1957 four-man tours (Rosewall, Hoad, Kramer, Segura)

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by krosero, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    First night's matches, reported in the Manila Times.

    Hoad out-booms Kramer, 7-5, 8-6

    Lew Hoad and Pancho Segura wielded the big stick, and Jack Kramer and Ken Rosewall settled for the whipping, last night at the opening of their three-day power-tennis fiesta at the Rizal Coliseum.

    Hoad, the blond Australian bomber with the siege gun delivery, out-boomed the maestro, big Mr. Kramer, 7-5, 8-6, while Segura, the bandy-legged Ecuadorian with the two-handed slam, outsteadied the diminutive but potent Rosewall, 6-1, 2-6, 8-6.

    Segura, the least rated in the troupe, went on to share the night’s third victory, as he and Rosewall drubbed Hoad and Kramer in the doubles of their solid five-hour display of incisive professional tennis. The count was 7-5, 6-2.

    But to the awed crowd of 8,000 first nighters, the scores mattered only second to the spectacle of these four monumental tennis figures in action, particularly Hoad and Kramer, whose superlative forms left the throng nothing to desire.

    Easily the features of their touted match was their breathtaking exchanges of their booming service, and gracing this theme were their fluent volleying, spectacular rallies, and retrieving of the highest order.

    To these the bull-shouldered Hoad added occasional spasms of Australian temper—and the fans had seen everything they had read about the 22-year-old “twin” of Rosewall in their amateur heydays.

    To show the closeness of the Hoad-Kramer match, there was no break in the service of the two players in the second set until the 11th game, when Hoad, after holding service in the 13th for 7-6, finally blasted his way through Kramer’s delivery with whizzers and deep placements on both wings, taking the stanza by game 15.

    According to Kramer, the win placed Hoad ahead of him in their tour, 15 matches to 14.

    Today Hoad, who incidentally will be celebrating his 23rd birthday, will run up against the pesky Segura. Kramer will face Rosewall in the other match. In doubles, it will be Hoad and Segura against Big Jake and Ken.

    Segura, in beating Rosewall last night, staved off four match points for Ken in the 12th game of the long winded third set. Then he broke Rosewall’s service in the 14th after holding his own in the 13th, to compound Ken’s momentary hate for himself.

    Hoad fired a total of 13 aces, nine of them in the second set, including three in the 11th game when he held service to rumble ahead at 6-5.

    Kramer, on the other hand, triggered 12, most of them along the chalk to catch Hoad on the wrong foot.

    Big Jack’s service was at its best in the eighth game when he fired a couple to avert any early break in the set and even up at 4-all.

    In the 12th, after double-faulting on a 40-15 lead, Kramer smashed one down the alley to clinch the game and even up again, at 6-all.​
    Kramer told the press that he was trailing Hoad 14-15 after this match. It was their last match of the tour. Yet in later years Kramer claimed that he beat Hoad 13-12 on this tour, as he told the press in '64 (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=8DAaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=dycEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3915,4480656) and repeated in his memoir.
  2. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    The second night, Manila Times again:

    Segura Conquers Hoad 8-10, 6-4, 6-4

    Rosewall tops Jack Kramer

    … Pancho Segura, usually the man in the shadows of World Tennis Inc., unzipped his second stunner in Jack Kramer & Company’s three-day Manila engagement last night by taming Lew Hoad, 8-10, 6-4, 6-4, at the Rizal Coliseum.

    Another epic story of experience over brawn, it just about stole all the thunder from little Ken Rosewall’s straight-set conquest of Kramer in the second singles match of the evening.

    Rosewall, the deadliness of his frontcourt game leaving Kramer little room to show off, cut the maestro down to size, 6-1, 6-1, in a shocker of a rout that was over in less than 30 minutes.

    The brevity was such it insured the presence of the lean crowd of 3,000 for the doubles feature, which Rosewall and Kramer pocketed in wham-wham fashion over a battling but outgunned tandem of Hoad and Segura, 6-1, 6-4.

    Segura, who on first night Friday outsteadied Rosewall in a humdinger of a surprise silenced the powerful Hoad with the guile and craft only a professional of his age and seasoning has at his command.

    Everything the blonde Australian bomber blasted at him Segura hurled back for long, gripping exchanges which more often than not ended in his favor, he being the steadier and the more clever player.

    And Hoad’s siege gun service was no damper, because Pancho waded into it time and again and smashed it eight times, once each in the second and third sets for the breaks that gave him the match.

    But though it was a surprise to local tennis society, the win wasn’t for either of the two pros. For the likeable Pancho, whose two-handed slam could easily rate as the best in the world, the triumph gave him a one-match edge over Hoad in 17 collisions.

