence. But that also includes H. L.

Or is Arthur Wallis Myers off his rocker, you think? And all the others?

I am also under stress, with so much to do. I don't like it. I wish I could write more about this. I could write 3000 words easily about every Wimby-final he pulled off, I would love to, but my lovely summer has been shortened by other duties. This slight irritation I feel over not having as much time as I would like to spend on certain things can color my tone. Principally I write first, then polish and go through the tone of the writing. One should also not read my posts immediately after I post them because they are so filled with grammatical errors, spelling errors and all kinds of errors -- and after about 20 minutes of slight polish it doesn't look quite so terrible -- but far from satisfactory...

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 08:35 AM
Just in the last few weeks I've written about 40 pages of summaries and certain conclusions, walked around, digging up and buying rare documents, roamed the net, reading about 2500 pages, making notes and I've spent a lot of time making comparisons, evaluating until madness almost -- because I want to have the clearest answer I can get with as much context as humanly possible. I am sure I have made errors in my texts here and there. But I want them to be like H. L.'s -- as few as humanly possible...

I also spent enormous time studying their technique, editing the film, structuring it -- make it as presentable as possible despite enormous lack of material and all the limitations. It's a challenge for me.

Like K2, Annapurna or Nanga Parbat or Trango Towers. That's exciting to me. I would never risk my life trying to summit those super-dangerous monster-mountains -- but this is my mountain.

I have also spent several days doing in depth stats on eight H. L. matches and made comparisons with similar matches of today with similar playing styles and matches. Much because I wanted to see how fierce he was on serve at his peak -- since the only real slight blemish, if one can call it that, was that H. L.'s serve wasn't perfected until 1902 (it was considered his only clear weakness up until then) and I wanted to know just how effective it was in comparison with undisputed cannonball-servers he faced who also had GOAT-level service returns...

Despite all the work -- it's worth it. So rewarding and surprising. I had to wait several weeks until I even started posting the thread because I just had to triple check everything and simply trying process this tsunami of eye-brow raising facts that flooded me over several months. I am a sceptic in nature. A healthy sceptic I hope and aim to be.

And since it's an impossibility to write down and posts all of the 2500 pages with analysis too I chose the structured path of trying to link to as much as possible so it's not my words from my mouth. That would devalue this study I think...

hoodjem
08-01-2009, 08:44 AM
Alright Bf, so where's H.L. on your GOAT-list?

Is he at the top, ahead of Federer, Laver, Tilden, Roswall, Borg, Sampras, Gonzales?

pc1
08-01-2009, 08:51 AM
It's truly amazing what you done on this Borgforever. The workload had to be massive. I'm tired just thinking about it.

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 09:02 AM
I think I will add a few posts about Wilding too -- inadvertently I had to read up on all players before and after the D-brothers' era, even as low ranked player as Clement Cazalet -- not that Mr. Cazalet was bad, he was a steady top 25 player. Beat both H. L. and R. F. and Mahony once.

Wilding was a fantastic man and a great player and he played great battles. Had he lived and had a few more years like his superb 1913 -- who knows...

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 09:54 AM
Hey Hood -- well, really tough question. I think many of you here on TW are great, experienced and astute tennis observers and I also think a lot of people here know how to play with a tennis racquet -- and if one has these traits I think one has to agree with the statement that one needs to see an entire match -- at least -- of a certain player to get a serious appreciation of his prowess. One really needs to see more than one match of a certain player -- in full, to follow the rhythm of contest and read how the player deals with certain problems (I want them to face superb opposition of course so that they can show their full "arsenal" so to speak).

Just a highlight reel isn't enough by a long shot. A match-player plays matches -- not single points. So one has to see a full match to make a good, solid, personal judgement. Several times to really study it. Then you will also see a wider display of the persons technique under differing positions and under different pressure situations, low balls, high balls, slices, wide serves -- you know the whole register. And many times one match isn't enough.

One thing can appear very weird out of context -- but perfectly sound seen from the whole perspective.

Somewhat like how Karpov played chess. It didn't look that incredibly special -- but suddenly -- you're dead. And you realize you've been dead for a long while. Take a couple of Karpov moves out of context, out of that particular game without giving any explanation on why or anthing -- and suddenly everything becomes meaningless and one is very likely to dismiss it. What? That was nothing...

But if you only knew why he did just that, right then and there -- things can get very exciting indeed. I love Karpov. And Fischer and Kasparov.

But back to tennis. If one only has one full match of a player to study -- it must be a good or great match otherwise one is out on thin ice again. A great match could suffice to make a judgement.

So for the players I rank in the top tier -- I rank the players I've seen in full displaying their wizardry with the wand as well as within the framework of a great, important battle against a great opponent it is these:

Laver - Gonzalez - Borg - Rosewall

Then I have these players on the same level -- the problem is I haven't seen even close to a full match with these players so I can't vouch from a total personal perspective on their skills or clutch -- but I do trust the multitude of great experts -- who at length has detailed what I want to know about the player, style, his/her matches and records and rivals and their level:

H. L. - Tilden

So Rod, Pancho, Björn, Lawrence, William and Ken. In no particular order -- I can change my favorite as the months go by and that's not a negative -- quite the contrary.

