Monday, September 12, 1977

The Last Day of Forest Hills

In the years to come, when tennis aficionados reflect on the charm of Forest Hills, the will remember how the players used to walk down from the clubhouse to the stadium and back again. That’s were the people could see them up close.

When the Open moves to Flushing Meadows next year the stadium will accommodate 20,000 compared to 12,600 here.

The poet, Guillermo Vilas found the pentameter of his game, to the cheers of those who obviously preferred the poet to the punk. When it ended there was another demonstration, this time by Jimmy Connors who stalked out of the stadium without waiting for the presentation ceremony. At the last ceremony on the last day of the Open at Forest Hills, nobody missed him.

To A Seething Connors, Open Title is Still Open 9/13/77

“Maybe there are too many heroes in this country in too many sports. If I go to Argentina for Davis Cup, do they cheer for me? In Argentina, there’s only one player, and he’s their hero.” It got to the point where fans clapped for his service faults. Connors always has been anti-establishment and aggressive, in his style of play and in his attitude toward officials. Bob Dailey of CBS said the final call had been “late.” But it was impossible to tell due to camera angle if the ball was in or out. The outpouring of fans never gave Vilas and Connors an opportunity for the traditional handshake.

The final scene typified the strange twists to the farewell at Forest Hills. Bomb threats, a shot that wounded a spectator, the first transsexual competitor, the youngest player ever, and a final day demonstration against apartied in South Africa were only a few of the noteworthy events during the 12-day tournament.
The word was that South African tennis officials were meeting next week to discuss merging their black and white federations. The USTA said that, “unless there is an effort to merge, we will have no choice but to lessen our support for South Africa in international team play.”

NYT Anderson 9/12/77

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