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723 Posts
RIP Bud ,i remember you at RG interviewing the players after the finals ,loved your pants .According to French journalist you were a friendly man with them ,even the youngsters .

67 Posts
RIP, Uncle Studley, the game won't be the same without him. He made sure tennis (and it's stars) didn't take itself too seriously. Loved his book 'My Life with the Pros' and growing up in the '80s without cable tv, Bud was the voice of tennis for me. It's a sad day for tennis.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
A re-post, but worth the re-read.

WIMBLEDON TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS : Wimbledon Favorite? It's Not Bud Collins, but He Doesn't Care
June 21, 1987
Los Angeles Times

BOSTON — To those fortunate enough to buy, inherit or sneak admittance into the All England Club, the Wimbledon experience means the scent of summer grass, the taste of strawberries and cream and a fortnight of blaring headlines across the top of London's tabloids.

Here, across the pond, tennis fans wake up on championship morn, rub their eyes and stumble toward the television set for another installment of "Breakfast at Wimbledon." Strawberries and cream?

Raspberries at Bud is more like it.

He's not quite the Howard Cosell of tennis, and he's a tad easier on the ears than a John McEnroe tantrum, but as the Sultan of Syntax himself might put it, Bud Collins is an acquired taste. Mention his name and tennis fans immediately choose sides.

A buffoon . . . He's fresh.

A babbler . . . He's irreverent.

A know-it-all . . . He's anecdotal.

When Bud Collins talks, people do more than listen. He moves them to action--turning down the volume or otherwise--and seldom fails to draw a reaction.

For instance:

--At a recent ABC party in Los Angeles for the network affiliates, a woman cornered The Times' radio-television writer, Larry Stewart. She had one request: "Is there anything you can do to get Bud Collins off the air?"

--Tennis magazine polled its readers--4,000 responded--about the best and worst television announcers. Worst announcer: Bud Collins. Overwhelmingly.

--Mail. No, not fan mail. Ted Nathanson, NBC's coordinating producer-director for Wimbledon, told Tennis that the network gets more mail after Wimbledon than in a lifetime of doing Super Bowls, and most of it is about Bud.

"One of the things we got used to is that there is a whole world that hates Bud and a whole world that likes him," Nathanson said. "The people who write are the ones who don't like him."

Collins, as one might expect, has more than a one-word answer to the criticism. Ask him about it and you'll get a long, long response--punctuated by funny stories and laughter.

To wit:

"If I start taking myself seriously . . . I take my job seriously in that I want to do the best I can do. But if I start taking me seriously, and get worried . . . I can slash, too. And I've done it. I know I've hurt people. I'm not a knocker, but I've done it. You're something of a public figure when you go on television. It's fair game."

It's just before the French Open women's final between Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf. Dick Enberg, NBC's lead announcer, stands between commentators JoAnne Russell and Collins during an opening segment.

Collins, clad in purple pants and a yellow tie, looks excited.

"People are saying, 'Is this the twilight of the gods?' " he says, smiling. "Is she going to go down, marvelous Martina, just like Marvelous Marvin Hagler? A couple of left-handed sluggers!"

He punches the Paris air with a crisp left jab.

Ah yes, marvelous Martina. The first time Collins opens his mouth on the air, out slips yet another nickname. He took the art of bestowing nicknames to a new level long before ESPN's Chris Berman first uttered Tim (Purple) Raines.

Through the years, he has served up: Boom Boom (Boris Becker), the Brash Basher from Belleville (Jimmy Connors), the Ice Maiden (Chris Evert); and the Angelic Assassin (Bjorn Borg).

During Navratilova's and Graf's prematch warm-up, Collins reviews Graf's route to the final.

"She led off with Csilla Cserepy, who is a Hungarian married to a Swiss, now living in Switzerland. Two Czechoslovakians, Iva Budarova and Jana Novotna. A Canadian, Helen Kelesi. A Bulgarian, Manuela Maleeva. And finally, the Pearl of the Pampas, and what an exciting match that was. (Gabriela) Sabatini led 5-3 (in the third set). And Graf won the last four games."

Graf, too, has her own tag. Collins, who probably never met an alliteration he didn't like, calls her Fraulein Forehand.

If people think, though, that Collins sits around composing nicknames for his collection, he begs to differ, saying that they come to him at the spur of the moment.

"Usually," he said. "I don't sit up at night trying to think of them. I would say this, I have sat up at night trying to think of some and never come up with any. In other words, I've never come up with a nickname for Martina. And I've really thought about it for a long time and nothing comes up. The ones that I think people remember were spur of the moment."

During Borg's prime, Collins was particularly unrestrained. He tossed out nicknames almost as often as McEnroe tossed the ball in the air to serve. He often missed with ridiculous puns and phrases, and just generally talked too much.