My main problem is Rosewall, I am chasing like mad to get my hands on a peak Rosewall match from his peak or from mid 60s or a great copy of the 1972 WCT-final. I have seen that and that is easily one of my five finest matches I've ever seen.

I have some really unmatched peak-matches with Rod, Björn and Pancho (if my house is on fire those DVD's would be amiong the first things I would grab hold of before I would jump out the window :-)) but I need more Rosewall.

One reason why Rosewall has sunk in GOAT-debates in later decades is because the few matches that are available from that era usually have a golden Laver-perf. And since Connors crushed a tired Rosewall at Wimby 1974 many people got the wrong idea about Kenny's prowess. He looked really poor in that match.

But that's a complete mirage. I thank Wilander, Geist, pc1 and Carlo here on TW for pushing Kenny's envelope. But i suffer from a rare illness right now -- it's called "Peak-Rosewall-Match-Thirst" and hope I can find a vaccine not too far into the future...

But back to H. L...

Now, for the last paragraph, I will only express myself based on pure theory (which could be just as correct as practical examples -- how else would they figured out how to split the atom!?) -- that is on written, but very solid and extensive and well respected sources, experts "who's seen it all" and "played them all" and also know how to express themselves coupled with the records that are verified (but incomplete still):

This I must say, as much as it pains me as a hardcore Borg, Pancho and Laver-fan -- not because I just like them -- cold hard judgments have made me crown them as true specimens of the species Tennisaurus Rex -- but just based on playing style, versatility, tactical acumen, records and match-reports (deep breath) H. L. has a great case to be the greatest of all time.

His record are insane. No one is really close.

Insane anticipation. Great speed. Economical and polished. Insane tactical skill.

And -- HE NEVER LOST...

What do you say about that? What can one say but quote Riseley's words after the 1906-final...

His incredibly gracious manners on the court make Borg look like a punk. Forgive me Björn! But I can't lie...

Never heard about a player who was so great on the attack (Laver, Gonzalez) AND like Rosewall, Borg and Rafa at the baseline...

I really must see a whole match to certify this -- at least -- and a great one -- preferably 5 or 10 of them :-) to really get the sight of all that this guy could pull off. That is very important. Records isn't everything.

IMO Lawrence Doherty has the strongest case for GOAT of all. I don't find any weakness. Not one. And I will never stop looking, I can assure you.

I am puzzled by this guy. Deeply puzzled. Now I reeeaaallly want to see his matches more than ever. Why doesn't Amazon.com just offer his Larned-DC-final-1903-match on Blu-Ray -- with Newk and Rod as commentators?

Why can't I purchase H. L. vs Brookes that hot day at Wimbledon 1905. I can reel off fifteen matches I would've loved (not killed) to see...

Thirty second long sigh...

But I saw Newk vs Smith yesterday and it was a masterpiece!

What a great final. So underrated. You know -- some of you know how much I admire and like Newk (and Smith for that matter!) so you can imagine my sheer ecstasy when I saw those three hours of unadultered peak play by two of the finest grass-courters ever -- and certainly in that era -- with no slumps, just shotmaking that could impress a dead man...

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 10:09 AM
I've only seen Rosewall vs Laver at WCT 1972 once -- in 1993 -- and it's so vivid in my mind (although I wish like h*ll I could've remembered even more from that match). A lot of memories fade in 16 years...

And I can't shake the feeling and the thoughts that their battles in the mid 60s could've been better -- or even Rosewall 1960-63.

The best I've ever seen Laver was at pro Wimby 1967 which I saw at BBC. Ken was great there, probably not peak, but Laver was just off the hook Bellevue strait-jacket insane great in that match. Totally invincible. And Rodman usually were insane great even in regular matches during this time. Those who doubt Rod's serving prowess should really take a good look at that match. That one match is enough.

If that doesn't convince you completely -- I don't know what will...

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 11:51 AM
On second thought -- the WCT-1972-match could very well be the finest match I've ever had the privilege to see -- but I need to see it again. And I think many, many others would've loved it as well. Isn't there some kind of WCT-1972-lobby movement one could join -- you know "RELEASE THE WCT 1972 FINAL FROM ITS PRISON VAULT". Maybe Federer is suppressing the existence of that match? :-)

I was planning on posting about the D-brothers year-by-year run-through with major match comments and important unknown facts sprinkled in -- but soon I must go to a little soirée and I'll be back Monday. If anyone has any questions about certain matches, please ask and I will try to answer with the best of my ability. I can't think of every vital detail. But I am a curious fellow -- for instance, I wondered, which of his finals was his worst one? What final was his lowest perf? And then a went after that answer -- and so forth. Just for my own curiosity. And I will of course reveal my findings if asked.

