1953: Miles/Flam Best at Quebec Open. 1953: Pre-National’s Eastern Tournaments. 1953: Pre-National’s Western Tournaments. 1953: Pre-National’s California Play. 1953: Miles Wins 7th, Neuberger 5th, U.S. Open. 1953: Homage to Varga. 1953: Bucharest World’s (Chinese Appear). 1953: English Open.
I don’t think it ever even occurred to any Topics Editor to arrange an interview with 6-time U.S. Champion Dick Miles. Had it happened, would he have told his fellow USTTA members that he felt his game starting to slip? In a few months he’d be 28, and, what with the War and his suspension, he didn’t think he’d had the career he might have had under more favorable circumstances. But, though he’d lost that last National’s to Pagliaro, he had just beaten him soundly in the Eastern’s. So was there really a falling off in Dick’s tournament play? To hear him talk, you’d think so. When, a year later, West Coast reporter Jeanne Hoffman interviewed him, apparently on a particularly bad day, and wrote an article entitled, “Tired Of It All,” Dick was quoted as saying, “I don’t even practice any more….Why should I? There’s nothing to be gained by practice but more championships. I got enough now.”
Uh-huh—except I hasten to add that a whole decade later Miles will still be the U.S. Open Champion. Now he goes to the Feb. 21-22 Quebec Open and wins that too—in the semi’s over Paul Belanger, the Closed Champ there that weekend in Montreal, and in the final over Sol Schiff who seemed rooted, ageless, always in contention. Ornstein/Wilkenfeld, who apparently played better together than they did separately (especially Ornstein), took still another Men’s Doubles—from Belanger and the 1950 Canadian Champ Maurice DeSerres. And Leah Neuberger—ah, no, wait, Leah did not win the Women’s. In fact, it was as if she could have lost five straight games in the final to Lona Flam’s thunderous attack had she not won two of them at deuce. But Leah did have a winner with Belanger in the Mixed over Jacques Poulin/Flam. Women’s Closed Champ was Mariette Laframboise over Huguette Parent. And Bill Gunn won the Senior’s from George Stenbar.
Pre-National’s Eastern Tournaments
Suddenly tournaments came tumbling out for Easterners as from a horn of plenty. At the Mid-Atlantic Open, played Feb. 28-Mar. 1 in the Polish Falcon Auditorium in Elizabeth, N.J., Pagliaro beat Schiff in the Men’s. The Women’s winner—should I say in the absence of Flam?—was Neuberger over Robinson. In the Men’s Doubles, Paggy, paired with Somael, couldn’t defend against Junior winner Gusikoff and his partner, Moniek Buki. In the Senior’s, Al Butowsky was too strong for Bob Green whom one expected to see on the opposite Coast by now. And what in the world was Rocky Mountain Regional Director Arnold Brown doing in Elizabeth? Wasn’t he just in Idaho and Montana trying to get affiliated clubs going there? He certainly did get around. And here on court in Mixed Doubles he moved pretty well too—won the Mixed with Leah over Ornstein/Gere.
The Mar. 7 New England Open at Stratford saw Paggy win another—this time over Somael whose turn it was to beat Schiff. And who should show up to win the Women’s (actually she’d been practicing some at Lawrence’s) but Peggy McLean Folke. Her presence seemed to have traumatized Leah, for otherwise how could she lose 9, 10, 16 to her? In the other semi, Robinson may have flim-flamed Lona, but in the final, after winning that 1st game from Peggy at 19, Pauline could win no more. Men’s Doubles went to the combined offensive/defensive play that allowed Gusikoff/MartyPrager to beat Pagliaro/Somael. It’s a rare tournament that Neuberger doesn’t win an event, but, as she does play with a lot of different partners, it’s understandable that such an established pair as Somael/Robinson could take the Mixed from her and the Chicago-based Prager. Another surprise was the appearance of the retired Mae Clouther (her club had been severely damaged in a fire, but there was another in Boston now, at the Huntington Ave. Y). Mae didn’t enter the Singles, but was persuaded to play Mixed with soon-to-be
New England States Regional Director Emil LaReau, and they did win a match, beat the twosome of Bill Gunn/Marianne Bessinger. Consolation winner Fran Delaney downed Bob Green in the Senior’s, while Gusikoff was best in Junior’s.
