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-   -   Gottfried von Cramm (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=271335)

egn 06-30-2009 06:18 PM

Gottfried von Cramm
 
So yesterday I finally picked up A Terrible Splendor which documents the time around the 1937 Davis Cup and the match between Cramm and Budge and after realizing all the stress but on Cramm due to the **** government I was wondering does anyone think this really hurt his game? The man was definitely the 3rd best player of that era behind Budge and Perry but could he possibly have been even better had he not been so stressed and intertwined with politics and his homosexuality causing problems with the strict **** Government. It is sad when you read about his complex situation, but from reading all of this and getting a feel for the stress he was under 24/7 I imagine it had to affect his game. So I guess does anyone feel he could have been better...

shoot they censor .na.zi

Hey, Moe! 06-30-2009 07:28 PM

Yes, I do think that Von Cramm could have been right up there fighting for the top spot. He had a really nice game.

I know how my game went south when I got divorced; I can't imagine the issues that Von Cramm had to deal with.

Free of those shackles, I think that Budge and Von Cramm would have been one of the all-time rivalries.

atatu 06-30-2009 08:05 PM

Yeah, I'm in the middle of the book right now, it does seem that he would have had a lot less stress without Hitler, et. al.

kiki 04-01-2011 12:15 PM

A true gentleman and a fantastic tennis player, who had anybody┤s numbers on clay.he┤d have been a top gun if he had undergone a normal life.

max 04-01-2011 12:50 PM

I read the book and was pretty underwhelmed by it. Not particularly well written. It's a great story, of course. Don Budge put together an article on it. Good old Budge! :)

Gemini 04-01-2011 12:54 PM

Is Von Cramm the German player executed by Hitler because he was g a y?

urban 04-01-2011 08:55 PM

His friend was a Jew, That was even more a shandal for the Nazis. He wasn't executed, but sent to prison. Later he went to war on the Eastern front, got the Iron Cross. In the last year of the war, he was protected by King Gustav of Sweden. He died in a car crash in Kairo in 1976.

krosero 04-01-2011 09:01 PM

Von Cramm beat Perry to win Roland Garros in '36. The next year the N_azis prevented him from entering the tournament, and by '38 he was under arrest. That was the only year that Budge entered the French, so what an opportunity lost in that rivalry.

Budge usually got the better of von Cramm but I wonder how it would have gone in Paris, where von Cramm won twice and was able to beat Perry.

urban 04-01-2011 09:26 PM

Exactly. Von Cramm was the best clay courter of the 30s, after the decline of Cochet. In 1937, a big favorite at RG, he was drawn back by the German Federation, to focus on Davis Cup; in 1938 and 39 they didn't let him play due the political reasons. Instead, in 1937 the lesser Henner Henckel won RG. Von Cramm won the Rothenbaum event at Hamburg many times, over great players like Crawford.
Some say (including Robert Geist), that the pro Hanne Nuesslein was at least equal to von Cramm on clay. I doubt that. From the German sources i read, von Cramm was always regarded as the better. And in a pro-amateur match at Rot-Wei▀ Berlin in 1934 (?), von Cramm beat Nuesslein in four sets.

krosero 04-01-2011 09:37 PM

Interesting stuff, Urban.

I'm sure von Cramm's absence was felt heavily after '38. Here's just one quote from the New York Times which doesn't mention him by name, but it notes the absence of top challengers to Budge at the French:

"Donald Budge today easily captured the second of four major titles he has set out to win this year. By defeating the giant Czechoslovak champion, Roderich Menzel, in straight sets in a match lasting less than an hour, Budge won the French hard-court singles crown in a field that, it is true, did not include any stars of the first magnitude."

urban 04-01-2011 11:25 PM

Roderich Menzel was a Czech-German, who played for both countries. In vital matches in DC and at Hamburg, he always lost to von Cramm. Later Menzel became a writer. Wrote some lyrical tennis stories like 'My beloved (female) tennis partner' and a History of German Tennis from the beginnings until 1950.

newmark401 04-02-2011 02:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by urban (Post 5541299)
Roderich Menzel was a Czech-German, who played for both countries. In vital matches in DC and at Hamburg, he always lost to von Cramm. Later Menzel became a writer. Wrote some lyrical tennis stories like 'My beloved (female) tennis partner' and a History of German Tennis from the beginnings until 1950.

Some interesting information on Roderich Menzel from the German wikipedia entry on him, which has the ring of truth to it:

"Roderich Menzel (born April 13, 1907, in Reichenberg; died October 18, 1987, in Munich) was a Czech and German tennis player who later became a writer. As an author, in addition to his real name, he used the pseudonyms Clemens Parma and Michael Morava.

"Reared in the Sudetenland, initially he played tennis for Czechoslovakia, but after the 'Anschluss' with Germany at the end of the 1930's he played Davis Cup for Germany.

"In 1931, he won the International German Championships at the Rothenbaum Tennis Club in Hamburg. In 1936, he was considered one of the top four players in the world. In 1938, he lost in the final of the French Championships to Don Budge.

"After his tennis career Menzel became a writer and wrote under his own name and the pseudonym[s] Clemens Parma [and Michael Morava]. The catalogue of the German National Library includes 156 titles by him, several of which were translated into foreign languages. In the 1950's and 1960's, he wrote books for children and teenagers, which were illustrated by Johanna Sengler. The most well-known of these books is 'Das Wunderauto' ['The Wondercar']. In addition, he wrote biographies of [Queen] Friederike of Hanover and [actor and director] Max Reinhardt. His trilogy 'Weltmacht Tennis' ['World Power Tennis'] is considered the best work of its kind in the German language.

