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Old Jun 9th, 2013, 05:21 PM   #31
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

TENNIS: U.S. OPEN PREVIEW
The San Diego Union
Monday, August 29, 1988
Barry Lorge

The opponent's words painted a familiar portrait of the teen-age terror of tennis: "On the court, she acted as if she had never seen you before. Her concentration never wavered ...She was always completely courteous, but on the court you were someone to beat, and that was that."

This could be a contemporary talking about West German Steffi Graf , who will be seeking the Grand Slam -- a single-season sweep of the championships of Australia, France, Wimbledon and the United States -- at the U.S. Open, which begins today in New York.

Actually, however, these comments came from a San Diegan in June 1969, describing longtime friend and local junior rival Maureen Connolly Brinker, who had recently succumbed to cancer at age 34. "Little Mo" -- as she was nicknamed by San Diego Union sportswriter Nelson Fisher because her backcourt artillery reminded him of the relentless 16-inch guns of "Big Mo," the battleship Missouri -- was the first woman to achieve the Slam.

Having ended Martina Navratilova's six-year reign at Wimbledon in July, Graf is expected to duplicate the Slam, a feat accomplished only by Don Budge in 1938, Connolly in 1953, Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969 and Margaret Court in 1970.

Tennis has changed dramatically in 35 years, but similarities between the soon-to-be-19 Connolly of 1953 and the just-turned-19 Graf of 1988 have not gone unnoticed.

Chris Evert and Tracy Austin also were tenacious teens who buried foes from the baseline, but largely with counterpunches. Graf's ground strokes, like Little Mo's, bring to mind smoking salvos from an attacking battleship, and she seems to use the boundaries of the court for target practice.

"Graf is more like Maureen than anyone else I have seen because of her extraordinary concentration and disinterest in anything but winning the point," observed Ted Tinling, the English couturier and tennis savant who has watched every champion for more than 60 years.

"...Her habit of moving off almost before the ball has bounced when she hits a winner is just like Maureen ... Many of the mannerisms are exactly the same. That really struck me at the Lipton tournament in Florida last year, when Steffi beat Martina and Chris in 55 minutes each. She showed that same ruthlessness Little Mo had. She didn't just beat you, she dispatched you."

Doris Hart -- who inflicted Connolly's only two defeats in 1953 but was her victim in three of the four Grand Slam finals -- told World Tennis magazine 25 years later: "She went for the lines, and she was confident that everything would be fine. She could hit her way out of trouble ... Mo just never let up. You might be ahead 40-0, but it felt like 0-40 the way she kept hitting. She rarely played a loose shot. It may be hard for you to imagine somebody tougher mentally than Chrissie Evert, but Mo was."

Hart gave Connolly a tough test in the '53 Wimbledon final, losing 8-6, 7-5, but she was dispatched in the finals of the French and U.S. Championships by identical scores of 6-2, 6-4. Tinling recalled the end of the match that concluded the Slam:

"It was quite extraordinary. Maureen hit a tremendous backhand that kicked up a cloud of chalk at the junction of the baseline and sideline, then did the same thing in the other corner. Doris just shrugged her shoulders, as if to say, 'What am I supposed to do?' But Maureen was always nervous playing Doris, because she was one of the few players who could trouble her. Beating her was like Graf beating Navratilova."

Connolly was raised by her mother and aunt in a house on Idaho Street, around the corner from the University Heights courts where the late Wilbur Folsom became her first teacher and converted her from left-hander to right-hander. She developed under stern Eleanor "Teach" Tenant, with whom she later had a bitter parting, and conquered the world before her 20th birthday. Her career ended tragically, as her life would 15 years later, with a riding accident in July 1954.

Colonel Merryboy, the Tennessee Walker she loved almost as much as sweetheart Norman Brinker, was frightened by a cement truck on then-rural Friars Road in Mission Valley. The horse pinned Connolly against the truck, severely injuring her right leg.

The next summer she married Brinker, a U.S. Olympic equestrian who was stationed in San Diego for the Navy. He got his degree in business administration from San Diego State, they had two daughters and moved to Dallas, opening a successful chain of restaurants.

