GOATfried von Cramm, the greatest tennis gentleman of all time :worship:
Von Cramm - Budge, Davis Cup 1937, greatest match of all time :worship:
:worship:He was a German nobleman who could trace his lineage to the 12th century. But Baron Gottfried Alexander Maximilian Walter Kurt von Cramm, idol of the haut monde, was no snob. In fact, he habitually dropped both the Baron and the von from his name, and he was one of the most congenial, amusing and popular players on the international tour. He was considered the ultimate sportsman, as gracious in defeat as in victory. At the '35 Wimbledon, Budge, who had admired the baron from afar, was eager to meet him. Von Cramm, however, was not smiling when he introduced himself to Budge, and after congratulating him on his quarterfinal victory, the baron took the younger man aside for a serious chat. ''Don,'' Budge recalls him saying, ''you were a poor sport out there today.'' Budge was flabbergasted. The baron was considered the arbiter of court etiquette, and Budge, like most players of the time, sought to emulate him. Budge couldn't for the life of him imagine what he had done wrong. ''Do you recall,'' Von Cramm continued in his perfect English, ''that when the linesman gave Bunny a bad call on a ball that clearly hit the chalk, you deliberately double-faulted to compensate for it?'' Budge did. It was common then, at a time when linesmen's decisions were seldom disputed, for a player to lose a point deliberately if he felt his opponent had been victimized by a bad call. Mystified, Budge asked Von Cramm what was so wrong about that. ''But you must see, Don,'' the baron replied, ''that by doing what you did, you embarrassed that linesman in front of 15,000 people. It is unthinkable.'' ''After that,'' Budge said later, ''I played the game the way it was called.''
Take note, current players :worship:The situation was this: The German and U.S. teams were even after the opening-day singles competition, Budge having defeated Henner Henkel in a marathon, 7-5, 11-9, 6-8, 6-1, and Von Cramm having beaten Wilmer Allison in straight sets. In the doubles the next day Allison and John Van Ryn faced Von Cramm and Kai Lund, and the match went to five sets. At match point for the Germans, Von Cramm and Lund both lunged for a shot hit down the middle of the court. The baron fell short, but Lund got to the ball and drove it home for an apparent winner. ''Game, set and match to Germany,'' the umpire called. But no. The baron lifted his hand in protest. The ball had ticked his racket before Lund had hit his shot, he told the astonished official. Therefore, the point should go to the Americans. It was one of five match points the Germans would lose en route to a disheartening 8-6 defeat in the final set. The U.S. would go on to win the tie four matches to one and then lose to Great Britain in the Challenge Round. Kleinschroth was apoplectic after the doubles defeat. Germany had never won the Davis Cup, and Von Cramm's sportsmanship had cost the fatherland a golden opportunity. The baron had disgraced both his country and his teammates, Kleinschroth sputtered. The normally affable Von Cramm leveled his captain with a frigid stare. ''When I chose tennis as a young man,'' the baron said, ''I chose it because it was a gentleman's game, and that's the way I've played it ever since I picked up my first racket. Do you think that I would sleep tonight knowing that the ball had touched my racket without my saying so? Never, because I would be violating every principle I think this game stands for. On the contrary, I don't think I'm letting the German people down. As a matter of fact, I think I'm doing them credit.''
Notice how they receive the balls while walking back from the previous point and immediately start the next one, those were the days. No benches to rest on during changeovers, simply playing 10-8 7-5 4-6 10-12 16-14 matches without a break like real men