Tennis Club News Page

Friday, September1

Labor Day Potluck/Pick-Up Doubles/Barbecue Extravaganza: Yup, it's that time again. On Monday, September 4, there will be all day pick-up doubles and a cook-out at the club. There is a pot-luck aspect to the day and, in recent years, the food has been wonderful. It is suggested that if your last name begins with the letters A-G, you might bring some salad; if H-O, some fruit; if P-Z, some desserts. Bring your racquet.

Men's and Women's Doubles Tournaments: The closing date for signing up for the tournaments is September 6.

U.S. Open: Are we glued to the tube? Here's a link to the official site.

Bunny Austin: Bunny Austin died the other day. Here's some excerpts from the New York Times article from August 28 written by Frank Litsky:

Bunny Austin, an outstanding English player who introduced shorts to tennis, died Saturday in a nursing home in Coulsdon, England. He was 94 years old.

Short pants or long, Austin was one of the world's highest-ranked players in the decade before World War II. He and the more celebrated Fred Perry led Britain to four consecutive Davis Cup championships, defeating France in the challenge round in 1933, the United States in 1934 and 1935, and Australia in 1936. After that, Perry turned professional for a $50,000 guarantee, and Britain has not won the Davis Cup since. Austin, whose given name was Henry Wilfred, compiled a career record of 36-12 in Davis Cup singles. In the four championship years, his 15-3 record included victories over Don Budge, Wilmer Allison, Sidney Wood and Frank Shields of the United States and Jack Crawford of Australia. At 5 feet 9 inches and 132 pounds, Austin was slim, quick and graceful. His fluid strokes helped him to a world top 10 ranking for 11 consecutive years, starting in 1928. He was ranked second in the world in 1931 and 1938. In major tournaments, he was the runner-up at Wimbledon in 1932 and 1938 and in the French championship in 1938.

When Austin started playing tennis, men wore long, heavy white flannel trousers, no matter how hot it was. "Fred Perry and I were playing in the doubles at Longwood, and it was terribly hot," Austin told The Boston Globe in 1997, referring to a match at the club in Brookline, Mass. "I came off the court in those sweat-soaked trousers feeling I was carrying an awfully lot of unnecessary weight below my knees."

Referring to his days as a soccer player, Austin added: "I wasn't very big. I'd been a football player in school -- Repton and Cambridge -- and of course we wore shorts. Best thing for running. Why not for tennis? We went to New York for the singles at Forest Hills, and I bought a pair and wore them. I got a lot of kidding, but the wisdom of it was apparent. The next year, I introduced them at Wimbledon. I expected a fuss there, but there was none. Slowly, others followed. I don't know why we put up with long flannel trousers for so long."

Austin's innovation shocked the staid sport. John Kieran wrote in The New York Times, "With his white linen hat and his flannel shorts, the little English player looked like an A.A. Milne production." But at Wimbledon, King George V and Queen Mary accepted the change without comment, and soon other men, and then women, led by the American Helen Hull Jacobs, started wearing shorts, too.

In 1932, Austin wrote in The Daily Mail of London that tennis would have to take second place to business in his future plans because he did not want to be "a useless old man living in a one-roomed flat." But he continued playing until he cut back to help publicize the moral rearmament movement. With war seemingly inevitable, he joined such other British athletes as the runners Harold Abrahams and Sidney Wooderson, the golfer Bernard Darwin, the cricketer Len Hutton and the jockey Gordon Richards in calling for "moral rearmament through sport." In 1940, with the blessing of the British government, Austin moved to the United States to continue the program to promote world peace. "We were all of us faced with the possible end of civilization," he said. "War threatened my wife, my daughter, my parents and all I cared about with destruction. It seemed uncanny to think of putting my baby daughter in a gas-proof tent." His work was endorsed publicly by U.S. sports figures like Babe Ruth, Henry Armstrong, Glenn Cunningham, Joe DiMaggio, Carl Hubbell, Bobby Jones, Connie Mack, Jesse Owens and Gene Tunney. But he and other resident aliens were subject to the draft, and in 1943 he was inducted into the U.S. Army Air Corps. In 1931, he married Phyllis Konstam, a British actress. She died in 1976. They had a daughter, Jennifer, and a son, John. Austin was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport."

Website Note from Bob Doyle:

The MEMBERS link now gives you a choice between getting information on other members or editing your own personal information.

The EVENTS link shows events for the upcoming week. We could list more events, like board and committee meetings. Send event suggestions to the webmaster.

Both these links and the RESERVATIONS REQUEST link require your password.

Since few members have used our new multiple Names feature to keep their names from appearing on the reservations timeLines, we are turning all names to Anonymous until further notice. Please tell us what you think about Anonymous, which now only shows when courts are not available, not who is playing when.

Solicitations: Any suggestions for the website? for the news page?

We have been soliciting for a while now, and we are receiving some suggestions, including the above Times article on Bunny Austin.(Thanks, Timesly Man.)

A member who goes by the handle ctc_richard, sent us an address of what looks to be a big, comely tennis site that you might take a look at. Tennis Server has a column by Ron Waite called Turbo Tennis. Click on Waite's 'Current Column' and if you like what you see, click on the 'Turbo Tennis Archive' on the left-hand column.

Court Conditions: A bit dry, but good.

The time and temperature icon is a link to a Boston weather site. Give it a click.

Click for Boston Weather

Joe DeBassio Webmaster.

Website Note: The honey-comb icon is also a link. It takes the clicker to an archive of all the past news pages so's you can catch up on what you missed while you were visiting friends on the Vineyard or frolicking in Oblivia. The less-than link (<) next to the honeycomb icon will take you to yesterday's page.

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