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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 02:04 PM   #46
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

A brief vignette...

Son shows qualities dad taught
The Dallas Morning News
Tuesday, October 16, 1990
Paula Watson

Young George Olivas of Plano is a shining example of a man's hope for his son fulfilled.

His father, Davey Olivas, was a horse trainer and polo groom for Dallas businessman Norman Brinker for 23 years. But Davey was best known around Willow Bend Polo and Hunt Club for his encouragement of developing players.

Last year, after a morning's work with his horses, Davey suffered a stroke and a heart attack. He died at the age of 47, a year before George, 22, was named by the United States Polo Association as one of America's six most promising young players.

Born in Mexico, across the border from Presidio, Texas, Davey came to the United States 24 years ago to work for Brinker. Davey once fondly recalled that tennis great Maureen Connolly Brinker gave him an English lesson after breakfast every morning. He said he had to learn a new sentence before she would let him leave the table to go tend to his horses.

When "Little Mo" died in 1969, Davey lost his English teacher but remembered the larger lessons she taught him: helping others get started and guiding them to improve daily.

[....]
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Old Jul 1st, 2013, 12:58 PM   #47
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

PEOPLE
The Dallas Morning News
Thursday, September 21, 1989
Sam Blair

They met in the early '50s, two teen-age girls who loved tennis. Nancy Pearce of St. Louis was good, ranked No. 10 nationally. Maureen Connolly of San Diego was great, destined to become the legendary Little Mo who wowed 'em at Wimbledon.

Their friendship continued over the years. Eventually, both married, had children and settled in Dallas. Nancy, who married Frank Jeffett, arrived first. She was delighted when Maureen and husband Norman Brinker moved here in the early '60s.

There were some happy, busy years. Whatever happened in tennis in Dallas, Maureen and Nancy were involved. And they dreamed of doing something on a bigger scale. Even after Maureen learned she had cancer, she never lost her inspiration.

"In '68, Maureen and I had an idea,'' Nancy said. "We thought it would be exciting if we could establish a program that would benefit junior tennis for years to come. Maureen was sick then, but she was wonderfully optimistic. She always believed she was going to make it and she always believed that we would have a program that could help make the difference for a lot of young players.''

Maureen died in June 1969, but Nancy Jeffett made sure their dream didn't. She became the driving force in the Maureen Connolly Brinker Foundation and in 1970 staged the first major women's tennis tournament in Dallas as a memorial to Little Mo. The event became a fixture and this week it is with us again -- the Virginia Slims of Dallas tournament at Moody Coliseum.

"The foundation has flourished beyond anyone's expectations,'' Nancy said. "It always has made money from the tournament, and for the last 10 years it has averaged $200,000. We've been able to help junior tennis in a number of ways. We sponsor four international team competitions plus two or three other tournaments and we furnish travel grants to boys and girls to help them compete. Zina Garrison (now No. 6 in the world) is the No. 1 example. We pretty well funded her career since she was a little girl.''

With each passing year, Nancy considers the impact of the Maureen Connolly Brinker Foundation and feels proud. Maureen always told her she wanted to make a difference, and she did.
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Old Jul 1st, 2013, 12:59 PM   #48
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

TENNIS STILL INFLUENCED BY LITTLE MO
The Bradenton Herald
Wednesday, July 31, 1991
Mark Moring

Maureen Connolly Brinker, best known as "Little Mo,'' will forever be remembered as the first woman to win the Grand Slam of tennis.

But as fine a player as she was, Little Mo was an even better person.

Her daughter will vouch for that.

"When a person asks me about my Mom, I could talk for hours,'' said Cindy Brinker Simmons, Little Mo's little girl. "Mom was a marvelous person who just happened to be a very good tennis player. I think that sums up her incredible life.''

That incredible life was cut incredibly short on June 21, 1969, the day before Wimbledon began. Little Mo, just 34 years old, was dead of cancer. The All England Club flew its flag at half-mast, and the world of tennis mourned.

But even after her death, Brinker continued to influence the game through the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation, which she and a friend formed in 1968, just six months before Little Mo's death.