    Today—final day of the fiesta, Segura, when he meets Kramer will be overshadowing Hoad and Rosewall, who are featured in the stellar singles match.

    Despite his winding stand against Lew in the first set, many thought the end was not far in sight in the second set when Hoad volleyed his way to a 3-0 lead.

    But Pancho got up from the floor in the fourth game to save his service. And after they swapped service breaks in the fifth and sixth, Pancho waded through Hoad in the seventh at love for 4-3.

    Then he evened up at 4-all, forcing Hoad into errors on his service, beat the faltering Hoad again in the ninth on a display of heady tennis, and then reeled in the set by holding service in the tenth—at love, on three errors by Lew, and a smash of his own.

    That put them even stephen and established the pattern in the second [third] set, as they bartered service breaks in the first two games and carried delivery through to the sixth.

    The break came in the seventh on four Hoad errors that gave Segura the lead at 4-3—again at love.

    Hoad broke through in the eighth, 4 all, but Pancho countered in the ninth via two deuces on superb return of service and then held his own in the tenth—on four errors by Hoad which nullified two clean points by the Australian.

    Rosewall, in sharp form, did little that could be called a mistake in crushing Kramer. His volleying was deep and his recoveries were spectacular. Faced with this, Kramer did little to make a big fight of it.​
    This report has Segura breaking Hoad 5 times in each of the last two sets.
  3. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    The report above says that Segura, by beating Hoad, took a 9-8 lead in their H2H for the year, and that actually corresponds exactly to my own count thus far. However I may still be missing a meeting or two somewhere.

    What's really strange about this H2H tally is that it is contradicted hugely by almost every other source. At one extreme, World Tennis has Hoad with a 15-9 edge over Segura at this stage of the tour, right after Manila (and that is the tally that appears in McCauley). At the other extreme, Kramer, when discussing the '57 tour with his memoir, writes that beating old Segura was not particularly important to Hoad and that "Lew lost a majority of his matches to Segoo."

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Losing to 37-year-old Segura could only have diminished Hoad's reputation, and Hoad did well against Segura right from their first meeting, which Hoad won. After this Manila match, the troupe went to Australia, where Hoad took 6 of 7 meetings against Segura.

    The final tally for Hoad over Segura in '57 was something like 14-10, which is my count in in documented meetings, with possibly a couple of matches still missing.

    I don't think Kramer was being dishonest when he wrote many years later that Hoad lost most of his matches to Segura. But when I study the tallies that Kramer gave the press throughout the tour, there are problems: they are contradicted by other sources; and they sometimes contradict each other.

    Another example: the Manila preview I posted above had Kramer telling the press that Hoad was "leading" the tour and was currently enjoying leads over both Segura and Rosewall; but then after Lew's loss to Segura in Manila, the press reports that Segura actually has an edge over Hoad.

    I get the distinct impression that rigorously accurate H2H counts were not kept -- at least if we're talking about full H2H counts for the entire tour. Smaller parts of the tour were in fact documented rigorously: the South Africa tour, which awarded a large monetary prize at the end, was unsurprisingly documented down to an extraordinary degree, with the press reporting the exact win/loss records in matches, sets, and games.

    Yearly counts for the entire tour are another story. The figures often are self-contradictory and it's never clear, sight unseen, which figures are the ones that will turn out to be correct. The only way to check them is to try to uncover and document all of the matches individually.
  4. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

    Aug 12, 2007

    Today's pros are like pampered, coddled babies when their lives are compared to conditions such as these.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
  5. pc1

    pc1 G.O.A.T.

    Jul 18, 2008
    Space/Time continuum alternative reality
    I believe that Kramer kept the records in his garage but somehow they were destroyed or damaged. It's a shame. I wish I could see it.
  6. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    That might help explain some of the problems with the figures he gave in his memoir or in the '64 interview I mentioned above. Though it would still leave the problems with the running tallies he gave the press during the '57 tour.

    As the troupe headed off to Australia, for example, three different tallies appeared for the Rosewall-Hoad matches: one tally came from Rosewall, the others from Kramer and/or Hoad.

    I'll get into that below after I post the Hoad-Rosewall match in Manila.

    But yes, who knows how much was lost in Kramer's records. Incredible to think what was there, or might still be recoverable. We don't even know what we don't know. A bunch of "unknown unknowns," if you'll permit me to use that immortal phrase :)
  7. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    Okay, here it is, the Thrilla in Manila (sorry but you had to know that was coming...)