That was then. Two years ago, the NBC higher-ups tried to water down Bud, to cut some of the bombast. They succeeded, so now viewers are treated to, well . . . Bud light, if you will.

"I'd like to think since we worked together (his image has) improved through the years," said Enberg, who has worked with Collins since 1982. "He has the knowledge of the historical part of the game, from who won Wimbledon in 1938 to the youngest player ever to win.

"He has the ability to see the story within the story. He'll be doing three things at once. During a break in the taping, he'll pull out his portable computer and work on his column for the (Boston) Globe. Then someone will yell, 'Bud, who won it in '38?' He'll yell back the answer and get back to what he was doing.

"I've always said that if you look up the word \o7 facile \f7 in the dictionary, they might have his picture next to it."

Enberg is used to having people ask about Collins. Mostly, "How can you stand working with him?"

"I'd like to have all those people over for a party to meet Bud," he said, laughing. "And I would guarantee that everyone would come away liking him."

Enberg maintains that the private Bud Collins and the public Bud Collins are hardly close to being the same person. At a gathering, Collins isn't always the life of the party--telling jokes and what not--he's busy laughing at everyone else's stories, Enberg said.

Often, in press boxes, Collins is more than willing to provide information for other journalists, even sometimes delaying the progress of his own column.

"That's the one we all know and like," Enberg said. "And then there's Bud, the actor. With respect to the actor in Collins, he's a ham. . . . The camera comes on and Bud comes on and he's a different person. From the pink pants all the way to the exaggerated verbiage. That's the part some fans and people respond negatively to."

Mostly, Collins laughs it off. He's used to criticism, having been before the camera since 1963, and having spent 15 years covering Wimbledon for NBC. Being a newspaperman helps, too, in understanding critics. But Collins wouldn't be human, or he'd be lying, if he didn't admit he feels the sting in the barbs.

"I really feel I can roll with the punches," he said. "I read it all. I'm curious to read it. Some of it, of course, you react to. You say, 'Well, that idiot,' (Collins laughs) or something like that. I think a critic has to fill the column and if some of them say they can't stand me . . . well, geez, I was going to say several of my wives couldn't stand me. Really only one."

It is to Collins' credit, however, or the network's, that he has been able to win over many of his critics, among them Sports Illustrated's Bill Taaffe, who, Collins says, was one of the toughest.

"He used to knock me religiously," Collins said. "He would knock me when he was with the (Washington) Star. "When the Star folded, I said, 'Maybe Taaffe will get a job selling cars. And he pops up at the (Washington) Post and he keeps knocking me there.

"Then he leaves the Post. I said, 'Well, he's finally found that job on the lot. So, he winds up at Sports Illustrated, where I've always had terrific treatment, and he continues knocking.

"One year, he called me before Wimbledon. We had a long talk and I could tell he was a little apprehensive talking to me. Finally, he said, 'Well, I think it's only fair to tell you that you're not one of my favorites. So I said, 'No kidding, Bill. You could have fooled me.' "He sounded kind of relieved. I said, 'Hey, Bill, I've got a typewriter. I knock.' It comes with the territory.

"Sam Silverman, who was one of the great old characters in Boston boxing said, 'Every knock is a boost. But spell my name right.' And he always used to say, 'And mention when the show is.' "

Away from the camera, and from the public, there's the Bud Collins most never see. He is the one who helped Enberg when Enberg felt like a fish out of water during his early tennis telecasts. You can probably count on one hand the number of broadcasters willing to do that, much less sit with someone and listen to him during practice sessions.

Now, it would seem as though there was nothing Collins could do that might surprise Enberg, not after all those broadcasts.

Not so.

"This has been the wettest June here in 25 years," said Enberg last week from London. "The sun comes out for 15 minutes and then disappears. So we've had to scramble this week for (today's) tournament preview show.

"Bud wasn't feeling well, he has the flu. During a break, he regurgitates and comes back. On his feet, he does a one-take, two-minute editorial on American grass court players. Just fresh from a visit to the porcelain . . . "

Sometimes, so much attention is given to Collins' wacky and whimsical style that his ability to provide solid insights and analysis is overlooked:

--Collins on the windy, difficult conditions during the Navratilova-Graf French Open final: "It is tough. These are great conditions for Perth and the America's Cup. But not for tennis."

--Later: "Dust storms all the time. This stadium looks like a French Foreign Legion fort in the Sahara."

Another asset is Collins' interviewing ability. At Wimbledon and the French Open, he talks to the winner and loser right on the court. Collins handles both sides adeptly, without fawning over the winner or shying away from asking the loser potentially touchy questions.

