I'm not sure if a thread to this has been opened yet, it's worth it cause that Cup seems to have been acknowledged by all the top players from Great Britain as well as from the US, and it was a very traditional event. There are statistics of the final scores, but it would be more than interesting to read and discuss all the match results...
I LOVED the Wightman Cup, particularly in the late Seventies and early eighties. In fact, Britain's 4-3 win over a red-hot American team in 1978 is right up there at my list of 'favourite sporting memories of all time' (along with Virginia Wade's winning Wimbledon and Mary Pierce's triumph at Roland Garros). Michelle Tyler's win over Pam Shriver was the springboard for the victory, Sue Barker and Virginia Wade both beat Tracy Austin, and the final doubles, when Wade/Barker won a three-setter over Chris Evert and Pam Shriver to win the Cup, was SO exciting! Unbelieveably the BBC stopped broadcasting it live at the start of the final set of that match, so I had to listen to the rest of it on the radio! The next night the BBC showed a special programme called "How We Won the Wightman Cup" so I did get to see it, happily! Two years later I sat in the television room by myself at University, screaming at the television set when an over-the-hill Virginia lead firm World No.1 Chris Evert 5-1 in the final set, which would have levelled the tie and brought it all down to the final rubber again! Alas it was not to be as one of Virginia's shoe laces came undone and distracted her on her second match point, then Chris roared back to win, and later blamed her lacklustre performance on problems with her period rather than Virginia's fine play! My final happy Wighman Cup memory is attending the 1986 tie at the majestic Royal Albert Hall in London, and being about the only Brit in the place willing Kathy Rinaldi to win over an on-form Jo Durie, which she happily did.
The Wightman Cup would have no place in the world game now, would it? Once the likes of Clare Wood became fixtures in the British team it was right to end when it did, although usually I'm a banner-waver for the traditions of the game. I can't see there being any tension or much chance of an upset in, say, a match between Lindsay Davenport and Jane O'Donoghue!!
So Virginia's shoelaces really did come undone on one of those match points? LOL-that's too funny:lol: I always thought Wade's quote ("one of my shoelaces came undone at match point) was just her usual sarcastic humor!
Chris declared the match, "the worst I've played all year."
Thanks for the story Declan:wavey:
The 1978 Cup sounds like great drama. 4,000 wild Brits cheering Barker and Wade on while young guns Austin and Shriver wilted under pressure.
The next year the US staged the event on Florida clay and Britain was whitewashed. It was always a more competitive event in Britain.
About the only highlight in 1979 was Ted Tinling spraying his bald head with insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes.
I refuse to discuss the Jones-King 1966 rubber or I will end up in hospital with a stroke!
Oh, please risk it Chris! I'll bring you some grapes.....
Declan, do you have the match scores from, say 1978 to 1985?
Happy days, Declan although I must say I am aghast at your support for Rinaldi against Jo!
The event was always well supported by the British LTA and public and until around the late 70s by the USLTA if not the American public although I believe the ties held in Cleveland were usually successful. It perhaps should have been stopped after 1980. Certainly when Virginia was past her peak and Sue had only bloomed for a handful of years it was all very one-sided and in a boxing match would have been stopped. The early 70s were disappointing in that at times the US started using Chris Evert plus a couple of lower ranked players.
How did you feel about the British victory in 1974? I have to admit I didn't really get a buzz from it. I know Julie Heldman was in the top 10 at that time but along with Janet Newberry and Jeanne Evert plus a couple of others I can't remember, it didn't really feel "true". The move to the Royal Albert Hall was inspired. It was a great venue even in the 80s when as a nation we had already moved on to the mentality of being happy that at least we had played well whenever we were beaten.
We also missed the 1975 victory more meritous because it was on American soil and the US team included Chrissie. That was the year when Ann Jones nearing 37 and I think having had her second child played Team Tennis for Cleveland and reached a level which the Brits thought put her in line for the 3rd singles. However the upcoming youngsters led by Sue Barker thought this was a retrogressive step and "rebelled". It all worked out very well in the end from our point of view when Sue was given the 3rd spot and beat Janet Newberry. Virginia renewed her old partnership with Ann in the doubles and they won their match. It was a pity for Ann that she didn't play against the Chris Evert doubles team because I don't believe she ever played Chris at all.
