It begins, often, with the child drawing a line in chalk across the garage door. His racket is slightly bent, having been left outside during the last rain, and the ball he hits has long since lost its fuzz. No matter. He is playing tennis and he is having fun. Later, as an adult, he will insist on an expensive racket, worry about his serve and rejoice when he sends a backhand whistling down the line. Bill Tilden once said: "There is no sensation in the sporting world so enjoyable to me as that when I meet a tennis ball just right," and the young man will know what Tilden meant. Still later, when his legs tell him that two sets of doubles are quite enough, long after he has stopped worrying about his serve, he will still enjoy the game, for the exercise and companionship it gives him.
Today tennis is played all over the world, in Saigon, Copenhagen, Budapest and Kalamazoo. It is played on grass, clay, cement, wood, asphalt and mud, by kings, queens, presidential candidates and an estimated 12 million other people. There are tournaments for boys and girls 10 years old and under, and tournaments for gentlemen 70 years old and over. Father can play tennis with daughter, mother with son, all four together. It is a game of universal appeal. This week we salute the game of tennis. On the following 17 pages we present a lesson in net play, a nostalgic look at the indoor courts of the old Long Island estates and an account of one man's problems in having his own court. And, beginning on page 56, we offer a closeup of a player who at 50 can still beat most men half his age.