Certainly, Collins' longevity helps him with the players in his NBC role, and then his television celebrity helps when he steps into his other role, columnist for the Boston Globe.

"Oh yes, no doubt about it," said the 58-year-old Collins. "I'm sort of in a dual-citizenship role as a newspaper and a TV guy. I have a little bit of an edge, being on the TV. They know me."

And he probably knows more about their tennis careers than they do. When Billie Jean Moffitt King won her first Wimbledon title with Karen Hantze Susman in 1961, Collins was there.

He saw Chris Evert shock the country by reaching the U.S. Open semifinals in 1971.

A year later, Collins read Bjorn Borg's name, accompanied by some promising scores, and decided to investigate.

Borg was playing Roy Emerson at the U.S. Open in a preliminary round on an obscure field court with only a few people watching.

"People would come over and say, 'What are you doing?' Collins said. "I'd say, 'I'm watching this match.' And then they'd say, 'Oh, it's Emmo.' I said, 'No, I came out to watch this kid.'

"(Borg) was totally at sea on grass. Emerson beat him rather easily. The thing I didn't know until years later was one of the ballboys was McEnroe."

What sort of a relationship does he have with McEnroe?

"I don't know," Collins said. "I won't know until the next time I see him. That's the way McEnroe is. . . . I was one of his earliest defenders because I kept thinking he'd grow up. . . . I keep hoping."

Here's what Collins has to say about the other top players:

--Ivan Lendl. "Lendl is interesting. Lendl is such a bright person and he is always trying to sandbag me when I interview him. Because he thinks he's got a better sense of humor than he (shows) in English. And, sometimes I'm pained for him."

--Evert, a longtime Collins foil. "I don't mind when Chrissie always gives me the needle, and it's funny. . . . Chris is a very, very special athlete. I think she's the most professional athlete I've ever covered, along with Muhammad Ali, in his days when he was fresh."

--Navratilova. "It's a tough role for Martina (being compared to Evert). I think she's a great champion and a great person. I think Martina has had a harder way to go. She is very misunderstood."

The first time Collins saw Graf play was at the U.S. Open when she was 13. An Italian friend of Collins told him about "this monster, Graf."

"These guys, Italians, don't talk about women's tennis," Collins said. "They wouldn't come into this room to see Suzanne Lenglen's reincarnation.

"So I made a point to go out there and I had a nice chat with her. She was very shy.

"I was wandering around looking at the juniors and then I heard this guy grunting and busting his serve. Well, he was playing Bill Stanley, who was one of our top juniors. Stanley was getting creamed and this kid was hitting his serve.

"A big, red-headed kid. I thought it was some Iowa farm boy. He was playing serve and volley, so I didn't think he was a European.

"Then I hear him swearing in German, and I say, 'What the hell is this? He's a German. Playing like this?' I asked a couple of people and they said his name is Becker."

Just another snapshot of tennis history from Collins. Less than two years later, he spoke with Becker after the 17-year-old had won Wimbledon.

Many consider Collins the unofficial historian of the game, which might be putting it lightly because he has co-written one tennis encyclopedia and plans to write another book, detailing the last 25 years.

Although some might embrace and enjoy the idea of becoming part of an institution, Collins says thanks, but no thanks. He prefers to remain a journalist, saying that, after all, you can't really cover something if you're part of it.

At one time, though, he was part of the scene as a player. Now, Collins calls himself a hacker, but in 1961 he and Janet Hopps won the National Indoor mixed doubles title. He also knows something about instruction, having spent 1959-63 coaching at Brandeis University.

After a lifetime of chasing tennis balls and covering those who chase them for a living, Collins rarely tires of the game.

"I never get burned out," he said. "I get fuzzed out. Tennis is a very hard game to watch. It's not like watching basketball. And it goes on all day."

As a safeguard, Collins tries to write his Globe columns about other sports when he's not on the tennis circuit. Since 1977, he has written a bi-weekly travel column called Anywhere. Last year, Anywhere's non-tennis destination was Bhutan where Collins wrote about fishing and trekking.

"I think it keeps me fresh," he said. "Once in a while, I have to write tennis. I recently wrote a tennis column, but it really wasn't a tennis column. I wrote about Abbie Hoffman and Amy Carter because I coached Abbie in college, at Brandeis.

So, what sort of style did Hoffman favor?

Collins smiled and lowered his voice. "Strangely conservative. A very right-wing game, as I wrote. He stayed on the base line, but he was very competitive. We didn't get along at all. He didn't like authority figures.

"The column was sort of a reminiscence. I said he's got a new mixed doubles partner (Carter). He picked well. She's younger, she's prettier, and she's got name value."