How on earth can you describe 1978? Chris Evert looked a shoe-in for 2 matches. Virginia had started her gradual decline from winning Wimbledon and Barker was just about treading water in the top 20. With Tracy Austin already in the top 10 and Pam Shriver having been USO finallist it looked like a 6-1 victory for the US if Virginia could beat Tracy. Virginia hung in there against Tracy and Sue played probably her best match of the year to beat her. But as you say the pivotal match was the Tyler-Shriver match up. It just shows how you can become inspired and play above yourself feeding from the crowd. Nerve-racking stuff. I think the BBC would have more sense than to stop televising the match live at such a crucial stage today.
I can't remember too much about Michelle and I may be wrong but didn't she made the world's top 30?
Are you absolutely sure about 1980? Again it's only from memory but I didn't think the match was that close.
I just missed the great British victories of 1958 and 1960. Around the late 50s and 60s the event became competitive on the whole except for 1961 and 1967. Although the scorelines in 1963 and 1965 look pretty conclusive for the US so many of the individual rubbers which nearly always ended in US victory could have gone either way. When you look at the US teams of this period which consisted mostly of Darlene Hard, BJK, Karen Hantze-Susman and Nancy Richey you can see how tough it would have been to win.
Surprisingly on a small no of rubbers played against weaker US teams in the 70s the most successful Brits are Joyce Williams and Glynis Coles! Joyce played 4 singles and 4 doubles matches winning 2 of each - 50%! Coles did even better winning 3 of 6 singles and 2 of 3 doubles.
Of the top players who played regularly Ann Jones has the best record with a 47% win rate in single (10 out of 21) and 50% in doubles (6 out of 12). With the best Brit not even reaching 50% it can be seen how dominant the US was.
I must gather my thoughts on the 60s matches.
Chris Evert d. Sue Barker 6-2 6-1
Michele Tyler d. Pam Shriver 5-7 6-3 6-3
Virginia Wade d. Tracy Austin 3-6 7-5 6-3
Billie Jean King/Tracy Austin d. Sue Mappin/Anne Hobbs 6-2 4-6 6-2
Chris Evert d. Virginia Wade 6-0 6-1
Sue Barker d. Tracy Austin 6-3 3-6 6-0
Virginia Wade/Sue Barker d. Chris Evert/Pam Shriver 6-0 5-7 6-4
1979: (Palm Beach, Fla.); USA d. Great Britain 7-0
Chris Evert d. Sue Barker 7-5 6-2
Kathy Jordan d. Anne Hobbs 6-4 6-7 6-2
Tracy Austin d. Virginia wade 6-1 6-4
Tracy Austin/Ann Kiyomura d. Jo Durie/Debbie Jevans 6-3 6-1
Tracy Austin d. Sue Barker 6-4 6-2
Chris Evert d. Virginia Wade 6-1 6-1
Chris Evert/rosie Casals d. Virginia Wade/Sue Barker 6-0 6-1
1980: (London); USA d. Great Britain 5-2:
Chris Evert d. Sue Barker 6-1 6-2
Anne Hobbs d. Kathy Jordan 4-6 6-4 6-1
Andrea Jaeger d. Virginia Wade 3-6 6-3 6-2
Rosie Casals/Chris Evert d. Glynis Coles/Anne Hobbs 6-3 6-3
Sue Barker d. Andrea Jaeger 5-7 6-3 6-3
Chris Evert d. Virginia Wade 7-5 3-6 7-5
Kathy Jordan/Anne Smith d. Sue Barker/Virginia Wade/Sue Barker 6-4 7-5
