Lew Hoad-A discussion on his career

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by pc1, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Actually, Vines had a mediocre tournament record, and his Davis Cup play was abysmal. He won no big tournaments in 1933, although playing well at Wimbledon, where he lost a great final to Crawford. (The equivalent match for Hoad was the 1956 Wimbledon final, where he beat Rosewall, as good a player as Crawford.)
    Vines' failure to defend his Wimbledon title was perhaps the biggest failure of his career. His Davis Cup losses to Borotra and von Cramm were equally disappointing. Hoad seemed to rise to the big occasion better than Vines.
    Vines had his big moments mostly in the USA, and apart from Wimbledon 1932, he played below his best in Europe, even losing a tour to Perry, a notably inferior player.
     
  2. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Totally logical post and I can't disagree.
     
  3. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Vines was the best amateur player in the world in 1931 and 1932, especially in the latter. True, 1933 was mostly disappointing for Vines. Vines turned professional at the start of 1934, and during his pro career, won the Wembley Pro 3 years in a row (1934-1936), won the French Pro at Roland Garros in 1935 (having never played there as an amateur), and won the US Pro in 1939 in Beverly Hills, California.

    Vines also won the big professional tours. In 1934, against Tilden (played over 50 matches with Vines winning 19 more than Tilden), against Cochet (10-0), against Plaa (8-2). In 1935, against Stoefen (25-1), against Nusslein (Vines won 3 out of 4 matches). In 1936, against Stoefen (33-5), against Tilden (8-1). In 1937, against Perry (32-29). In 1938, against Perry (49-35). In 1939, Vines was dethroned by Budge (17-22).

    The lost small tour to Perry in 1937 was 3-6. They also had a 4-4 tour in 1938.

    Vines was the best player in the pros, clearly, from 1934 to 1938, and I think the best player in the world in these years.
     
  4. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    The pro game in Vines' era was much weaker than in the late 1950's, and also the pro tournaments.
    Vines' greatness was clear in the 1938 tour against Perry, which was in preparation for the Budge tour, and Vines appeared to be at least the equal of Budge when healthy on the 1939 tour.
    But why so abysmal in Davis Cup play? Borotra was an old man. Von Cramm was great at times, but not in Vines' league.
    This is where Hoad seems the better player, rising to the big occasion.
    Vines was denied the opportunity to beat Budge in a big tournament final when Budge apparently ducked him at the 1939 US Pro.
     
  5. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    In fact, I'm just going to go ahead and commit to a position that Hoad was one of the top 10 greatest players of the pre-open era.
     
  6. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    As you know, Laver rated Hoad number one for the pre-Open era, and said that if Hoad and Fed played each other, it would be the greatest contest of all time. (this was said in 2012).
     
  7. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan, Dan, Dan! I find it a great pity that a tennis fan who knows very much about history, often counter himself with wrong and strange claims.

    Vines has a Davis Cup record of 13:3. Bad? Better f.i. than Pete Sampras.

    Von Cramm was an all-time great. Budge made the experience how strong the German was...

    In the 1939 US Pro Budge did NOT play at all!

    Again you belittle Rosewall (it's your second hobby after your GOD's admiration). All experts agree that Rosewall was stronger than Crawford (still a great player himself though).
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  8. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Mustard, I fear we will never convince Dan in several points...
     
  9. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan, as you (should) know, Laver and Rosewall seem to rank Hoad at first place
    NOT regarding lifetime achievements but regarding playing level. That's a huge difference!
     
  10. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    The 13:3 record was presumably for preliminary rounds. Vines is best remembered in Davis Cup play for his crucial losses to a very old Borotra (who had actually retired, and returned to play one more match!) in 1932 and to von Cramm in 1933 (where Vines actually FAINTED at the climax of the match in the fifth set!). Both of these losses were decisive, and cost the USA the Davis Cup.
    Budge made a late withdrawal from the 1939 US Pro, claiming that he was tired from touring (although he played much fewer than Hoad's 150-odd matches in 1959), but I suspect that he didn't want to risk a loss to Vines in a big match just before Vines retired.
    I belittle Rosewall by rating him above Crawford at his peak? Actually, it was meant as a compliment.
    I would rate Rosewall at #5 all- time. Is that good?
     
