Tennis: Its History, People and Events

By Will Grimsley | Go to book overview

Preface

I recall the first tennis racket I ever owned. It was ordered from Sears Roebuck and it cost all of eight dollars. It was overly embellished and loosely strung with cheap gut, but every night I slipped it inside its canvas cover, tightened the clamps on the press and stuck it away where it would be safe. It was like some rare gem.

As in the case of Jack Kramer and undoubtedly legions of others down through the years I was ashamed to carry it on a streetcar or walk with it the few blocks to South Park in Nashville, Tennessee, where people queued up to play on the single hard clay court. A player of talent and stamina could remain on the court until he was beaten.

One of my greatest thrills as a schoolboy was seeing Big Bill Tilden, who visited the school to promote his pro tour. To me, there always has been a fascination about the game although in later years it had trouble capturing the people's fancy. I liked to play it, although I never advanced beyond the club stage. I enjoyed watching and covering it. Thus researching and writing about it proved more pleasure than work.

However, completion of this book would not have been possible had not hundreds of others before me felt a similar interest, delved into its exciting history and put their findings on paper. There is no way of properly expressing my debt of gratitude to all those historians, biographers and journalists whose brains I picked -- through their published works -- to get this project completed.

Malcolm D. Whitman's Tennis Origins and Mysteries, Parke Cummings ' lively American Tennis and the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association's Fifty Years of Lawn Tennis in the United States were particularly helpful in exploring the historical background and development of the game.

Rich background and a graphic insight to the personalities, successes and failures of the early giants were provided by E. C. Potter Jr. , in his Kings of the Court and Norah Gordon Cleather in Wimbledon Story. Bill Talbert's Tennis Observed brought every American champion, his style and disposition, right into the living room, and C. M. Jones, editor of Britain's Lawn Tennis magazine, did the same for the great Wimbledon titleholders. Frank G. Menke 's Encyclopedia of Sports was always handy to fill in needed holes.

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Tennis: Its History, People and Events
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Foreword *
  • Preface *
  • Contents *
  • One 1
  • Two 31
  • Three 191
  • Four 233
  • Five 289
  • Index 371
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