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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, August 03, 1947, Image 129

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1947-08-03/ed-1/seq-129/

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e ■ m ■ c a — ■ i« m — i ■
ACME
SAVAGE VOLLEYING GAME, plus explosive serve, may carry handsome Bob to the top
Another Fabulous Falkenburg
BY R. MAGRUDER DOBIE
Jle was just “Jinx’s brother”
for a long time, but Bob is
blazing his own trail these
days — with a cannonball serve
A FEW years ago, a tall, handsome kid from
. Hollywood, who looked more like a
movie star than a tennis player, arrived in
New York for the national singles champion
ships. An ardent movie fan, he made his way
to Broadway, took in one double feature after
another. When the last midnight show was
over, he found himself standing in the rain
in Times Square, with no place to go but the
tennis chib. He asked a newsboy for direc
tions to Forest Hills.
“Say, ain’t you Bob Falkenburg?” asked
the newsboy.
Bob has never forgotten that night. He had
just played in a tournament with his left arm
(broken in a horseback accident) in a cast,
and newspapers had used his picture. It was
the first time he had ever been identified
as anything but “Jinx’s brother.”
Jinx Falkenburg is now settled in New
York with a husband and a radio show. But
Bob, at the tender age of 21, is still footloose.
He and his 19-year-old Brazilian bride have
been honeymooning in Europe while he
14
played the Continental tournament circuit.
Bob was seeded eighth at Wimbledon,
played into the quarter-final round. No one
expected him to win, but no one was more
exciting to the crowds. They gladly paid to
see this six-foot-three youngster with the
long arms and legs lean into a cannonball
serve, storm the net for sharp volleys, and
execute an overhead smash that sent the hall
bouncing into the grandstands. Falkenburg
needs sounder ground strokes if he is to suc
ceed Jack Kramer on the tennis throne. But
for the time being he is satisfied to be the
next champion. Life is full and exciting.
IstwesIhgUU Champ
Nor so many months ago, Bob was just
another student at the University of Southern
California, his chief claim to fame being that
he played tennis with Errol Flynn, Paulette
Goddard, Walter Pidgeon, Jack Warner and
Mickey Rooney. Then, in 1946, he won the
intercollegiate championship, came east for
the fashionable grass-court tournaments, and
in the national singles advanced to the semi
finals before being eliminated by Jack Kramer,
national champ.
Shortly thereafter, Falkenburg was invited
to Mexico for the Pan-American matches.
After winning the doubles with Frank Parker
and interviewing a bullfighter for Jinx’s radio
program, he continued on to Rio de Janeiro.
There he met Sefiorita Lou Machado, whose
father owns a large radio station.
It was not love at first sight. In the local
IWUtWUUVUS, Ul IflUMI
he was the main at
traction. Bob wrenched
his back, had to de
fault. The Brazilians
accused him of quitting
because of lack of in
terest in the $200 watch
offered as first prize.
This was bunk. Bob
not only wanted the i
watch, but he was anx
ious to show Seflorita
Machado how tennis
should be played. At
first she shared the feel
ings of her fellow coun
trymen. But Boo is a J
persuasive talker. Some
months later she fol
lowed him to Holly
wood and then to New
BOB AND LOB. H. lost a
match — and won a bride
Kramer was recently a
guest on Jinx’s radio
program. In response
to a question, Kramer
nrpHirtpH tha* Pallr»n.
York where they announced their engage
ment Bob celebrated by going to the finals
of the indoor championship. They were mar
ried in Rio.
Bob is quite aware that tennis is responsi
We for the exciting international world in
which he now moves. What surprises him is
that he, of all the tennis-playing Falkenburgs,
should be the one that’s having the fun.
His mother introduced the sport into the
family. While her husband was on an engi
neering job in Brazil, she won the Brazilian
championship. The family seldom remained
long in one spot. Jinx was bran in Spain,
Tom in Chile, Bob in New York City. As
soon as they could lift a tennis racket the
kids were let loose on a court. When the fam
ily finally settled in Hollywood, Jinx was the
first to show promise. As a junior, she ranked
third in the state and came within one point
of beating Pauline Betz. But talent scouts
persuaded her there was more future in movies.
ItwdU WbUMT
1 When they were still in their early teens,
Tom and Bob got bit parts in the movie,
"Kidnapped.” In the finals of the studio
tennis tpurnament, they endangered their
acting careers by defeating Errol Flynn and
his doubles partner.
Movie 8tars soon found it advantageous to
have one of the Falkenburgs for a partner,
particularly when the side bets were heavy.
Bob also frequently teamed up with
his father, a big man with a terrific serve
and no respect for a tennis ball, in father*
and-son tournaments. Sport writers re
marked that with a stronger serve and net
game, the boy might go places.
Bob was eighth in the 1946 national rank
ing, but experts regard him as one of the most
promising of the younger players. He still
plays as if the object is to knock the cover
off the ball. He has the most powerful serve
in tennis and a terrific overhead smash. An
Argentine player who got in the way of one
of Bob’s smashes was bruised for weeks.
Sidney Wood, one of the great tennis styl
ists, has coached Bob for several years, says:
"As soon as he concentrates on improving
his unround strokes so he doesn’t have to im
provise, he’ll be hard to beat.”
Easy Touch
Falkenburg, who has beaten most of the
top players at one time or another,, is open to
suggestions. But he points out that he won
the intercollegiate title, the national doubles
(with Don McNeill in 1944) and went to the
semi-finals of the national singles with noth
ing but his explosive serve and net game.
Johnny Doeg went to the top with no more
equipment.
Bob would make a popular champion. He
has never had much money, but among the
players is known as an
easy touch for a loan.
He never goes in for
displays of tempera
ment, has a weakness
for midnight poker ses
sions. He also has a
tendency to loaf
through the easy
matches, with the re
sult that he has won
and lost more five-set
matches than any
other ranking player.
He’s at his best when
the going is toughest.
His friend Jack
burg would be the next champion- provided
he perfected his back-court game.
"Why not tell that to Bob?” Jinx said.
"And cut my own throat?" Kramer replied.
“No sir. I like being on top.” The EM
TW—S-3-47

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