Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Staff Contacts | Home RSS

The Wimbledon Final That Never Was

Sidney Wood's tennis tales interesting

June 27, 2011
By REGINA M. ANGELI - Books Writer , The Daily News

Sidney Wood held the distinction of being the youngest winner of the men's tournament at Wimbledon until this record was eventually broken by Boris Becker.

But his 1931 title came by default, as his opponent, Frank Shields, grandfather of actress Brooke Shields, withdrew due to injury.

This "final" that never took place is the subject of his book, co-written with his son, David, "The Wimbledon Final That Never Was . . . And Other Tennis Tales from a Bygone Era." (New Chapter Media, 190 pages)

Article Photos

Tennis in the thirties had a certain panache. These were the days of dapper tennis whites and elegant white tie and tails, evening dress and the young Mr. Wood being escorted about London by Gertrude Lawrence and Noel Coward.

Trans-Atlantic travel was by ship, and he mentions traveling aboard the ocean liner, R.M.S. Mauretania. (An interesting side note which he reveals is that the ocean going competitor would battle the effects of "sea legs" for about week after travel.)

While in Britain for the Wimbledon tournament, Mr. Woods went clubbing with actress Gertrude Lawrence and playwright Noel Coward. His book is a fascinating compilation of "name dropping" of Hollywood royalty - David O. Selznick (whom he called "Dave"), Charlie Chaplin, Gary Cooper, Walter Pidgeon, King Kong's lady love, Fay Wray, and Groucho Marx.

He has kind words for Errol Flynn and some, perhaps, unfortunate, memories of Grace Kelly.

He reveals how Hollywood wooed, unsuccessfully, the handsome Frank Shields, Brooke's grandfather, before Mr. Woods helped a struggling actor on his way to stardom, Errol Flynn.

He played tennis and dined with the Shah of Iran (and the cast of "South Pacific" including Mary Martin) and chess prodigy Bobby Fischer.

He reveals his personal ranking of the all-time greatest players of the game, including his choice for number one, Don Budge.

Tennis fans will appreciate his discussion of how the game and its rules have changed over the years. He cites the modern serve which allows the player to "step into" the court.

Yet, in the days of the older serve which required a more fixed position of the feet, there were a tremendous number of aces served up in the matches of yesteryear.

The younger Wood informs the reader that his father died at the age of 93. May he be serving up some fun in the next world!

In this delightful diary of an elegant life, Sidney Wood takes his reader hobnobbing with the great personalities of the twentieth century.

Tennis buffs and the reader who simply wishes to be amused, will enjoy "The Wimbledon Final That Never Was And Other Tennis Tales from a Bygone Era."



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web