Slamming Them Over the Net

Tennis has emerged from the “sissy” class. It is universally recognized as a regular “he man's” game. More than a score of nations are playing this year for the blue ribbon of international tennis trophies, the Davis Cup. Read of the thrills and spills!

CAPT. R. INNES-TAYLOR August 1 1925

Slamming Them Over the Net

Tennis has emerged from the “sissy” class. It is universally recognized as a regular “he man's” game. More than a score of nations are playing this year for the blue ribbon of international tennis trophies, the Davis Cup. Read of the thrills and spills!

CAPT. R. INNES-TAYLOR August 1 1925

Slamming Them Over the Net

Tennis has emerged from the “sissy” class. It is universally recognized as a regular “he man's” game. More than a score of nations are playing this year for the blue ribbon of international tennis trophies, the Davis Cup. Read of the thrills and spills!


THIS article was written by Capt. Innes-Tay lor, who is editor of “Canadian Lawn Tennis,” just before the results of the Canadian championships in July, in Vancouver, were settled. Crocker won the title of Singles Tennis Champion of Canada; Crocker and Wright won the Doubles; Miss Leeming, Victoria, won the Ladies’ Singles, as Mrs. Bielde did not defend her title.

DON’T raise your eyebrows in doubt when you are told that there are probably a quarter of a million tennis players in Canada. Although, in our broad Dominion, we have not yet produced a world’s champion, or a team of players capable of winning the famous Davis cup, we hold our own from a numerical standpoint.

Internationally, Canada first stepped into the tennis limelight when she challenged for the Davis Cup in 1913.

Bobbie Powell and R. B. Schwengers of British Columbia were chosen as No. 1 and No. 2. Robert Baird and Tommy Sherwell were both offered places but could not go, so Col. J. F.

Foulkes, three times Canadian champion, and H. G. Mayes of Winnipeg, made up the team. We did well to win our first matches from Belgium and South Africa, but it was left for the final against the United States to produce the dramatic fireworks of the year for us.

When Bobbie Powell, who was a left-hander, faced the spectacular American comet, Maurice McLaughlin, he was not expected to extend him. When the match started the court was a bit damp. Using his low cut shot and placing beautifully, Powell not only held the most sensational player in the world of that year, but he forced the game so hard that he led at 5-4, and looked as if he might take the first set.

Maurice was clearly worried. He tried desperately every shot he had hut the Canadian out-manoeuvred him and, but for several lucky net shots, would have won the set. The rallies were long and desperately fought and it was only the drying court that saved America's ace that day from defeat.

McLaughlin eventually won the match, but Bobbie Powell stamped himself that day as Canada’s greatest player—resourceful, as fine in defeat as he was in victory and imbued with the true sporting spirit. He was one of the first to volunteer when the war broke out and to give his life for his country.

Little did Major Wingfield, who invented the game of lawn tennis in 1874, dream that in the course of a few short years the game would spread throughout the world and fifty years after its first introduction would be the most universally played of all games.

For lawn tennis is played in every country and by all classes.

Recalling great matches, our mind wanders back to that memorable day when the famous FrenchCanadian, E. H. La-

framboise of Montreal, came within a few points of defeating J. O. Anderson, the greatest player Australia has ever had—greater, I think, than Norman Brookes. Perhaps not so great as Anthony Wilding, but then,

Wilding was a New Zealander.

A tremendous crowd greeted Laframboise and Anderson when they stepped on the court for their match in the Davis Cup tie at Toronto in 1923. The gallery could hardly believe their eyes when the Canadian, starting off at a terrific clip, had the lanky Australian crack dizzy with his flashing returns.

flashing returns.

Anderson tried everything he had to stem the tide. He swept his powerful forehand onto the ball so that it flew over the net like a bullet but each time Laframboise would pick them up from his feet by marvelous half volley shots, the like of which only Corridia, the greatest half volleyer of all time, could duplicate.

You could hear a pin drop when Laframboise won the first set, and then a volley of tremendous applause.

“Well, he’s won a set anyhow,” you could hear your neighbor say. “Can he go on?”

And that’s just what he did. Continuing his wonderful work Laframboise led all the way through the second set which he had very nearly won, until a couple of unlucky shots gave two very important points against him. He fought gamely but lost this set after seeming to have it well in hand.

