Art of Tennis. Tappy Larsen died

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by urban, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Just read that Art 'Tappy' Larsen died in December. He was certainly one of the most colorful, talented and beloved characters in tennis history, a sort of Nasty of the 50s. A lefthander, he was an extremely talented touch player with a great backhand, which was very unusual for lefties in the 50s, and could play on all surfaces, including clay. He won Forest Hills once in 1950 over Herbie Flam, but came close in many other big tournaments, losing the RG final to Trabert in 1954. He showed his versatility by winning US titles on all surfaces, grass, indoor, clay and hard (only Tony Trabert has matched this feat). His career was stopped in 1957 by a motorcycle accident. A blond, handsome guy looking like a young Robert Redford (who plays tennis well), he was known as ladies man, who often had dates in between matches. He was also a war hero, who was engaged in a tank battle in the Normandy in 1944. He showed some weird antics, partly due to the war trauma caused by the battle experience. He always tapped all things before a match and stepped on all lines before beginning a point. When he once played Sedgman at Wimbledon, he saw eagles over his head in the sky. Gordon Forbes could tell hundreds of stories about Tappy, who was extremely popular among his fellow players and the public.
    This sunshine of the courts, with so many tragic elements in the background, may well rest in peace.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
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  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    That's sad news. He was a great talent.
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Sad indeed.
    He embraced me into his doubles group at GoldenGatePark in SF around 1976, which I stayed with for a full summer. He'd hit every trick shot and used gamesmanship to the max, just to show what can be done with the mind, over the youthful body.
    I'd paid my respects up to the end of my tennis in 1979, thankful for the lessons and instruction.
    Rest, however you choose.
     
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  4. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    Please share more information on Art Larsen's gamesmanship tactics!
     
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  5. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I heard a lot of things about him and how superstitious he was. I would love to know more information about him. Some have written that he had the best lefty backhand of all time. That's something considering lefties like Laver, Connors and McEnroe had great backhands.

    How good was his backhand LeeD?
     
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  6. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    On E*bay a couple of years ago, I picked up one of Larsen's own personal racquets (unstrung and in mint condition, so possibly unplayed), together with a whole bunch of personal photos, letters and newspaper cuttings, from a guy who (together with his father) used to play with him.

    $50 the lot with me the only bidder. I treasure that racquet along with my other special woods and I did actually see Larsen play at Wimbledon.
     
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  7. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    what racquet did he play with?
     
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  8. Virginia

    Virginia Hall of Fame

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    He played with the Spalding Krobat, a famous frame in its own right.
     
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  9. treblings

    treblings Hall of Fame

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    thanks, not so well-known in Europe:)
     
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