ALTHEA accommodates HISTORY
IT WAS A MATTER OF TIME. Seven years had passed since Althea Gibson, the tomboy who played paddle tennis in the streets of Harlem, became the first Negro to toe the green turf of Forest Hills. There was time to develop a powerful serve and a fine all-round game. There was time, also, for setbacks and self-doubt. Last year Althea was defeated by center-court jitters and Shirley Fry in the women's final at Forest Hills.
But Althea's career was taking the course that tennis history almost seemed to require. This July, playing confidently, she won the loftiest of women's titles, the Wimbledon singles, and came home to a Manhattan parade. Next she won the U.S. Clay Court title. Duly seeded first among the women in the 77th United States Lawn Tennis Association championships, she returned to Forest Hills fully, and almost serenely, aware that she was the star. She was a star in her own right; a chaotic and depleted men's division further insured her singularity. Keeping the pressure on her opponents from the start, she disposed of Karol Fageros, Elizabeth Lester, Sheila Armstrong, Mary Hawton and Dorothy Knode without losing a set.
Last Sunday, concededly the finest woman player in the game, again upon the verge of claiming the highest tennis honor this nation has to offer its women, Althea Gibson strode onto the center court to meet the former U.S. and Wimbledon champion, Louise Brough. And this time Althea accommodated history, defeated the blonde Louise 6-3, 6-2 and joyously claimed her trophy from Vice-President Richard Nixon. "I hope to wear my crown," she said, "with dignity and humility."
September 15, 1957
ANDERSON makes HISTORY
Malcolm James Anderson, whom Althea Gibson would find hard to outdo in humility, is a gaunt and knobby 22-year-old from the cattle country north of Brisbane, Australia. Thrust into the limelight by the departure of Hoad and Rosewall to professional tennis—but not so far as to be seeded at Forest Hills along with his countrymen, Ashley Cooper and Neale Fraser—Anderson confounded nearly everybody by outplaying Cooper in the brilliant singles final 10-8, 7-5, 6-4. This despite ill health early in the year, a subsequent sunstroke and the recent painful and annoying loss of a big toenail.
To be sure, Anderson had dumped Dick Savitt (seeded No. 2) and Sweden's Sven Davidson (No. 3). Still, the word before the final was, "Ash always cools Mai." On Sunday Anderson cooled Cooper (No. 1) to become the first unseeded player in history to win the Nationals. To do so, he gave what the U.S. Davis Cup team captain, Bill Talbert, called "the finest exhibition of ground strokes at Forest Hills since Gonzales in 1949."
Anderson now looks forward to a rest back home in Queensland, where he owns a herd of 100 Herefords. "I want to come back next year," he said. "When I do, I'll probably lose my title." But don't bet on it.