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alfajeffster
Jul 28th, 2003, 02:50 PM
I found a stack of old WorldTennis magazines circa 1968-1981 over the weekend, and thought I'd share a window into the 1973 French Open Final (Court vs. Evert)- the best women's match of the year:

The final, which kept the Center Court crowd silent but enthralled on the second Sunday- no mean feat for two women in Paris where the female game had not yet been accepted as a prime time attraction- provided everything the men's final lacked in drama and fierce competition. The Australian led 4-1 in the first set and had two set points at 6-5. Chris saved the second one with a typical cross court service return and then staged a magnificent recovery in the tie-breaker after Margaret had led by 5 points to 2.

When Mrs. Court ballooned a smash to lose her service to love and go 3-5 down in the second, it seemed all over. But Chris has nerves too, and she produced four consecutive unforced errors to lose her own serve in the very next gaem. At 4-5 on her own serve, Margaret stayed back and rallied studiously from the baseline for a time until Chris pulled up to deuce and stood within two points of victory. A low bouncing forehand which forece Evrt to net and a good Court service whisked those points away and soon the fascinating duel was into another tie-breaker. A backhand pass down the line with Margaret at the net put the American 5 points to 4 up- again two points from victory. Again it was as near as she got. Margaret won those two points behind her own serve with volleys that clipped the line and eventually levelled, taking the tie-breaker by 8 points to 6 when Chris put a lob over the baseline.

Long rallies, often curtailed by well-judged Evert drop shots, kep the drama delicately balanced in the third set as first Evert, then Court, then Evert again dropped serve. The Australian led 4-1, then double-faulted wearily to let Chris in with another chance at 3-4. But again Chris could not seize her opportunitites and her tenacious opponent surged ahead 5-3. This time it was Margaret's turn to serve for the match and blow it, 5-4. The crowd was riveted; the agony was becoming acute. Both girls were tired and tense but it was Margaret Court who finally produced the champion's touch with two superb backhand volleys which won her Evert's serve for the fourth time int he set. She took the title 6-7,7-6,6-4.

Jem
Jul 28th, 2003, 05:20 PM
Thanks -- nice stroll down memory lane. I thought sure Chrissie would win her first Grand Slam, but alas it was not to happen until a year later. Interestingly enough, a month later on the grass at Wimbledon, Chrissie turned the tables and beat Court in the semifinals 6-1, 1-6, 6-1. That year, she lost to BJK 6-0, 7-5 in the final. Court would bounce back and beat Chris in the semifinals of Forest Hills (on grass) later in the summer, then beat Evonne Goolagong for her final Grand Slam title. All in all, Court won 3 of the four Grand Slams in 1983 (also beat Goolagong in the Australian Open final). Chris was the only person who managed to beat Margaret in Grand Slam play in 1973.

alfajeffster
Jul 28th, 2003, 05:28 PM
You're welcome- I'm an amateur tennis historian, and found a box full of old tennis mags at a yard sale this past weekend- a TREASURE of reading for me!

So many people forget how good Margaret Court was. TV tennis commentary these days is so jaded with Billie Jean King's assessment that "yeah, but 11 of her majors were in Australia when nobody played"- BUNK! Margaret Court holds a 22-10 lifetime winning record of BJK, and they were never the closest of rivals- at times it was like the Graf-Hingis relationship!

the cat
Jul 28th, 2003, 06:30 PM
Thanks for the article! :D

Margaret Court sure came close to a grand slam in 1973.

alfajeffster
Jul 28th, 2003, 06:38 PM
And 1962, 1965, 1969

Graf is the only one who comes close

Brian Stewart
Jul 29th, 2003, 07:09 AM
Interesting how the article covered the service breaks in the third set. Now, many tennis writers try to portray service breaks as a huge negative. Why? The fact that the players can actually return each other's serves, and that every game is up for grabs, makes things more interesting, and makes for better tennis. Every point has to be earned.

tennisvideos
Jul 29th, 2003, 07:32 AM
Thanks for the article alfajeffster. And to think that Margaret had already had her first child at this stage - and was one match off her second Grand Slam! Very impressive.

That is one of the matches I would desperately love to get on video but haven't been able to get it. Apparantly a film company in France has 15 minutes of it but they charge the earth for it and it's out of my budget league for such a short amount of footage.