None of the top Eastern players I continue to write about have switched to sponge—but its presence is, if not heard, felt psychically at some tournaments. In the final of the Delaware State Championship, Dr. C. F. “Mike” Hammer, “a research physicist for the Polychemicals Department of the DuPont Company” in Wilmington (my god, what kind of sponge could he create?), confessed he was a bit apprehensive at first about playing D.C. sponger Ed Clark who’d just finished off former Delaware Champion Irv Levitatz in the semi’s. After all, Ed commutes daily from Wilmington to D.C. where he works for the Treasury Department and so conveniently plays the competition at President Jimmy Verta’s D.C. TTA Club (TTT, May, 1953, 9). But after shakily losing the 1st game, Hammer settled down, just played normally, and eventually won in 5. So if Mike was an I, the Jury, he’d bring in his own untroubled verdict on the sponge. No frightening him.
Pre-National’s Western Tournaments
San Antonio’s “versatile jeweler” Louis Scharlack (he designs, makes, repairs, and sells jewelry?) seemed to be improving with age—or maybe it was his sponge racket? At any event, at the Feb. 21-22 Fort Worth Texas Open, in which players (even teams) from Kansas City, Louisiana State University, Oklahoma City, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, and Fort Worth participated, Louie, showing his t.t.versatility, won the 102-entry Men’s over Joe Dragosh (“I was easy prey” to the sponge and its “lustre-lacking soundless games,” Joe said). Louie also won the Men’s Doubles with Manning Fowler, and the Mixed with Marjory Willcox. Marjory was said to have won tournament after tournament in which she participated. Here she annexed “her 11th straight title in Texas” by gently destroying Anna Hohmann.
It seems to me the USTTA makes a mistake in continuing to give voice in Topics to players who have no local affiliation behind them—here unaffiliated Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. Shrout wants to shape up the USTTA, yet he and his Board are afraid they’ll alienate players even if they demand such minimum support? But if the cluster of Texas cities in attendance here aren’t willing to affiliate, aren’t they already alienated? What is the problem? Texas and California don’t run USTTA sanctioned tournaments—with the result that some players who aren’t ranked at season’s end really deserve to be.
Scharlack, however, gets around—no problem with him earning a ranking. He’ll later turn up as a double winner at the 2-star Central Western States in Des Moines. In the Men’s he’ll beat #2 seed Wayne Losh, and then #3 seed Joe Dragosh (not so “easy prey” here), deuce in the 5th. In the Senior’s he’ll upset #1 seed George Wicker.
Bernie Bukiet continued his resuscitated table tennis life by winning the Feb. 21-22 Ozark Open from 1950 U.S. Junior Champion Jim Tancill in the semi’s, and Bill Price in the final. In the Men’s Doubles, however, Price and his protégé Al Holtman were good enough to beat, first, Bukiet/Jimmy Shrout, then, for the win, Tancill/Willard Sher who’d upset the #1 seeds Wally Gundlach/John Stewart. Millie Shahian came1st in the Women’s—over Jane Allison. At the St. Louis District (which was, in effect, a Closed?), Price lost again, was upset by Norman Barken, the 25-23-in-the-4th runner-up to the winner Don Lasater who’d also eliminated Tancill.
Maybe it’d be fun for some of the local players, beginning Mar. 6, to catch the Sports, Travel, and Boat Show there in St. Louis? Reba Monness and Joe Louis have an upcoming Tour stop there, will entertain “using two and three balls at a time with little difficulty.”* Wow, such news must be all over the country. The Hollywood, CA Citizen-News columnist John Hall says that Reba and Joe will “pick up $5,000 for a nine-day stand” (Mar. 7, 1953). And Reisman would rather give exhibitions with Doug Cartland than Reba? Five weeks earlier, I note, the Citizen-News said that Abe Saperstein, owner of the Harlem Globe Trotters, was presented with an award at the California T.T. Center for his contributions to our Sport. Perhaps the unhonored Resiman and Cartland were hovering nearby?
