Originally Posted by Declan
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!!
My goodness does this bring back memories. It was my 11th birthday and I was just really getting into tennis. I remember being aware that Britain were 3-1 down going into the last day of the 1980 Cup.
The optimism of youth knows no bounds and I was sure it wasnt over. And of course Sue Barker played one of the best matches of her career to defeat that great player Andrea Jaeger. And then Virginia!!!! Young as I was I knew that Evert Lloyd would be a tall order. But my god when it reached 5-1 I was ecstatic. My mum and dad were amazed that their football playing son was now screaming for womens tennis. And when she lost that final set lead I was devastated. Went to my bed and never bothered with my birthday dinner or presents. I am sure that the momentum would have carried them over against Smith and Jordan.
I hope that Laura Robson makes it and that Anne Keothavong and co keep improving. With the decline in US tennis it might just be competitive again!!!!