Graf always has been coached by her father, Peter, who started her with a sawed-off racket. Like Connolly, she has an effervescent personality off the court but is all business on it. That undoubtedly comes as much from a champion's strong will as from domineering mentors.

Tinling, in San Diego for a tournament a few weeks ago, recalled his first visit, in September 1953. He was Connolly's dressmaker at the time, and he designed a floral emblem to commemorate the Grand Slam she had just completed: the Australian wattle, French fleur de lis, English rose and American Beauty rose, plus an Irish shamrock for heritage and luck.

She wanted to show him her hometown, the courts where she started, and Colonel Merryboy. ("He bit her," Tinling said, "but she was ga-ga over that horse.") They had lunch with Maureen's mother, which also was revealing.

"It was a Friday. The mother had made a stew for me, but she went berserk when Maureen picked out some meat and ate it," Tinling said. "Maureen had a special dispensation from the Pope to eat meat on Fridays when she had a match, but her mother scolded her because she wasn't playing that day. Maureen said, 'Ted's my match today,' and ate the stew. She did her own thing, Miss Connolly, regardless of everybody ... She was a bundle of fun, always giggling and bubbling, and very correct in her behavior, but she had a metallic streak in her temperament."

So does Graf, a similar champion, who once rejected the notion that she is purely the product of a Prussian parent this way: "You can push a good player to become better, but it is not possible to push a great player to do anything. When I'm on the court, I don't play for my father. I'm responsible for myself."

Point, game, set, match and probably Slam to Fraulein Forehand, who has much in common with the Little Mo of '53.
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Old Jun 9th, 2013, 05:30 PM   #32
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

This one has been bantered about before on BFTP. The thing I find astonishing isn't so much people like Tinling and Heldman saying how much Graf reminds them of Connolly, it's Connolly's own family saying how much Graf reminds them of her.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...7682/index.htm
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Old Jun 9th, 2013, 05:53 PM   #33
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

Many thanks for the nice readings.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 08:28 PM   #34
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

There are over 5000 results for "Maureen Connolly" in just one of the archives I have access to, with a very bad signal-to-noise ratio, so please be patient.

Some things worth noting from this article:

* She was a sports columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, so if we have any San Diego residents lurking and so-inclined, a trip to the local library's microfilm newspaper archives might yield some interesting results.

* From the description of her riding injury, it seems amazing that she even able to walk all that well again, given the medical limitations of the day.

* How eerie that only one out of her four childhood playmates lived to the year 1987.

REMEMBERING 'LITTLE MO'
She has special place in local sports history
Evening Tribune
San Diego, CA
Friday, July 3, 1987
John Freeman

HAD Maureen Connolly's tennis career not ended so abruptly -- she was only 21 when a leg injury forced her to retire -- there might not be any dispute that she was the very best woman who ever played the game.

As it is, her place in tennis history -- and in San Diego's sports history -- remains forever secure.

Tomorrow marks the 35th anniversary of Little Mo's first of three straight Wimbledon titles. She was not quite 18 when she won the All-England Lawn Tennis Championships for the first time, thus becoming the second-youngest winner of the women's title.

The year was 1952.

The previous year, she had become the youngest winner of the U.S. Open at Forest Hills, beginning another streak of three straight titles. From '52 through '54, she was ranked as the world's best woman tennis player.

Less than a month after she had won her third straight Wimbledon in '54, disaster struck.

Connolly was riding Colonel Merryboy, the Tennessee walking horse she had received as a gift from San Diego admirers after winning the Grand Slam the previous year, when she was side-swiped by a cement truck on Friars Road.

The frightened horse wheeled and turned abruptly and Connolly's right leg was crushed against the truck. The horse was unhurt, but Little Mo suffered a fractured and severely gouged right leg. Worse, the leg's tendons and ligaments had been shredded.

The date was July 20, 1954.

Connolly was hospitalized for two weeks. By September, after weeks of intensive therapy, she was able to start playing again. As a goal, she entered the La Jolla Invitational, set for March.

But her efforts at rehabilitation were in vain.

All she could do was rally with friends. She was unable to compete at any higher level and, though she tried to come back, she knew her career was over.

On Feb. 22, 1955, at the age of 21, citing her intention to be married to Norman Brinker, a San Diego State sophomore, Little Mo announced that her playing career was over.