  11. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Tricky Dan: You did not write that Rosewall is above Crawford. You actually wrote that Rosewall is AS GOOD a player as Crawford. I don't want to insult you but sometimes I believe you are a liar. Maybe you are not but you are really superficial. I'm sorry.

    Rating Rosewall at No. 5 all-time is great and it shows to me that you yet have some understanding of history. Go further THAT way!
     
  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Just to be fair to Vines, the calls in the Davis Cup matches were pretty bad and partial against the United States according to most observers. I believe for example Wilmer Allison aced Borotra on match point for Borotra but lost when it was called a fault. I believe both men were walking up to the net to shake hands before the fault was called.

    Dan I do want to point out first I would tend to believe Hoad is very well the greatest when on his game but some people do rank others around Hoad's level or maybe higher. It's opinion but from reading and looking at interviews Vines is typically among the top names for the greatest when playing his best. Kramer ranks Vines, Hoad and Laver as the three best at their best. Vines himself ranks Hoad as the greatest when on his game. Allison Danzig the famous tennis writer ranks Vines as the best when on his game. It's tough but my opinion is that the best when "on" has to have weapons everywhere. By that I mean serve, volley, backhand, forehand, mobility etc. Vines for example while having a strong backhand didn't have the wrists of steel backhand that Hoad had so it clearly means that Hoad had a greater attacking backhand than Vines. Hoad simply by description seems to be the most awesome which is also the opinion of many who have seen him.

    Frank Kovacs has been named as one of the greatest when on. He used to apparently destroy Kramer for example. But as some said Kovacs was a gifted player but he didn't know how to win. That may be a bit of an overstatement since Kovacs won many tournaments but I guess somewhat accurate since he apparently didn't win as much as he should have given his talent.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  13. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Right. I should have said that Rosewall in 1956 Wimbledon final was AT LEAST as good as Crawford in the 1933 final.
    That is saying a lot, given that Crawford defeated Vines at his best in that 1933 final.
    Yes, I rate The Little Master at #5, behind Rosewall's own list of the top 4; 1) Hoad 2) Gonzales 3) Laver 4) Federer.
    Rosewall did NOT say that this was merely on peak form, my friend, nor did he qualify it in any way.
    Laver in 2012 did NOT qualify his choice of Hoad at #1 for the pre-Open period.
    Do you wish to put words into the mouths of Rosewall and Laver?
    Try and stick to what they actually say, even if you disagree with it.
     
  14. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Dan, Laver and Rosewall did not qualify their choices. You are right. But I cannot imagine they referred to Hoad's achievements. Both Aussies do know tennis history very well and are aware that several (to many) greats have achieved much more than Hoad did. It's just your wishful thinking.

    Our group of tt posters have different opinions about many issues. But I'm sure you will not find any poster here or even any other expert who believes
    that Hoad is the alltime (or pre open era) best regarding achievements.

    If yet there is one, I would gladly discuss with him this matter...

    For the moment I see the following players greater in achievements: Tilden, Vines, Perry, Budge, Kramer, Gonzalez, Rosewall, Laver, Connors, Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, Sampras and Federer.

    You should not be sad about this because as we both know Hoad was handicapped severely by his injuries. Otherwise I'm sure he would have matched both Laver and Rosewall in the 1960s.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  15. Dan Lobb

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    Very true, what you write.
    I just cannot help the feeling that Vines did not get the most out of his talent, especially in the big matches.
    This suggests to me that his mental game, the ability to draw upon his talent in a big match, was lacking in some way.
    Perhaps the overwhelming power of his serves and groundstrokes made him less inclined to work on the strategic aspect of his game.
    In this respect, Hoad seems to have the edge, in that he worked hard on expanding the scope of his shots and range of tactics. The report in Time magazine of the 1959 tour remarks that his topspin lobs bounced away like a rabbit running to its hole. His serves included a wide variety of spins all from the same arm motion. There seems to be more subtlety in Hoad's game than Vine's.
    Further, Hoad could lift his game in the biggest matches (Davis Cup, Forest Hills Pro, Wimbledon in particular), although Vines could at times do the same (1932 Wimbledon, 1939 US Pro).
    Vines had fewer great opportunities to show his best game, so it is hard to judge.
     
