#146 Tennis Pro, Don Budge


The Best Tennis ever?

The green chart below is Marc Jones’s time for tennis great Don Budge; the black is Michel Gauquelin’s; we are going with the latter time because like Sir Don Bradman, Budge changed the game with his backhand style.  The Jones times does put Uranus in the tenth but not as a singleton an important aspect because as such it also becomes a focal determinator  and exerts exceptional emphasis on the chart.

With such a highlighted Uranus, Budge joins the group that are forerunners of their field, adding personal integrity to their skill and thus hearkening to a higher level of humanity.  In his case,  this was demonstrated in his support of his German opponent von Cramm in Hitler’s Germany (a ninth house placement) ; for Bradman it was taking a fun pastime for gentlemen and turning it on its ear by demonstrating that anyone of any class could learn to be well-mannered and play well (a fifth house one).

Pluto was not discovered until 1932 and it was shortly thereafter that Budge unleashed his native talents and took up tennis seriously after being challenged, and then taught,  by his older brother Lloyd (Saturn conjunct Pluto in the second).  The Mars on the first house cusp in Taurus shows his fiery red hair while in the second hints more of a bad temper.  Another difference is Jones gives him a midheaven of  Capricorn emphasizing hard work while Gauquelin with Aquarius at the midheaven shows how much was innate talent.

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                                            Biography from the New York Times by Robin Finn

His size, strength and bulldog tenacity allowed him not only to outmuscle his opponents, but also to occasionally batter them into submission, much as he did when he dismissed Henry W. Austin of Britain in a mere 66 minutes in the 1938 Wimbledon final.

Don Budge, the red-haired athlete who helped redefine the terms of his sport by becoming the first player to win the Grand Slam of tennis, in 1938, died January 26, 2000 in Scranton, Pa. He was 84.

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Budge was injured Dec. 14 in northeastern Pennsylvania when the car he was driving skidded off a wet road and struck trees in the Pocono Mountains. He had to be cut from the wreckage and was hospitalized in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., near his wife in Highlands Park,  until Jan. 8, when he was transferred to a nursing home in Scranton.  We think that this is better there was better care available.

Born in Oakland, Calif., on June 13, 1915, John Donald Budge learned tennis from his older brother, Lloyd,  when he was eight but was half-hearted about it & didn’t play tennis between the ages of 11 and 15.  Finally when he was 14,   Lloyd, challenged him: “Don, you’d have a good chance to win the California State Boy’s 15 and Under if you practice, but you’re too darned lazy to practice, so forget it.”   He went down the the nieghborhood park and offered to play anyone who wanted.

That park now is the Don Budge Tennis Courts at Bushrod Park, 59th Street and Shattuck Avenue.

                           Power Tennis

Budge  appeared suddenly in Eastern tournaments in 1933, when  won the national junior title after Pluto was discovered in the autumn of 1932. In 1934 the youth was sent East to be tested in the great tournaments. He climbed to a national ranking of No. 9 that year and finished his season by carrying Fred Perry to five sets in the Pacific Coast championships.

j donald budge
4:00 per Michel Gauquelin.

The 6-foot 2-inch Budge was probably the first player to use his backhand — along with a crushing serve, smash and forehand — as an attacking stroke.  His rolled backhand changed tennis technique, and his overall excellence earned him distinction as one of the best to ever play the game.

When Perry turned professional in 1937, the boyish, affable Budge not only inherited his mantle as the world’s top amateur, but also began staking his claim to the coveted Grand Slam crowns, which at that time were closed to professionals. The major tournaments did not allow professionals to compete until 1968.

Budge captured both Wimbledon and the United States Nationals in 1937.  He received the Sullivan award as the nation’s top amateur athlete, and procrastinated about turning professional himself to help his country keep its Davis Cup championship in 1938. Budge completed a stellar Davis Cup career with a record of 19-2 in singles and 6-2 in doubles. He reached his career apex in terms of drama, tension and match-playing flourish in the fifth and decisive match of the 1937 Davis Cup interzone final against Gottfried von Cramm of Germany.

He turned pro the following year because “A lot of my peers were doing it. So it was the logical thing to do, and I never regretted it.

rimmed bowl
1:45 per Marc Jones. Time is incorrect.

                                                                       the von Cramm Match

According to Bill Tilden, the tennis champion who was coaching the German team at the time, Budge’s heroic comeback stood as ”the greatest match ever played.”  “I consider him,” Tilden said of Budge, ”the finest player 365 days a year who ever lived.”

Not only was the tennis superb, but the event had implications far beyond sport. ”War talk was everywhere,” Budge recalled in a book by the tennis writer and historian Bud Collins. ”Hitler was doing everything he could to stir up Germany. The atmosphere was filled with tension although von Cramm was a known anti-Nazi and remained one of the finest gentlemen and most popular players on the circuit.”

The competition was played at Wimbledon before a rapt audience that included Queen Mary and Jack Benny, Just before Budge and von Cramm took to Center Court with the series tied at 2-2, von Cramm received a supportive telephone call from Adolf Hitler.

Budge rallied from two sets down to even the match, but then fell behind again, this time into a 4-1 fifth-set deficit. Abandoning caution, the American charged the net behind fierce returns of von Cramm’s serve and twice broke back to pull even at 4-4. As daylight began to fade, the score went to 5-5, and 6-6. Then Budge again broke von Cramm’s serve and edged ahead for the first time, 7-6. The German fought off five match points on Budge’s serve; on the sixth, Budge capped a prolonged rally with a lunging forehand winner that sent the victor to the ground. Game, set and match to the United States: 6-8, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 8-6.

Rod Laver, another redhead, is the only man to have repeated Budge’s feat on the Grand Slam front. The Australian, won the Grand Slam while an amateur in 1962, and then repeated his feat seven years later after the tournaments had been opened to professional players.

Budge won a total of 14 Grand Slam titles: six in singles, four in doubles and four in mixed doubles.  He reached his last United States Pro final in 1953 and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., in 1964.  He is survived by his second wife, Loriel of Highland Park, New York and two sons, David of Los Angeles and Jeffrey of Boston.  Mrs. Budge reposed  Friday, March 26, 2010.

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