It's established that H. L. "played his best game always" by many sources and the answer to this is, as far as I can tell, and I feel quite certain of this for the moment, was that he never played a bad big match through all his 8 years on tour. The worst I found he played in a big-match play was the first game in 1902 Wimby-final and the first two games in the 1903 final -- and that he looked a little "tired" during the Larned-battle at DC 1903 but nothing serious. That's all his "slumps". And I've looked. Talk about consistency...

hoodjem
08-01-2009, 12:13 PM
the WCT-1972-match could very well be the finest match I've ever had the privilege to see


Moi aussi!

pc1
08-01-2009, 12:16 PM
Someone give me a phone number that they thought had people who could give the the 1972 WCT Final in total. I called and the people thought they may be able to get it for me but unfortunately they couldn't. Talk about disappointment.:cry:

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 12:22 PM
Hmmm. Darn. Who holds the rights to the WCT-finals in Dallas matches? Anyone know? WCT was arguably of major status back in the 70s and it was a very respected tourney -- second only to Wimbledon for absolute perfection in every aspect of the tourney, from planning to the courts.

That's no small praise. If that match is lost it's truly tragic. I cannot believe that. It was -- it is -- a very well spoken of and famous match, even today, and their previous one in 1971.

It must be out there somewhere...

Anyone here who lives near Dallas?

urban
08-01-2009, 12:26 PM
Would love to see some tapes of Gonzales vs. Hoad from 58 or 59, or from those Laver-Rosewall matches from Coubertin 1963 and Wembley 1964. I think the Wembley finals were shown on BBC at that time, but don't know whether the tapes were conserved. I think the IMG centre in London has some tapes from old matches. But it is quite expensive to buy them, because of copyright questions.

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 01:05 PM
Thanks Urban -- I will see if one could, perhaps, talk to them. These matches you mention are the exact ones (among some others) I want to see -- and preferably obtain a copy. IMG centre. Why just letting them sit there, taking up decades of rent money for the vault space without any turnaround whatsoever?!

That's not good economical thinking. There's very promising demand out there for these -- I am sure of it -- with just a minor outlay for promotion. It's not like tennis is as popular as croquet anymore...

urban
08-01-2009, 01:20 PM
Go to
www.imgmediaarchive.com
They seem to have a lot of old footgae even from around 1900. Go to Wimbledon archive, then Restored clips, then the third from above and you see Hugh Lawrence Doherty.

Marcos
08-01-2009, 02:10 PM
I have some really unmatched peak-matches with Rod, Björn and Pancho (if my house is on fire those DVD's would be amiong the first things I would grab hold of before I would jump out the window :-)) but I need more Rosewall.


Now I'm curious... what matches do you have of Peak Pancho? I didn't even know such footage was available.
And by the way, you've done a great job on this thread, it's VERY informative.

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 02:52 PM
Urban -- you have made my year!

You're the greatest person existing on this planet do you know that!?

Christmas in July -- to say the least!

And Urban is Santa Claus.

OMG -- I can't believe this.

Max Schmeling's right hand or Becker's first serve is nothing compared to your knockout power.

You floored me -- I am out cold.

I bow for three minutes in front of you in gratitude...

Over 10 minutes of real footage of maybe the greatest player the world has ever seen -- AND HIS BROTHER R. F. to boot!

And "The Slog"!

For the first time ever...

Excuse me everybody -- I may be little drunk but -- I have tears in my eyes now... And they don't come often for me...

THANKS URBAN!

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 03:04 PM
I have a black and white (probably on 16mm or 35mm film) copy on VHS, just acceptable quality, of Gonzalez great victory over Laver at MSG 1970. Missing a few games. A treasure.

I have the full match on several VHS-tapes of Pancho's unfathomable performance against insane-great playing Pasarell from the R1 at Wimby in 1969. A treasure too. A great match that had it all. Everything you could think of. When Pancho got going I don't think anyone could stop him. I am not kidding.

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 03:15 PM
Pasarell tried it all -- pulled off a great patch of the super resilient accurate Borg, Lacoste, Rafa style with amazing passingshots, great gets and amazing passes and -- pelted the living cloth of the ball ALL THE WAY THROUGH THIS ETERNALLY LONG TWO DAY ENCOUNTER with supreme accuracy and consistency. He played around Laver's level -- hard to believe it.

But it wasn't enough. Mr. Clutch-Maestro simply wouldn't allow it to happen. He saves seven match-points with absolutely jaw-dropping, stakes through the heart serves. Laver and Borg could look pretty darn sinister when on song -- but Pancho looks just... Arctic coldness. A wall. Never ever in doubt. Maybe the most powerful, inspiring, calm war-face I've ever witnessed. He's just a graceful movie-star.

Pancho reaches absolutely everything "with a condor's wingspan", as someone said here, it seems and he angles those volleys with stunning touch and uncanny deadly finality if necessary with a finesse, agility and polish that could stun Roger!

And his strokes never crack -- Charlie had to win every point -- but Pancho made all the passes, all those drop shots that looked like the ball just melted into the grass. The whole magilla of the magic.

Dan Maskell called it "...the greatest match I've ever seen... Perhaps..." and added Crawford vs Vines but thought that the quality in this might just have been higher...

He had an answer to everything and he pulled off every shot with amazing consistency and graceful skill.

And he was 41 years old...

Borgforever
08-01-2009, 03:26 PM
Laver said afterwards: "...I won the the tournament that year. But he just had to upstage me. I was the champion and everybody was just talking about Gonzalez fantastic match..."