One of the foundation's annual projects is the Maureen Connolly Brinker Cup, which begins today at Tampa's Saddlebrook Golf and Tennis Resort. The Cup pits junior girls from the United States and Australia against each other in a team format.

Bradenton's Kristina Brandi is on the U.S. team.

Brinker made her impact on the game in just a few short years; a horseback-riding accident ended her career at the age of 19.

But she had made the most of her days, winning the U.S. Open three times, Wimbledon three times, the French Open twice and the Australian Open once. In 1953, she won all four majors, completing the Grand Slam.

After her playing days ended, Brinker stayed with the game as a coach and ambassador, especially to junior players. Little Mo's greatest desire was to take tennis to underprivileged youngsters.

It was that vision that led Brinker and Nancy Jeffett to create the MCB foundation in 1968.

Six months later, Brinker died. But Jeffett and a committed staff of volunteers carried on, so that Little Mo's legacy would live on, even if she did not.

Today, the MCB foundation, based in Dallas, is arguably the most far-reaching service organization in tennis. It benefits countless boys and girls throughout the world and sponsors a number of prestigious tournaments, awards and scholarships.

Simmons, now 34, was only 12 when her mother died, but remembers her well.

"Mom was fascinated by the sport of tennis,'' said Simmons, who runs a communications company in Dallas. "She'd come from a broken home, and tennis had been a self-esteem builder for her.''

Little Mo's childhood led to her later vision and ultimately the MCB foundation, according to Simmons.

"Back in the 1960s, the social ill of the day was juvenile delinquency,'' Simmons said. "That's where Mom's dream was born.''

She wanted to use tennis to give kids direction in life, much as the game had done for her.

When Brinker and Jeffett formed the MCB foundation, Little Mo knew she had cancer, but told few people. Not even her daughters knew.

"She never told us she was sick,'' Simmons said. "It was always her mentality that she'd beat it. She was a champion. Mom just thought she was going to make it.''

So did Ann Haydon Jones, Britain's top women's player and Brinker's best friend. Jones was so moved by Brinker's death that, two weeks later, she won the Wimbledon singles title and dedicated the trophy to "the late, great Little Mo.''

Simmons turned out to be quite a player herself. She was a junior champion in Texas, and later, in 1979, led the University of Virginia to the No. 12 ranking in the nation - the school's highest ranking ever in women's tennis.

"That was real exciting for me,'' Simmons said, noting that Virginia's tennis program was relatively weak when she arrived. "I thought we could make a program out of nothing... I'm a real visionary, just like my Mom.''

Simmons resembles her mother in many ways. She says her father, Norman Brinker, will often "catch me doing this or that, or looking a certain way, and tell me that I remind him of her.

"We're very much alike. She was a very cheery person, and made friends very easily. I'm very much like that.''
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Old Jul 1st, 2013, 01:00 PM   #49
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

Retired turf writer Nelson Fisher dies
The San Diego Union
Monday, April 22, 1991
Hank Wesch

Nelson Fisher, a nationally honored and locally revered turf writer for The San Diego Union for 34 years before his retirement in 1974, died early yesterday morning after a long battle with cancer. He was 81.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Sophie, a sister, Mildred Noyes of San Diego, and brother, Harold Fisher of San Leandro.

Fisher's writing career included stops at the San Diego Sun, San Francisco Chronicle, and San Francisco Call-Bulletin prior to the Union and spanned from the Golden Age of Sport in the late 1920s to the mid-'70s.

As a turf writer, he provided readers with accounts of thoroughbred racing from Phar Lap at Agua Caliente in the early 1930s through Secretariat winning the Triple Crown in 1973. He wrote on many other sports also and was a friend and patron of, in addition to being the primary reportorial link to, tennis great Maureen Connolly.

Fisher was elected the fourth president of the National Turf Writers Association and served in 1962-63. He was honored by the organization with its Walter Haight Award in 1978.