  16. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Hoad lost the 1956 US Championships final, which would have given him the Grand Slam. Hoad also lost 7 pro major finals (2 losses to Gonzales, 5 losses to Rosewall).

    Vines didn't lose that many big matches. There's the 1933 Wimbledon final against Crawford, the Davis Cup matches mentioned, and when Budge toppled Vines in 1939 as the world's best player, with the 1939 French Pro final being the biggest tournament win for Budge over Vines.
     
  17. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Gonzales would have no bones about saying that he himself was the BOAT.

    Such is the Rocket's habitual humility that he would list 20 other players before he'd even mention himself, and then after a bit of prying he might say "Ya know, I was pretty good too."

    Oh yea, that's exactly what he did, here:
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/archives/old-sport-pages/gallery-fn77kxzt-1226250654969?page=1
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  18. Dan Lobb

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    Obviously, in terms of numbers of titles, Hoad had fewer than Rosewall or Laver.
    At the same time, I would suggest that the height of his achievements, which stretched out over 11 years, from 1953 to 1964, exceed the heights of the other two (and were often at the expense of the other two).
    And his best years, from 1956 through Jan. 1960, each include some extraordinary achievements.
    In both 1958 and 1959 he played enormous amounts of tennis, which exceeded the normal pro seasons the top players have today.
    In 1958 he played well over 100 matches before dropping out on September 20 with his second major back injury of the season.
    In 1959, he paced himself better, and played over 150 matches in a full season.
    In both years he won the Ampol championship, and was the top money-winner on the tours.
    These numbers dwarf what later generations of pros would accomplish, although Laver played 122 matches in 1969.
    This indicates a high degree of consistency.
    After 1959, he played only selected events, but trained for 8 weeks in late 1962 and won important tours in 1963 and 1964.
    I would think that the length of Hoad's greatness exceeds that of Borg, McEnroe (both of whom burned out early), Vines, Budge (who was only hot from 1937 to 1942), and perhaps Nadal.
     
  19. Dan Lobb

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    I do not see Budge as overshadowing Vines that year. When healthy, Vines appeared to have the edge on the tour.
    Vines played poorly in Europe, but this was typical for him.
    Budge appears to have ducked Vines at the US Pro.
    For the Hoad losses, the "Pro Major" finals were indoors at the Cleveland Arena and Wembley arena, plus the 1960 and 1958 Roland Garros and 1962 Kooyong.
    The indoor events were off the tour, managed by independents, and of questionable status, especially the fake US Pro.
    Hoad was injured during the 1958 RG final while leading Rosewall, beat Rosewall at RG in 1959, and was rusty and overweight in the 1960 RG final.
    In 1960, RG was no longer a component of a grand prix series, as it had been in 1958 and 1959. The same was true for Kooyong in 1962.
     
  20. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    IMO, both of them gave Hoad a sympathy vote for the career that should have been, but, never was.
     
  21. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    They both had a long list of painful losses to Hoad, that is, until after 1964.
    The career was 11 good years, more than most.
     
  22. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    That's why Vines won 3 Wembley Pros in a row, won a French Pro and won Wimbledon :?
     
  23. Dan Lobb

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    Against whom? Did he have to play one match or two matches to win these tournaments?
     
  24. Mustard

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    At 1932 Wimbledon, Vines beat Du Plaix, Burrows, Hopman, Aoki, Maier, Crawford and Austin.

    At the 1934 Wembley Pro, Vines beat Maskell, Barnes, Plaa, Tilden and Nusslein

    At the 1935 French Pro beat Estrabeau, Plaa and Nusslein.

