Gottfried von Cramm

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by egn, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    A 1939 article mentioning one key to Budge's dominance over von Cramm.

    (I think "break" here simply means kick.)

    Iowa City Press-Citizen, May 24, 1939 http://www.newspapers.com/newspage/16071561/

    STREAMLINED TENNIS. NO. 6
    Speed, Accuracy, Break Are Most Important to Get Into Your Service
    Sixth of [__] instructive articles on streamlined tennis
    By MARY K. BROWNE
    Famous Coach and Three-Time National Women's Singles Champion
    Speed, accuracy and break -- in that order -- are the most important things to get into your service. Break used to be very important until Don Budge murdered the first break service in tennis -- that of Baron Von Cramm -- by standing inside the base line to receive it and taking it high before the ball had time to break severely. Vines has resorted to his cannonball style for both first and second service. In his professional matches with Budge he always tried to keep the ball low.​
     
  2. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    That was one of the keys to the matchup between von Cramm and Budge. Von Cramm had a tremendous kicking serve, and possibly the best second serve of the time period. He used that kicker to take the French final over Perry, who had a vulnerable backhand.

    Budge was a different story. Budge apparently did not mind a high-kicking serve to the backhand. He may even have preferred it, if I'm reading the above comment by Browne correctly. Vines, knowing that Budge could simply take kicking serves on the rise and drive them back, tried to keep both his first and second serves as flat as possible during their tour.

    Browne says that Vines used the "cannonball" on both first and second serves. I don't think that necessarily means that he was going for aces on second serves (although, who knows, maybe he was like Sampras in that regard), just that he was trying to keep the second serve as low as possible. That would have been fairly easy to do on the canvas indoor courts that Vines and Budge were mostly using.

    Budge pounded Perry's second serve during their five-setter at Forest Hills ('36). It seems that Budge was especially dangerous on the return if he had any time at all to take a swing. Vines was trying to take that time away with flat serving.

    Von Cramm had a great flat serve too (some news reports call it possibly the best in the game), and could theoretically have done the same.
     
  3. PDJ

    PDJ Hall of Fame

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    Absolutely fascinating thread. Just fascinating
     
  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    What family he came from?
     
  5. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Here's Budge talking at length about von Cramm in January '39:

    The reporter persistently directs his attention toward Budge. "What about Von Cramm?" he queries. "Have you heard from him?"

    There is no grin here as Budge answers concerning his German friend. "He'll never play competitive tennis again," he answers. "They've barred him from Davis Cup and tournament play, and Wimbledon has stated that it won't accept his entry."

    Somebody pipes up that there would be a perfect spot for him on an American tour. Budge says, "I had a letter from him this week and he won't play pro tennis. You know, he still has some of his estate and money left, and he thinks he is going to take a position with a Berlin banking house. But whatever his future is, there's no room for tennis in it any more."

    "You knew him pretty well, Don," suggests the reporter. "What's he like?"

    "The best there is," Budge is specific. "A fine gentleman and a fine sportsman--and a pretty fair country tennis player, too."​
    Von Cramm did play at Queens Club later that year, winning the title. Bowers writes that Budge and Tilden both visited him there, during the American pro tour of Europe.
     

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