He was twice the recipient -- in 1964 and 1970 -- of the Thoroughbred Racing Association's Bill Corum Memorial Award for the best horse racing story. The award-winning piece in 1964 was headlined "A Morning With Blue Norther -- The 'Magnificent Cripple' Filly." The 1970 prize winner was a memorial to Hy Schneider, a turf racing pioneer.

Fisher pieces on horse racing were selected for Best Sports Stories volumes in 1957, '59 and '61. A tribute to the injured Swaps was chosen for the 1957 edition, and stories on Royal Orbit's victory in the Preakness and Venetian Way's triumph in the Kentucky Derby were selected in '59 and '61.

He was sometimes addressed as Col. Fisher after being knighted a Kentucky Colonel by the state's Gov. Lawrence Wetherby in May of 1955, the year he predicted the first four finishers of the Kentucky Derby -- Swaps, Nashua, Summer Tan and Racing Fool -- in order in the newspaper.

Fisher annually covered the Kentucky Derby, starting in 1947, and when Churchill Downs published an anthology, "The 100th Derby," for the Centennial race in 1974, works by Fisher were included.

His skills did not go unrecognized in his hometown. Fisher won Copley Press Ring of Truth awards for the best local sports story in 1964 and '65 and the best local sports column of 1970.

As a handicapper, Fisher also was considered among the best in the business. He won handicapping championships at more than a dozen Del Mar meetings and topped newspaper handicappers at Santa Anita and Caliente as well. He picked eight winners on a nine-race card at Santa Anita at least twice and did likewise at Caliente.

In a column upon Fisher's retirement, Union Sports Editor Jack Murphy wrote that he had received several calls from readers imploring him to get Fisher to reconsider. Many penned such sentiments that appeared in a subsequent letters to the sports editor column. In the years after his retirement, Fisher's advice was always actively sought by Del Mar Turf Club veterans whenever he made an appearance there.

The link between Fisher and Connolly was probably best described by Murphy in 1978 columns when a television movie, "Little Mo," was about to be broadcast.

"Nelson and his wife, Sophie, were considered family by Maureen Connolly," Murphy wrote. "She came to their attention as a precocious child of 11 on the playgrounds and they remained steadfast friends until Maureen's death at age 33.

"It was Nelson who penned the endearing nickname "Little Mo" on his protege. In the '40s, everyone knew he was alluding to the firepower of the battleship Missouri. Now the name requires explanation.

"Nelson and Sophie accompanied Maureen to Forest Hills when, at age 16, she won the first of three U.S. Championships. And they rejoiced a year later when she repeated her success at Wimbledon ...

"Maureen was a laughing colleen with a sense of resolve worthy of George Patton. Nelson Fisher's devotion and loyalty to Mo gave newspapering a good name. Their relationship was what friendship is supposed to be."

Nelson and Sophie Fisher were consultants on the film "Little Mo" and were played by Leslie Nielsen and Ann Francis.

Fisher was born July 3, 1909 in Peru, Neb. The roots of his writing career were calling in basketball scores from the local State Teacher's College to newspapers in Lincoln and Omaha. He moved with his family to San Diego, graduated from San Diego High School and attended one year at San Diego State before embarking on his journalism career.

No public memorial services are planned.
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Old Jul 1st, 2013, 01:01 PM   #50
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

Final sentiments to Nelson Fisher
The San Diego Union
Tuesday, April 23, 1991
Don Freeman

Nelson Fisher had a system in picking the winners of college football games. And because of his system, Nelson always won the competition with his sports staff colleagues on this newspaper. Once I said to him, "How do you do it, colonel? Football is not your sport, but you always win."

And Colonel Fisher, so-called because he was indeed an honorary Kentucky colonel, explained that in football as in horse racing, he followed the form. He bet the chalk.

"My fellow sportswriters often make their picks on the basis of sentiment," Nelson said. "If they're from Nebraska they automatically pick Nebraska to beat, say, Oklahoma. Now I happen to be from Nebraska originally but I'd pick Nebraska only if my study of past performances indicated the Big Red would win. I do not bet on sentiment.

"I am an unsentimental man," Nelson said.

