Ashe vs Connors, Wimbledon 1975

From Jimmy Connors’ autobiography, The Outsider:

Two days before the start of Wimbleon in 1975, I picked up a newspaper and turned straight to the sports section. The headline read: Connors sues Ashe.

I’m in the middle of a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Jack Kramer, Donald Dell, and the ATP, and here I am launching a new one. I discovered that Riordan (Connors’ manager) had filed two lawsuits in Indianapolis, claiming damages of $5 million in total for libelous comments that had apparently been directed at us. The first concerned a letter written by Arthur Ashe, as ATP president, in which he referred to me as “unpatriotic.” The second complaint ran along the same lines, originating in an article written by Bob Briner, the ATP’s secretary. He supposedly called Riordan a “nihilist”. Is that even an insult?

Chasing a drop shot early in my first-round match on the damp grass of Centre Court, I slipped and hyperextended my knee. I didn’t think much about it at the time; I carried on playing and won 6-2 6-3 6-1. But once the adrenaline rush of my first Wimbledon title defense was over, all that changed. I felt a degree of pain that I had never experienced before.
I thought I would be OK after some rest, but when I woke up the next morning, the pain had intensified; my knee was completely swollen and unable to support my weight. I needed to get it checked out. I got in touch with Bill and he found me the top physiotherapist at Chelsea Football Club, one of England’s leading soccer teams, which had the facilities to treat this kind of injury. After they examined me, it turned out I had a couple of hairline fractures in my shin – painful but treatable.
The physiotherapist’s advice was simple: rest. The timing could not have been worse. There were only two tournaments that I would have even considered playing while badly injured: Wimbledon and the US Open. As Pancho always told me, once you walk out there, be prepared to play, or don’t walk out there. Well, I thought I was ready. The physiotherapist wrapped up my leg and off I went to practice. I knew that once I was on the court, I would forget about the medical warnings.

After every match I won in those two weeks, I would immediately go for an intensive treatment of ultrasound, ice, and massage – and I wasn’t above taking a fistful of painkilllers, either. I kept the injury as secret as I could, refusing to wear even an Ace bandage; I wasn’t going to give anyone an edge.

I advanced to the final without losing a set, but 24 hours before my showdown with Ashe, the physio warned me once again to take it easy; he was afraid the fractures were getting worse. So why did I continue to play? Because I’m an idiot. I did decide to take the day off before the final, though.

By match time the next day, I’m ready to go. I start off steadily, but I can’t find my rhythm; I’m sluggish and Ashe is playing perfect tennis. I lose the first two sets easily 6-1 6-1, and now I’m getting desperate. Funny how things happen when you’re on the brink; a shot here, a lucky break there, and I win the third set 7-5. I go up a service break early in the fourth set and I’m starting to feel like I have the momentum, but that doesn’t last long. My shots lack pace; the catch the tape and fall backward. The recovery I think I’ve engineered turns out to be a figment of my imagination. Ashe comes back strong to win the set, match, and the Wimbledon title.

After his victory, Ashe turned to the crowd and raised his fist in triumph. He was a popular winner – and he was playing for black America, as well as representing all the members of the ATP. He deserved to revel in his moment. Arthur’s game was flawless that day; he had figured out the play to play me. By reducing the speed and length of his shots, he constantly brought me into the net before passing or lobbing me. […]

Ashe didn’t like me. He resented all the money I was making from my Challenge Matches, on the grounds that they would diminish the prestige of the Grand Slams. And he didn’t appreciate my attitude towards the Davis Cup. As for how he felt about Riordan’s multiple lawsuits, well, we never talked about that. Arthur didn’t have the balls to confront me; instead, he left a note in my locker at Wimbledon outlining his position.
Well, that speaks volumes, doesn’t it? All he had to do was come up and talk to me face to face, man to man, but he chose not to. It annoyed me, but not so much as when he walked out on to Centre Court wearing his Davis Cup jacket, with USA emblazoned across his chest.

In 1974, probably 90 percent of the fans at Wimbledon had been rooting for Ken Rosewall. In 1975, you guessed it, 90 percent of the fans were rooting for Arthur Ashe. What’s a guy gotta do to win friends around here? It took me a few more years to find out the answer to that question.

Andy Murray and Fred Perry

Andy Murray and his wife, Kim, have launched a charity raffle to win a tennis ball signed by Murray and the late tennis legend Fred Perry:

“Several years ago we were handed a very special package. A tube of white tennis balls that had been signed by the late Fred Perry, accompanied by a note from their owner, Gail Sargent.