Although there was a time when Collins would have gone anywhere on assignment, he has reduced his schedule to spend more time with his family. Collins has a daughter in college and a stepson, 12-year-old Rob Lacy, the son of a friend who died of cancer. Lacy has been with him since 1978, and the household expanded by one when Collins got married just before last year's French Open.

Enberg, for one, wishes that the public knew the other side of Collins. The one that treated King and Hantze Susman to dinner after they had won Wimbledon because they had no money. Or, the Bud Collins who took it upon himself to become Lacy's father.

"I don't know how many men would consider doing that," Enberg said. "Then there are fans that say he seems so insensitive. That's so inaccurate, probably the most inaccurate thing you could say. It's almost like calling the Rock of Gibraltar Jell-O."

Collins would describe such talk as merely part of the game. And he would shrug. As he says, just get the name right.

Which brings us to Bud's continuing problem with Boris Becker.

"Boris always says to me, 'You're the guy I always talk to after I win Wimbledon,' " Collins said. "He doesn't know my name!

"I said, 'I'm the guy. And I'll be there again.' "

Maybe a nickname would help, Bud. Something catchy, something for the kid to latch onto.

Boom Boom, meet the Viceroy of Verbosity. The General of Jabber. Mr. American Magpie.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #5

Bud Collins was the first gentleman of American tennis
The Washington Post
By John Feinstein, Columnist
March 5, 2016 at 2:02 PM

Bud Collins died on Friday. He was 86 and he’d been sick for a while so it wasn’t a shock. But I felt as if I’d lost my best friend.

Here’s what’s significant about that: I know for a fact that I was one of hundreds who felt that way. Bud Collins wrote and talked about tennis better than anyone who ever lived. Period. But he also taught countless young reporters how to cover tennis and how to love the game even when many of those in it were anything but loveable.

“How do you remain so enthusiastic about a sport with so many bad people?” his friend and colleague Dick Enberg — a pretty upbeat guy himself — once asked him.

“I guess I just see good in people,” Bud answered.

I once joked that Bud would find something good to say about Mussolini. “He did play tennis,” Bud answered.

Bud not only saw good in everyone, he tried to do good for everyone. There was no one he didn’t go out of his way to help. When you first covered tennis, Bud took you by the hand, got you into places where no one in the media — except him — was allowed to go and made sure you had someone to eat dinner with every night at Wimbledon, where his friends at an Italian restaurant stayed open until he and his friends arrived every night. It was, as we called it, Bud’s place or bust. Everything else was closed by the time we all finished working.

Bud wasn’t just the guy everyone loved to spend time with, he was a trailblazer. In 1963, Boston’s local PBS station, WGBH, decided to televise the U.S. Pro Championships from Longwood. There was only one person in town who knew anything about tennis: Bud, who covered tennis for the Boston Globe.

So he hosted and did play-by-play and color for the tournament. When tennis went “Open,” in 1968 — allowing pros to play in the major tournaments — NBC began televising Wimbledon and CBS the U.S. Open. Bud was hired by both networks. In those days no one working for a newspaper was ever on television and no one was allowed to work for more than one network.

Except Bud.

He was the first print reporter to cross over to TV. Every single once-inkstained writer now wearing a $2,000 suit on television should have been tithing to Bud for years. He helped make tennis matter in this country with his infectious love of the game and his outrageous approach to everything he said, wrote or wore.

He always insisted on being introduced on TV as, “Bud Collins of the Boston Globe,” because that was his first love and he never wanted to lose the feeling that he was a working journalist. He wasn’t a good reporter — he was a great reporter. People told him things they wouldn’t tell anyone else.

In the fall of 1990 my one and only tennis book, “Hard Courts,” was published. It was reviewed in Time Magazine by someone who was a weekend tennis player and considered himself an expert.

He crushed me.

Because I had been critical of the way the sport was run; because I had portrayed many of the players as spoiled and arrogant; because I had written about the pox that I believed appearance fees were, he wrote that I simply didn’t understand the beauty of the game. If you wanted to read a book that truly captured the wonders of tennis, he said, one should read Bud Collins’s autobiography, “My Life With The Pros.”

So there was one thing we agreed on: Bud’s book was wonderful.

A few days later, I got a call from a producer at “Nightline.” The U.S. Open was in progress and the show wanted to put me on with Bud to talk about the sport: he who saw beauty vs. he who saw corruption. Great, I said. So they did what they called a pre-interview with both of us. Bud told me later how his pre-interview went.

“Feinstein says agents are ruining tennis, what do you say about that?”

“Couldn’t agree more.”

“Oh well, Feinstein says tennis players are the most spoiled, over-protected athletes in the world.”

“He’s 100 percent right.”

