Hoad at the final of the 1956 French Championships?

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
“Unknown to the public Hoad had stayed up the night previous to the final, invited by a Russian diplomat, and was drunk when he came home. An intensive workout by Rod Laver got him into a state that allowed him to play the final.”

Does anyone know any more about this episode?
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
“Hoad was a well-built and muscular 5-foot-8, 175 pounder who was adept enough to win on the fast grass courts in London and New York and even the slow courts in Paris.”

From the International Tennis Hall of Fame page on Hoad.
https://www.tennisfame.com/hall-of-famers/inductees/lew-hoad/

Hoad 5’ 8”.?! Really? (Other sources say differently.)

The ITHOF also lists Laver at 5’ 8”.
“Laver was a slight and thin 5-foot-8, 145-pounder who didn’t overpower his opponents; he defeated them with speed and agility, a fiery competitive spirit, and a developed game that had no weaknesses.”
https://www.tennisfame.com/hall-of-famers/inductees/rod-laver/

Hoad and Laver having the same height. Surely not!
 
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pc1

G.O.A.T.
“Hoad was a well-built and muscular 5-foot-8, 175 pounder who was adept enough to win on the fast grass courts in London and New York and even the slow courts in Paris.”

From the International Tennis Hall of Fame page on Hoad.
https://www.tennisfame.com/hall-of-famers/inductees/lew-hoad/

Hoad 5’ 8”.?! Really? (Other sources say differently.)

The ITHOF also lists Laver at 5’ 8”.
“Laver was a slight and thin 5-foot-8, 145-pounder who didn’t overpower his opponents; he defeated them with speed and agility, a fiery competitive spirit, and a developed game that had no weaknesses.”
https://www.tennisfame.com/hall-of-famers/inductees/rod-laver/

Hoad and Laver having the same height. Surely not!
According to Vines and I believe Gonzalez, Hoad was 5'11" tall.

Laver was a little shorter than Hoad at around 5'9" I believe.
 

treblings

Hall of Fame
excerpt from "Golden Boy,the life and times of Lew Hoad"

"Towards the end of the tournament there occurred an incident, typical of Lew, but now talked about with awe in tennis circles. Having been detained on the eve of the final by a
doubles match, Lew and Jenny went for a late dinner at a quiet little bistro. After some time a waiter approached with a bottle of vodka, which he indicated was a present from two Russian "diplomats" sitting at a nearby table. Russia was about to break into the world tennis scene and had been carefully scouting the major tournaments to get a feel for thing.
Lew and Jenny joined the Russians and, to cement their new friendship, decided to go back to the Russians apartment for some more drinks.

At six o´clock the following morning, Lew and Jenny returned to their hotel and Lew slumped on the bed. As the room began to spin round, he announced with evident surprise, "****, I´m drunk"
- which Jenny regarded as the understatement of the tour so far. There were only eight hours to the final; Lew got up, donned his track suit and ran several miles to the Roland Garros courts to try to clear his head, and get some much needed practice.

Luckily he came across a young Rod Laver, also looking for an early work-out,and the two set about trying to get Lew sober on an outside court.
Pale-faced, and with sweat coming out of every pore, Lew then put down a hefty breakfast - which immediately returned. More work on court with Rod - then a second breakfast.
With two breakfasts down and one up, Lew fell asleep on a bench in the locker room. That afternoon, in blazing heat and before a packed Paris centre court, he beat his opponent who, once again, was Sven Davidson, 6-4, 8-6, 6-1 - at one point hitting six winners in a row and taking five successive games in eleven minutes."
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
excerpt from "Golden Boy,the life and times of Lew Hoad"

"Towards the end of the tournament there occurred an incident, typical of Lew, but now talked about with awe in tennis circles. Having been detained on the eve of the final by a
doubles match, Lew and Jenny went for a late dinner at a quiet little bistro. After some time a waiter approached with a bottle of vodka, which he indicated was a present from two Russian "diplomats" sitting at a nearby table. Russia was about to break into the world tennis scene and had been carefully scouting the major tournaments to get a feel for thing.
Lew and Jenny joined the Russians and, to cement their new friendship, decided to go back to the Russians apartment for some more drinks.