    Third night, Manila Times again:

    Hoad subdues Rosewall

    Pancho Segura beats Jack Kramer, 6-1 7-5

    Ecuadorian completes sweep of singles; Hoad-Rosewall takes doubles, 6-2, 6-3

    Lew Hoad and Ken Rosewall revived one of their old classic struggles last night for the benefit of 5,000 local tennis faithfuls, and it was the blonde bomber again with the boom in his racquet who took the verdict in the end, at the Rizal Coliseum.

    Jack Kramer’s bonus baby, on the verge of yielding to an opponent who had repeatedly hang him on the hooks, rallied four times—once from match point—in the second set for a lease that carried him to a 5-7, 8-6, 6-3 victory.

    Slogging on without fear of error, Lew cooled Rosewall’s devastating net game by volleying it out with Ken, and then added the advantage of his forceful delivery to wear out his little opponent in the stretch.

    Had it not been so close, the match regardless of its outcome would have rated only second to the opening singles contest, which saw Pancho Segura again steal the spotlight for the third time in their Manila stint.

    The spunky Ecuadorian with the bandy legs whomped manager Jack Kramer, 6-1, 7-5, to complete a sweep of their singles play here. In earlier nights he conquered Rosewall and Hoad.

    The last Manila bill of Jack Kramer and Company ended with Hoad and Rosewall, formerly the amateur world’s most feared tandem, knocking the stuffings out of Segura and Kramer, 6-2, 6-3.

    Kramer left last night by Pan American Airways for Los Angeles, where, he said, he would start booking the American phase of Hoad’s nomadic challenge of Pancho Gonzales’ world professional tennis title starting Jan. 1.

    Hoad, Rosewall and Segura will continue to Australia on what Kramer said will be the last leg of World Tennis Inc.’s 1957 global tour.

    The trio, with Rosewall’s wife Wilma, will depart tomorrow for Sydney on the same plane which will be taken by Philippine Davis Cup team captain Dr. Alfredo Diy as he follows the Filipino squad to Adelaide.

    Kramer said the Australian tour will end Dec. 15, after which Hoad, Rosewall and Segura will proceed to the United States for next year’s winding super-charged tour...

    By the end of the current tour, Hoad will have earned over $140,000 or more. The excess over his $125,000 contract fee is a compilation of the $100 bonuses he gets every time he wins.

    Lew’s victory over “small brother” Ken last night put him six matches ahead of Rosewall in 15 encounters.

    According to Kramer, Rosewall, when the tour ends, will be richer by $100,000. Segura, the old pro, can easily gather up 80 thousand grand.

    Kramer has no goal to shoot at, and plays “just for fun.”

    “My company (World Tennis Inc.) pays me 400 dollars a week and I’m on a lifetime contract,” Big Jack said with a grin. “My playing is just for fun.”

    “If you people want us to come back and see the boys play, we will come back,” he added. “But Don Manolo (Elizalde, who promote[d] the just-concluded leg for the Manila Cathedral reconstruction fun[d]) will know more about that.”

    The reason perhaps why Rosewall waxed deadly to an extraordinary degree was some rough line calls he got in the opening set.

    Or so it seemed as he swapped service breaks with Lew through ten games of the opening set, then held his own in the 11th on lethal volleys at the net, to lead 6-5.

    Hoad tried to double up on his powerful service in the 12th in an effort to catch up anew, but he could not get most of his first shots across and consequently had Ken jumping on his soft second deliveries, to take set, 7-5.

    Came the second set and it looked like a walkaway for Ken as he rushed off to a 4-1 lead, salvaging service in a 16-point third game on five deuces as Hoad made a fight of it with spectacular retrieving.

    Hoad’s service was still off in the fourth game and though he was able to battle up to deuce and another from 15-40 for Ken, he lost out on net errors as Ken toyed with his second serves.

    To top off the surge, Rosewall put up that 4-1 count by holding service at love.

    Suddenly, however, Ken lapsed into errors and Hoad swept the next three games, copping the eighth with a flurry of hard first shots and sensational recoveries that pulled him out on a love-30 deficit to three deuces which he eventually settled on a Rosewall net error and a passing shot of his own.

    The nip and tuck battle carried into the ninth, Rosewall leading off at 5-4 as he rushed the net behind his service.

    And in the tenth seeking an early end to the contest, Ken charged up his return of service to force Hoad into net miscues and attain match point at 15-40.

    But Hoad, long in heart despite his failures, went on a suicide rush behind his next service to force an out by Rosewall.

    Trying the same trick Ken assaulted the net on the next play but he drove a forehand into the barrier for deuce. Twice more he rushed the net, but his backhand failed him for line and net errors that gave Hoad a 5-5 reprieve.