At the Mar. 7-8 Michigan Open in Detroit, Bukiet downed Max Hersh to win another trophy he might not know what to do with. Defending Champion Chuck Burns lost in the quarter’s to Tim Boggan. Dave Krizman (after being down 2-0) won the Junior’s from Fred Ek, and paired with Bobby Young to take the Junior Doubles over Eddie Brennan/Dick Darke.
Eddie Kantar was the Men’s winner at the Minnesota State Open. He beat unseeded Alex Hayday in the semi’s, then Harry Lund in the final after Harry had taken out Alan Goldstein. To make the Men’s Doubles more interesting, the top players decided not to pair off among themselves—but Kantar with pick-up partner G.L. Morrow won that too over Goldstein/Toivo Sober. (Perhaps it would be the only time the names Morrow and Sober would ever appear in Topics?) Mary Specht was tops in the Women’s. But, though playing with Kantar, couldn’t win the Mixed from the Lunds.
A week after he’d played at the Mid-Atlantic Open in Elizabeth, N.J., Arnold Brown was upset at the Rocky Mountain Open by Brian Westover, the Utah Champ whose game I’d earlier minimized. Westover/Linn Rockwood also won the Doubles—over Brown/Stan Goldstein. Brown, however, did team with Mary White to come 1st in the Mixed by downing Westover/Pat Pulsford. In the Women’s round robin, White beat Pulsford, Pulsford beat Rita Cress, and Cress beat White. That necessitated a play-off in which Cress defeated both Pulsford and White. The Cresses will shortly be even more active in their Denver Club, for Jim will become the President, Rita the Secretary/Treasurer, and they’ll not only have a League going but be playing intercity matches with Cheyenne and Colorado Springs.
The Circle Theater venue in Portland was a godsend—it kept longtime tournament players participating. At the February Metro Open, Ike Benveniste won the Men’s; Mayo Rolph the Women’s; and Carl Cole, initiating the first of many victories at this Theater, the Class A. Benveniste also won the Men’s at the following month’s Pacific Northwest Open, as did Rolph the Women’s. And who won the Portland Open? Benveniste again, challenged by Cole; and Mayo again. Al Befills, the Northwest’s strong Senior, won the Class A (see Bob Viducich’s “Looking Back” article in the Dec. 6-7, 1980 Pacific Northwest Open’s 40th Anniversary Program, 25).
Pre-National’s California Play
To no one’s surprise, Erwin Klein won the Men’s Singles and Doubles at the Los Angeles County Open, held Feb. 14-15 at the California T.T. Center on North Highland. Klein, “who looks younger than his 14 years,” beat “picture player” Paul Capelle, 3-0, in the Singles final, and in the Doubles he and his regular partner, construction contractor Chuck Feldman, fashioned a 4-game win over Bob Shapiro/Jerry Glaser. Women’s winner was Tiny Eller over Arlyn Shapiro. But Arlyn, paired with Capelle, upset Klein/Mary Reilly (later McIlwain) to take the Mixed. Some other winners: Senior’s: Larry Wexler; Class A: Emmett Rice; Class B: Murray Schneider; and Adult Novice: Austin Finkenbinder (whose love of Country/Western music would have him one day start a Patsy Montana International Fan Club). To further Junior Progress, there were Singles and Doubles events for the 11 and Under; 14 and Under; and 17 and Under.
Before a small group left L.A. for the National’s, they played in a March tournament at Burbank. Klein easily beat Bob Ferguson in the final. Tiny Moss, however, had to go to the decider to finish off Mary Reilly, who, outside of table tennis, was enjoying her job as the sociable Assistant Manager and Hostess at Burbank’s Red Snapper restaurant. Paul Schaeffer—he’ll write to Topics urging that the U.S. Open be played not in “dreary, windy March” but in summer, when kids (his kid) will be out of school—won the Class A’s. Stuffy Singer gave notice he might be another phenom by coming runner-up in both Boys’ and Junior’s. Milt Forrest, USTTA Director of Public Relations (he wrote the lead article in the Nov., 1953 Topics—gave a seminar, so to speak, on “19 ways to get better publicity for your affiliate”), won the Senior’s. But even if Milt was already using a sponge bat, he was getting less attention for his play and more for his passionate interest in cracking up…uh, ping-pong balls.