At six o´clock the following morning, Lew and Jenny returned to their hotel and Lew slumped on the bed. As the room began to spin round, he announced with evident surprise, "****, I´m drunk"
- which Jenny regarded as the understatement of the tour so far. There were only eight hours to the final; Lew got up, donned his track suit and ran several miles to the Roland Garros courts to try to clear his head, and get some much needed practice.

Luckily he came across a young Rod Laver, also looking for an early work-out,and the two set about trying to get Lew sober on an outside court.
Pale-faced, and with sweat coming out of every pore, Lew then put down a hefty breakfast - which immediately returned. More work on court with Rod - then a second breakfast.
With two breakfasts down and one up, Lew fell asleep on a bench in the locker room. That afternoon, in blazing heat and before a packed Paris centre court, he beat his opponent who, once again, was Sven Davidson, 6-4, 8-6, 6-1 - at one point hitting six winners in a row and taking five successive games in eleven minutes."
Wow! Great story. Thanks.
 

urban

Legend
Never saw a drunken top player on court, but at least twice a top guy, who was on drugs. Sadly, Vitas Gerulaitis once was shivering with his whole body during a match at Hamburg, Rothenbaum, a very sad moment to see. And once at the WTC at Düsseldorf, Yannick Noah was playing and behaving as he was sky high.
 

treblings

Hall of Fame
Never saw a drunken top player on court, but at least twice a top guy, who was on drugs. Sadly, Vitas Gerulaitis once was shivering with his whole body during a match at Hamburg, Rothenbaum, a very sad moment to see. And once at the WTC at Düsseldorf, Yannick Noah was playing and behaving as he was sky high.
i hesitate to give you a like for this post, as it makes me sad even now. Particularly the part about Vitas.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Another famous "drunk" story, also about Hoad, was by Buchholz.
Prior to Hoad's first match against Laver in 1963, Hoad was out drinking beer late, until he could barely find his way.
Buchholz and Hoad's wife helped him to bed, he woke up next morning, jogged, and later "waxed" Laver in their first match.

I suspect that this "first match" was the first practice match the two played, not the Sydney opener.

Also, stories are still told about how Emerson drank his fill of beer just before going on court in the 1967 Canadian final against Santana in Montreal, on clay.
Santana won in three straight sets.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Another famous "drunk" story, also about Hoad, was by Buchholz.
Prior to Hoad's first match against Laver in 1963, Hoad was out drinking beer late, until he could barely find his way.
Buchholz and Hoad's wife helped him to bed, he woke up next morning, jogged, and later "waxed" Laver in their first match.

I suspect that this "first match" was the first practice match the two played, not the Sydney opener.

Also, stories are still told about how Emerson drank his fill of beer just before going on court in the 1967 Canadian final against Santana in Montreal, on clay.
Santana won in three straight sets.
Also, the famous 1933 U.S. final at Forest Hills...Crawford was leading Perry two sets to one.
During the match, Crawford's friends were slipping booze into Crawford's drinks at courtside, without Crawford's knowledge. They believed that it would help him overcome his asthma symptoms.
By the fourth set Crawford was drunk, and was unable to play in the fifth set.

Without this booze angle, it seems probable that Crawford would have won the first ever Grand Slam...tough luck.
 
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hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
Also, stories are still told about how Emerson drank his fill of beer just before going on court in the 1967 Canadian final against Santana in Montreal, on clay.
Santana won in three straight sets.
Well, I guess Emerson wasn’t Hoad.
;)
 
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urban

Legend
Crawfords example was not singular, it was usual in the 20s and 30s to zip a glass of brandy or champagne for refreshment, i think even Suzanne did it from time to time. I read that Frank Shields, probably the most handsome male tennis star ever, could play excellent, when being sober. Sadly, many sport stars of the pre pro era had problems with alcohol, including soccer stars (wingers) like Garrincha, Rahn or Best or Gazza, ski stars like Sailer or Nykanen, and many boxers and ice hockey stars.
 
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