    Rosewall made another strong bid in the 11th behind booming first shots that sent him off to 40.15. However, his out and a Hoad net kisser deuced the count, after which Hoad passed Ken from the backhand and then recovered a deep Ken placement and turned it into an applauded cross court clincher, 6-5.

    They broke each other’s service in the next two games but in the 14th, his siege gun delivery back, Hoad overpowered Rosewall for the set at game-15.

    Rosewall’s loss of service in the third game of the third set was the break. He led off to 30-0 as Hoad battled with the sweat in his grip, but Lew later wiped it off for good on the tarpaulin behind him to rally out of the fix, force Ken into errors during five deuces and head off to 2-1 on two successive passing shots.

    Occasionally afterwards, Rosewall was able to lead off on Hoad’s service, but the bomber steadied up in time to stay himself and avert any extension.
    So Rosewall lost two matches here after holding match points: four while serving to Segura, two while receiving Hoad’s serve.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
  8. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    Kramer told the press after Manila:

    Lew is 15-9 matches ahead of Ken Rosewall, with six more to go; and he beat both Pancho Segura and myself....I had a 14-10 edge over Segura.​
    His tally against Segura is plausible: in documented matches I have Kramer edging Segura 12-11 for the entire year, including the South America tour where Kramer lost at least twice to Segura. He may not have counted the South America tour in this statement.

    But in that '64 interview he claimed to have "managed a 2-1 edge on Segura" (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=8DAaAAAAIBAJ&sjid=dycEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3915,4480656).

    Kramer, after Manila, still has Hoad leading Segura, despite Hoad's loss to Pancho, and in contradiction to the Manila Times report that Segura now held a slight edge in that H2H.

    The Aussie press reported that after Manila, Hoad and Segura were "level [at] eight matches all."

    The Rosewall/Hoad numbers are a mess, and I'll put those in a separate post.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  9. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    At least 3 different Rosewall/Hoad tallies appeared in the press during the brief window between Manila and the start of the Australian tour.

    Rosewall/Hoad pro h2h, through Manila, was:

    9-15 per Kramer

    10-14 in an interview of Hoad by the Sydney Morning Herald

    12-14 according to Rosewall in another interview

    (In addition, World Tennis reported that the H2H was "square" or "level" by the time they reached Australia.)

    Rosewall's tally is the closest one to my own count of the documented matches -- I have Rosewall trailing 11-13 through Manila. Presumably we are missing one victory by each man.

    Rosewall's tally is also the only one compatible with a statement by Kramer made at the end of the year:

    I’ll admit Rosewall has beaten Hoad more times than Hoad has beaten Rosewall since they turned professional​
    Of all of Kramer's tallies provided to the press, I think this one holds the most water, because it worked against his own interests.

    As you can read in the links, Rosewall was pushing Kramer, at this time, to include him in the world tour of '58, in a kind of 3-way battle with him, Hoad, and Gonzalez. Rosewall's argument, heading to Australia, was that he was only trailing Lew by 12-14; and adding the results in Australia, Ken would be leading 17-16 for the entire year. Kramer, at that point, had to admit that Ken did have a lead over Hoad.

    And that would have been against his own original plan: this world tour of '57 was intended as a warmup tour for Hoad, as a way for Lew to prepare for a face-off against "Big Pancho" in the championship tour of '58.

    Rosewall had a logical argument. Why would you send the loser of the '57 tour, and not the winner, against the world champion?

    Kramer's answer was that Rosewall had already had a chance, and now it was Lew's turn.

    In any case, whatever the merits of the arguments in that dispute (which was repeated in late '58 ), Rosewall's post-Manila tally of 12-14 appears to be the most complete. The other tallies have to be explained some other way; perhaps the tally in Hoad's interview excludes the first two matches in the series, both won by Rosewall, in Forest Hills and LA.

    Kramer stated in his memoir that Hoad won two-thirds of his matches with Rosewall on this tour but there appears no longer any basis to support that:

    But when Hoad felt like getting up, boy was he something. On that warm-up tour, Rosewall beat me something like twenty-two matches to four. I was thirty-seven years old and had been away from championship play for several years, while Rosewall and Hoad were approaching the height of their powers; 22-4 was about right. But instead, when Hoad and I played, I actually beat him thirteen matches to twelve. That was because he just didn't give a damn when he played me. There was no challenge in the old man. It was the same thing with Segura, and Lew lost a majority of his matches to Segoo. But it was different against Rosewall. He wanted to beat Kenny, and he did. Remember now, Hoad lost 13–12 to me while Rosewall beat me 22–4, but Hoad turned it around and won two-thirds of his matches against Rosewall.​
  10. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    Going through my notes I see there was an older count by Kramer, given to the press the morning after the Karachi stand, which agrees with Rosewall's post-Manila count:

    According to Kramer, Hoad led the touring professionals in their recent swing through Africa and the Middle East.