Of course the cracked balls he himself is able to provide, and the presumably many more he can get via requests from others, he’ll put not only to idealistic use—like generating publicity for the Sport—but also to practical, er, well, artistic use. As a Mar.16 article in the University of Southern California’s Daily Trojan tells us, Milt’s “found an optometrist who is planning to finance a contest in which the cracked balls are painted to resemble eyes. The best eyes submitted win.” He’s also “started a contest for the best mobile.” Forrest himself is creating one. “It sways in the breeze with ten separate motions. Three of these motions are wheels within wheels, three are up and down undulations, and the remaining four are spiral variations. When the mobile gets going, it is as fascinating as a kaleidoscope.”
Think such preoccupations are whacky? In a May 29 letter to the N.Y. Herald Tribune, New Hampshire contributor Charles H. Porter cites the following idiocy: “Because ping-pong balls may be fired from a toy pistol, they [the tariff authorities] have reclassified them as ‘ammunition’ and increased the duty from 10% to 95%!” So much for customs regulations. However, as my USTTA Hall of Famer friend Dick Evans has pointed out to me, ping-pong balls have occasionally served a practical purpose in unexpected ways. Dick’s read of adventurers who float long voyages on rafts of ping-pong balls, and doctors who with a ping-pong ball have filled a cavity left by the removal of a tubercular lung, or, if a man’s testicle couldn’t be saved, of a ping-pong ball surgically implanted as a prosthesis.
As the Trojan article suggests, Forrest has something of a pixie personality:
“One day, he surprised…[a] Postmistress by bouncing…[a ping-pong ball] on her counter. She said she would love a game, but couldn’t indulge just at that moment. As it b-b-bounced to a dead stop, she noticed that the fool thing had a stamp and an address on it. She forthwith cancelled the postage stamp and bounced it along on its way….”
…As if it, too, planned to enter the National’s?
Miles Wins 7th, Neuberger 5th, U.S. Open
The 23rd U.S. Open was played Mar. 27-29 at Rockhurst College’s Mason-Halpin Field House in Kansas City, Missouri under Tournament Chair Dr. Herman Mercer. For the roughly 200 players, eight Detroiter A tables, with seven lights over each, were available for tournament use, and six more for practice. A good turnout—especially since entry blanks had not been mailed to the total membership (Mercer’s “Kansas City affiliate was not willing to pay the addressing costs”).“To offer [the K.C. affiliate] some financial relief,” players were allowed to enter not merely three but four events.
Defending Men’s Champion Lou Pagliaro couldn’t come to St. Louis, but the other outstanding favorite, Dick Miles, was registered out of Grossinger Falls, N.Y.—an address that suggested Grossinger’s Resort in the Catskills was picking up his tab. Also missing was Billy Holzrichter—which meant that, except for the ’44-45 season when he was serving in the Philippines, for the first time since his initial ranking in 1939 he would not be in the U.S. Top 10, had to be given Insufficient Data. Surely it was just a question of time until he retired?
Early-round 5-gamers in the Men’s were: Bill Guilfoil (from down 2-0) over Steve Isaacson; Irving Green over Jack Schugardt; Mort Finkelstein (from down 2-0) over Eddy Chambers; John Stephens over Scotty Grafton; Paul Schaeffer over Herb Smith; Howie Ornstein (who would later play two deuce games with Allan Levy) over Wayne Losh; and Irwin Miller over Joe Dragosh.