“What about his claim that players who take under-the-table appearance fees should be suspended for six months?”

“I’d make it a year.”

Finally, exasperated, the interviewer said: “Is there anything you and Feinstein disagree on?”

“Absolutely,” Bud said. “He’s a Mets fan, I’m a Red Sox fan.”

A few minutes later, the producer called me. “We’re canceling the segment,” he said.

“Why?” I asked.

“You and Collins agree on everything.”

“Did you notice,” I said, “who the book is dedicated to? Who do you think taught me everything that was in the book?”

I had grown up watching Bud on television and reading him in the Globe because I had family I visited in Boston often. In 1980, I was sent by The Post to cover the last weekend of the Open as a sidebar guy. Barry Lorge, The Post’s tennis writer, introduced me to Bud. I was thrilled.

Two days later, I happened to be walking past the Globe’s press box seats and heard their telephone ringing. I knew that Bud and Lesley Visser, who was also covering the tournament for the Globe, were out on the press box porch watching the men’s doubles final. So I answered.

“I’m looking for Bud Collins,” a voice said.

“He’s not here right now, can I take a message?”

“Look, can you find him? This is Abbie Hoffman.”

Very funny, I thought. Hoffman had gotten out of jail a day earlier.

“Sure it is,” I said.

“I’m serious,” he said. “Could you please find him?”

I thought maybe it was someone who really needed to talk to Bud who didn’t want to identify himself. I walked out to the porch and said, “Bud, there’s a guy on the phone for you claiming to be Abbie Hoffman.”

Bud never missed a beat. “Oh, he must want tickets!” he said.

It was Abbie Hoffman, and he did want tickets — which Bud got him. Abbie Hoffman played tennis briefly at Brandeis. His coach was Bud Collins.

Visser, who worked with Bud at the Globe for years, called me Friday shortly after Bud died. We had known this was coming — Bud was in hospice care — but she was in tears anyway.

“Who do you think Bud would rather talk to,” she asked me, “Rod Laver or the guy sitting at the end of the bar?”

I thought for a second. “What he’d like most would be to talk to the guy at the end of the bar about Rod Laver.”

And you can bet if the guy asked, Bud would get tickets for him.

25,282 Posts
At one time, though, he was part of the scene as a player. Now, Collins calls himself a hacker, but in 1961 he and Janet Hopps won the National Indoor mixed doubles title. He also knows something about instruction, having spent 1959-63 coaching at Brandeis University.
Wow-learned something new there!

RIP Bud-like so many other posters I grew up with you and tennis in the 1970s. All those crazy nicknames. The first few times he went on about the Fontescues (a made up family who felt for net cords) I thought they were real! LOL especially at "Fingers Fortescue".

Can we come up a lit of all his nicknames for players?

25,282 Posts
Posted by JakeMan90-93 RIP, Uncle Studley, the game won't be the same without him. He made sure tennis (and it's stars) didn't take itself too seriously. Loved his book 'My Life with the Pros' and growing up in the '80s without cable tv, Bud was the voice of tennis for me. It's a sad day for tennis.
His book sounds fun. Does he give the women good bit of attention?

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Wow-learned something new there!

RIP Bud-like so many other posters I grew up with you and tennis in the 1970s. All those crazy nicknames. The first few times he went on about the Fontescues (a made up family who felt for net cords) I thought they were real! LOL especially at "Fingers Fortescue".

Can we come up a lit of all his nicknames for players?
Bud done it for us!

Nicknames |

He sometimes called Hingis the "Heidi of the Half-Volley" when she was young.

I recall an anecdote about Agassi when he was still in his brat stage. He challenged Bud to play tennis against him, and was clearly going in with the intention of thrashing the old man (including a body shot or two), but was surprised when he discovered that Bud could kinda play. :lol:

67 Posts
His book sounds fun. Does he give the women good bit of attention?
Yes, he does, though it's all a bit foggy now, it's been years since I read it and I think it might still be somewhere packed away at my parent's house in Chicago. I definitely remember an extensive chapter on Billie Jean and Wimbledon, where he writes at length about her first title (the dubs with Susman) and her last title (dubs with Martina). I'm pretty sure there were some other stories as well, but I don't think he segmented the men and the women so much, so I think a lot of it was about both the men and the women together.

What I do remember is that Bud was a terrific writer and he gave such life and vitality to his descriptions of the game and its players, you could feel his love for the sport in how he wrote about it. It's definitely worth reading and I might try to buy a used copy of it online as now I'm itching to read it again, myself and won't get to the U.S. until late August.

484 Posts
Bud's enthusiasm and knowledge enthralled me. As mentioned in an article posted above, he could adeptly pose meaningful, perhaps difficult questions while still showing his respect and empathy for all players, and he was well liked by most or all players ever asked about him.

