Anyone for sex?

Brigid Brophy

  • The Game: My 40 Years in Tennis by Jack Kramer and Frank Deford
    Deutsch, 318 pp, £8.95, June 1981, ISBN 0 233 97307 9

It is funny of Jack Kramer to recount his ‘40 years in tennis’ under the title The Game, given that he was a pioneer of tennis as a business. I received my serious call to a life of devout tennis-watching in the year (1947) when Mr Kramer took the men’s singles championship at Wimbledon. His court personality was that of a Nice American Kid. (He still speaks of latterday players as ‘kids’, a term that sits on John Newcombe and Stan Smith as askew as on a lord mayor.) He was tall and, if not quite clean-cut, skinny. He looked as if he would converse by shuffling his large feet and muttering ‘Aw, shucks’. (Thus kids muttered in novels of the period. What they said in real life I don’t know. ‘Aw, Huck’, perhaps.) That he would become not only a player but a promoter and organiser of professional tennis should have been predictable from his tennis style, which was bleakly businesslike. He was a powerful serve-and-volley player who put down each delivery with a worried seriousness as though it were a massive sum of capital which he bore the responsibility for investing wisely.

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