The setting is New York. The world’s #1 player is here seeking the last major of the tennis season, having lost only one important match all year, at the French. Here in New York he’s reached the final weekend but he’s fighting for his life in a fifth set. He’s visibly annoyed because the crowd is cheering his errors and roaring for his opponent. The crowd favorite breaks for a 5-3 lead and can now serve out the match. He gets to two match points, but he can’t close it out. He double-faults the game away and ends up losing the match. We all know this happened last September when Federer lost to Djokovic at Flushing Meadow. But it also happened in September 1936 when Don Budge lost to Fred Perry in the final at Forest Hills. Every detail I’ve laid out above happened in 1936: except the part about the two match points. In his autobiography, Budge recalled holding two match points on his service at 5-3 in the fifth. But I cannot find a press report from 1936 that says he lost two match points in that game. Instead it seems that he got broken at 15, and double-faulted on break point. As nice a story as it would be if Budge and Federer both held match points in that game, at the same major, 75 years apart, I cannot find good evidence for it. Perry won the match 2-6, 6-2, 8-6, 1-6, 10-8. The New York Times provided a boxscore -- or Point Score, to use the contemporary term. Here is the Point Score of the fifth set. The top row indicates the game number. Breaks are in red. Perry’s service games are shaded in blue. According to this, Budge was broken at 15 in the ninth game, with the score 5-3 in his favor. The New York Times says simply that Budge “played badly and lost the game with a double fault.” The only possible places the Point Score would allow Budge to reach match point are the 10th game (Perry serving at 4-5) and the 16th game (Perry serving at 7-8 ). The Times and the Miami News describe both games in detail, and each paper reports that Budge came within two points of victory in those games; they never mention match points. Here is Budge talking about the match in his autobiography, A Tennis Memoir, published in 1969. All of the details Budge provides in that passage – except the two match points – are confirmed in the newspaper reports from 1936. Note, however, that Budge does get a number of basic facts wrong in his account. He writes that he won the third set; he says that Perry won the fourth. He also reports the last set going to 13-11. All in all, his memoir, published so many years after the fact, cannot be taken to be as reliable as newspaper reports and boxscores from the time period. Allison Danzig reported for the New York Times. He referred to “the Niagara of the roar that was heard later in the afternoon as Budge threatened to lower the colors of the world’s champion.” The Chicago Tribune: The Miami News had a very detailed account (http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...18442&dq=perry+defeats+budge+in+final&hl=en): Bud Collins, in the most recent edition of his History of Tennis, describes Budge as reaching match point on his service at 5-3; and he quotes from Budge’s memoir. I noted above why that is problematic. Collins adds that Budge came within two points of winning the match in Perry’s service games at 6-7 and 7-8. But 6-7 cannot be right, because Perry held at 15 in that game, according to the Point Score. The Sydney Morning Herald, like Collins, specified the games at 6-7 and 7-8, but they went further: they wrote that Budge held “several match points”. However, there are no in-depth details (http://news.google.com/newspapers?i...69973&dq=close+call+perry+against+budge&hl=en). All in all, I have not seen good evidence that Budge held match points. I have found detailed reports, including a Point Score, indicating that when he served for the match at 5-3 he was broken quickly and that later he came within two points of winning.