A JEW ZEALAND TEA'XIS WOXDER. MR A. F. WILDING'S FEAT. (Fjiom Oto Own Coxkestowdknt.) LONDON, September 14. New Zealandera will bo interested to learn_ that their craefi* lawn tennis player has just been winning fresh and brilliant laurels abroad as well as in England. I learn that he played with conspicuous success at the recent international lawn tennis tournament at Marienbad. He won both the men's open events, beating in the final of each O. Froitzheim, who is at present undoubtedly the best singles player in Austria or Germany. At their first meeting Wilding beat Froitszheim by 3 sets to love, at 7—5,7 — 5, 6—o,6 — 0, 6—3,6 — 3, and at the next time of asking vanquished the German by the same set margin at 6—2,6 — 2, 6—l,6 — 1, 6—o,6 — 0, the New Zealander's superior steadiness and condition being the great factors in his victories. Bracketed with C. yon. Wesseley, Wilding shared the men's doubles, and in partnership with Miss Elsie Lane won the mixed doubles.
Mr Wilding has, of course, been interviewed touching his success. He declares he has "thoroughly enjoyed every match he has played." In the course of his triumphal march he has participated in 24 open tournaments this season, and has won the first prize in the open singles at 17. He has played as far north as Sheffield, and as far south as Barcelona; he has carried his magic racquet right along the Mediterranean shore, paid two flying- visits to Austria, amazed the cure-eeekers at Homburg by his prowess, reached the semi-final in the All-England championships at Wimbledon, and, incidentally, defeated the American ex-champion in the international match in Wales. Altogether he has been serving balls over a net for nearly 30 consecutive weeks, and in that time has travelled thousands of miles, and met and defeated players of every civilised nationality. Asked to explain the secret of his extraordinary consistency over this record-break-ing period, Mr Wilding assumed that it must be his unquenchable enthusiasm for the game, his great desire to improve, and his physical fitness. " Perhaps physical condition ought to come first," he remarked. " Many players would doubtless have grown stale or had periodical off-periods during such a etrenuous bout of play. Only once have I felt really out of sorts, and that was at Prague, to which I fled from London after a most exciting tussle with Holcombe Ward, the American, at Newport. I have tried to make my training a matter of habitto keep fit by instinct. I never smoke, and I never take alcoholic drinks; but I eat practically whatever I fancy, especially all varieties of cake. When you are taking as much exercise as I do every day, I don t think it matters a straw how much you eat, so long aa your digestive organs are unimpaired," and the interviewer remembered how at Monte Carlo this perfectly healthy athlete used to consume whole platefuls of oranges after a hearty dinner. T "I confess," Mr Wilding, went on, I have sometimes been sorely tempted, when abroad, to indulge in some sort of the luxurious wines offered to me by wca.tby patrons of lawn tennis, foreign princes, and other titled hosts; but when ahstention has become a habit it isn't so hard to abstain, ia it? I'm a great believer in keeping every muscle of the body in prime condition, not merely those in the arms, which you can expose to view as hallmarks of fitness. Early in th© season I went in for skipping and other physical exercises calculated to harden every fibre in the frame. Aa for tournament play itself, I have found that watching other matches in progress -wearies the eye and makes you slack. I have alway6 liked to be moving about, except immediately after lunch, when I prefer to lie in the eun. Before an important match I often read several chapters of a novel. This distracts the thoughts and keeps the brain clear. I suppose my interest has never slackened, because I have always been trying to add new strokes and perfect old ones. My back-hand stroke was comparatively weak when I went to Austria, so when I came against a man I knew I could beat I played practically every ball back-hand, with the result that that department improved like steam. "Of all the many courts I have played on — grasa, sand, gravel, brick-dust, asphalt, and mud, — I think those at Marie nbad are about the best. They are so perfectly level, th* natural background is so pleas-
ing-, and the general surroundings so inviting. Next I should place Cannes or Baden. On the whole, foreign courts are far and away superior to those in England ; but, then, look at the money and tho time that are spent on them." Mr Wilding, who has recently graduated at Cambridge and been called to the English Bar, will return to New Zealand early next month, but he hopes to pay another visit to this country next summer. During the South of England" lawn tennis championship at Eastbourne, which drew another big crowd in Devonshire Park, A. F. Wilding had a runaway match with N. S. B. Kidson, who could make nothing of the New Zealander's long-hop drives and zig-zag services. He only lost one game in 13, and reached the semi-final, where hs ia to oppose G. W. Hillyard to-day. The English crack abroad is petted and made much of on the conrts. At Wiesbaden Mr A. F. Wilding was asked to append his signature to over 100 picture post-cards, and a large percentage of the applicants were delightfully engaging maidens. The English players aro invited out to dinners by Grand Dukee, and offered the use of gorgeous motor cars by titled owners, who appear to have nothing else to do but offer hospitality to the foreign experts. "It is 6mall wonder," remarks a London paper, "that English players visit again and again these resorts, where they are treated on such a princely scale, acd it is not surprising, now that the hospitality has been extended to English ladies, that they, too, should make journeys into far countries."
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Otago Witness, Otago Witness, Issue 2747, 7 November 1906
LAWN TENNIS. Otago Witness, Issue 2747, 7 November 1906
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