She was quoted by Jack Murphy, the late San Diego Union sports editor:

"I've been working every day for an hour and a half, but it's not the same. When I don't hit a shot well, I get mad. Instead of trying to play harder, I get sullen. I don't enjoy it. I've lost my spark....

"Tennis is a wonderful game and I leave it with no regrets. I've had a full life, with lots of travel and I've met a lot of wonderful people."

Little Mo plunged into a previously part-time career as a Union sports columnist and as a magazine writer and British TV commentator on tennis. She pursued her degree at San Diego State, gave tennis lessons and eventually became a mother and lent support to her husband's career.

As for the accident, she retained the celebrated attorney Melvin Belli, who after two reversals finally won a settlement of $110,700, based on income she had expected to win as a pro.

Her last San Diego tennis appearance was in 1966, when she faced one-time rival Nancy Kiner in friendly exhibitions at the Community Concourse and at La Costa. Connolly won both handily.

Kiner was not surprised. "Once you've got it, you never lose it," she said.

Until she died in 1969 at the age of 34, Little Mo never lost it. Until the end, she was outwardly as full of life as ever.

Stomach cancer had ravaged her body but not her soul. Maureen Connolly -- who would have been 53 this year -- left a legacy that touched all who knew her.

Louise Brough, Connolly's finals opponent at Wimbledon of '52, remembers Little Mo as "all
business" on the court.

"She had this way of nodding her head, a habit that went along with her brisk manner," said Brough, now 64 and living in Vista. "You knew that when Maureen was nodding her head, she was playing well."

Prior to Wimbledon, it was uncertain whether Connolly would even compete that year.

"She had a shoulder injury," said Brough, herself a four-time Wimbledon champion. "They tried to keep it quiet, but I knew about it because we had practiced together on the Wightman Cup team."

During that Wimbledon, Connolly had temporarily dropped Eleanor ("Teach") Tennant as her coach, mainly because Tennant had advised her to default from the event.

(In fact, her relationship with Tennant, who earlier served as Alice Marble's mentor, was filled with stormy moments. Tennant emphasized a serve-and-volley attack, while Maureen chose to stay on the baseline, blasting forehands down the line.)

"Teach wasn't happy that we had played together, because she wanted her to take it easy," said Brough. "In fact, she may have strained it by playing with me.

"But Maureen took it into her own hands because she wanted to play."

Remembering the '52 Wimbledon finals, which Connolly won 7-5, 6-3, Brough said:

"Centre Court was a bugaboo at first for Maureen, which it usually is for a first-time player. But she certainly played well. She was really a tough little player, one of the best I ever played against. She was at least as good as Chris Evert and would have given Martina Navratilova a very tough time."

In '53, Connolly beat Doris Hart 8-6, 7-5 to win Wimbledon, and the next year defeated Brough again 6-2, 7-5 for the title. Brough won Wimbledon the following year.

It was Nelson Fisher, a now-retired sportswriter who specialized in horse racing and tennis for the Union, who first used the nickname "Little Mo."

Connolly stood 5-foot-5, and Fisher thought he would contrast that with "Mighty Mo," a battleship named "The Missouri," then regarded as "the world's hardest hitting fighting vessel."

"Being a newspaperman, I knew that Maureen Connolly was too long for a headline," said Fisher. "When Maureen was about 11 or 12, I was flying back from the Belmont Stakes and saw a newspaper with 'Mighty Mo' in a headline. So I thought of 'Little Mo.' "

Many years later, in '78, NBC aired a movie titled "Little Mo" -- a biography on which Fisher served as a consultant.

Glynnis O'Connor played the title role, with Anne Baxter as Maureen's mother; Michael Learned as "Teach" Tennant; Anne Francis as Sophie Fisher, Nelson's wife; Mark Harmon as Norman Brinker; and Leslie Nielsen as Fisher.

"Most movies take a lot of liberties," said Fisher. "And this one did, too. But after seeing the final version, Norman decided, and we all agreed, to ignore them."

The last time Fisher saw Connolly was a few weeks before she died. Even then, he says, only her closest friends knew the seriousness of her condition.