Which was, of course, a crock. It was only in picking winners -- in football or at the race track -- that sentiment was not a part of Nelson LeRoy Fisher, the long-since retired turf-and-tennis writer who died the other day at 81.

A few years ago, Nelson was absorbed by a TV film called "Phar Lap" about the legendary race horse that scored great triumphs in Australia and was then shipped to North America.

Nelson Fisher was there, on the Sunday afternoon of March 10, 1932, when Phar Lap won the $100,000 Agua Caliente Handicap. Two weeks later, Phar Lap, a 6-year-old gelding, got the colic from eating wet grass in the hills above Tijuana and died.

After a viewing of the television film, I said to Nelson: "Tell me about Phar Lap."

This self-avowed unsentimental man turned wistful. "Phar Lap," said Nelson Fisher, "dug into your sentiment."

In the early 1980s, an Australian TV crew came to the Mission Hills house shared for so long by Nelson and Sophie Fisher. The Aussies were looking into the whispers, still heard Down Under, that Phar Lap was murdered by the Yanks.

"I told them I was just a young sportswriter at the time," Nelson said, "and I wouldn't have dreamed then how Phar Lap would last in the memory."

But, they persisted, did the Yanks murder Phar Lap?

"I showed the Australian TV people a book of Damon Runyon columns," Nelson said. "In one column, Damon wrote about an American GI in Australia who had heard the story and asked if the rumors about Phar Lap's death were true. Damon wrote: 'No, sonny, no one in this country would dream of murdering a horse like Phar Lap.' "

Nelson loved to talk about Maureen Connolly, a superlative tennis champion who was born in San Diego, grew up in a frame house on Idaho Street and learned her tennis at the University Heights courts.

And Nelson was there, in London, in the early 1950s when "Little Mo" (as he dubbed her) first won at Wimbledon, going on to dominate women's tennis. She was a wondrous blend of strength and poetry, and Nelson wrote about her with courtly grace.

In 1978 the Maureen Connolly story was told most effectively in "Little Mo," a TV dramatization which concluded with her death from cancer at 35 in 1969.

And Nelson (who was played by Leslie Nielsen in the biographical drama) was there, at a preview in Hollywood. And so was one of Mo's early opponents, Nancy Chaffee Kiner, who said as the lights dimmed in the theater: "I have enough Kleenex for everybody."

Nancy Kiner knew what she was doing. I can tell you there was enough Kleenex for everybody, including Nelson Fisher, the unsentimental man, who will be missed by all of us.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2013, 02:49 PM   #51
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

Little Mo, big Slam
Late Dallas icon Maureen Connolly's amazing tennis sweep turns 50
The Dallas Morning News
Sunday, June 22, 2003
RACHEL COHEN

It was harder to win a Grand Slam in tennis half a century ago.

The biggest obstacle wasn't the quality of the players or the nature of the tournaments. It's just that to win four majors, you had to play four majors.

And in 1953, Australia seemed a whole lot farther from the United States than it does today. Top American players, all amateurs back then, rarely made the grueling trip Down Under for the year's first major.The late Maureen "Little Mo" Connolly won the last nine majors she entered, but she only traveled to the Australian Championships once. So Connolly, who later made her home in Dallas, had just one chance to complete the Grand Slam in her tragically brief career.

Fifty years later, the fact that she capitalized on that lone opportunity seems all the more impressive. Only three other tennis players have since captured a Grand Slam by winning all four majors in the same calendar year.

As an 18-year-old in 1953, Connolly dropped just one set in winning the Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. championships. She became the first woman - and second player - to notch a Grand Slam.

"Now looking back and seeing how few people have done it, you realize it's quite a feat," said longtime friend Nancy Jeffett, the co-founder of the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation. "We've had so many great players ... but they weren't able to put it together."

Doris Hart and Shirley Fry, two of the world's top players at the time, said they didn't remember people talking much about Connolly winning a Grand Slam as she rolled up major titles in 1953.

"I don't recall it," said Hart, who lost to Connolly in the finals of the last three majors that year. "To tell you the truth, they should have been."

