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Old Aug 7th, 2004, 07:03 PM   #16
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Wonderful, Declan, thank you

I didn't know Navratilova played it!
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Old Aug 7th, 2004, 07:58 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by chris whiteside
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.

Exactly, Chris! It would have been 1978 all over again!!
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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 05:06 AM   #18
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It was televised here in the US on cable at least from the mid 70s until 1981. I recall in the 1981 Cup at Chicago Austin was beating an aged Wade so badly she was practicing serve and volley towards the end!

I was lucky enough to see the 1983 Wightman Cup live at Williamsburg. I snuck into the bowels of the stadium just as the players were emerging from a press conference and got the autographs of Shriver, Navratilova, and Wade. Petite little Sue-bee escaped me.

Wade was cool and distant, I was surprised by how tiny Martina was, I had imagined a freak and here I was, at 5' 11'' taller than she was. Pam Shriver was like a stork, joking about "lax security" with a smile as she signed. Shriver's mom was and William and Mary grad, so she really enjoyed the whole time she was there.

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Old Aug 8th, 2004, 05:54 AM   #19
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Whenever the Wightman Cup was first mooted it was around the time of Suzanne Lenglen and it was originally intended to be a tri-partite competition between the US, GB and France which never materialised.

Around the late 50s/early 60s there was much discussion about increased participation in the event particularly from Australia who was very keen to compete. The traditionalists in the US and British LTA wanted to maintain the status quo but this led to the birth of the now Federation Cup.
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Old Aug 9th, 2004, 07:42 AM   #20
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How did Little Mo play the Wightman Cup? 1990 was the last year the Cup was played, is that right?
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Old Aug 9th, 2004, 10:11 AM   #21
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According to a recent USTA yearbook (you'd be surprised what you can find at used book sales ) the Wightman Cup ended after 1989.

Connolly played 4 times, from 51-54, and was 7-0 in singles, 2 in doubles.

Her scores:

1951- Connolly d. Kay Tuckey 6-1 6-3

1952- Connolly d. Jean Walker-Smith 3-6 6-1 7-5; Connolly d. Jean Quertier-Rinkel 9-7 6-2; Brough/Connolly d. Joy G. Mottram/ Pat Ward 6-0 6-3

1953- Connolly d. Angela Mortimer 6-1 6-1; Connolly d. Helen Fletcher 6-1 6-1; Brough/Connolly d. Mortimer/Anne Shilcock 6-2 6-3

1954- Connolly d. Fletcher 6-1 6-3; Connolly d. Shilcock 6-2 6-2

Anybody want any other scores?

BTW, Jo Durie did score Britain's last points in the series, beating Garrison in singles and with Hobbs defeating Garrison/McNeil in doubles in 1987. An interesting bit of trivia is the last two Wightman Cup Captains the US had: Zina Garrison in 1988, and Lori McNeil in 1989.

Question for the group: does anyone think a revival of Wightman Cup in some form (perhaps omitting the very top US players at first) might help revive British women's tennis fortunes a bit? While any of Venus/Serena/Jen/Lindsay/Chanda would overwhelm the Brit team, a matchup pitting the Brits against the likes of Stevenson, Gullickson, Haynes, Cargill, Jackson, etc. could prove interesting. And/or perhaps a Junior Wightman Cup?
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Old Aug 9th, 2004, 12:06 PM   #22
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Thanks for the stats, Brian.

There used to be another team cup, a European team competition, I remember the best European teams having their 2nd squad of players competing (ie. Pfaff for Germany, Budarova for Ch.Republik etc). This event (in the 80s) didn't get much attention, I think it was played by 6 teams in 2 groups, the winner of each group playing the finals, the last teams of the groups playing out who stays in the A-league. So it was quite interesting. Maybe someone has more information & results about that?
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Old Aug 9th, 2004, 01:51 PM   #23
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i was fortunate enough to go to the 1984 cup at the albert hall, to see chris play jo durie. chris was my idol then and i really embarrassed myself by yelling out too loudly during the tiebreak first set!

the atmosphere was fantastic, but i have to agree that nowadays there would be absolutely zero tension in any combination of singles matches or doubles.
btw, chris ended her career with a very impressive (if hardly surprising) 100% record in singles in the cup - 26 out of 26!!!
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Old Aug 9th, 2004, 01:54 PM   #24
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Old Aug 9th, 2004, 03:41 PM   #25
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Old Aug 9th, 2004, 05:56 PM   #26
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When I came along in the tennis world in the early 80's I really wasn''t aware of all of the history of this event. The matches must have been fun while Virginia Wade and BJK were still competing. It sounds as if it would have been a fun event to attend.
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Old Aug 10th, 2004, 06:24 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Stewart
Question for the group: does anyone think a revival of Wightman Cup in some form (perhaps omitting the very top US players at first) might help revive British women's tennis fortunes a bit? While any of Venus/Serena/Jen/Lindsay/Chanda would overwhelm the Brit team, a matchup pitting the Brits against the likes of Stevenson, Gullickson, Haynes, Cargill, Jackson, etc. could prove interesting. And/or perhaps a Junior Wightman Cup?