    “The kid beat Rosewall 11 matches to 10 and Segura eight matches to seven,” Kramer said.​

    The restriction to Africa and the Middle East is obviously a mistake, more likely due to confusion on the part of reporters rather than any mistake on Kramer's part; the numbers work perfectly as full H2H counts for the entire year up to that point. I have Rosewall trailing Hoad 9-10 after Karachi, which means presumably that we’re missing one victory by each man.

    If we go with Kramer’s count of 10-11 after Karachi, that lines up exactly with Rosewall’s own count of 12-14 after Manila.

    The 12-14 count may have been known to McCauley, who wrote:

    Unfortunately, complete records are not to hand but we do know that on December 3rd Rosewall beat Hoad to tie their pro head-to-head at 14-all.​
    I found some confirmation of that count in this Aussie press report on Dec. 4:


    BRISBANE, Tuesday.—Ken Rosewall tonight evened the score with his old rival Lew Hoad in their Pacific Area clashes.

    Rosewall beat Hoad 8-10, 6-3, 6-2, at Townsville to make the tally 14 wins each.

    In the other match Pancho Segura beat Frank Sedgman, 4-6, 6-0, 6-2.

    More than 2,000 people watched the games which did not finish until after midnight.​
    Again, the count is strangely restricted to one geographical area; but local reporters would not necessarily have a clear picture of the entire world tour.

    In any case, Kramer's count from Karachi raises a question. Why did Kramer have Rosewall at 10 wins after Karachi, but by the time of Manila he's dropped him back down to 9 -- even though in the intervening time Rosewall picked up two wins over Hoad at Calcutta and Bangkok?

    Again I get the strong impression that rigorous H2H counts, spanning the year as a whole, were not kept -- and if they were kept, Kramer was, shall we say, flexible with them. When he’s speaking to the press he’s speaking primarily as a promoter. His statements to the press basically all make the same two points:

    1) Hoad is leading the current tour (sometimes Kramer adds that Hoad is tied, or level with, certain players); and

    2) Hoad will be ready for the ’58 tour against Gonzalez.

    In stressing or illustrating those two points to the press, he sometimes used general language and sometimes used numbers – and some of the numbers may be accurate but there’s no way to know without, essentially, documenting everything.

    He was, as a promoter, building up Hoad on a daily basis. He was drumming up Hoad as a drawing card on a program, of course, but I also mean he was trying to build up Hoad’s confidence, with all these positive statements about how well Hoad is doing on the current tour and how he’ll be more than ready to face Gonzalez.
  11. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    In Australia, Rosewall, for whatever reasons, suddenly broke away from the rest of the troupe. His 15-5 record there was easily his personal best performance for the year and the best that any of the troupe members had done in '57. It was comparable only to Segura’s record in the South America tour (I have Segura 16-4 in documented matches there).

    Compare the final standings of the Aussie tour to the one in in South Africa, which Rosewall won by the skin of his teeth:

    Rosewall 15-5
    Hoad 12-8
    Sedgman 8-12
    Segura 5-15

    South Africa:
    Rosewall 10-8
    Kramer 9-9
    Hoad 9-9
    Segura 8-10

    The Asian portion of the tour (Karachi to Hong Kong) was not a distinct tour in itself, but in that span, too, you see a kind of parity among the players, which gave no inkling of what was to come in Australia:

    Rosewall 4-5
    Hoad 5-4
    Kramer 4-5
    Segura 5-4

    Rosewall won 10 straight singles matches in Australia; the 10th of those wins clinched the tour for him, with three stands remaining. At that point he came back down a little, and he lost his two remaining meetings against Hoad.

    Why Rosewall did so well in this last part of the tour may be complex but there was one clue in this article – a long report assessing the players as they began in Australia:

    The Rosewall-Segura match provided better value for the customers—there were fine rallies as well as some lusty netting.

    Rosewall, also considerably aged in appearance by his pro junketing, has developed a real service and is going to be very hard to beat on grass.

    The pro tours have certainly improved him, and he looks a very well equipped player. ​

    How many of the Australian matches were on grass is impossible to say; I’ve found almost nothing describing surfaces on the Aussie tour. But it’s certainly possible that many, even a majority, were held on grass.