Filmmaker Jennifer Spell, whose documentary about Little Mo was shown in Dallas in April, said that Connolly was the third-most written-about woman in the world at the time, behind First Lady Mamie Eisenhower and Madame Pandit, the first female president of the United Nations.

But after Connolly won at the U.S. Championships, The New York Times put the article about the men's match on the cover - and the women's final inside.

"I don't think it [Connolly's Grand Slam] was hyped as much as it could have been," said Spell, who is shopping her film, Unforgettable, to distributors.

Connolly's native San Diego certainly embraced her feat. After she capped her Grand Slam, she was honored with a ticker-tape parade through downtown, said Jeffett and Ben Press, a childhood neighbor and mixed doubles partner.

Perhaps the most remarkable part of Connolly's Grand Slam was the ease with which she accomplished it.

Her challengers were hardly weak. Hart, for one, would win six major singles titles in her career. But Connolly's triumphs were not great drama. Who needs rousing comebacks when you're cruising to straight-sets victories?

"They were too easy," British journalist Laurie Pignon said of Connolly's three Wimbledon titles from 1952-54. "There were straight-set wins in all the finals. She wasn't exciting to watch. It was like watching a clockwork machine. ... She wasn't what you call easy copy. Maureen was boring to write about. You knew she was going to win."

Uncanny focus

Connolly and Hart did play a classic final at Wimbledon in '53. Connolly won in straight sets, but the 8-6, 7-5 score reflects a taut match.

Connolly's play was so brilliant that year that, despite losing, Hart looks back proudly at her performance, calling the final "one of the best matches I'd ever played."

"How many people experience that?" Hart said. "Lose a final and come off like you'd won it?

"I knew I couldn't play better. Maureen was just a little better."

While Connolly's serving and volleying were not overpowering, the diminutive star covered the court with textbook footwork and hit her groundstrokes with lethal precision.

Yet former foes call her focus her greatest asset.

"She was so determined," Hart said. "She had great concentration. I had a will to win, too, but she just exuded it on the court. You'd be playing her and be up 40-love and feel like you were down love-40. It didn't faze her a bit. She'd get a bad call and just walk away from it like it didn't even happen."

Pignon said there were "two different Mos." There was the one he knew off the court: a delightful teenager, a "bobbysoxer" who favored orange lipstick and cheap earrings.

"There was the one on the court who never moved a muscle on her face - never smiled, never frowned," Pignon said.

"She never got any joy from winning," he added. "She was driven on and on and on by a real fear of defeat, a real horror of defeat. It was a nightmare for her. Winning was more of a relief."

Press said Connolly was "delighted" to become the first woman to win a Grand Slam. But true to her determined personality, she preferred to focus on how she could improve her game.

"Maureen always took everything in stride," Jeffett said. "She was quite pleased about it, but she was very matter of fact. She was thinking about what she was going to do next."

Living legacy

Pignon wonders if Connolly had a sixth sense and realized her time on the court - and on Earth - was short. "She was always in a hurry," he said.

"She must have known something," Fry agreed, "because, boy, she was a worker all the way."

In 1954, after winning her third straight Wimbledon title, Connolly suffered a career-ending leg injury in a freak horse-riding accident. She died in 1969 at the age of 34 from cancer.

But her legacy lives. Press recently met some youngsters competing in a Little Mo tournament, part of the national youth tennis competition sponsored by the Connolly Brinker Foundation.

Press asked if they knew about the tournament's namesake. They did not, so he began telling them about Little Mo's accomplishments.

Half a century has passed since her Grand Slam, but the feat is timeless. When Press told them she was the first woman to achieve it, they could begin to understand the import of the name under whose watchful eye they were joining the history of tennis.

MAUREEN CONNOLLY BRINKER

Born: Sept. 17, 1934, San Diego

Died: June 21, 1969, Dallas

Family: Husband Norman Brinker; two daughters.

Major singles titles: Nine. Australian 1953; French 1953-54; Wimbledon 1952-54; U.S. 1951-53.

