The Life of Tony Trabert
Part 4

Mark Winters

Tony Trabert signed a professional contract with Jack Kramer at the Los Angeles Tennis Club, October 19, 1955.

Though Tony Trabert possessed Gentleman's Quarterly good looks augmented by a charming personality, he didn't act like an entitled elitist.

He was humble and enjoyed tremendous popularity, which extended beyond the world of sports. But, with a wife, trying to live on "travel expenses" and "per diem" wasn't a promising way to establish a solid future. So, he signed for a guarantee of $75,000 and joined the Kramer Pro Tour.

Jack Kramer was a slashing serve and volleyer who tempered his aggressive play with savvy tactics. These traits carried over to his professional tennis promotion efforts. Though I never spoke with Jack or Tony directly about this, it seems that the appeal of a Tony Trabert – Richard Gonzalez tour was The Golden Boy Versus Mr. Sullen.

Richard, always felt that Jack low-balled him financially when he was the best player in tennis and hated Trabert because he was always portrayed in exemplary fashion and also happened to be Kramer's good friend.

The Trabert – Gonzalez Tour began December 9, 1955, at Madison Square Garden in New York. The total was 101 matches on five continents. (For an article on Gonzalez as the greatest player of all time, Click Here.)

Gonzalez dominated the series 74-27. But most of the matches were played indoors on a quick canvas court that traveled with the players and had to be laid-out on different underlying surfaces from city to city.

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Mark Winters has been a tennis journalist for 50 years. During that time, he has been a staff writer for Florida Tennis, Inside Tennis, Tennis Magazine, Tennis Life and Tennis Week. His freelance articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, and USA Today.

He has also contributed features to numerous other tennis and media outlets worldwide. Mark played on both the intercollegiate and professional levels. He coached college tennis and was a US Boys' Junior Davis Cup Team coach, working with Pete Sampras and Jim Courier among others.

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