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This Wimbledon champion never had a tennis lesson

by YAR

He studies tennis, so he would come in and watch someone play, and realize what was wrong with his serve or whatever. He noticed these little things that only he could point out. So he wanted to name the tennis center after him. I had his friends explain to him that people are slowly forgetting who you are, so this facility should be named after you.

Mr. Savitt, reached the US Open semifinals in 1951, which gave him lifetime benefits, including access to the locker room at Flushing Meadows. What are your favorite memories of the tournament?

bachelor’s degree: My dad used to go every day and every night for two weeks. It’s harder for him to move now, but we went last year and had a great day, and we’ll be back this year.

When the tournament was in Forest Hills, it was much smaller and everyone wore suits and jackets. We would talk to the players. They didn’t have the entourages, all those coaches and trainers, so you had access to them.

For most of his life in Forest Hills or Flushing Meadows, he couldn’t walk five feet without bumping into someone who was a friend or someone who knew him when he was playing in competition.

Our box is right behind the pitch, so when my dad knew all the guys were playing, he was actually coaching them even though you weren’t allowed to. He would encourage them when they went down, or if he saw his opponent had a weak backhand, he would tell them, “Get on the backhand.”

BG: At the US Open, in the past, all tennis people would know Dick. They would call him Mr. Savitt, even Arthur Ashe. He’s a little different now, but I think he prefers not to be known. He was always very serious about watching tennis and he didn’t want to talk too much. I remember Alan King, the comedian, had a box next to Dick’s, and when Alan waved to the crowd, Dick would get angry and say, “Sit down. Sit down. This is about tennis.”

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