1981: (Chicago) USA d. Great Britain 7-0
Tracy Austin d. Sue Barker 7-5 6-3
Andrea Jaeger d. Anne Hobbs 6-0 6-0
Chris Evert d. Virginia Wade 6-1 6-3
Andrea Jaeger/Pam Shriver d. Anne Hobbs/Jo Durie 6-1 6-3
Tracy Austin d. Virginia Wade 6-3 6-1
Chris Evert d. Sue Barker 6-3 6-0
Chris Evert/Rosie Casals d. Glynis Coles/Virginia Wade 6-3 6-3
1982: (London) ; USA d. Great Britain 6-1
Barbara Potter d. Sue Barker 6-2 6-2
Anne Smith d. Virginia Wade 3-6 7-5 6-3
Chris Evert d. Jo Durie 6-2 6-2
Jo Durie/Anne Hobbs d. Rosie Casals/Anne Smith 6-3 2-6 6-3
Barbara Potter d. Jo Durie 5-7 7-6 6-2
Chris Evert d. Sue Barker 6-4 6-3
Barbara Potter/Sharon Walsh d. Sue Barker/Virginia Wade 2-6 6-4 6-4
1983: (Williamsburg, Va.) ; USA d. Great Britain 6-1
Martina Navratilova d. Sue Barker 6-2 6-0
Kathy Rinaldi d. Virginia Wade 6-2 6-2
Pam Shriver d. Jo Durie 6-3 6-2
Sue Barker/Virginia Wade d. Candy Reynolds/Paula Smith 7-5 3-6 6-1
Pam Shriver d. Sue Barker 6-0 6-1
Martina Navratilova d. Jo Durie 6-3 6-3
Martina Navratilova/Pam Shriver d. Annabel Croft/Jo Durie 6-2 6-1
1984: (London) ; USA d. Great Britain 5-2
Chris Evert d. Anne Hobbs 6-2 6-2
Annabel Croft d. Alycia Moulton 6-1 5-7 6-4
Jo Durie d. Barbara Potter 6-3 7-6
Chris Evert/Alycia Moulton d. Virginia Wade/Amanda Brown 6-2 6-2
Barbara Potter d. Anne Hobbs 6-1 6-3
Chris Evert d. Jo Durie 7-6 6-1
Barbara Potter/Sharon walsh d. Jo Durie/Anne Hobbs 7-6 4-6 9-7
1985: (Williamsburg) USA d. Great Britain 7-0:
Chris Evert d. Jo Durie 6-2 6-3
Kathy Rinaldi d. Anne Hobbs 7-5 7-5
Pam Shriver d. Annabel Croft 6-0 6-0
Betsy Nagelsen/Anne White d. Annabel Croft/Virginia Wade 6-4 6-1
Pam Shriver d. Jo Durie 6-4 6-4
Chris Evert d. Annabel Croft 6-3 6-0
Chris Evert/Pam Shriver d. Jo Durie/Anne Hobbs 6-3 6-7 6-2
1986: (London) ; USA d. Great Britain 7-0
Kathy Rinaldi d. Sara Gomer 6-3 7-6
Stephanie Rehe d. Annabel croft 6-3 6-1
Bonnie Gadusek d. Jo Durie 6-2 6-4
Bonnie Gadusek/Kathy Rinaldi d. Annabel Croft/Sara Gomer 6-3 5-7 6-3
Bonnie Gadusek d. Anne Hobbs 2-6 6-4 6-4
Kathy Rinaldi d. jo Durie 6-4 6-2
Elise Burgin/Anne White d. Jo Durie/Anne Hobbs 7-6 6-3
Yes, Chris Evert opined in the early eighties that she couldn't imagine continuing in the Wightman Cup once Virginia wade and Sue Barker stepped down - and she didn't!!
I had to root for Kathy against Jo! To this day she remains my all-time favourite player, and for once personal preference had to triumph over my usual patriotism!!
Yes, Michele Tyler reached No.22 in the rankings in 1978 but barely a year later she retired, at just 21 years old. She couldn't stand the rigours of the tour, and felt she didn't have the necessary competitiveness needed to excel. A pity -she was such a good player, lovely to watch, and beat a string of top players in her brief career: Billie Jean King, Tracy Austin and Pam Shriver being the most notable scalps.
I remain convinced that Virginia and Sue would have beaten Jordan and Smith in the final 1980 rubber if Wade had snatched one of those match points against Evert, even though the Americans were the Wimbledon Champions!