Then the strain told. The lanky Australian commenced forcing the pace and pulled the match out of the fire, winning a magnificent contest. Anderson afterwards said that Laframboise played like one inspired for two sets and was for that period practically invincible. It was unfortunate that Laframboise was not able to play in the Canadian championships again this year. He has been more or less out of the game for a couple of years through an operation which prevented him from playing.

Perhaps the most dramatic match ever played in Canada was the final in 1922 for the Canadian between Walter

Westbrooke, and the well-known Japanese player, Kashio. It was a scorching day when the men took the court for their match at the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club. The stands were packed. For four sets the match

scintillated with brilliant plays, each man taking two sets. Then came thè dramatic fifth set—with the games 3-all, and in the middle of a rally, Westbrooke developed a bad cramp and, as he was making a stroke, fell flat on his back. Quickly he was picked up by willing hands and taken to the dressing-room where his leg was massaged, and in a few minutes he returned. The Japanese showed fine sportsmanship when he insisted that Westbrooke take time to recover. They fought the^next four games out"to five-all, when Westbrooke fell again, this time turning a complete somersault. Again he had to be carried off and his leg was massaged and he returned to battle.

Every point seemed interminable, but the Japanese player fought ahead and led 6-5 and 40-30, within

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a point of match. He sent a swift one to the corner, Westbrooke flashed over the court and managed to send back a high lob. Kashio set himself for a smash, balanced himself on his toes, his racquet swinging high in the air, and then just as he commenced to swing forward for the stroke he fell to the ground in agony —another cramp.

This time it was the Jap who had to be carried in and his leg put in order. When the match continued both men looked like a pair of footballers on a muddy afternoon. Westbrooke evened up the score to 6-all. It was so exciting that the gallery sat almost in silence. One could see that they were both done. Back and forth went the ball, neither player having the strength left to score aces, when in the middle of a rally Westbrooke’s racquet flew out of his hand. This time it was evident that his playing arm and hand had gone. As he could not continue, the match and the championship went to Kashio. I doubt very much if ever there has been a similar match played in the annals of lawn tennis.

Last year a young dark-haired student at McGill surprised the tennis world by defeating one of America’s ranking players, George King, and then set tongues wagging by running both Bill Tilden and Bill Johnston to deuce sets in his matches with them. Jack Wright’s high, hopping service had the world’s two best players baffled, and if his quick wrist volleys and flashing forehand had been backed with a little more match experience he might have caused the greatest of all tennis upsets. Wright has the makings of a champion if he does not allow excessive self-consciousness to spoil his game.

Canadian Woman Champion

My mind goes back many years to the day when a slim young Toronto girl, with a complexion that no peach could vie with, won her first Canadian championship in 1906. She was Miss Lois Moyes, now Mrs. Harry Bickle. She, I think, must be ranked as our greatest player of all time for in 1922 she crossed the border and gained for us the only big foreign championship that we have won in tennis. I refer to the United States clay court championship, in which she defeated Miss Leslie Bancroft (now Mrs. Aeschelman, No. 2 ranking player in the U.S.A.) in the final.

In 1923 Mrs. Bickle did not play owing to doctor’s orders—but last year she came forward again. With the fine sporting spirit which she has always shown, Mrs. Bickle wanted to give some of the coming young players a chance of beating her. She knew she was not so good as she had been—she knew that the Pacific Coast champion, Miss Marjorie Leeming, was coming to play in the Canadian championships and was picked as a probable winner, so even her most ardent admirers did not think she would win. Mrs. Bickle came through the early rounds showing fine form, but in the two rounds before the final had to use all her court craft to win.

In the final she had to play Miss Leeming, on whose side of the draw Miss F. Best, ex-Canadian champion, and Mrs. H. F. Wright, Ontario champion, had been put out. The crowd s sympathy was with the nine-times lady champion, but Miss Leeming was favorite. Mrs. Bickle played the greatest game of her career—not the greatest in point of fine strokes—but the greatest in point of court generalship and fine sportsmanship, and the greatest in point of pluck and determination, for Miss Leeming forced her to the limit, defeating Mrs. Bickle in the first set 6-4. Miss Leeming played brilliantly but she was up against a mistress of the game. Every opening Mrs. Bickle took advantage of, and when at last she forced her younger and more brilliant opponent to give way and won the next two sets, and her tenth championship, she was greeted with thunderous applause. No player in Canada has done more for tennis than Mrs. Bickle—always willing to help the voung girl players by practising ^ith them. Modest in victory, and cheerful

in defeat, she is the best model for our coming girl players to follow.