His generosity was so great that when I met him as a teen and asked him to play a role in a project for a special course I was in, he wrote down his home phone number.

My own enthusiasm for the pro tours has died down a lot in the past 7-8 years, and I watch more "old" tennis than I do of the current generations, but despite that I deeply feel Bud's passing. He was one of a kind.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Colorful Collins grand tennis ambassador
Tow Weir
USA Today
July 8, 1994

Most people in tennis think a grand thing will happen Saturday when NBC commentator Bud Collins is inducted into the sport's International Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

I think they fell short.

What tennis really should do is name Collins its commissioner. Someone to unify a sport that has so many governing bodies that, as Collins says, it sometimes seems "like pro wrestling."

To truly appreciate Collins' place in tennis, you need to spend a few days behind the scenes in the press room at one of the grand slam tournaments, like last week at Wimbledon.

Newcomers always express disbelief at how Collins, who has committed to memory virtually every pertinent fact about tennis, never hesitates to share that wealth of knowledge.

Ask Collins about that, and he gets a little embarrassed.

"It's probably a conflict of interest to say somebody has got to represent the game, but somebody has got to do it," he says.

And when a controversy erupts, or there's a gray area that needs to be colored in, the most common question is, "Anybody seen Bud?" Within a sport that is as fragmented as a piece of china dropped from a third-story balcony, Collins is the lone dab of unifying glue.

When sport's various halls of fame started to make room for "contributors," Collins was exactly what they had in mind.

His romance with the game began in the Cleveland suburb of Berea, Ohio, where among his earliest childhood memories were waking up to the pop-pop-pop of tennis balls being swatted on nearby courts.

Alas, "Just as I started to play they tore the courts up to build a swimming pool."

When he was dispatched to Forest Hills, N.Y., for the first time to cover the U.S. championships, his sports editor actually apologized for giving Collins what was considered a demeaning assignment.

To the television viewer, Collins is, of course, best known for wearing those pants that are every bit as colorful as his personality.

That trademark began in 1966, thanks to the prodding of a Boston tailor, Charles Davidson. The first pair, made of Madras material, earned him whistles at a Davis Cup match in Cleveland and nearly got him banned from a country club that night.

Even Boris Becker once turned an interview into shambles when all he wanted to discuss was Bud's pants. And another Wimbledon champion Michael Stich once was consumed with begging Collins to give him a pair as a trophy.

The pair Collins wears every year while serving as emcee for the Hall of Fame inductions reflects the international zeal of tennis' unofficial ambassador. The material was purchased in Bangkok, from a store whose primary clients were Buddhist monks.

Appropriate, since Collins is the closest thing tennis has to a Zen master.

Regulate the high tech rackets that are taking rallies out of the men's game, says Collins. And quit letting kids turn pro straight out of the cradle.

Another tennis riddle that baffles Collins is why, with the tennis boom long over and the sport aching for new blood as Jimbo, Chrissie, Mac and Martina move on, more money isn't targeted for the grass-roots level.

Zina Garrison Jackson, one of the pro circuit's few African-Americans, has a minority-oriented foundation. But, Collins says, the game's leaders "Don't give her a dime."

"My idea is they should be giving 'Arthur Ashe grants'," says Collins of the tennis pioneer who was lost to AIDS, and who was accompanied by Collins on his first trip to South Africa.

"This is where you could make tennis bloom again. Get some black faces, get some other faces," Collins says. "I feel the game has to be nurtured. Tennis has got to get out there and compete. Nobody is thinking of the game."

Well, one person is. And always has.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Mandlikova, Collins are at home in Hall
Jim Greenidge, Globe Staff
The Boston Globe
July 10, 1994

NEWPORT, R.I. -- She never won a Wimbledon title, but former Czech star Hana Mandlikova, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame yesterday along with Globe columnist/NBC sportscaster Arthur (Bud) Collins, accomplished what she figures was the most difficult feat in the game.

She adapted to her surroundings, no matter how difficult they seemed, and outlasted Martina Navratilova to capture the 1985 US Open. Ranked as high as No. 3 from 1984 to 1987, Mandlikova won four Grand Slam events -- the 1981 French Open, the 1980 and 1987 Australian Opens and the 1985 US Open -- among her 27 singles titles. She also captured the 1989 US Open doubles with Navratilova.

"Everyone says that Wimbledon is the toughest to win, but for me it was the US Open," said Mandlikova, 32, who now coaches Jana Novotna. "At the Open, you have all that mental stress, what with the flight of the planes {in New York}, the huge crowds, that there's a Saturday semifinals and then the finals. Plus, it's very hot."