Gotta admire Declan for "sticking to his guns" and rooting for Rinaldi like that! I'm trying to picture him in the stands during one of these matches...... when
a great shot was hit by Rinaldi, did he applaud loudly..... stand up and shout
great shot!....... did he bite his lip and turn purple.......... :lol:
Wouldn't it be great if The Tennis Channel ends up televising some of
those above great matches like they are now with the WITC! Does
anyone know if the Whitman Cup was televised each year?
Here are some of the Wightman Cup results from the 1930's. Right now I only have those that involved Alice Marble. As you can see the U.S. just dominated England. As a matter of fact I've read accounts in the "Times" of London were the British writers just bemoaned the fact that their British girls just couldn't beat the Yanks. I'm not sure of the exact number of years, but I think the U.S. went something like 7-8 years during this period without losing.
Wightman Cup Results: Bud Collins’ Modern Encyclopedia of Tennis
United States d Great Britain 4-3 (Forest Hills)
Helen Jacobs d Dorothy Round 6-4, 6-2
Sarah Palfrey d Margaret Scriven 6-3, 6-1
Betty Nuthall d Carolin Babcock 1-6, 6-1, 6-3
Dorothy Round d Sarah Palfrey 6-4, 10-8
Helen Jacobs d Margaret Scriven 5-7, 6-2, 7-5
Helen Jacobs/Sarah Palfrey d Dorothy Round/Mary Heeley 6-4, 6-2
Betty Nuthall/Freda James d Alice Marble/ Marjorie Gladman Van Ryn 7-5, 6-2
United States d Great Britain 6-1 (Forest Hills)
Marble d Mary Hardwick 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
Helen Jacobs d Kay Stammers 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
Jacobs d Hardwick 2-6, 6-4, 6-2
Marble d Stammers 6-3, 6-1
Sarah Palfrey Fabyan d Margot Lumb 6-3, 6-1
Marble/Palfrey d Evelyn Dearman/ Joan Ingram 6-3, 6-2
Stammers/Freda James d Marjorie Gladman Van Ryn/ Dorothy Bundy 6-3, 10-8
United States d Great Britain 5-2 (Wimbledon)
Stammers d Marble 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
Note: “Miss Marble unwisely spent the ten minute interval between the second and third sets sitting by the courtside in a chilly wind...” June 10th, Friday The Times of London. I have no idea why Alice was in such a funk over this match. Normally Alice could beat the beautiful Kay without any problems, but alas this is another match where for whatever reason Alice losses to a lesser player.
Moody d Scriven 6-0, 7-5
Fabyan d Lumb 5-7, 6-2, 6-3
Marble d Scriven 6-3, 3-6, 6-0
Moody d Stammers 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Marble/Fabyan d Lumb/James 6-4, 6-2
Dearman/Ingram d Moody/Bundy 6-2, 7-5
United States d Great Britain 5-2 (Forest Hills)
Marble d Hardwick 6-3, 6-4
Stammers d Jacobs 6-2, 1-6, 6-3
Scott d Fabyan 6-3, 6-4
Marble d Stammers 3-6,6-3, 6-4
Jacobs d Hardwick 6-2, 6-2
Bundy/Arnold d Nuthall/ Brown 6-3, 6-1
Marble/Fabyan d Stammers/James Hammersley 7-5, 6-2
It was always pretty one sided. I think GB was level at 4-4 all after the first eight matches in the 1920s and then didn't win again until 1958 when a still relatively inexperienced Christine Truman had a sensational win over Althea Gibson when it was held on the No.1 court at Wimbledon just prior to the Championships. Typical of the British media they then put so much pressure on Christine that she couldn't play her game at the actual champs and lost tamely to Mimi Arnold in the last 16.
As far as I can count GB won 10 matches in total so the US won somewhere around 50.
I can see where you're coming from on this, Declan. Instead of 4-2 to the US and the British girls having already lost the match playing a meaningless rubber it would have been 3-3 with Wade on a high from having beaten Evert, everything to play for and the crowd going bananas.
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