Since true grass courts are so scarce in this country, I sometimes wish we could dispense with turf altogether, and have at our tournaments the same surface which finds favour abroad, at places like Cannes, Homburg, and Dinard. The bound of the ball on these courts is absolutely uniform, the surface being hard sand. One great advantage they possess—we should welcome it over here—is that when it rains play is quite out of the question. Wading about in the mud and playing in a steady downpour, often our lot in England, is unknown on the Continent. And foreign courts also dry quickly after rain, and often play better for their watering.
TOURNAMENT AND CLUB MANAGEMENT
I wish an “Order of Play” could be used more at English tournaments. That is to say, I wish matches could be arranged to take place at a certain hour, following the plan adopted at Wimbledon and at all the meetings on the Continent. Such an arrangement would greatly add to the comfort and enjoyment of competitors, and would, I imagine, be a great boon to the referee. Spectators, I know, would welcome it. I think a time-table might prove unworkable where handicap events are concerned, but in the case of open events I feel sure it could be introduced with great advantage to all concerned. I have so often sat hour after hour at a London tournament (having only entered for the open events), perhaps playing one match, perhaps not playing at all. If I had been told overnight that I should not be wanted, or exactly at what hour my match would take place, it would have been so much more satisfactory and saved so much wasted time. This waiting about takes away half the pleasure of playing in London meetings. Even if there are good matches going on you do not care to watch them incessantly; there may be a chance of your playing off a tie, and it would tend to put your eye out. On one occasion, having a long way to go to a tournament in which I was only entered for the open mixed doubles, I telephoned to know whether I should be wanted or not. “Well,” replied the referee, “if I call you and you are not on the ground, I shall scratch you. In your own interest you had better come over.” For my partner’s sake, as well as my own, I was bound to go. As I expected, I sat the whole afternoon and evening doing absolutely nothing. When I begged to be allowed to play, as I had come some distance for this one match, the referee examined his programme and said, “Oh, it is quite impossible to-day. They have not played the round in front of you yet!”
[Illustration: AFTER THE LADIES’ FINAL AT WIMBLEDON: TEA ON THE LAWNS]
This sort of thing implies gross mismanagement, besides resulting in unnecessary wear and tear for the competitors. If there was an order of play arranged for each day, all the bother would be obviated. I believe that business men who cannot get away in the early afternoon have their matches timed and arranged for them. Why are not all competitors treated alike?