ContributingEditor Bill Talbert has won so many tennis honors during the 45 years of hislife that he no longer bothers to keep count. He was four times U.S. doubleschampion with Gardnar Mulloy and represented his country in the Davis Cup in1946, 1948 and 1949. Later he captained the team for five years. For 12straight years he was ranked among the top 10 players in the country. Just lastweek Talbert collected a new prize. When Wimbledon announced that it would holda veterans' doubles competition for the first time, Talbert and his old friendMulloy signed up. Unfortunately, Mulloy injured his back and had to withdraw,but Talbert, playing with French Davis Cup veteran Bernard Destremau, won thechampionship just the same.
Although Talberthas a trunkful of trophies, there remains one tournament he looks forward towinning: the national father-and-son championship at Longwood. Talbert has twosons, Pike, who is 14, and Peter, 12. Pike is a sophomore at The Choate School,and Talbert thinks he may be ready for the father-and-son tournament next year.Just in case, Talbert is getting Peter ready, too; this spring he beganteaching his younger son how to play net. When Tennis Editor Walter Binghamlearned of the project, he decided that Talbert on net play would be the idealsubject for an instructional piece to round out this week's special tennispackage. The result begins on page 28.
Bingham himselflearned to play net (poorly, he says) in California, and the major success ofhis career was a one-set victory over Maureen Connolly, who was 15 at the time(the next day Little Mo beat Bingham). Although Bingham's tennis isn't quite asgood as Talbert's, his background is in some ways even more interesting. He isthe only one of our editors, for example, who was actually a patient of Dr.Benjamin Spock (pneumonia, age 13) and the only one to have had a dinner datewith Elizabeth Taylor ("I was 18, she was 16 and bored," saysBingham).
In 1955, after aseries of disastrous defeats in minor tournaments up and down the Californiacoast, Bingham headed east, not to try the grass-court circuit but to go towork for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. He has since written extensively on baseball,college and pro football, skiing, track and field and bridge; his story onRussian Valeri Brumel's first visit to Madison Square Garden won a prize. Buttennis remains Bingham's first love. He has written about Pancho Gonzalez,Rafael Osuna, the nationals at Forest Hills and the pro tour. And he remainsthe best tennis player on the staff. After Bill Talbert, of course.
TENNIS EXPERTS TALBERT (LEFT) AND BINGHAM