Understand, Mandlikova, who retired after the 1990 Wimbledon, isn't complaining.

"I always loved playing in the States," she said. "The crowds are so involved. They get excited, and they're so emotional. It's not like in England where they clap for you the same in the finals as they do for you in the first round."

Even as a youth, Mandlikova showed remarkable athletic potential, which her father described as "special special." But it took a championship at Miami's Orange Bowl at age 16 to convince Mandlikova that tennis was her sport. "If I hadn't won that, I didn't plan to stay with tennis," she said.

She talked of her only regret -- never winning Wimbledon, although she did get to two finals, in 1981 and '86.

Collins didn't disappoint -- in his attire or with his words.

"Hana went in under the Czech flag and I've had a checkered career," said Collins, a journalist for more than four decades who has covered everything from Davis Cup to Olympic competition.

His enshrinement wardrobe? In a word, splendid. A white double-breasted sport jacket, a light blue shirt with contrasting tie, set off by ultra-bright orange pants, red slip-on cloth slippers . . . and no socks. "The rule is that no socks should be worn between May 1 and Oct. 1, except for the last two days of Wimbledon when I meet the Dutchess of Kent," he said.

Collins, who called Rod Laver and Navratilova the best players ever, assailed the US Tennis Association for spending nearly $200 million on a new home for the Open -- "for just two weeks of tennis" -- when a fraction spent on the grass-roots level would do wonders.

"The USTA is not reaching out into the community," said Collins. "All these programs are struggling. It's amazing what $20,000 would do for one of them. Zina {Garrison-Jackson} said it would be a godsend. The USTA has a charge to spread recreational tennis. They could spend $2 million and not miss it and make tennis at the grass-roots communities bloom."

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
A Collins timeline
Ben Brown
USA Today
June 24, 1994

Bud Collins, who turned 65 last week, has worked with 24 different NBC announcers in his 23 years as the network's Wimbledon analyst.

With NBC's coverage beginning this weekend at London's All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, the network offers a list of Bud benchmarks:

1959. He coaches future Yippie Abbie Hoffman at Brandeis University.

1961. Wins U.S. Indoor Championships with Janet Hopps.

1970. Tours South Africa with Arthur Ashe.

1989. First appearance of his famous strawberry pants during Breakfast at Wimbledon show.

July 9, 1994. To be inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Sept. 17, 1994. To marry Anita Ruthling Klaussen.

9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Bud's band of renown
Compiled by Jim Greenidge
The Boston Globe
June 10, 1994

It may not be Globe columnist Bud Collins' type of music, but the Bud Collins band -- five musicians in their mid-20s out of Bozrah, Conn. -- plays a combination of jazz, pop and reggae.

"We've been named after Bud for the last five years, the first four as the Bud Collins Trio," said Kenny Foster, who plays guitar. "We named ourselves after Bud because we're all tennis fans, and plus, Bud has quite the reputation. He's one of the snappiest dressers around. He's gone a long way toward making pinstripes popular again. We think he's kind of great.

"Years ago, while we were sitting around watching the US Open, we were trying to figure out what to call ourselves," said Foster of the group, which recently put out its second CD.

"Some people catch on to what our name is all about and some don't," added Foster. "We usually explain it. We also usually tell the audience where they can catch Bud -- his Globe articles, on NBC-TV, on radio with {Don} Imus or in his Tennis Week articles."


9,514 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Indianapolis Star
August 22, 1994

MICHAEL STICH, the 1991 Wimbledon champion, demanded Bud Collins' trousers - but had to settle for swatches of similar material.

As Boris Becker left the court after his first Wimbledon victory in 1985, Germany's new star didn't want to discuss his tennis strategy on live television.

He just wanted to chat about the flamboyant slacks that Collins, an NBC-TV sports personality, was wearing.

Collins' favorite pair of pants: zany red, green and white trousers that almost got him thrown in the clink in Italy.

The slacks were fashioned from a banner for a neo-fascist Italian political party. Defacing political material on election day - as Collins did when he took down the banner to bring to his tailor - is a crime in Rome.

But even though his calling cards are his outrageous slacks (in hues like chartreuse and fuchsia, with patterns featuring strawberries - the fruit as well as its leaves and stems), Collins, 65, is more than just one of the sport's most colorful characters.

CBS-TV analyst Mary Carillo has called him "the walking tennis encyclopedia."

Last month, Collins, who covers tennis for the Boston Globe and Tennis Week as well as network TV, became the first sportscaster or sports writer inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

He began writing about the semi-obscure sport nearly 40 years ago when an apologetic editor at the Boston Herald newspaper ordered Collins to:

"Go out and cover those clubby types who run around in their underwear chasing a little white ball."

