This long, insightful article on the legendary Australian Davis Cup coach, player and journalist Harry Hopman (1906-1985) was featured in the "Grand Prix Tennis Annual" for 1976. It was written by the English journalist and commentator John Barrett, himself a former player and Davis Cup captain. Harry Hopman, Master Builder By John Barrett Part I of III “The war was over. Gradually, the threads of life were picked up again as normality returned. The Davis Cup, that proud symbol of national tennis supremacy, was brought up from the vaults of the Lawn Tennis Association of Australia, where it had lain since the historic defeat of the Americans at Philadelphia’s Merion Cricket Club in 1939, to be dusted off in preparation for the 1946 challenge. “Australia was captained by 51-year-old Gerald Patterson whose first Wimbledon victory had come, curiously enough, immediately after the end of the First World War in 1919. Two members of his 1946 team – the ambidextrous John Bromwich and his energetic little doubles partner, Adrian Quist, had been responsible for that 1939 victory and one of their opponents then, Jack Kramer, was a member of Walter Pate’s American team which came to Kooyong for the first post-war Challenge Round. “The Americans carried all before them. Only two sets were lost as Kramer, Ted Schroeder and Gardnar Mulloy swept to a 5-0 victory that amply rewarded Pate for the somewhat surprising defeat of his much-fancied 1939 team (Bobby Riggs, Frank Parker, Joe Hunt and Kramer) by the two young Australians. But Bromwich and Quist had been shrewdly prepared then by playing captain Harry Hopman who had learned much from the bitter taste of defeat in his first match as captain the year before. Then 32, Hopman had grown up in the game with another legendary Australian, Jack Crawford, who in fact had been the fourth member of the successful 1939 team. “But even in defeat the post-war Australian administrators were slow to realise the importance of leadership and for the next three years the Americans conducted an annual massacre at the West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills, New York. By margins of 4-1, 5-0 and 4-1, they imperiously dismissed successive Australian challenges that were led by three different captains – first a wartime official, Roy Cowling, who was being rewarded for loyal service and then, as playing captains, the two men who had wrought the 1939 miracle – Bromwich and Quist. “During this period Hopman was out of favour with the authorities. Resuming his journalistic duties with the ‘Melbourne Herald’, which had first brought him to Victoria from his native Sydney in 1932, he was critical of the lack of sold training and of the inadequate preparation of Australian teams. But he was not one for criticising without being prepared to do something about it himself. “It was in character, then, that during the same period Hopman established a training centre at Kooyong where he collected around him four young men with immense talents. Frank Sedgman and an awkward young left-hander, Mervyn Rose, were both from Melbourne but Ken McGregor, a gangling, 6-foot, 3-inch South Australian, came 500 miles south-east from Adelaide to join the camp, and later George Worthington travelled as many miles south-west from Sydney to sharpen his game. “On Saturday mornings the best of Victoria’s young players were subjected to punishing routines of play and practice by the tireless Hopman. One of them, Owen Davidson, who later went to win the U.S. Open doubles championship with John Newcombe and the Australian doubles with Ken Rosewall as well as the Wimbledon mixed title with Billie Jean King, recalls: ‘We used to work so hard some of us were physically sick. When I got home all I could do was sleep. Half of me used to dread those mornings, but the other half loved the intensity of it and appreciated the improvement it brought.’ “Hopman’s methods set new standards in tennis training and because of the publicity they received galvanized the young swimmers and runners in Australia to greater efforts. Like Percy Cerutty, who motivated Herb Elliott to produce world record times on the track, Hopman knew exactly what he wanted. ‘The first step to making a successful team is to have a fit team. Sedgman, McGregor, Rose and Worthington would do anything to strengthen muscles, to gain flexibility, to improve their wind, speed, reflexes, suppleness, coordination, balance and rhythm, agility and stroking.’ Merely to list all these attributes is enough to leave one breathless but Hopman’s driving belief in the basic values of work, work and more work had yet to be put to the test.