Lots of action in the 16th’s: Jerry Ghahramanian, Park College student from Teheran, escaped Harry Lund, deuce in the 5th—and so registered a win that would enable him to advance to eventually earn a laurel wreath from Pauline Robinson as the “most improved” player in the U.S.; cherubic “Chubby” Klein (-20, 22, 20, -15, 18) winged just enough of his sweeping strokes through the formidable defense of Marty Prager; Jimmy McClure prevailed in 5 over Dr. Bill Meszaros, as did Keith Porter over Tim Boggan; “Sponge Man” Rich Puls took out Frank Tharaldson, 19 in the 5th; and, with their match tied 1-1 in games, Max Hersh finished (23-21, 21-19) strong to beat Bobby Gusikoff. The most talked about 3rd round win, however, was…Miles’s. He could have lost 3 straight to Jim Tancill’s sponge, but won the 2nd, 23-21, that kept him alive. Then, down 2-1, he began to be more aggressive and took the last two games rather easily. Asked his opinion of the new sponge racket, he said, “If the bat threatens the game, or threatens to turn it into a different game, think we could do without it.”
The very experienced #4 seed Schiff encountered problems with Puls, who it was said “soaks his sponge in water before playing hitters.” Price, the 7th seed, was also pressed to 5—by Hersh. Somael, the #2 seed, reached the quarter’s with a 4-game win over Klein. Strange, but the upsets recorded among the seeds in the 8th’s showed easy, straight-game wins: McClure, 18, 15, 12 over #8 Barclay, and the real stunner, Ghahramanian’s 11, 14, 12 destruction of #5 Hazi. The Iranian then played like a, a Grrr!-a-maniac to overcome #3 seed Bukiet who’d led 2-1. That put him into the semi’s, where with games 1-1, he lost the key 19 3rd to Somael that stopped him. Levy, meanwhile, had a solid win over Schiff, and took a game in his semi’s from Miles. In the final, with games one apiece, “Miles changed his tactics somewhat…[and,] waiting out the perfect moment for the big kill,” became, again, the titleholder.Thus, of the last 7 U.S. Opens he’d played in, Dick had won 6, and had been a 5-game runner-up in the other—a record that would seem unmatchable.
A lot of exciting matches in the Men’s Doubles. Keith Porter/Dave Freifelder beat Dr. Mercer/Dragosh in 5 but then met Miles/Somael who’d later reach the final after being down 2-1 to Bukiet/Meszaros. Hersh/Sanford Gross did well both to knock out Price/Tancill, then force Bukiet/Meszaros into the 5th. Ornstein/Fran Delaney did even better—they beat Gusikoff/Barclay (after Gordy and Bobby had hung 27-25 tough in the 4th), then they eliminated Hazi/Levy, also in the 5th. More surprising yet was Prager/Abbott Nelson’s advance: a 24-22 3rd game helped them to beat Lund/Boggan in 4; then, when it appeared all was over for them (Prager told me they were down 20-15 match point), they rallied to eke out a 23-21-in-the-5th win over Schiff/McClure; after which, though dropping a 28-26 game, they scored a victory over Ornstein/Delaney; and finally were sitting pretty with a 2-0 lead in the final against Miles/Somael…which, much to the spectators’ disappointment, they couldn’t find the clincher to.
In the Senior’s, Schiff finished with three good wins—in the quarter’s over Men’s Consolation winner John Varga; in the semi’s over Shrout who’d taken out Price in 5; and in the final over Hazi who’d beaten Tharaldson. Fifteen years ago at Wembley, Schiff and McClure had won the World Doubles; here in Kansas City everything seemed up to date, as it were: in downing Shrout/Tharaldson, they won the U.S. Over 35 Doubles—Jimmy’s last National title. The Esquire (over 50) Champ was Bill Gunn—who, in winning deuce in the 5th, was bloodied, but, as you can see, wasn’t atomized into psychic bits, by Defending Champion Scharlack’s “Atomic” (or whatever) sponge bat.
As for the teenagers, there were new USTTA age rules this year affecting them. Heretofore, a player “had to be of the proper age on the final day of the tournament.” Now, since the USTTA deems its playing season to begin June 1 and end on May 31 (though no keep-abreast-with-what’s-happening Topics are issued from June through Sept.), “Boys and Girls if not 15 years old as of June 1st can play the whole season in the 14 and Under division, and, similarly, those who aren’t 18 as of June 1st can play the whole season in the 17 and Under division.