    Very few matches on the tour before Australia had been played on grass, but Rosewall has some impressive results on them. In Hong Kong he lost a close one to Hoad but in Calcutta he won both his matches and beat Hoad 6-3, 6-3. Bangkok, where he also beat Hoad in straights, may have been on grass too.

    And Rosewall had that great victory over Hoad in Saudi Arabia, on artificial grass turf.

    We don’t usually think of Rosewall as being exceptionally strong on grass, because he didn’t have a big serve. But his slice backhand was his strongest shot, and that would have cut through and stayed low on any grass turf.
  12. Dan L

    Dan L Professional

    Apr 25, 2014
    Overall, 1957 was a very strong year for Rosewall, who should probably rank #3 overall in the world that year.

    In his tour with Gonzales, he made a better showing than he would three years later on the 1960 tour, and Rosewall also won at the 1957 Wembley against a full field of top pros.
  13. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    Rosewall talked a little about surfaces in an article he wrote for British Lawn Tennis and Squash (December 1957 edition). Surprisingly, at least at this time of his career he seems to prefer playing indoors, where he gets less tired than he does on clay:

    Fellows like Gonzales, Segura, Sedgman and Trabert do not give you a thing and are very quick in seeing what is wrong with any part of your game whenever you play them.

    So when you draw them in a tournament you have to go out and beat them and that makes it pretty tough. I had only a few practice games before I met Pancho Gonzales in the first match of our tour on January 14 so I really felt I was being tossed to the dogs.

    Luckily it was a good match and I was very pleased with the way I performed against him all along the tour. But he ended that tour leading 51-27 so it can be seen why I regard Pancho as the greatest player I have ever met on the court.

    In those 78 matches we played on all types of courts and under every possible change of conditions. On that tour I found he could always produce his best tennis whenever he really wanted to. He was always in good shape physically and his service was so consistent, powerful and well placed that it almost won matches for him on its own. But apart from service he is so good everywhere else and the tighter the spot the less he misses.

    That to me is the chief difference between professional and amateur tennis. You never get a thing from them. They don’t miss the easy ones, they don’t throw points—you have to play to the umpire all the time—and you have to play to win that point all the time.

    Take Lew. I didn’t see him play at Wimbledon this year but from all reports he must have been pretty good in the final; he had to be to beat Cooper that easily.

    Then he turns pro, and wins his first two matches, though Sedgman was out of practice and not playing so well as he did later on in the tournament. After that he found it very tough going, so it goes to show the pros have quite an edge.

    Though we play on all kinds of surfaces, most of the matches on the American tour were indoors, under lights and on a canvas top. I found that pretty good because the bounce is always true, which it might not have been when we were travelling round some of the smaller towns in America. That playing one night, travelling all day and perhaps all night, and then playing again routine is the toughest thing of all.

    Tougher Outside

    In Europe we play mostly outdoors and on clay and that makes things very much harder because you have longer rallies and matches are much more difficult to win. Indoors you have mostly to play the net-rushing game, the matches are shorter and you do not become so tired.​
    Hoad mentions the same thing in his '58 bio: he says that Rosewall rarely beats him in five-setters, because he has a tendency to get tired.
  14. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    In the same edition of BLT there was this piece from Mary Hardwick, talking about night matches on the pro tours being held on grass or clay:

    Pancho Gonzales and Jack Kramer have completely settled their differences and Gonzales will now challenge Hoad in the big, much awaited contest. The big opening for the Gonzales-Hoad matches will be in Australia, January 1, 1958. After the Australian schedule they will return to the United States and make their first appearance at Madison Square Garden on February 12.

    An interesting feature of the Kramer plans for next year is that he himself will participate personally in all the tournaments and most of the tour throughout the season along with Hoad, Rosewall and Gonzales.

    Another interesting, though perhaps not generally realised feature is that most of these matches take place in the evening, both in Australia and the United States, sometimes outside on grass or hardcourts, at others on a special portable canvas surface in indoor arenas.​
  15. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    This was in the February 1958 edition of World Tennis, a little bit about the pros and cons of holding amateur tournaments in Australia at night:

    The LTA of Victoria may stage night tennis tournaments for amateurs next year. LTAV prexy R.N. Vroland said he hoped to try interstate matches under light and then, if it proved successful, try playing championships at night. Permanent lights for Kooyong had been approved by the Association, and it was felt that evening play would make tennis available to those who could not take time off during the week. The player reaction was not so sanguine. Ashley Cooper said: “Tennis is a game that should be played in daylight. Night tennis would be hard on the players with defective eyesight unless the lights were very good.” Neale Fraser concurred, adding that courts might get slippery with dew, that it would be hard to see lobs dropping out of semi-darkness, and that players such as Vic Seixas who needs glasses at night would be greatly handicapped.​
    I read somewhere else, though I don't have the link or quote anymore, an official in the amateur game in Australia arguing that night matches would bring in larger crowds; he said that if the Kramer pro troupe could do it, then the amateur tournaments could certainly do the same.
  16. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    This was in the Canberra Times, after Hoad lost to Segura in the Masters event at Los Angeles and seemed to be reeling in his debut as a pro:

    It was not even a contest – Hoad had hit rock-bottom.
    He said later, “I don’t like cement courts. I just couldn’t play.”​
    Then in an interview just before Wembley, Hoad said, "One of the main difficulties I find is the constant change of court surface." According to the interviewer, 3 of the 9 times that Hoad had met Kramer in Europe had been indoors (and Kramer had a 2-1 edge indoors).

    Starting around the time of Wembley (late September), the troupe may have played more often indoors -- particularly in their Scandinavian stops which were in early October.

    Kramer referred to an "indoor circuit", on that same day that Hoad lost to Segura in LA:

    Kramer Still Has Hopes In Lew Hoad

    LOS ANGELES, Aug. 2 (AP)—Australian tennis star Lew Hoad has been unimpressive in his professional debut but promoter Jack Kramer hasn’t given up on him.

    Kramer, who has $125,000 invested in Hoad said however that Hoad will have to change his style to be successful as a pro.

    “His second serve is too shallow,” says Kramer. “His opponents massacre it. He must shorten his backhand or play deeper in returning service. Right now he’s swinging too late and not getting any accuracy.”

    Kramer says Hoad, who is playing in the Masters Tournament here, is trying so hard that he is pressing and can’t seem to do anything right.

    “He had plenty of confidence when he first came over from England after winning at Wimbledon for the second straight year. In his first two professional matches in New York he was loose and really looked good in winning, but then he ran into his nemesis, Ken Rosewall, and that defeat seems to have thrown him. He has dropped seven straight matches and his problems have been mounting. He knows that if he makes a mistake these pros will eat him alive. In amateur tennis he could recover after a mistake, but not against the pros.”

    Kramer says Hoad is nervous and isn’t sleeping well, which adds to his burdens, but he is confident Hoad will work out his problems.

    “Look at the way Rosewall has improved since turning pro. Frank Sedgman says Ken’s game is 25 per cent stronger than when he last played him in Australia.”

    From the Masters Tournament, Hoad goes to New York, then to Europe before returning to start his tour with world champion Pancho Gonzales next December. Kramer says he is glad he insisted on Hoad’s preliminary tour, “for he is in no shape to meet Gonzales now.”

    Kramer says there is a psychological factor connected with Hoad’s defeats here “as he never has done well on these courts in Los Angeles and thinks they are his jinx.

    But, says Kramer, wait until he gets going in the indoor circuit, “and then you’ll see an entirely different player, both mentally and physically.”​
    I'm not sure that Hoad's results really changed, one way or another, in their autumn stands, but Kramer's did. I noted above that Kramer had extraordinary results in a 9-day stretch from Sept. 20-29, including his only 2 known wins over Rosewall, 2 wins over Hoad, and 1 over Pancho Gonzalez at Wembley. His results before then were nowhere near that good (I count only 3 wins in 13 matches against fellow troupe members). His results later in the year, in South Africa and Asia, were good but still not up to that level.

    I wonder if the winning stretch by Kramer coincided with a switch to indoor courts and if that switch was a major factor in his success.

    Late September in Europe (particularly in Scandinavia), is when you would expect to see indoor matches; and we do know that Wembley and Stockholm were on wooden boards.

    Kramer's game was obviously suited to fast conditions, and at age 36 he probably found it taxing to play on clay (or under a hot sun).
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015
  17. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Apr 22, 2005
    Interesting to know this surface changes. I think the surfaces had great influences especially on the World Series. I think, that Gonzalez took some advantages , because the clear majority of matches were played indoors, where the new pros had no experenience, especially the Aussies, to play on. The amateurs were accostumed to grass and clay, and almost never played indoors, with the exception of some Scandinavian vernues and the US indoors at New York. Although probably Gonzalez would have won those series anyway, i think, that Trabert or Rosewall would have done a lot better in the scores, if more matches would have been played outdoors. Gonzalez himself made this experience against Kramer in 1950. When Laver turned pro in 1963, he lost his initial pro tour big to Rosewall and Hoad, but he did better on Australian grass, and broke to pieces in NZ, where they played al lot on indoor courts.
  18. DMP

    DMP Professional

    Jul 8, 2013
    Just want to say again how very much I enjoy readings these reports. They really bring back the realities of the pro tour.
  19. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Dec 3, 2006
    An article by Kramer in January '58 edition of British Lawn Tennis and Squash:

    I'd Use More Top if I had Another Chance


    PEOPLE sometimes ask if Gonzales to-day is better than I was in my prime. That is a question I find difficult to answer.