    At the 1935 Wembley Pro, Vines beat Burke, Stoefen and Tilden

    At the 1936 Wembley Pro, Vines beat Tilden
     
  25. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Hoad was a huge first strike player and Federer at his best is more a defensive returner which may be huge problems if you let Hoad attack first. For one match I'm not sure if it would be a close contest. Perhaps over a series of matches.
     
  26. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    As far as I'm concerned this dude is an all time great no doubt, but all that high potential talk is overplayed on this forum. Career wise he's a Djokovic level player in my opinion.
     
  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Perhaps, perhaps not but he is the closest to a Paul Bunyan type player we've had in tennis.
     
  28. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    true, he's got a lot of folklore around him (Borg too).
     
  29. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

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    Laver and Rosewall had a large H2H advantages over Hoad.
     
  30. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Laver gave his list during the most recent AO, when Djokovic still had only 4 Slam titles. Yet he placed Novak ahead of Connors, Agassi and Lendl, each of whom won 8 Slam titles; and ahead of Edberg, who won 6.

    That's why many think that his list refers principally to level of play. Laver undoubtedly was impressed by Djokovic's level of play in 2011.
     
  31. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Funny you should say that. We talked how Vines pulled a muscle sometime after the 10th match of the tour (the exact date is uncertain). Right up through the 10th match of the tour the press described Vines doing the usual damage with his serve. And yet after 10 matches Budge led 6-4.

    Funny that you could find an edge for Vines there.

    Budge's edge over a healthy Vines (ie, a Vines who was serving well) is at least 6-4. It is possibly more, because Budge extended his lead all the way up to 10-4, but the date that Vines pulled his muscle is uncertain.
     
  32. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Incorrect, Vines beat von Cramm in their only Davis Cup meeting (in '32), over four sets.

    The five-set loss in which Vines collapsed at the end was to Perry, in '33.

    http://www.daviscup.com/en/players/player/profile.aspx?playerid=10004647

    The loss to Borotra was a decisive one, yes, in losing the Cup for the U.S. The loss to Perry was in a dead rubber.

    Vines played against Perry with a sprained ankle, which he had injured during this loss to Allison two days earlier. In the fourth set against Perry he fell to the ground when his ankle gave way.

    This I don't understand. You say that Vines had his big moments mostly in the US. If true, that's a knock against him, in a comparison against Hoad.

    So far so good.

    But every time you talk about how Vines lost 15-5 to Budge in the European tour of '39, you excuse Vines because, you say, he played his best in the U.S., not in Europe.

    I don't understand that at all. If it's a knock against a player that he doesn't play well in certain given circumstances (and I agree that it is a negative), then you should be counting it against him consistently. Yet you argue that Budge did not really overthrow Vines in '39, despite the lopsided tour in Europe.

    When comparing Vines to Budge, you downgrade Vines' poor performance in Europe. But comparing Vines to Hoad, you don't downgrade it at all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  33. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I doubt that's true, considering that the '33 final was regarded for decades, by many, as the best Wimbledon final of all time.

    Nothing like that has been said of the '56 final. In fact I've posted a quote from the Aussie press saying that Rosewall played much better at Forest Hills than he did at Wimbledon.

    Vines improved after '33.

    It's possible that Hoad developed more subtlety than Vines, but you're underestimating Vines' development as a player. Mostly because you're concentrating on his amateur career. In '34 Tilden said that Vines had adapted to the pro tour and was now playing much better than he ever had as an amateur. He noted in particular that Vines had cut down on his errors -- the same thing that Laver learned to do in '63.

    In '39 Vines beat Budge in a claycourt match in Florida, and the press noted that he used drop shots frequently and effectively.
     
  34. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Ray Bowers reports that Vines was dealing with a lame shoulder and blisters during the US Pro, so I would be more careful about assuming that he would have beaten Budge there.
     
  35. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Rosewall had 23 good years...
     
