TIME HAS SERVED AND VOLLEYED
from Wimbledon to Forest Hills, reporting as Don Budge completed the first tennis Grand-Slam
, Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe overcame the sport's racial barriers and Billie-Jean King and Martina Navratilova defined female athletes in the 20th century. Some highlights of our tennis coverage:
A phlegmatic, gentle youth, so homely that even his mother smiled when a friend said that, if not the best tennis player in the world, her son was certainly the ugliest, young Budge is likeable but undistinguished off a tennis court.
From Forest Hills Finale
Sep. 2, 1935
The designer and chief exponent of this aggressive, high-pressure tennis is California's Jake Kramer. He is the U.S. singles champion, the Wimbledon champion, the No. 1 U.S. Davis Cupper in both singles and doubles. In other words, he has proved that he is the best amateur tennis player in the world.
From Advantage Kramer
Sep. 1, 1947
After seven years of trying, Althea Gibson has yet to win the national singles title. As a Negro, she is still only a tolerated stranger in Forest Hills locker rooms, still has no official standing in the U.S.L.T.A. But now none of that matters. For that Gibson girl has finally whipped the one opponent that could keep her down: her own self-doubt and defensive truculence.
From That Gibson Girl
Aug. 26, 1957
At Forest Hills, N.Y., Rod ('Rocket') Laver, a deceptively small (5 ft. 9 in.), bowlegged Australian, scored a smashing victory in the U.S. championships to complete his own remarkable sweep and match Budge's 24-year-old record.
From The Rocket's Slam
Sep. 21, 1962
Evert's concentration borders on the mesmeric. Scrunching her nose and squinting her hazel eyes, she assumes a trancelike expression that rarely bespeaks the slightest emotion. Rivals have described her intensity as 'almost eerie,' her slit-eyed squint as 'snake-like.'
From Chris Evert: Miss Cool on the Court
Aug. 27, 1973
Given an audience, Connors can seldom resist the temptation to ham. Occasionally he loses control and crosses the boundary of mischief into malice. When that happens, usually at a taut moment in a match, Connors can explode in one of the self-indulgent tantrums that have earned him his reputation as the world's reigning Tennis Brat and Bad Boy.
From Jimmy Connors: The Hellion of Tennis
Apr. 28, 1975
In sports, Billie Jean King, who almost singlehanded has put women into the mainstream and helped greatly to raise the pay of women athletes, became a kind of business and sports conglomerate.
From Great Changes, New Chances, Tough Choices
Jan. 5, 1976
A lefthander with a sizzling backhand and an impressive overhead. McEnroe was swinging relaxed and free, fully aware that the pressure was on the big names to defeat him. In the dubious new tradition of explosive court manners, he threw his share of temper tantrums -- and racquets -- along the way.
From Wimbledon: Youth Will Be Served
Jul. 11, 1977
Borg is an incredible tennis machine, an inexorable force that is one part speed, one part top-spin and two parts iron will.
From The Tennis Machine
Jun. 30, 1980
There were so many long odds and so many graceful triumphs in the lifetime of Arthur Ashe. More than seem plausible for a black youngster from segregated Richmond, Virginia, whose ticket to worldwide renown and recognition was punched in a sport that was almost the definition of a game for whites.
From A Man of Fire and Grace: Arthur Ashe 1943-1993
By Paul A. Witteman
Feb. 15, 1993
Navratilova has won more matches and more money, $19 million, than any other woman in tennis. In one of the most remarkable feats of endurance in any sport, she has taken at least one title for 22 straight years and ranked in the top five for two decades.
By William A. Henry III
Jun. 27, 1994
When first we glimpsed Agassi just over a decade ago, he was a skinny teenager with an omigosh attitude. He was a teen heartthrob, a proto-Leo with a roaring forehand and a leonine mane (hair, yes, Andre once had hair, streaked with fancy colors). A top-ranked player before he was 20, he won the big one, Wimbledon, at 22 in '92.
From The Many Faces Of Agassi
By Robert Sullivan
Sep. 6, 1999
They dominate through their athleticism. Venus, who can serve a ball at 127 m.p.h., is actually less powerful than her sister. But she's faster, comes to the net more and chokes the court off from opponents, forcing them into more difficult shots. Serena's game is still raw; she tends to blast away from the baseline. When she's on, she's unbeatable. When she's not, the ball boys wear cups.
From The Power Game
By Joel Stein
Sep. 3, 2001
Men's tennis can get giddy once again. With his powerful ground strokes, hunky looks and seductive playfulness--not to mention the fluorescent shirts and white Capri pants--Nadal, 19, could give tennis its next real box-office star.
From Court Conquistador
By Sean Gregory
Jun. 20, 2005
It was the fierce face-offs between John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, and McEnroe and nerveless Swede Bjorn Borg, that drove the sport to its heights. Since 1992, the year Jimmy and Mac finally hung up their racquets, the number of Americans playing tennis has fallen 36%, to 11 million.
From A Duel to Fuel Tennis
By Sean Gregory
Aug. 27, 2006
Much has changed in tennis in half a century. And some things haven't. What's the biggest change? Power.
From A Courtly Player
By Daniel Williams
Jan. 11, 2007