[From the ITA site]On never playing the French due to World Team Tennis:
“Unfortunately, I never had a chance to player here,” Michel said. “When I played, World TeamTennis began May 1st and ended in August. Wimbledon was very important so the players were given two weeks off to compete; but for Roland Garros only one player from a team (in this case the Pittsburgh Triangles) was chosen to go, and Vitas Gerulaitis was selected.”
Sources:Billy Muller is 100 not out.
Our congratulations to Billy Muller, a prominent figure in Capetown and a long-time member of the International Club of South Africa who, on 8th October last year, became the first member of the worldwide IC family to celebrate a 100th birthday.
This landmark was suitably celebrated last December with a party organised by IC Cape Chairman Mike Wolffe at ‘Greystones’, Billy’s home in the Constantia Valley, where his late wife Mary was
renowned for her gardening skills.
With his two daughters, Dot and Sue and his two sons Dirk and Nicky all present, as well as eight IC members, Mike Wolffe paid tribute to the contribution Billy had made to the Capetown
community throughout his business life as a director and part owner of the family company ‘Spilhaus’.
Encouraged by his father to enjoy the outdoor life, Billy developed a love of trout fishing and shooting as well as becoming an accomplished ballroom dancer. In later life he and Mary became
keen bridge players and Billy also discovered the joys and frustrations of golf. It was as a boy at ‘Hohenhort’, the original family home in Capetown built by his German-born grandfather, that Billy was introduced to tennis. In time he would join the Kelvin Grove Sports Club where he also discovered an aptitude for squash - a skill which earned him representative honours
for Western Province.
Perhaps the most significant decision Billy ever made was to join the Wynberg Tennis Club for it was there that he met Mary van Zijl, who would become his wife. The daughter of a prominent
Capetown family, Mary was already well known for her tennis prowess and it was no surprise when she became the South African champion [from Western Province] in 1947. That year she was chosen to join Eric Sturgess, Eustace Fannin and Sheila Summers in the South African overseas touring team that would play at Wimbledon.
The following year Mary returned to Wimbledon where she reached the fourth round. This time she was accompanied by Billy who also made an appearance at The Championships. In the singles Billy was beaten by the experienced British county player Gordon Fitt. In the doubles Billy played with Tiny Musgrove and they were unlucky to have been drawn against the top seeded Americans, Bob Falkenburg and Frank Parker, who saw them off in straight sets.
During this trip Billy met the British player Stanley Harris who would become a good friend. It was Stanley who proposed Billy for membership of the International Club.
There was much to celebrate at the 100th birthday party. The birthday cake itself was a subtle work of art. Shaped as an IC tie, it was blue instead of pink (blue for a boy) with the familiar stripes - thin, thick, thin - in white . In the centre was a simple ‘100'.
As he proudly cut the cake, it was good to think that tennis and the comradeship of International Club members, in South Africa and overseas, had enriched Billy Muller’s long and productive life
and helped him to celebrate this impressive milestone.
Betsy is good friends with Monica Seles, and helped Seles get through the dark period following her 1993 stabbing in Hamburg.Question: What a great tennis career you have had so far ! How old were you when you started playing and where did you play ?
I grew up in St. Petersburg Florida and when I was six years old my mom got invited to go watch a tennis tournament at the St. Pete Tennis center which was then called Bartlett Park. It was part of the Caribbean tour and attracted the best tennis players at that time. She took me and I got hooked then and there and begged for months for my mom to let me play tennis. A few months later she did and I’ve been playing ever since!
Question: Tell us about your Junior tennis — you were #1 in the Country !
In 1972 I won the 16 and under national’s and that same year lost in the finals of the 18 and under nationals and was co-ranked number one in the country.
Question: You had some great Doubles Wins as a player – is there one victory in particular that you enjoyed the most?
I did have some success in doubles as my game was more suited for it. I loved to serve and volley and it was also more fun with a partner. I want 2 grand slam doubles, one with Martina Navratilova, and got to the finals of Wimbledon one year losing a close one. Wendy Turnbull from Australia and I won the richest tournament at that time with all the greats in it and we each won a car. Some of my most fun doubles memories were in mixed doubles. One year in a Wimbledon semi final Scott Davis and I played up until then the longest match ever played losing to Martina Navratilova and Emilio Sanchez in a little over four hours. One year in a US open final Paul Annacone and I had a match point against Martina and Emilio again and lost that in three close sets. Peter Fleming and I won a world mixed doubles title which was also memorable.
Question: Your religion has always been a very important part of your life – how does your strong Christian faith help you in sports?
Yes, my relationship with the Lord has been the most important part of my life. I became a Christian at 16 and now many years later have found that His love for me and my wanting an ever closer relationship with Him has not only sustained me both through difficult circumstances but has helped me put things in proper order in a way that only knowing Him can do. I can not imagine any life which mine included competing seriously in a sport to dealing with the loss of a husband and being a single mom to all the other equally tough things people go through without the help from a perfect Savior.