NEW

Barty lets Coco through, Pliskova to meet Martic

On a wet and dreary Friday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, World No 1 Ash Barty retired from her quarter-final match against Coco Gauff, waving on the American teenager into the semis after leading by a set, while Karolina Pliskova survived 3 match...

Nadal avenges Madrid loss

Up to the quarter-final stage of the Rome Masters, Rafa Nadal could be said to have had a fairly torrid time and when he faced Alexander Zverev for a place in the last four, many expected the German, last week’s Madrid Masters winner, to maintain his winning form over...

Pliskova to meet Ostapenko in Rome quarters

Karolina Pliskova is the sole seed in the lower half of the draw and takes on Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, while Petra Martic and Jessica Pegula will contest the last quarter on Friday.

Barty cruises, Gauff stuns Sabalenka and Svitolina swats Muguruza

World No 1 Ash Barty remains on track to add the Rome title to her expanding collection but must overcome Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals, who upset Aryna Sabalenka, the Madrid champion, at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Thursday, while Elina Svitolina took out...

Nadal one point from defeat

Rafa Nadal’s invincibility on clay is being tested more regularly than you would expect and makes his forthcoming challenge at Roland Garros in a few weeks’ time, the more intriguing.

Jo Konta and Venus Williams enter Nottingham

British No 1 Johanna Konta and 10-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams will headline this year’s Nottingham Open field, the first of the returning LTA summer grass court events.

Osaka leads march of seeds out of Rome

On a day of major upsets at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, the underdogs prevailed, seeing off seeds Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep, Sofia Kenin, Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova, and Maria Sakkari in a procession of upsets at the Foro Italico in Rome.

Nadal back on track

Rafa Nadal, playing his first match at the Foro Italico following his quarter-final loss to Alexander Zverev at last week’s Madrid Masters, declared himself happy with his performance in overcoming Jannik Sinner in straight sets, but not so with the scheduling by the...

Konta follows Bencic and Mertens out of Rome

Seeds started to tumble at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, with Belinda Bencic and Elise Mertens followed out of the draw by Jo Konta, while Garbiñe Muguruza and Angelique Kerber were among those to win through on Tuesday.

Kvitova, Brady, Swiatek and Sakkari open Rome accounts

The Internazionali BNL d’Italia got under way at the Foro Italico in Rome on Monday, with some of the seeds in action and coming through unscathed, although Petra Kvitova had to come from a set down against Magda Linette to advance, while Jennifer Brady won in...
Tennis News, Tennis Results, Live Tennis Scores & Interviews

Gordon Forbes: 1934 – 2020

Gordon Forbes died at his home in South Africa on December 6 aged 86. He was an excellent tennis player but he will be best remembered for his contribution to tennis literature and, in a ‘Handful of Summers’ is credited in having written the best book ever on the sport.

Gordon’s life was full of accomplishments, too many to list. A Handful of Summers is my favourite book of all time. My thoughts are with Gordon’s family at this sad time. Craig Tilley

Based very much around his own time in the amateur days of the fifties and sixties, his observations and portrayal of his fellow players, all penned with a humorous twist, proved a major hit. He brought to life a bygone era which is fast fading with the passing of many of the characters who are featured.

Forbes was born on the 21st February 1934 and won the South African title in 1959 and 1961 as well as reaching the final on four other occasions.

He also competed in all the majors reaching the last eight at the 1962 US Open (then the US Championships).

He scored wins over the likes of Australian legend Rod Laver and represented South Africa in the Davis Cup.

As a doubles player, Forbes won the mixed title at Roland Garros in 1955 alongside Darlene Hard. He also reached the French doubles final in 1963 with his compatriot Abe Segal but lost to the Australian-Spanish duo of Roy Emerson and Manuel Santana.

The South Africans also reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon that year.

Segal, who died in 2016, and Forbes were partners in numerous Davis Cup ties and helped their national Davis Cup each the semi-finals on two occasions.

The pair were great friends and led Forbes to describe him in his ‘Handful of Summers’ book as follows: “Abe was really rough and ready (when we first met). He used to wear purple T-shirts and sing The Nearness of You very loudly, with his mouth full of Chiclets…. He’d already been on one hectic, do-it-yourself tennis tour – had worked his passage on a freighter, lived on the smell of an oil rag, been mistakenly billeted in a brothel, harvested apples, befriended several surprised millionaires and once alarmed an ancient English umpire at Hurlingham by shaking his seat and implying he was blind.”

As regards his own ability, he also said in the book: “Having learnt my tennis in Johannesburg at an altitude of 6,000 feet, I was a true net rusher and had only a scanty selection of ground shots, none of which were really well produced although they were better than Abe Segal’s. Rushing the net on a really slow Italian court while using the Pirelli balls of the early sixties was an eerie experience – like being in a movie, half of which was speeded up while the other half was in slow motion. I was the speeded up part. I would come barrelling up to the net, only to arrive there far too early and have to hop about in a frenzy of suspense while my opponent (who often seemed to be Pietrangeli or Merlo) decided on which side to pass me. Desperate anticipatory decisions had to be made. Lobs were too frightful to contemplate and had to be blanked out of one’s mind to preserve sanity.”

Forbes brought to life many other contemporary players, amongst them the hearty Roy Emerson, the ethereal Torben Ulrich, the daffy Art Larsen, plus a host of others that made up the tennis circus of that era.

“Torben was, and is, a remarkable human being,” wrote Forbes. “With him in view one would automatically consider such phenomena as intellectualism, the power of the mind, mysticism, things deep, Gurudom even.”

The playing style of Australia’s Rex Hartwig also fell under Forbes’s scrutiny: “His game ran around him like a covey of quail escaped from a basket—darting and beautiful, but almost impossible to get together.”

Forbes followed Handful of Summers, first published in 1978, with two more fine volumes, Too Soon to Panic and I’ll Take the Sunny Side.

One of the first celebrities to pay tribute to Forbes was former World No.1 and four-time Wimbledon winner American Billie Jean King.

“Gordon Forbes was a terrific South African tennis player, and also a gifted writer. I loved his book on tennis ‘A Handful of Summers’.
“Our condolences to his son Gavin and the rest of his family.”

Craig Tilley, the South African born CEO of Tennis Australia and tournament director of the Australian Open, also played tribute to his countryman. “Thinking of the great Gordon Forbes. I will be forever grateful for his support. I cared for him deeply.

“Gordon’s life was full of accomplishments, too many to list. A Handful of Summers is my favourite book of all time. My thoughts are with Gordon’s family at this sad time.”

His sister Jean was married to Cliff Drysdale and his son Gavin is a senior executive at the prominent sports marketing firm, International Management Group (IMG). He had another son Jamie, from his second marriage with Frances who survives him.






Previous

Next

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.