Junior winner—his first Major—was 16-year-old Bobby Gusikoff. Miles had told Bobby to go for the Expedite rule in his final with Dave Krizman, for, although Dave could pick-hit, he was basically a defender and not ready to sustain aggressive topspin play. So Bobby uncharacteristically pushed his way to a win. In the semi’s of the Junior’s, Krizman had chopped down Klein, but in the Boys’ final that followed, Erwin, profiting from Miles’s advice not to try to all-out hit through Dave as he’d made the mistake of doing in the Junior’s, patiently, strategically played his way to his first National Championship.
Best early-round matches in the very dull Women’s saw Mona Buell defeat Toby Pangburn in 5; and Nancy Will, after being down 2-0, come back to beat Carolee Liechty—thus allowing this year’s National’s Consolation winner, Carolee, the future opportunity, if so it can be called, of matching Buell’s two successive (1948, 1949) Consolation wins. Of the 16 matches through the 8th’s and quarter’s, 15 of them were won in straight games. Only when Mildred Shipman outlasted Jean Gere, deuce in the 5th, was there any drama. City College of N.Y. freshman Lona Flam, whose fellow students had raised money for her flight to St. Louis, was one of those unable to get her best game going. Even the semi’s and final—Neuberger 3-zip over Millie Shahian, and Sally Prouty in a rather uncontested 4 over Peggy McLean Folke; and, finally, Leah over Sally, 3-0—couldn’t arouse much interest. Except of course in Leah’s case, for she’d now tied Sally’s record of 5 Singles Championships.
Nor was there a 5-gamer in Women’s Doubles. Shahian and Shipman had an unusual, outscored (19, 20, -6, 20) quarter’s win over Shirley Lund and Milwaukee’s Marion Mueller. But, o.k., so Marion didn’t win—she had other consuming interests: as mother and Registered Nurse to two daughters, she enjoyed being a Brownie Scott Leader, ate her share of cookies. Robinson/Flam also won 19 in the 4th from the young South Bend pair, Liechty and Sharlene Krizman, but were then beaten by Prouty/Ichkoff, who afterwards fell rather weakly in the final to Neuberger/Folke.
In the Mixed, the same pattern prevailed—the best matches were the early ones. Marge Kalman and Bernie Bukiet lost 25-23 and 26-24 2nd and 3rd games to Pat Pulsford and N. Y.’s Irwin Miller (on leave from Camp Chaffee, Arkansas), but won anyway. And Gere/Ornstein (14, -16, -15, 22, 18) rallied to eliminate Buell/Joe Dragosh. Ichkoff/Levy in getting to the final had to work to beat Folke/McClure and Prouty/Schiff, both in 4, but won key deuce games. The Mixed Champions, however, were Neuberger/Hazi—too good for Robinson/Somael, too good for Ichkoff/Levy, last year’s finalists as well.
Memories of Varga
The English Table Tennis Review tells me that Sharon Koehnke “passed up her last chance to [again] be [U.S.] Junior Champion.” Turns out “she was called for a U.S.O. Camp Show that started its two-months tour just three days before the Championships” (Special Championships issue, 1953, 28). So the new U.S. Junior Miss Champion is Sharlene (“Sherri”) Krizman. It was her first National title, and, be warned, she had five more seasons of Junior eligibility left. Both Sherri and runner-up Carolee Liechty were products of John Varga’s South Bend Academy. Sometimes the kids would be playing almost every night, said Sherri. “Except,” she added, “I always had to get homework done before I could play. If I got even one C, my folks grounded me and I couldn’t play for 9 weeks. Yeah, it happened once or twice.”
Sherri said that, “Anyone at John’s Y who started with a hammer grip and wanted to revert to it in trying to hit a backhand in, was soon cured of that. John put a nail through the paddle; if your thumb came down it’d be punctured.” Yessir, you had to stay on your toes with John. “Otherwise,” said Sherri, “you’d step down on thumb tacks in your shoe.” We both “feared and revered John,” said one of his earliest protégés, Gordon Barclay, years later. “As a disciplinarian, he could be hard as nails.” Gordy felt there was really “very little love between John and his students, but a lot of respect.” It’s a fact that none of John’s kids played much after they left the Junior’s, and perhaps a partial reason for this was because he had imposed so much strictness on them they were happy to be free—away from the Game, away from him.