  36. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Thanks for presenting this.

    I must correct you: In 1936 Wembley Vines beat Nüsslein in the final. I don't know how Tilden fared.
     
  37. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Yes. Do you agree that there were several players in history who had greater achievements than Hoad (who's record is still impressive!)?
     
  38. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    It's a good question. Gonzalez was considered to have won the tour in '59, so he, not Hoad, was invited to defend the World Professional title in 1960.

    The last match of the tour was in La Jolla on May 31. The AP reported:

    Pancho Gonzales whipped his arch-rival, Lew Hoad, today in the final match of their 1959 professional tennis tour. Score, 6-3, 15-13.

    Gonzales had clinched his fifth straight world professional title yesterday.

    Gonzales collected a total of $29,150 for his year's efforts. Hoad earned $28,250. The championship is based on money won.

    In matches, however, Hoad came out on top in his duel with Gonzales, 15-13.

    In the preliminary Ashley Cooper turned back Mal Anderson, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.​
    I know the question was for Dan, but he answered instead about Hoad not having to defend his Ampol victory.
     
  39. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Definitely. Hoad's case is built not on the full record of his wins and losses, but on his level of play at his best. But even that is difficult to demonstrate, given we have so little video, and match stats, to go on. We do have the recollections of other champions. Those are valuable, but with video or stats we could be much more specific.

    I'll see if I can find some match stats for Hoad.
     
  40. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    You mean, lifetime hth, not in Hoad's prime years.
    Hoad probably led Rosewall through 1960.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  41. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

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    Thanks for both.
     
  42. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    In his list, Laver makes reference to career achievements more often than level of play. He rates Kramer number two primarily on the basis of career achievements, not level of play. Likewise Rosewall, Edberg, etc.
     
  43. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Budge won, what, six straight while Vines was injured and built up quite a lead. Vines had whittled it down by the end of the tour to less than the number lost through injury. That tells the story.
     
  44. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Good point. Certain players play worse in certain regions. Hoad certainly played below par in the European phases of the pro tour in 1958 and 1959, perhaps because he was concentrating on the American pro tour and Ampol championship, which carried more weight.
    Perhaps Vines valued the American tour higher than the European.
    I read an interview with Vines where he stated that he actually fainted at the end of the match with Perry.
     
  45. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    Does not explain Djokovic's position.

    Do you have the text written by Laver?

    It is so frustrating, because I have provided the numbers on this repeatedly, and you still are throwing out incorrect numbers. Vines was serving well right up through the 10th match, when Budge led 6-4. Budge then pulled ahead to 10-4, before Vines started winning again. That should be more than plain: Vines lost, at most, 4 matches to his injury. Not six.

    Budge's margin of victory at the end was 5.
     
  46. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    I have a DVD of 20 minutes of the 1956 Wimbledon final, and an interview with the players afterwards (from BBC).
    The commentator states after the match that it was the best final since WWII, and he had seen them all.
    It was comparable in quality to 1933, and Hoad was 21 years old, the same age of Vines in 1933.
     
  47. Dan Lobb

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    No, it cannot be assumed. But apparently Budge didn't want to take a chance that he might lose.
     
  48. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    You can say he fainted, or collapsed, it was the result of the same thing: he was not in good physical condition, while Perry was. I don't just mean Vines' sprained ankle; it was poor conditioning, under trying circumstances. The Times said he collapsed from "nervous exhaustion." They attributed the victory to Perry's stamina and Vines' poor conditioning, and they actually wrote, "That was the whole story."

    I don't say that to excuse Vines, though. You have to be in good shape to win matches.
     
  49. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    In 1936, Tilden was 44 years old. This is not even close to Budge and Riggs playing in the 1959 Tuscaloosa pro championship, and losing to Giammalva.
    They were 43 and 41 years old, respectively.
    Wow!
     
  50. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I would love to see that final. And I have no doubt that Hoad, at least, was playing alltime great tennis.

    But consider: Vines held 11 times at love, in that match against Crawford. And still lost.
     

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