Legacy: Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation. Sponsored tournaments include Little Mo national tournament for children 11 and under; Maureen Connolly Brinker Cup and Maureen Connolly Challenge Trophy, international junior competitions; Maureen Connolly Brinker Girls' 14 Championships; MCB Cotton Bowl Classic.

GRAND SLAM WINNERS

Name Year(s)

Don Budge 1938

Maureen Connolly 1953

Rod Laver 1962, 1969

Margaret Court 1970

Steffi Graf 1988
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Old Jul 23rd, 2013, 02:49 PM   #52
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

The Natural On 50th anniversary of Connolly's Grand Slam, film honors her
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Jerry Magee

Watching "Unforgettable," a documentary dealing with the life of Maureen Connolly Brinker, is like going back in time to when movies didn't have sound and there would be a guy tinkling the piano in a theater's pit.

The filmmaker, Jennifer Spell of New York, has chosen to tell her story in part in the manner of silent movies. A message will be framed on the screen, like this one:

"I was a strange little girl armed with hate, fear and a tennis racket."

The film then segues into still pictures and clips of the beginning phase of the late tennis champion's career.

Spell's approach is just right. It gets across that what she is chronicling through film didn't happen yesterday but 50 and more years ago. You aren't going to be seeing what Spell is portraying on the 6 o'clock news. This is history. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Maureen's Grand Slam in 1953.

How appealing she was, this woman who died of ovarian cancer on June 21, 1969, and how deadly on a tennis court. Spell's film, made up of still pictures, film clips and interviews with persons whose lives Brinker touched, is a portrait of a woman who was saintly off the court and a demon competitor on it. It is more than that. As many clips as there are of her playing, seeing it is like attending a clinic on tennis technique. And by its conclusion, the film is enormously touching.

The film had a premiere showing at the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park as a benefit for Wipe Out Kids Cancer, a non-profit institution that intends to share the proceeds with the Children's Medical Center of Dallas and the Children's Hospital and Health Center in San Diego. Kyle W. Crews of The Harrell Group, a Dallas firm, said the event raised about $30,000 for the charity.

One day, Crews said, the film is to be made available to the public. "A lot of it depends on who buys the film," said Crews.

Spell said she is hopeful of being able to sell her work to ESPN Classic or HBO Sports. She said she had to borrow money to make it, but she so much wanted to do something concerning Brinker that she went into debt in order to do it.

What one can wish would happen: for the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park to acquire the film. The hall celebrates San Diego's champions and Maureen, though Dallas was her last home, always valued the community in which she grew up and in which her game was shaped.

"Those of you who knew mom knew her heart was always in San Diego," said Cindy Brinker Simmons, one of Maureen's two daughters. Said her other daughter, Brenda Brinker Bottum: "Mom was a remarkable woman who just happened to be a tennis player. Mom so loved San Diego. This was her home."

The two women attended the premiere along with their father, Norman Brinker.

Spell said her inspiration for making the film was seeing the motion picture, "Little Mo," on Sept. 5, 1978, one day before her 5th birthday. Maureen completed her Grand Slam on Sept. 7, 1953.

In the motion picture, Glynnis O'Connor, an actress strongly resembling Maureen, is cast as the tennis star. O'Connor remarks in Spell's documentary on what it was like to portray a person who on the court could make what Ted Schroeder terms in an interview "a metamorphosis the like of which you wouldn't believe."

Schroeder was remarking on how Maureen could go from the gentle person she was off a tennis court to the fiery competitor she was on one.

"She was inspirational and she was modest and she was good," says longtime San Diego professional Ben Press in another of the documentary's sequences. Growing up with Maureen in North Park, Press hit with her frequently.

It's all in the documentary. How Maureen's parents were divorced when she was 3. How she took up tennis with a $1.50 racket. A natural left-hander, she learned to play right-handed. And how, as Press says, "She got so she could hit the ball in a hurry."

Her career concluded too soon when at 19, already having won three Wimbledon championships, she suffered a severe leg injury when her horse, Colonel Merryboy, shied when a cement truck approached while she was riding in Mission Valley and threw her into a ditch.