"She was taking double doses of morphine and in terrible pain," said Fisher. "But, you know, when I walked into her room, she smiled just like her old self.

"They let me in for about five minutes. All she wanted to do was talk about the Belmont Stakes, where I had just been. When I told her how sorry I was to see her in a hospital, she said she had accepted her fate. Two weeks later, she was dead.

"She was a wonderful athlete, mother and wife, a wonderful friend to me and my Sophie. We spent 25 of the best years of our lives with her. I can't ever forget Little Mo."

Ralph Trembley spent many a weekend in the late '40s watching Connolly play as a junior. Then director of San Diego's parks and recreation department, Trembley always had an interest in developing the area's better tennis players.

When Trembley remembers Maureen, he also recalls "The Big Four" -- Maureen and her three tennis-playing girlfriends, Marion Vernon, Dianne Kostial and Patsy Zellmer, who was Little Mo's frequent doubles partner.

"Those little girls were inseparable," said Trembley. "They did everything together."

Only Kostial, now a landscape architect in Boston, is alive today. In a haunting coincidence, Zellmer, who once was nationally ranked just behind Connolly as a junior, died of cancer several months before Little Mo's death.

The first time Trembley saw Connolly play was her first tournament ever at Morley Field.

"She started playing at age 10," said Trembley. "She went up to (the late) Wilbur Folsom and asked if she could play. Of course, he said yes, as he always did. After a few weeks of instruction, she was quite a player."

Folsom, said Trembley, "was the kind of coach who lives for the day he gets a Maureen Connolly.

"But Little Mo's mother was the temperamental kind, and something happened when Maureen was about 15. She absolutely forbid Maureen to go to Wilbur, or even to mention his name. She cut him off from all credit.

"It was heartbreaking to all of us who loved both Maureen and Wilbur."

For Ben Press, the Hotel del Coronado tennis pro who grew up with Little Mo in the University Heights area of North Park, thinking of Connolly brings back memories of hitting worn-out balls back and forth, under bad lights, until they were summoned for bedtime.

"The kind of talent she had can't be acquired," said Press, who guesses that he played more than 500 matches against Connolly and as her mixed doubles partner. "It comes from up above."

Especially her return of service. "It was better than anyone else's I've ever seen," said Press. "Her game was utterly head-and-shoulders above any woman I've ever seen.

"Obviously, I'm partial, but she was only 20 when her career ended. Just think how good she could have become."

Brinker, Little Mo's "Sir Galahad," as dubbed by Nelson Fisher, recently described her as "an
incredible human being who happened to be a very good tennis player."

Now 56 and president of Chili's Hamburger Grill & Bar, a nationwide restaurant chain based in Dallas, Brinker says he remembers the time he first met Maureen "like it was yesterday."

Even then a world-class polo player and equestrian, Brinker stabled his horses in Mission Valley, in the same stable where Connolly kept Colonel Merryboy.

"I had been a member of the Olympic (jumping) team," said Brinker, "and I arrived back in town in July ('52). I knew her only because I had read about her.

"She was more than a hero to people in San Diego....She was an idol. I thought it was
marvelous that she had achieved what she had. But I had imagined that she would be a 'little miss priss,' real pampered.

"One day, at the stables, she came right up to me and said: 'Oh, that must be (Brinker's horse) Rip Snorter.' The minute she left, I thought, my gosh, she's really a neat person."

Brinker and Connolly were married in June 1955. They had two children, Cindy, now 30 and a resident of Dallas; and Brenda, now 28, who lives in New York.

In the early '60s, the Brinker family moved to Scottsdale and, a short time later, to Dallas, where Norman continued his successful business ventures.

A partner in the original Jack-in-the-Box chain here, and former president of Burger King, he now is the largest shareholder of the Pillsbury Corp. His financial worth is said to exceed $100 million.

But his life since Maureen's death has been marred by further tragic brushes with cancer.

His present wife, Susan, lost a breast to cancer several years ago, and her sister died of the disease. The Brinkers now preside over the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation, which supports cancer research.

What Brinker remembers most fondly about Maureen now is "her tremendous will to live," he
said.