Interesting one, Brian and difficult to answer. They did have an annual match between the US and British Juniors and I don't think it was that long ago and the Brits did reasonably well in it and won on occasion but it doesn't seem to have had any effect on their performances on the world stage.

I think most of the problems lie with the structure of our LTA and the general attitude towards sport in general in the UK. The game is full of petty jealousies and bureaucracy. Nancy Richey has told us of her experience at Queen's Club 40 years ago when herself and Cliff went out to practice on empty courts and were very quickly made to come off because they weren't members. This sort of attitude still exists today when youngsters aren't allowed to practise even when courts remain unused and with facilities few and far between most who have an initial interest just give up.

Britain once WAS the greatest nation on earth. But those days, and rightly so, have gone. No one has the God-given right to just win anything but we seem to think we have and are still the best when that is anything but true.

As a nation we need to look at our priorities towards sport. Do we want to be serious about it then we have to put the proper funding and effort into it or is it just low down in the scheme of things and something "to be taken part in". If that's what we want fair enough but then we shouldn't get uptight when we aren't successful. Look at what has happened to the women's game in Russia when they devoted their resources to it and I wouldn't bet any money against the same thing happening in China.

In the 50s we had Angela Buxton, Shirley Bloomer, Angela Mortimer, Anne Shilcock, Christine Truman, Ann Haydon who could compete at the top level then into the 60s Jones, Truman carried on with players like Deirdre Catt and Elizabeth Starkie with help from Rita Bentley just outside the top 10. Virginia Wade came along to take over Ann's mantle with help from Winnie Shaw and Joyce Williams but already the field was getting thinner. Sue Barker flickered briefly and Michele Tyler just missed the top 20. Then in the 80s Jo Durie managed a top 10 placing with Anne Hobbs giving a little support although she was a top rate doubles player. But then Jo is out of the top 10, Annabel Croft breaks the top 30 Monique Jaever makes a small splash. Next comes Sam Smith who just falls short of the top 50 until today we can't even get a player in the top 100. It has just been a steady downward pregression.

It would really have amused you to see how the LTA seized on the fact that 4 British girls made the second round at Wimbledon this year as proof that the game was "on the rise". Admittedly they beat higher ranked opposition but none of these were top ranked players and on grass courts at their home Slam this could almost have been expected. The sad fact is that none of those girls would have even been in the event were it not for the Wild Cards. Needless to say they all lost in the second round.

There is a mentality in Britain at the moment that it's "acceptable" to lose bur "didn't they play well"?. Just look at the Americans or Australians, if there's a chance to win something they'll go for it. The Brit attitude is to go for a draw rather than win or play "not to lose" and in those circumstances you usually end up losing anyway. You can only aspire to the top by pitting yourself against the top players so I don't know that by playing lesser ranked American ones it would necessarily help. If they won then immediately the British Press would be building them up as "world beaters" and they would get exalted ideas about their abilities and if they lost they would get torn to shreds. It is a national pastime to try and pull our top stars down, dig into their private lives and dish up any dirt they can find and then kick them when they are down. Doesn't help.

It would be long term project but you would really need to go right to the bottom of the ladder and begin again, devoting the money and energy such as the Russians. There would also need to be a complete change in the mental attitude towards sport and tennis in particular which is still perceived as being middle/upper class.

So I think I would say that overall I don't really believe setting up a "second-tier" Wightman Cup would really help revive Britsh tennis fortunes.

If you're reading this, Declan it would be interesting to hear your views on this.
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Old Aug 10th, 2004, 01:06 PM   #28
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You're off topic. This thread is called "Wightman Cup", not "Dreamland".
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Old Oct 6th, 2004, 12:10 PM   #29
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Very interesting comment from Nancy Richey in another thread that right through the 60s she still regarded the Wightman Cup as superior to the Federation Cup. The US and British Associations took it very seriously.

In 1966, the year she won her second singles title at RG, it was only after a written submisssion to the British LTA and even then reluctantly that they gave Ann Jones permission to go and play there. They wanted her to stay and play in some low-key British tournaments so that she could get practice on grass courts for the upcoming Wightman Cup match!
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Old Oct 6th, 2004, 01:45 PM   #30
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In the good old amateur days the Davis Cup and the Wightman Cup were sure tickets to travel abroad. Without the Wightman Cup most of the British women would never have made it to the United States at all. What a pity it didn't become the Federation Cup back in the 1920s.

Chris-I'm glad Ann got her way. She won enough small events in her lifetime. I won't be surprised if we discover she won as many events as Margaret Court did.
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