Some Splendid Play

ROBERT BAIRD, a veteran of the Canadian tennis world, has twice I been the participator in a notable final for the title. In 1911, R. B. Schwengers I of Victoria, B.C., came east to try and take the Canadian championship back with him. On a lovely July day at the I old Ottawa Tennis Club grounds, SchI wengers, the best of the western Canadian I players, met Robert Baird, the eastern hope. Seldom has a championship final in this country been so fraught with intense interest. Fans came from distant points to see it and many distinguished Canadians were among the spectators. From the start the match was a hardhitting and brilliantly played one. Both Baird and Schwengers rushed the net on all occasions. The first set, which was really the deciding one, see-sawed up to 14-all and it was readily seen that the winner of this terrifically hard-fought set would likely be the winner of the match. And so it turned out. Schwengers won it 16-14 and from then on had the edge.

The year before this, Baird had played in another sensational final when he met J. F. Foulkes at St. Matthew’s Club. Unfortunately for Baird it rained in the morning, and the grass court on which the match was played became soggy. Foulkes (now Col. Foulkes) used his chop shots with telling effect. Baird’s brilliant volleying and famous forehand shots won for him two out of the first four sets, making it 2-all. The last set was desperately fought butJwas won by Foulkes after a battle which lasted many hours. Both men were completely exhausted after the game. Foulkes won his third championship, and Baird again failed in his ambition, but he won in 1913, so was crowned champion after many years of effort.

Great Players and a Great Family

THE Pacific Coast has had many good players: B. Rhodes, a fine volleyer; A. S. Milne, a Davis Cup player; H. K. Verley, now turned professional; H. G. Richards, runner-up for Canadian championship in 1923; Geoff Peers and his brother Bob; C. R. Lang; J. McGill, a steady and consistent player; and H. C. Evans. In the Middle West the past and

present stars include G. D. Holmes, a veteran of many battles; W. Toole; A. D. McLean; H. G. Mayes, now living in England and winner of many tournaments there; Paul Bennett, ex-Canadian champion who has since left the country;

S. Kidd; W. D. Love; G. S. Reid.

In Ontario, R. Burns, with perfect form; LeRoy Rennie, ex-Canadian champion; Tommy Sherwell, now in England;

C. K. F. Andrews, of Toronto; Dr. ; O’Brien and H. F. Wright, of Ottawa.

In Montreal, there are Jack Wright, | W. Crocker, both brilliant young players; [ Angus Cassiis; Dave Morrice;_ G. J. Veysey, and Hedley Suckling, winner of many Quebec championships. The Atlantic coast has G. H. Mercer and B. H. Short of the Maritime Provinces.

One must not forget Ernie Patterson, j who played on the Oxford team, and was j perhaps the finest prospect we ever had. Unfortunately he was carried off by an | incurable disease when a young man. Brilliant, severe and accurate, he won the Quebec title three times.

Tennis in Canada owes an unpayable debt to the Meldrum family. Garnet H. Meldrum, president of the Canadian Lawn Tennis Association, has devoted many years to lawn tennis. He has given his time and experience to the Association most unselfishly and to him, more than anyone else, must the credit of its success in later days be given. His brother, the late Jimmie Meldrum, devoted a great part of his time before the war to furthering tennis interests. Players generally never knew how much he did to help the game along. Despite poor health he was always cheery and willing to lend a helping hand on any tennis matter. The Meldrum Cup, given by bis fellow-members of the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club, which is emblematical of the Canadian championship, stands in his memory to-day.

Canada’s Best Ten of All Time

TO PICK the ten best men players of all time that Canada has had so far, is no easy matter, but I think the following would qualify: R. B. Powell, of j

Vancouver; H. B. Schwengers, of Vic| toria; Lt.-Col. J. F. Foulkes, of Kingston; Robert Baird, of Toronto; Tommy Sherwell, of Toronto; G. D. Holmes, of Winnipeg; E. H. Laframboise, of Montreal; Ernie Patterson, of Toronto; Jack Wright and Willard Crocker, of Montreal