When Connolly was first diagnosed as having stomach cancer, a year or so after her last
exhibition with Kiner, she refused to feel sorry for herself, said Brinker. Only family members and close friends were advised that the cancer was malignant.

"She was always so positive, so up all the time," recalled Brinker. "She just said, 'We'll beat this together.' And I believed her.

"After the autopsy, one of the doctors said to me, 'She can't have lived that long. Everything is gone. She should have died six months ago.'

"We had just a terrific, terrific time together," said Brinker, his voice halting. "She was a remarkable woman."
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 08:29 PM   #35
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

My assessment: No, Connolly would not have been able to maintain her level of play if hatred and fear really were her fuels. That leads to nothing but emotional burnout and even physical problems, not to mention the bad karma. ("Hate hurts the hater more than hated." Unless, of course, the hater has a big bleeping gun and isn't adverse to using it.) There would either eventually come a day (sooner rather than later, IMO) when putting herself through that kind of emotional distress would no longer be worth it or she would be consumed by her hatred -- recall from the previous article that "When I don't hit a shot well, I get mad. Instead of trying to play harder, I get sullen. I don't enjoy it. I've lost my spark." Therein lies one of the pitfalls of using negative emotions.

King takes insightful look at women's tennis legends
The Orange County Register
Saturday, December 24, 1988
Janis Carr

This is a book that was written from the inside out. By a person very much on the inside of women's tennis, looking out for the game and its players.

Billie Jean King takes a close look at the growth of the women's game and its players in her new book, "We Have Come a Long Way." The book is filled with insights about the people who have played the game and made a difference in the development of tennis.

Perhaps the most interesting portions of the book are the interviews and details about the game's most legendary players, such as Suzanne Lenglen, Kitty Godfree, Margaret Court Smith and Doris Hart. So much is written about today's players, but very little is commonly known about the past champions.

For instance (according to the book):

Lenglen relied on sugar cubes laced with brandy to get through long matches. She also drank wine or brandy during her matches and smoked cigarettes. Once when asked if she drank before matches, she said: "Nothing so fine for the nerve, for the strength, for the morale. A little wine tones up the system just right. One cannot always be too serious."

Alice Marble was the first woman to bring a power game to tennis. Her game was a mixture of drives hit on the run, leaping volleys and smashes struck while both feet were in the air. Her serve was the first in women's tennis to be called great. Martina Navratilova would be second.

Boorish behavior also isn't something invented by Hana Mandlikova.

Lenglen once lost her temper after a close call went against her and threw down her racket. When she was called for a foot fault on the next point, she scolded the linesman, who was deaf and could not hear her. Lenglen, undaunted, scribbled out her protest on a piece of paper.

Gussie Moran never won a major championship but is better known than many of her counterparts because of a bit of lace. King writes that Moran "wore panties trimmed with lace at the 1949 Wimbledon -- an act tantamount to going out on court in lingerie." Anne White's all-white body stocking would cause the next big sensation at Wimbledon.

Not to be outdone fashionwise, Lenglen wore a fur coat to the court, even on the hottest days.

Overbearing fathers are nothing new. Lenglen's father used to berate her on the court in front of others. He thought she should win all of her matches, 6-0, 6-0.

World War II took its toll. The major European tournaments were canceled as Roland Garros was used as a holding area for deportees waiting to be transferred to death camps. The All England Club was bombed 16 times.

Hart, the 1951 Wimbledon champion, didn't learn to walk until she was 3 years old. As a 15-month-old toddler, Hart suffered an infection under her right knee cap, and the doctors performed the operation without anesthesia on a kitchen table. Then, during her prolonged recovery, Hart contracted chicken pox and scarlet fever.

Hart walked with a limp throughout her career.

Tennis was everything for Maureen Connolly, who won the Grand Slam in 1953. According to King, Connolly measured her self-worth by her victories, and in her own biography, she wrote: "I was a strange little girl armed with hate, fear and a Golden Racket."

Connolly admitted she could not play without hatred. "This was no passing dislike, but a blazing, virulent, powerful and consuming hate. ... I was afraid to lose. The fear I knew was the clutching kind you can almost taste and smell and the specter of defeat was my shadow."