"Roderich Menzel had five children: Michael, Christian, Renate, Carola and Peter. His eldest son Michael was for twelve years sports photographer for the Bavarian Wrestling Association and completed seven marathons and the 100 kilometre run in Biel. Nowadays he [Michael] works as an athletics statistician in Bavaria."

Frank Silbermann 04-04-2011 07:49 PM

I read that in Bobby Riggs best year (he won Wimbledon singles, doubles and mixed-doubles, and $100,000 dollars betting on himself to win all three), he had been soundly thrashed (close to being bagelled) by von Cramm in a grass-court warm-up event to Wimbledon (I think maybe it was the Queens Club tournament).

The Wimbledon committee decided not to let von Cramm play that year because the rules required players to be "of good morals" -- and von Cramm was a convicted homosexual.

newmark401 04-05-2011 03:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Silbermann (Post 5549688)
I read that in Bobby Riggs best year (he won Wimbledon singles, doubles and mixed-doubles, and $100,000 dollars betting on himself to win all three), he had been soundly thrashed (close to being bagelled) by von Cramm in a grass-court warm-up event to Wimbledon (I think maybe it was the Queens Club tournament).

The Wimbledon committee decided not to let von Cramm play that year because the rules required players to be "of good morals" -- and von Cramm was a convicted homosexual.

In the semi-final of the men's singles at the 1939 Queen's Club tournament, Gottfried von Cramm beat Bobby Riggs 6-0, 6-1.

According to the London "Times" of Monday, June 24, 1939: "This was the second time within a week that Riggs had lost eleven games in a row against an unrelenting attack by drive and volley, and, for some inexplicable reason, he was a mere shadow of the player we know him to be. Von Cramm, who has been given a cordial reception, was certainly in ruthless trim. There was not an ace for which he did not strive to the limit of his flashing strokes, and after a stiff tussle for the second game Riggs, with a philosophical smile and perhaps unwilling to trust the [slippery] foothold, seemed to give it up as a bad job."

I don't think von Cramm sent in an entry for the 1939 Wimbledon - I'm not quite sure why as he probably would have been allowed to play there. Perhaps, being a gentleman of the old school, he simply didn't want to put anyone in a difficult position. Certainly he would have been the favourite to win the men's singles title that year.

Of course, the original allegations of a homosexual relationship had come from the Nazis, whom von Cramm didn't support, so they should be taken with a grain of salt.

Frank Silbermann 04-05-2011 04:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by newmark401 (Post 5550229)
Of course, the original allegations of a homosexual relationship had come from the Nazis, whom von Cramm didn't support, so they should be taken with a grain of salt.

The name "Von Cramm" suggests he was of the German aristocracy; many of them hated Hitler. (In the late 1800s many members of the German aristocracy married daughters of Jewish industrialists and bankers -- as a way of combining one family's social status with another family's wealth. Thus, many German aristocrats by the 1930s had some degree of Jewish ancestry -- usually not enough Jewish ancestry to be arrested for it, but when some of your beloved relatives _are_ being taken by the Gestapo you tend to resent it...)

However, in Frank Deford's book _Big Bill Tilden: The Triumph and the Tragedy_ he wrote that it was common knowledge that Tilden and Von Cramm used to frequent the Berlin gay cabarets together in the early mid-1930s.

newmark401 04-06-2011 12:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Frank Silbermann (Post 5552053)
The name "Von Cramm" suggests he was of the German aristocracy; many of them hated Hitler. (In the late 1800s many members of the German aristocracy married daughters of Jewish industrialists and bankers -- as a way of combining one family's social status with another family's wealth. Thus, many German aristocrats by the 1930s had some degree of Jewish ancestry -- usually not enough Jewish ancestry to be arrested for it, but when some of your beloved relatives _are_ being taken by the Gestapo you tend to resent it...)

However, in Frank Deford's book _Big Bill Tilden: The Triumph and the Tragedy_ he wrote that it was common knowledge that Tilden and Von Cramm used to frequent the Berlin gay cabarets together in the early mid-1930s.

Yes, von Cramm was a baron. If I'm not mistaken, when the Gestapo came to call he was eating dinner with his family in the dining room in their castle.

There were other gay, or possibly gay, figures of the time in Germany, known or not known or not suspected, but the Nazis didn't target them either way.

newmark401 04-15-2011 02:29 AM

An excellent, incisive article on Gottfried von Cramm's life and career, from "Sports Illustrated" (July 1993):

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...8011/index.htm

Q&M son 05-08-2011 01:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by newmark401 (Post 5575910)
An excellent, incisive article on Gottfried von Cramm's life and career, from "Sports Illustrated" (July 1993):

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...8011/index.htm

Great add, thanks.

SusanDK 08-05-2011 08:41 AM

A nice article on CNN.com today about the Budge - von Cramm Davis Cup match:

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/SPORT/te...html?hpt=hp_c2

egn 08-05-2011 09:15 AM

The CNN article is very interesting. It is so unfortunate to know that such a fantastic player was persecuted and had to deal with so many issues. He's definitely a forgotten all time great.


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