Professional tennis came to the famous centre court of the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon, London, for the first time today (Friday).
Professional tennis came to the famous centre court of the All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon, London, for the first time today (Friday). Australian Lew Hoad, Rod Laver and Ken Rosswall, and Spaniard Andres Gimeno all won their opening rounds in the Wimbledon World Professional Championships.
For 32-year-old Lew Hoad it was the first appearance on the Wimbledon centre court since he won the Wimbledon Men's Title in 1957.
Hoad and Gonzales played the final match of the day, in failing light. Hoad, unseeded, worked for two hours to defeat fourth-seeded Gonzales 3-6, 11-9, 8-6.
Gonzales, 39, took the first set without difficulty, but then age began to tell, and he lost his touch. Hoad, on the other hand, improved as the match went on, keeping his opponent on the run with spectacular overhead smashes and magnificent volleys.
The Laver-Stolle match threw up few surprises. It took Laver, the favourite, only 44 minutes to defeat fellow-Australian Fred Stolle. The score was 6-4, 6-2.
Stolle played well above his amateur days, but could not break Laver's mastery. The left-handed Laver's power game was virtually flawless and his forehand drive was spectacular.
In the other qualifying matches Rosewall defeated Earl Buchholz of the United States 5-7, 6-2, 6-3, and Gimeno had a trouble-free 6-1, 6-2 win over American Dennis Ralston.
Despite warm, sunny weather, the normally packed centre court was only half-full.