Margaret Court and Connolly were left-handers who were taught to play the game right-handed. Wilbur Folsom, one of Connolly's early coaches, said in his experience women who played left-handed did not become champions.

He would not know about Martina.

After retiring from tennis, Althea Gibson joined the Ladies Professional Golf Association, served on the New Jersey State Athletic Commission and ran unsuccessfully for the New Jersey state senate.

Arthur Ashe also has come out with a book called "A Hard Road to Glory: The History of the African Athlete."

It reportedly took him six years to finish the ambitious three-volume work which traces the
history of the black athlete as far back as ancestral roots in 1619 to the present.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 09:15 PM   #36
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

Great posts Mrs A!

Not sure I 100% agree regarding Mo and her psychology. Of course you are correct about how hate can be corrosive. On the other hand no less than Ted Tinling wrote that Teach's approach, using reverse pyschology, was more effective in his view than Nell Hopman's "win with love."

My theory on some of the greats is they can use a great motivator (like hate), marry it to perfect concentration (Ted writes a bomb could have gone off next door and Mo wouldn't bat an eyelid), and voila-a tornado like Mo wreaked havoc on court.

Of course if she carried the hatred around off court it would eat at her. By many accounts though she was sweet off court.

I love the highlight reel I have of Mo winning her first Wimbledon in 1952. This is the event where she showed her mettle by ignoring her Coach and playing through a bad shoulder. Susan Partridge slowed balled and moonballed her on Court 1. It was two points before defeat that the famous incident happened when a Yankee soldier shouted out, "Give em hell Mo!".

Maureen believed that lone voice was the turning point of her career.

Louise Brough faced her in the final. "Broughie" tried centering the ball and slice and dice tactics to break the fury of Mo's shots. Louise had hinted before Wimbledon that Connolly was using her shoulder as an excuse in case she lost. One can only shudder to think how that motivated Mo.....

Dan Maskell's commentary on the match is a hoot. He calls Connolly "Babe Ruthless"....with her "sargent-major" strut!
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 09:26 PM   #37
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

Maurren apparently didn't give up entirely on her old ways. She drove her protegee Barbara Breit too hard by some accounts;at least accordingto Breit.

One year she came out to judge junior Wightman Cuppers. Watching the team others opined on this player or that one. When asked about the prospects of the team members, Mo pointed to a bespeckled Billie Jean Moffitt as the only one who had a shot at greatness.

So what did Mo do? She went into full reverse psychology mode, a la Teach. When she took Billie Jean out for dinner Connolly tore into her, telling BJ she would never be great. King wrote later about this incident in her autobiography, noting how a lecture could have mentally destroyed many young girls.

King is correct IMO. Yet perhaps Maureen judged Bilie jean just right after all and lit a fire under her bum.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 10:39 AM   #38
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms. Anthropic View Post
Margaret Court and Connolly were left-handers who were taught to play the game right-handed. Wilbur Folsom, one of Connolly's early coaches, said in his experience women who played left-handed did not become champions.

He would not know about Martina.
and I had no idea of that fact when I observed more above that Mo seemed to have power in her rigth arm only, and making a comparison with Martina.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 01:35 PM   #39
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

Wasn't there some story about Tennant completely fabricating dismissive/insulting comments by an upcoming opponent in order to get Little Mo all the more seething? And Connolly was greatly upset with Tennant when she discovered the ploy? Or was that an Alice Marble story?
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 01:39 PM   #40
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

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and I had no idea of that fact when I observed more above that Mo seemed to have power in her rigth arm only, and making a comparison with Martina.
I guess both Connolly and Court were switched to right-handed early enough that it wasn't much of a liability. (And does anyone know if they were switched to right-handed for general, everyday tasks?) But given the reports that Court's serve would get a little shaky in tense moments, I have to think playing with her real dominant hand might have helped. Especially considering the (somewhat over-blown, IMO) lefty serving advantage.

Still, imagine that two of tennis' Grand Slammers did it without playing with their true dominant hand! Cue the famous sword fight from "The Princess Bride."
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 01:56 PM   #41
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

I've been told that in the old days (say in the early last century) they forced left-handed children to be right-handed by keeping the left hand tied in the back.

