||01-02-2013 06:48 AM
Art of Tennis. Tappy Larsen died
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.