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Original Issue

The Question: What tennis player gave you your toughest match?

U.S. and Wimbledon champion
"Hilda Krahwinkel Sperling in the 1936 Wimbledon. Neither of us had won that title and we battled for three hours. The match meant so much to us that at its conclusion we were too winded to speak when we met at the net. All we could do was shake hands and smile in understanding."

Captain, Japanese
Davis Cup team
"Bill Tilden. He was the best in the world, the master of every stroke. There has been no one since who could match him at his peak. We played in tournaments throughout the U.S. 28 years ago. He always beat me in singles, but I did beat him occasionally in doubles."

Captain, U.S. Davis Cup team
"Bobby Riggs. When a man beats you 23 times in a row he must be considered your toughest opponent. It got pretty dull. He was a great tactician, extremely steady off the ground. I compare him to Carl Hubbell in baseball. Like Carl, he never gave you anything to hit."

U.S. Women's Indoor champion, 1949
"Opening night at Madison Square Garden, when I turned pro, Pauline Betz really gave me a beating. In straight sets too. I remember being introduced and my knees knocking together in rhythm to The Star-Spangled Banner. The news reports said I was not only badly beaten but outdressed."

JEAN BOROTRA, Paris, France
Wimbledon champion, 1924 and 1926
"France's Rene Lacoste. He won the American championship from the great Bill Tilden in 1927. The year before he beat me for the American championship when I was the Wimbledon champion. In 1929 we went to five sets, the most exciting match ever seen in Europe, before he took the French title."

ALICE MARBLE, Los Angeles, Calif.
American champion, 1936, '38, '39 and '40
"Helen Jacobs—master competitor and psychologist. In the 1939 U.S. finals, I won the first set at love. She chased me from corner to corner, winning the second 10-8, leading 3-1 in the final before I won because of my youth. A salute to Helen, the best sport and my toughest opponent."

HARRY HOPMAN, Melbourne, Australia
Australian Davis Cup team
"My wife and I played together in the mixed doubles finals at Wimbledon in 1935 against Fred Perry and Dorothy Round, the great players of the time. That I remember as the best and most interesting of all my matches. They beat us 2-1, with a very close and exciting third set."

JACK KRAMER, Los Angeles, Calif.
American and Wimbledon champion
"Jaroslav Drobny at Wimbledon in 1946. It was a five-set match that took about three hours. One set went 17-15. I had blisters on my hand and had to wear a golf glove. It did me a lot of good, even getting beat. Drobny fled from behind the Iron Curtain and now plays out of Egypt."

U.S. Indoor champion, 1919, '23 and '24
"Tilden was the toughest. I played him a thousand times, but he always won the big ones. One of my toughest matches was with Henri Cochet in the finals of the Olympics at Paris in 1924. I won. Since there have been no other tennis matches in the Olympics, I'm still Olympic champion."

VANNI CANEPELE, Florence, Italy
Italian Davis Cup team
"Frank Sedgman. I'll never forget the toughest of all the matches against him at Wimbledon in 1951. He was tough right from the opening service, with terrific pressure on every shot. Frank always served to the right and smashed the return to the opposite corner. I lost in straight sets."

KEN ROSEWALL, Sydney, Australia
Australian champion
"All of them. When you play the top two or three in the world, you're really bushed at the end. Perhaps my toughest match was against Davidson, the Swedish player, in the American tournament at Forest Hills in 1953. But the best player I've ever encountered was Sedgman."




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