I think singer songwriter Dory Previn, a frustrated left-handed herself, even wrote a song about it.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 03:58 PM   #42
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

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Still, imagine that two of tennis' Grand Slammers did it without playing with their true dominant hand! Cue the famous sword fight from "The Princess Bride."
LOL-that's one of my favorite movies!

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I've been told that in the old days (say in the early last century) they forced left-handed children to be right-handed by keeping the left hand tied in the back.
They did things like that in Japan too. I shall never forget the first time I wrote on a chalkboard in Japan and heard the shocked sounds behind me!

Things have changed in Japan too, but Kimiko Date was another natural lefty who was forced to learn tennis right handed.
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 02:31 AM   #43
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

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I guess both Connolly and Court were switched to right-handed early enough that it wasn't much of a liability. (And does anyone know if they were switched to right-handed for general, everyday tasks?) But given the reports that Court's serve would get a little shaky in tense moments, I have to think playing with her real dominant hand might have helped. Especially considering the (somewhat over-blown, IMO) lefty serving advantage.

Still, imagine that two of tennis' Grand Slammers did it without playing with their true dominant hand! Cue the famous sword fight from "The Princess Bride."
Ken Rosewall was also a natural lefty who was taught to play right handed, because his father only saw right handed players in tennis instruction books. It was said by tennis experts that Ken would have had a better serve had he played left handed and that the serve was probably the only shot affected by switching to being a righty. If true, can you imagine Margreat and Ken's accomplishments with a better serve? Whatever, they both did rather well with the serves they had-LOL!!
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 01:10 PM   #44
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

Wow--no idea Rosewall was a natural lefty as well! Did you ever see him live too Thrust? I envy you getting to Court.

In her book Forehand Drive Mo mentions that her first coach, Will Folsom, quickly made her switch to being a righty. When Teach got ahold of her Teach made Maureen repeatedly throw racquets with her right hand to get the service motion correct.

So far I've found no mention of if she stayed a lefty off the court.
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 09:10 PM   #45
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

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Great posts Mrs A!

Not sure I 100% agree regarding Mo and her psychology. Of course you are correct about how hate can be corrosive. On the other hand no less than Ted Tinling wrote that Teach's approach, using reverse pyschology, was more effective in his view than Nell Hopman's "win with love."

My theory on some of the greats is they can use a great motivator (like hate), marry it to perfect concentration (Ted writes a bomb could have gone off next door and Mo wouldn't bat an eyelid), and voila-a tornado like Mo wreaked havoc on court.

Of course if she carried the hatred around off court it would eat at her. By many accounts though she was sweet off court.
Unless she could really flip that hate/fear on and off like a switch, it would have to become oppressive, especially as she became more mature. It's easier for younger players --younger people in general-- to use their strongly negative emotions, but it gets harder as they become (if they become) more aware and conscious.

Plus, she would have to enjoy feeling this "blazing, virulent, powerful and consuming hate" (maybe she was just being a little over-the-top?) and almost physically palpable fear for extended periods, or at least consider the rewards worth the horrors. But from the way she writes, I don't get the impression she relished all that negativity. It's not like she wrote something like: "My opponents? I hated them! I mean, I HATED them! And I loved every minute of hating them! Because hating people is a fun and pleasant way for a well-adjusted and emotionally healthy young person, which I am, to spend the afternoon. Only on the tennis court, though. Off the court, I actually like people and feel warm regard for my fellow players. But on the court? It's like a jolly good war (except nobody gets blown up, unfortunately), where you can hate the opposition with all your mind and all your heart and all your soul and get it all out of your system. Until the next tournament. It's like going to Confession, except you don't have to be sorry for what you've done and you don't have to say any Hail Marys. Meanwhile, why do I have a stomach ache all the time?" (Or maybe she did write/say something like that.)

Of course, all the great players have a competitive, aggressive streak, and almost all the ones from the Open Era have a defiant streak (some even past the point of good sense). But there are varying manifestations of it and varying driving forces behind it, not always hate/anger/fear. If you look at many of the other young "hater/rager" type of players they either burn out or get tripped up by their own attitude or cultivate other motivating factors as they mature. E.g., I think King and Evert supplemented their "I am going to curb stomp her!" attitudes with more positive ones as they became adults.
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