Gail was a lifelong tennis player and had met Fred on his visit to Maresfield Tennis Club in 1994. Over a decade later she watched a young Andy Murray practising at a different tennis club, and was so impressed with his potential that she decided to gift him with the signed balls for him to do with what he saw fit. Gail was battling ovarian cancer, and sadly passed away in 2010.

Fast-forward to the summer of 2013, and after the ghost of Fred Perry had been extinguished on Centre Court at Wimbledon, he somehow resurfaced in our home as we stumbled across Gail’s parcel that had been tucked away, waiting patiently. Instantly Andy signed all three of the white balls and we realised that we had captured something unique.

The tennis world and beyond has been rocked in recent years by the tragic loss of Elena Baltacha, and coupled with Ross Hutchins’ battle against Hodgkin’s Lymphoma we are reminded that not one of us is immune to this horrible disease. So many charities work tirelessly to help those affected by all forms of cancer.

We have decided to raffle one of the signed tennis balls in Gail’s memory, with the entire proceeds donated to the hospice that cared for her in accordance with the wishes of her husband, Richard.

St. Peter & St. James hospice in Sussex has been providing specialist care for patients for nearly 40 years, and is largely dependent on the generosity of the local community in order to fund its services. The hospice provides support free of charge to patients and their families, helping them to cope during illness and upon bereavement. This year they need to raise more than £2.6million through fundraising, which is £7,200 every single day.

A second ball will be displayed at Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum from 23 June. Visit Wimbledon.com/Museum to find out how to visit. The third ball will remain with us.

We hope that this raffle can raise much needed funds for the hospice and enables them to continue the wonderful work that they do.

The draw takes place on 12th July and you can enter up until midnight on 10th July 2015.

Thanks for your participation

Andy & Kimberly Murray

Enter the raffle at: www.raffleplayer.com/andymurray

http://tennis-buzz.com/raonic-watson-and-gibbs-star-in-new-balance-commercial/

Long known for running shoes and casual footwear, New Balance has recently branched out into football, baseball, tennis and cricket. They signed Milos Raonic in 2013 and Heather Watson early this year.

Heather Watson New Balance outfit

Heather Watson

Heather will face Serena Williams in the third round tomorrow.

Also read:
Raonic, Watson and Gibbs star in New Balance commercial
New Balance signs Heather Watson
Milos Raonic Wimbledon 2015 outfit

Ralph Lauren Wimbledon 2015 collection

Ralph Lauren celebrates a decade as the official outfitter of Wimbledon with a brand new collection, featuring limited edition styles you can wear on and off the court.

Ralph Lauren Wimbledon 2015 collection

Ralph Lauren Wimbledon 2015 collection

A few of our favorite pieces from the collection:

– the Wimbledon color-blocked polo, a striped ribbed polo collar, flag screen-printed at the left sleeve:

Ralph Lauren Wimbledon collection

– the Wimbledon cotton jacket, a preppy cotton jersey jacket featuring a “P.R.L. All England Club” and crossed-rackets crest.

Ralph Lauren Wimbledon collection

– the Wimbledon ball boy jacket, this cotton jacket features a “The Championships Wimbledon” logo patch and Ralph Lauren signature embroidered Big Pony:

Ralph Lauren Wimbledon collection

– the Wimbledon canvas duffel, with a Wimbledon W Tennis 15″ screen-printed at the front.

Ralph Lauren collection

You can buy the collection online, at Ralph Lauren Bond Street store and Wimbledon on-site shop.

Follow our Wimbledon 2015 coverage.

Roger Federer Wimbledon shoes

Roger Federer‘s Wimbledon shoe is the Nike Zoom Vapor Tour 9.5 Safari, available at select Nike retailers and on nike.com/nikecourt.

Roger Federer Wimbledon shoes

Roger Federer Wimbledon shoes

Roger Federer Wimbledon shoes

Roger Federer Wimbledon shoes

Also read:
Roger Federer Wimbledon outfit

Nike Lunar Ballistec 1.5 Safari

2-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal will wear the Nike Lunar Ballistec 1.5 “Safari”. A clean white and metallic silver aesthetic complete with Safari print:

Nike Lunar Ballistec 1.5 Safari

Nike Lunar Ballistec 1.5 Safari

Nike Lunar Ballistec 1.5 Safari

The Nike Lunar Ballistec 1.5 “Safari” is available at select Nike retailers and on nike.com/nikecourt.