    There is no doubt he has improved considerably since we first toured together and if such a match were possible, it would surely be a very fine one. But where does one rank Gonzales in a list of the all-time greats?

    I do not think he would have beaten either Budge or Vines, or two or three others I could mention … but not many.

    Gonzales is certainly a great player but I have to name Donald Budge as the greatest player I have ever seen.

    I played Budge when I was a kid and again, after the war, in several professional tournaments and matches. Never do you feel very confident, even when serving to him. Normally a good server feels that no matter the opponent, he has a better than good chance of holding it. Against Budge you never really had the confident feeling he wasn't going to knock the ball beyond your reach.

    It was almost impossible to play a serve and volley game against him and he had such great depth and penetration that in exchanges from the back court, his depth enabled him to get to the net quicker than you. In other words, he had such depth, certainty and penetration that you had to do something extraordinary to beat that man.

    Possibly because of Budge's influence, I would try to use more top spin with my ground strokes if I were to start my game alI over again.

    It is a great asset to possess down the line shots but it is essential to use top spin to make the angles and to open up the court for the down the line shot passing shot. The down the line shot gets by the man at the net but if a man has no cross court shot —and top spin in particular—the volleyer can really lean over to the down the line shot and take care of it because he knows you cannot make an angle on him.

    If you do make an angle with a flat or underspin backhand, a good, fast man will get up and cut it off but with a backhand like Budge's — or Frank Kovacs, in my opinion they had the two best backhands—he could hit the ball cross court sharply enough so that if you gave him any opening at all he could pass you there. Budge was so great because he could hit down the line too.

    Whither Hoad?

    I've seen Lew Hoad on two or three occasions play great tennis but I do not know how long it will be before he finds his feet in this company. I have only seen him play against fellows who are very, very good so it is not just a question of Lew looking good or bad.

    If you put him against players who do not put the pressure on him he will still look as great as he did at Wimbledon. The truth is, Lew has had some very difficult times—people do not know the behind the scenes problems of being a new professional; the press are on you, the business things, you have got to be talking to lawyers and signing contracts, he has had physical problems which he never talks about—and I am happy he is meeting them on the relatively small part of the tour.

    When the big stuff really comes along we shall be playing practically every place in Europe, South Africa, India, Bangkok, Honk-Kong, Australia, South America, Canada—about every place where there is a tennis court — and that is going to be really tough.

    It seems I am going to be busier than ever as a promoter and as I enjoy what I am doing I see no point in quitting. I feel I am good for the game, I have a grea.t interest in it, and it pays me well. All I have to do is to keep satisfying the players. I do a good job. Unless there is a strong move towards open tennis and the so called exhibition tour becomes outmoded, I shall continue.

    They call them exhibition tours and many people believe they are easy but, believe me, they are really the world series of tennis. The pro-champion meets the amateur champion and that is the series every good player wants to be in on—more than anything else. There is a lot of cash in one tour and winning it is like winning $75,000 or $100,000 because automatically you tag along with the next great amateur name that comes in.

    I enjoy what I am doing. It enables me to stay close to the thing I love and the only thing I know really well—tennis.

    I guess I planned to turn professional very young. My first thought, when I really analysed it, was when I saw Ellsworth Vines, who was already a professional. Then when a great player like Budge, who was amateur champion when I was a kid, turned professional and I heard the stories about the boys winning Wimbledon, Forest Hills, and a couple of Davis Cup matches when what they really wanted was to get in there and start making that big money, well that naturally influenced me. It was strengthened by Fred Perry, who turned in 1936, and Bobby Riggs, so it seemed natural to turn professional.

    There is sometimes a slightly snobbish element in England. I have always felt the All England Tennis Club being the finest tennis club and running the biggest and best known tournament in the world—have taken a little difficult stand. That is my opinion.

    For instance, one year you can be out there on the centre court receiving your trophy from the King and the next you are not even allowed into the locker room. They do not mean any harm and I do not think that if I met anyone who had been friendly one year he would be unfriendly the next. I have always been treated very, very nicely wherever I have gone. But I think Wimbledon could go a little further and understand that professionalism is a matter of need. If you need money you have got to make it the best way you can. It does not change your character, it doesn't change you, and, after all, this is. sport.

    The main thing is for them to realise that all those boys running around that locker room might well be just as professional as any of us.​

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