The late summer sun blazed hot and bright over the scuffed courts of the West Side Tennis Club in Long Island's Forest Hills last week during the 78th playing of the national U.S. lawn tennis championships. Its piercing rays etched the close-cropped green turf with many a weirdly prancing black shape in the form of shadows cast by skillful youngsters of unproved promise and veterans past their prime, but it did little to dispel the larger and vaguer shadow that hangs over U.S. amateur tennis in general.
Fans flocked to the big concrete stadium which has long been the headquarters of American amateur championship tennis, hoping to find in the shadows and in the bounding figures who cast them a hopeful augury for the future. As the tournament matches progressed from round to round, however, they found their biggest thrills in the gallant losing play of such U.S. veterans as Vic Seixas and Dick Savitt, whose shadows were projected not forward but backward into tournament courts of the past.
Playing on his 35th birthday, Seixas won a magnificent five-set opening-round victory from Kurt Nielsen who was seeded seventh, and lasted until the quarter-finals. After a brilliant start which included the second-round defeat of America's most promising Davis Cup hopeful, Barry MacKay, a towheaded 19-year-old named Chris Crawford bowed at last to Herbie Flam, who in turn bowed to the young Swede Ulf Schmidt. At the semifinal round for the first time in 78 years of national singles play not one American was left to continue the championship of his own country. On the last day of the tournament the same two young Australians, Mal Anderson and Ashley Cooper, who fought for the title last year, were at it again. "If I come back again," Mal predicted after his victory last year, "I'll probably lose." Last week he did just that in a tense final round during which his countryman Cooper, despite the agony of a twisted ankle, won in five close sets. Meanwhile, hard put to find natives to man their squad, U.S. Davis Cup selectors decided to enroll a likable young Peruvian named Alejandro Olmedo who has been playing top tennis with Captain Perry Jones's California boys for the last five years.
On the distaff side of U.S. tennis the long-striding shadow of Champion Althea Gibson blanketed all contenders despite a constant wish on the part of the fans that someone might turn up who could give the champ a run for her money. After victory in the finals against Darlene Hard, Althea herself cast a further pall over the future of U.S. tennis by announcing her retirement to become a professional singer.
September 14, 1958
SAFE DRIVERS ALL
Assorted bruises and lacerations were the astonishingly mild consequences for the drivers on these pages, who seemed to be trying to outdo each other in the crash, bam and sizzle of their exit scenes in last week's Southern 500-mile race at Darlington, S.C. The crowd of 80,000 flinched as cars popped through the guardrail or dipsy-doodled on the banking, but seat belts, shoulder harnesses and roll bars saved all the drivers from serious injury. Florida's plucky Glenn (Fireball) Roberts, 29, drove his 1957 Chevrolet coolly along the steeply banked track rim to a victory worth $13,430.
GOOD WILL IN TOKYO
The time was when only bitterness marked the conflicts of Aussies and Japanese. This picture mirrors the change. Astride Australia's Gary Chapman is Japan's young swimmer, Tsuyoshi Yamanaka. After losing to Yamanaka in the Japanese championships, Chapman exuberantly hoisted him aloft. Chapman is not helping with a victory salute; overcome by the Aussie's gesture, Yamanaka had tried to cover his face with his hand.