But, said Sherri, though John insisted on having things his way, he did have his students’ best interests at heart, and their parents, realizing this, supported him. They’d take turns driving the children to play, would help with the supervision. John would buy kids train tickets to tournaments. “If he had two dimes in his pocket he’d give you both.” He wanted kids to think—would teach them chess. “He wanted you to be a smart player—wanted you to know your strong points, your weak points. He wanted you to know what you were going to do before you did it.” He worked at making his students Champions.
And speaking of Champions, though the U.S. couldn’t send a Team to the 1953 Bucharest World’s (played Mar. 20-29, at the time of our National’s), I’ll fill you in briefly on the winners there, and also confide that after the tournament, later in the season, U.S. Champions Miles and Neuberger, along with the charismatic Reisman, were invited to Bucharest to play in another competition, but of course the State Department wouldn’t give them visas. In Swaythling Cup play, England (Capt. Adrian Haydon, Bergmann, Leach, Brian Kennedy, and Aubrey Simons) beat Defending Champion Hungary, 5-3. The Japanese didn’t attend—but the Chinese did, made their first World appearance, and won 3 ties, lost 3. In the Corbillon Cup, in the absence of Defending Champion Japan, Rumania (Capt. Comarnischi, Angelica Rozeanu, Sari Szasz, and Ella Zeller) defeated England, 3-0. China came next to last in their Group, beat only Germany (but Sun Mei-ying 24, -14, -20 gave England’s Diana Rowe a fight).
In Individual play, Hungary’s Ferenc Sido (who, five years earlier at the Wembley World’s, had won that deuce-in-the-4th semi’s against Pagliaro) was both the Men’s Singles and Doubles winner. In the Men’s final, Sido who’d been down 2-0 to France’s Rene Roothoft, beat Ivan Andreadis; and in the Doubles he and Josef Koczian beat Bergmann/Leach. Angelica Rozeanu won her 4th straight Women’s Championship, and for the 4th straight time over Hungary’s former Champion Gizi Farkas—with whom she took the Women’s Doubles from England’s 20-year-old Rowe twins. Rozeanu and Sido, by winning the Mixed over Zarko Dolinar/Linda Wertl, completed a unique double “hat trick” (it had never been done before, and hasn’t been done since).
The Men’s winner at the English Open—in the 8th’s he’d been down 2-0 to Harry Venner (Consolation semi’s loser to Reisman in Bombay)—was France’s famous 38-year-old hammer-grip Champion Michel Haguenauer (nobody had better put a nail through his bat) over England’s Johnny Leach. The Women’s winner: England’s Rosalind Rowe over Austria’s Linda Wertl in 5. Men’s Doubles went to Bergmann/Leach over Kennedy/Simons; Women’s Doubles to the Rowes, Ros and Di, over Pam Gall and Jill Rook (who beat our Sharon Koehnke in the final of the English Open Junior Miss last year); and the Mixed to Ros and the great Victor Barna (winner of the Jubilee Cup from Haydon in Bucharest) over Di and Johnny. Haydon’s 14-year-old daughter, Ann, who’ll make quite a name for herself in tennis as well as table tennis, took the Junior Miss; and Germany’s Conny Freundorfer the Junior Men.
You’ll note that a U.S. Team could have gone to England for the “uncertain glory of an April day,” but who would have paid their expenses? Reisman, so colorful, might have been extended an invitation—but, as we’re about to see from President Shrout’s dismal Report on the operations of the Association, voiced at the Mar. 28 USTTA Open Meeting at Kansas City, Marty and Doug Cartland had been suspended from international play.
*Two years earlier Table Tennis columnist Joe Kirkwood wrote that “Joe Louis says t.t. ‘helps his eyesight and quickens his reflexes.’” From one Joe to another, Louis confides that he’s sorry he didn’t use “t.t. before during his training sessions,” because “with the help of table tennis I could have beaten Ezzard Charles” (May-June, 1951, 28).