Re: The Wightman Cup Thread – Reports, Results & More
October 31, November 1 and 2
Venue: The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia (indoors on rubberised Supreme court)
United States: Chris Evert-Lloyd (captain), Pam Shriver, Kathy Rinaldi, Betsy Nagelsen, Anne White
Great Britain: Annabel Croft, Jo Durie, Anne Hobbs, Virginia Wade (captain)
United States d. Great Britain 7-0
Chris Evert-Lloyd d. Jo Durie (GBR) 6-2, 6-3
Kathy Rinaldi d. Anne Hobbs (GBR) 7-5, 7-5
Pam Shriver d. Annabel Croft (GBR) 6-0, 6-0
Betsy Nagelsen/Anne White d. Croft/Virginia Wade (GBR) 6-4, 6-1
Shriver d. Durie 6-4, 6-4
Evert-Lloyd d. Croft 6-3, 6-0
Evert-Lloyd/Shriver d. Durie/Hobbs 6-3, 6-7, 6-2
From The ITF “World of Tennis” Yearbook (1986)
By John Parsons
“The United States won the Wightman Cup in 1985 for the seventh successive year, with one of the most comprehensive victories in the 62-year history of this annual women’s competition against Britain. Indeed, it was not until the last of the three dead rubbers on the final day that the visitors gathered their solitary set.
“Yet in a sense that third day’s play, which began with the home team already 4-0 ahead and assured of retaining what is surely one of the most elegant trophies in world tennis, emphasised the special appeal of the Wightman Cup. No matter what the match score may be, it generally manages to evoke a great spirit of competitive and patriotic pride, combined with grace, splendour and ceremony. It was a perfect example of the Wightman Cup being more than just a tennis match but rather a piece of tennis history which an increasing number of influential voices on both sides of the Atlantic want to see preserved.
“On that last day the competition went from being keen to intense, even though the scores were of no great consequence. The 6,482 crowd, bringing the total for the three days to 14,669 (an increase of 30 per cent on the previous Williamsburg fixture two years earlier) sat back and immensely enjoyed the whole occasion.
“Pam Shriver, ranked three in the world at the time, had sped the Americans towards their triumph by crushing the young and nervous British number one, Annabel Croft, 6-0, 6-0. Only twice before had a Wightman Cup singles produced such a whitewash score – when Louise Brough beat Jean Walker-Smith in a dead rubber in 1950 and Andrea Jaeger eclipsed Anne Hobbs in 1981. Having produced what the American captain, Chris Evert-Lloyd, said was ‘probably the most perfect tennis she had ever played’, Miss Shriver wondered if she would be able to lift her game again for a match that really did not matter, against Jo Durie. Not only did she win, 6-4, 6-4, but she was made to do so in a thrilling finish when Miss Durie, despite increasing pain from a racket arm, pulled back from 1-5 to 4-5 in the second set. The eighth game, as Miss Durie made it 3-5, lasted 17 minutes, involving 13 deuces, as the British player saved four match points.
“In the final doubles, which lasted almost two hours and contained much beautiful tennis, the British team of Hobbs and Durie were given a great ovation when they finally took a set. They lost in the end, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2, to Mrs Lloyd and Miss Shriver, but it was a marvellous match with some particularly fine touches from Mrs Lloyd and Miss Hobbs. The tiebreak went to 8-6 and was won on the second opportunity. On the first set point, at 6-5, Mrs Lloyd spotted Miss Hobbs crossing over a shade early and promptly drove a tremendous two-handed backhand winner past her down the line. It was one of the few times Miss Hobbs was outwitted. Miss Durie clinched the second set point with a smash.
“One of the recurring dilemmas of the Wightman Cup is that the event, especially when it is being staged in the United States, needs the support of the top American players to build up and sustain the degree of enthusiasm in Williamsburg, where Dick and Cynthia Anzolut, the professional promoters, and Millie West, the honorary chairman in charge of a veritable army of eager volunteers, do such a magnificent job. When the Americans are at strength, as in 1985, the matches will always be one-sided until Britain also has a crop of players genuinely pressing to be at the very top. The 7-0 result was not entirely unexpected for, apart from having the first- and third-ranked players in the world, both playing two singles matches and later a doubles together, even the third American singles competitor, Kathy Rinaldi, in eleventh position was some 17 places ahead of Britain’s highest-ranked player, Miss Croft.
“Probably the best Britain could have hoped for was a 5-2 defeat. Miss Hobbs was clearly fitter than at any other time in a year which had largely been sacrificed to overcoming a debilitating attack of shingles, and it was felt she might upset Miss Rinaldi. There was optimism, too, about the first doubles. In the event, even those modest dreams evaporated and Britain’s team manager, Sue Mappin, was left to observe at the end of the first day, with the Americans 2-0 ahead, ‘Anything we won would have been a bonus – and in the end we didn’t get anything.’ With just a tiny slice of luck for Britain it could have been 1-1. On the other hand, the remark remained apt throughout the three days.
“On that last day, the British contingent clutched at straws. After the superbly staged opening ceremony, colourful and dignified, Miss Durie won the first six points, four of them with outright winners, in the first rubber against Mrs Lloyd. It was a heady moment, Mrs Lloyd nodding in that appreciative yet menacing manner she has in acknowledging fine shots. Yet it was too much to hope that it would last. Miss Durie rushed headlong into costly errors in the third game and thereafter, although she played reasonably well and fought for all she was worth, Mrs Lloyd was now superbly in command.
“Miss Hobbs, for her part, was nearly able to take advantage of the undoubted nervousness felt by Miss Rinaldi. Despite losing, 7-5, 7-5, the British player broke back to 5-5 in both sets, but she used so much mental, as well as physical energy simply staying in the match, saving six match points in that second set, that she did not have enough left to capitalise on the fresh opportunities she created for herself.
“The second day was one Britain – and especially Miss Croft – would rather forget. Perhaps it might have been different had Miss Croft taken the break point she held in the first game. But I doubt it. Three times in that opening game Miss Shriver played crunching forehand volleys which immediately illustrated her confidence and resolve, and in next to no time she was on the rampage. She allowed Miss Croft only 10 points in the first set and a meagre 14 in the second. Indeed, not just then, but also against Miss Durie and then in the final doubles with Mrs Lloyd, there was tangible evidence of an altogether sharper Miss Shriver. She was reaching shots with so much time to spare that, particularly on the volley, her response was infinitely more effective than it has been in the past.
“After that singles débâcle for Miss Croft, it was hardly surprising that the teenager was still not in the happiest frame of mind of form when she and team captain Virginia Wade, playing her 21st Wightman Cup, were entrusted with the task of trying to keep the contest alive into day three. They stayed with Betsy Nagelsen and Anne White for a while, but drifted to a 6-4, 6-1 defeat against opponents whose record together was worthy of a higher reputation.
“So once again it was all painfully predictable for Britain, yet the enthusiasm for the event of Miss Shriver and Mrs Lloyd in particular remained undiminished. Both stressed how much they enjoyed the chance to represent their country in an event with such history and tradition, which brought a welcome change from the normal tournament atmosphere in which they solely play for themselves.
“Few have represented the United States with greater dignity or success than Mrs Lloyd who, when not in action herself, was always to be seen leading her team with much animated gusto from the players’ box, while coach Tom Gorman provided what advice was necessary at courtside. She now has a 26-0 singles record over 13 Wightman Cup years to go with her 28-0 record in the Federation Cup.”
Last edited by newmark401; Jan 23rd, 2017 at 12:42 PM.