Q: This question comes from website visitor Kim Campbell, a Fort Worth tennis player and attorney, who read a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article about Arthur Ashe's participation in your tournament in 1965 at Colonial Country Club.
She said Ashe had to borrow rackets to get through the tournament and thought it would be nice if I were to ask you about that. So, tell me, what do you remember of Ashe's having needed to borrow rackets, which must have been highly unusual? A: All of the top guys from Forest Hills [now the U.S. Open] played in our tournament at Colonial. We got the date in 1962 to catch the players who were coming across the country after they had played at Forest Hills and were on their way across the country to play in Los Angeles.
There was a break in between to give them time to get out to L.A., so they were able to stop in Fort Worth to play our tournament,
then go on to L.A.
When Arthur [Ashe] got to Fort Worth, he had no racket bag. He had checked it, and the airline lost it somehow. Anyway, he started the next day playing with not his own rackets but just asked the guy he was playing. He said, "I've got no rackets. The airline lost them. Can I borrow one of yours?" and the guy said, "Sure. Help yourself." So he did.
This continued throughout the tournament: He had no rackets and asked the guy he was playing if he could borrow one. He was using Head at the time, but, whoever loaned him a racket, it didn't matter. They certainly weren't the same ones he was using.
This went on until the finals, and he ended up winning the tournament playing with different guys' rackets, which was kind of amazing. But it didn't seem to matter to him what he had in his hand; he just played. That's how good of a player he was.
It was noteworthy, too, because I guess he was the first black person who had ever been in the lockerroom at Colonial other than the employees, but everything went smoothly. No problems. That's what I remember from that tournament, but of course it never hit the papers.
Tut Bartzen, the legendary TCU coach whose 16-0 record in Davis Cup play remains unequalled among Americans, lives in Fort Worth. He coached TCU tennis for 25 years, and the varsity courts are named after him. Send your questions for Tut's Take to