One thing is not broached in the documentary: how she would fare with a graphite racket in her hand -- she played with a wood racket -- against the Williams sisters and the other figures of the current women's game.

"She was very adaptable," remembered Elizabeth Peck, a cousin of the late champion. "She would love those girls," Peck said of Serena and Venus Williams. "She was always into the up-and-coming players."

After viewing the documentary, La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club professional Bill Bond said he was taken with how graceful Maureen was and how quick-footed.

"Her footwork was just unbelievable," said Bond. "If you want to get in perfect position to hit a tennis ball, use short steps. If you use bigger steps, you are more likely to overstride or understride and have to reach to strike the ball."

Bond noted that when Maureen launched her strokes, the most severe of her time, her upper body was very still and she had a long finish. "Lots of power, with not very much effort, and lots of ball control," said Bond. "That's what she had; she had great feel for the ball."

Another question: How good might Maureen have been had she been permitted to play left-handed?

"Maybe better," said Bond. "They did the same thing with Ken Rosewall. You know, he was a lefty, too, and his coach said, 'You can't do that. You've got to play right-handed.' In those days, for some crazy reason, they thought if you were a left-hander, there was something wrong."

It wasn't in the documentary, but Press said that after Maureen had undergone surgery for the injuries she suffered from being thrown from the horse, she contacted him. She wanted to see if she still could play.

They went to a court at the Balboa Tennis Club, then located off Park Boulevard, and hit.

"After about 15 minutes, we had to stop and I had to rub her foot," Press said. "It had turned blue."

Some time later, there was an exhibition match at the Community Concourse downtown featuring Maureen, the late Nancy Chaffee Kiner, Pancho Segura and the late Pancho Gonzales. Gonzales once had possessed arguably the biggest serve in the men's game, but even playing on a swift board court, Maureen was able to handle it when the players offered a set of mixed doubles, Press said.

"She was so good," said Press.

Heart of the matter

In his age group for tennis players 60 and over, Dr. Leland Housman of San Diego is establishing himself as arguably the country's leading singles player of his vintage.

Housman is preparing for the National 60s Indoor Championships in Seattle in August after capturing the National 60s Hardcourt Championships at Rancho Mirage. He has won seven or eight national titles, by his accounting, and had four runner-up finishes in national events.

Said Housman: "Pretty good for a guy who has a day job."

Housman is a heart surgeon.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2013, 02:50 PM   #53
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Re: Little Mo if she were around today......

Yup, there are times when I wonder if anyone in any official position in any of the various tennis governing bodies understands how to present the history of tennis.

Title: WIMBLEDON 2003 E-mail from Wimbledon
The San Diego Union-Tribune
Thursday, July 3, 2003
JERRY MAGEE

No disrespect to the royals, mind you, but I have to ask what sort of a backhand the queen can hit. This being the 50th anniversary of Maureen Connolly's Grand Slam in 1953, I stopped by the Wimbledon Hall of Fame to see how the late tennis champion from San Diego is remembered in these chambers. Among the displays is one in which significant events are marked by the decades in which they occurred. For the '50s, one reads this:

"1957. Queen Elizabeth attends Championships for first time." Not a line here about Maureen. In another place, under "American Victories," Maureen is cited. "Was the first woman to win the Grand Slam in 1953," the words under her picture read. Nothing more.

Short shrift, I call it. As much as the Brits cherish ceremony, I had expected Wimbledon would remember her accomplishment in some formal way. No one ever played better on these courts than the San Diego woman. No one could. She played here three times, in 1952, 1953 and 1954, and won every time.

As a 14- and 15-year-old, Connolly played in the U.S. Nationals at Forest Hills and lost. According to Bud Collins, the noted tennis historian, from that point on, Maureen never lost in any Grand Slam event.

She was a natural left-hander who played right-handed. The choice was hers, I was advised by George Peterson of San Diego, a Connolly contemporary. The tennis champions of which she was aware all had played right-handed. Intending to be one, she determined to play the same way.

From: Jerry Magee

Re: A bloody Hall of Shame

Staff writer Jerry Magee will file a daily e-mail from England during Wimbledon
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