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The Forgotten Era of Tennis: Bill Tilden Part 2

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  • The Forgotten Era of Tennis: Bill Tilden Part 2

    Let's get your thoughts on Peter Underwood's article, "The Forgotten Era of Tennis: Bill Tilden Part 2"

  • #2
    Possibly it is truly forgotten. But I think is important and even profound to understand.


    • #3
      It will never be forgotten by some of us...with proper roots in the game.

      'Tilden was indefatigable'
      That's how I see Tilden, too..indefatigable. The only thing Bill knew and was truly great at was tennis. Pretty much everything else he put his hand to failed.

      Can we get the author into the forum, please? He might know some things I don't and it would be fun to chat with someone like that. Pretty much everything I have read to date has come from authors regurgitating the contents of Deford's book.


      • #4
        I will ask.


        • #5
          The Book is William Tilden II...period.

          Originally posted by johnyandell View Post
          Possibly it is truly forgotten. But I think is important and even profound to understand.
          The old tour and the ancients that played on it is rather obsolete at this point in time. It is true that up until 1984 that their were those in the game with genuine connections back to the Bill Tilden era of the game. John McEnroe was coached by the great Harry Hopman who was a disciple of Tilden. All of the Aussie guard in those days were instilled with Tilden tactics and philosophy. The same could be said for the Americans as well. All of them at that point in tennis history were more knowledgable about the history of the game than the modern day tennis aficionado. It is just as well...coaches nowadays don't have the depth for appreciating anything other than a good new fan dangled backcourt tennis match. Some talk a bit about volleying or perfect service motions with classic tactics but I have yet to see a single coach come up with anything significant in the last forty years. Everyone is just trying to capitalize on the demise of the original game of classic tennis in the new and dumbed down version of the real thing.

          While Bill Tilden's playing career and subsequent demise is interesting in terms of tennis history and his being a bit of a quack character. The real worth of William Tilden II is in his writings. So Stotty is clearly mistaken when he maintains that the only thing that was truly great at was is his talent and exquisite insight into the game of tennis where he has made the contribution that will live forever in a true student of the game's appreciation of the man. The books that he wrote on tennis are worth their weight in gold. Hopman himself and his gang of Aussies revered "Match Play and the Spin of the Ball" as the Bible of tennis. It is. Any other book that would dare to call itself such a thing is surely mired in a heaping dose of conceit not to mention ignorance.

          Whereas coaches nowadays trip over one another repeating the same old tiresome technique commandments it was Tilden who wrote with laser like white light inspiration on tactics and match play psychology. I have read and reread his two books who stand alone in greatness...the other being "How to Play Better Tennis: a complete guide to technique and tactics". If you had only two books on tennis to try and learn and understand what the game of tennis is really about you could do no better than these two. Rather amazing seeing that "Match Play and the Spin of the Ball" was written in the 1920's and the other was written in or around 1950. The modern world likes to destroy the past so that it give itself a superior air about itself as it devolves into the waste bin of history itself. Amazing how tennis metaphors life...isn't it?
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