As he tossed back his head and enjoyed a long laugh, Collins shared the anecdote this weekend during an interview at the RCA Championships. He presented the trophy to winner Wayne Ferreira and served as NBC's commentator for the tournament at the Indianapolis Tennis Center, which concluded Sunday.

The "underwear" anecdote also is included in his new book, "Bud Collins' Modern Encyclopedia of Tennis" (Visible Ink Press.)

A native of suburban Cleveland but a longtime Boston resident, Collins began anchoring tennis telecasts more than 30 years ago for PBS. Commercial networks didn't think the tournaments deserved coverage then.

"I can't honestly tell you that I predicted tennis would explode in popularity," Collins said. "But I always thought it deserved to."

He beamed. "It's a wonderful sport."

As animated and outspoken in person as on TV, Collins lit up at the opportunity to talk tennis trivia - as well as to discuss little-known personal information such as the fact that he once
coached the late Abbie Hoffman, the political radical.

That was during the early 1960s, when Collins was supplementing his journalism income by serving as the tennis coach for Brandeis University. Hoffman was a student on the Brandeis team.

"I described Abbie as a right-wing tennis player because he was so conservative in his play," Collins said, hooting again.

"Of course, he was difficult to coach. I was the authority figure, you see."

About that time, Collins was beginning what he calls "my pants thing."

The broadcaster gives the credit - or blame - for his schtick to his longtime tailor in Cambridge, Mass. The tailor told Collins, who then was wearing traditional navy blazers and white slacks on PBS, that he needed to add zip to the telecasts.

"He made me some slacks from red and white madras material - I looked like a walking tablecloth," Collins recalled. "Actually, it would seem conservative today, particularly in comparison to what I've worn since.

"My then-wife and I went to the stadium and I asked her, 'Do I dare step out in public with these?' She said, 'Go ahead, but I'm entering separately.'

"Anyway, when I walked out, people in the the stadium started whistling. I was mortified."

But not shamed. He even showed up in his "plumage" at the most elite tournament of them all: Wimbledon, which is famous for restricting players' attire.

British officials apparently didn't care what broadcasters wore - or else, Collins said, they became tolerant "once they noticed Princess Di and other royals were smiling at my pants."

Becker did more than smile.

Collins said he endured the wrath of NBC executives when, during a live, courtside interview following Becker's unexpected victory, the German exclaimed, 'Vat are these?' "

The champion continued to ask questions about the slacks despite Collins' persistent attempts to change the subject.

Following Stich's victory at Wimbledon six years later, he told Collins that he wanted the pants as a keepsake.

"Michael said, 'This is an important day in my life, I just won Wimbledon, and your pants are part of it,' " Collins recalled.

"I told him, 'Michael, they won't fit you. I'm 5-feet-9 and you're 6-feet-3.' Didn't matter. He wouldn't relent."

Although he kept his pants, Collins searched for similar material (a travel columnist for the Globe as well as a sports writer, Collins has acquired fabric everywhere from South Korea to
Zaire) and sent it to Stich.

On a more serious subject, Collins dismissed speculation that his favorite sport is biting the dust - an argument advanced in a recent Sports Illustrated cover story titled, "Is Tennis Dying?"

But Collins said he was grateful the issue surfaced because it has prompted discussion of ways to enhance tennis.

"We made a mistake when we left wooden racquets," Collins said. Advances in equipment, he argued, have taken away much of the finesse, reducing the sport to serving duels.

But he said professional tennis is in a temporary slump in America - not on its last legs.

Collins also shared these assessments of some of the sport's legendary figures:

Arthur Ashe: "Bud Collins' Encyclopedia of Tennis" is dedicated to Ashe, who died of AIDS in 1993. Collins first interviewed Ashe when the black American started winning tournaments in the 1960s.

"Arthur was a very caring man, but a cautious and wary guy, especially in the beginning. Here he was coming into an all-white, country club sport. He wasn't about to open up in interviews."

The two later worked together on sports programs for inner-city children and other charitable projects.

John McEnroe: The retired champion has turned into an excellent broadcaster, Collins said - something that surprised many, including Collins.

"He had a rough start because of his personal problems," Collins added, referring to McEnroe's divorce from Tatum O'Neal. "But he's not been temperamental with me, and he even has a
sense of humor. . . .

"My only complaint about John is he doesn't work enough. I said to him, 'John, are you going to do Indianapolis (the RCA Championships broadcast) with me?'

"He said, 'No, Bud, I don't want to.'

"Where the heck is his desire to work?"

As he bounded out of a chair to catch quarter-finals action at the tennis center, Collins made one thing certain: such a question will never be asked about him.
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