Plagued by lack of experienced players and woefully insufficient court facilities--the same problems that faced him in the squash season--tennis coach Jack Barnaby '32 must start from scratch in moulding his 1947 team. With no organized nucleus of talent from last year to from the basis of his squad, he is faced with the problem of picking a starting lineup from more than 200 candidates now working out at the Indoor Athletic Building before the opening matches in Easter vacation.
From the College tournament last fall and from practices new in progress, Barnaby has some idea of where the talent lies; Ted Backe '48, who ranked twelfth among the National Juniors before the war seems to be a likely contender for the number one slot, while Max Tufts '45 and Bill Wightman '49, captain and number two man on the squash team respectively, also seem sure of posts on the team.
Beyond this, he will not commit himself, as the fall tournament amounted only to a quick trial, from which he derived no permanent rankings. Inexperience among his players is the chief problem before him, and because of this he predicts a "checkered but improving season. Quite a few of the boys show promise, but everyone will need a great deal of practice before steadying down, and for that reason it will probably be very much of an up and down year," he sums it up.
He also foresees a squad that is "solid all the way down," with few standouts in the higher slots. Where most teams are evenly graded from the top men downward, the Crimson lacks exceptional players and is more evenly matched right through the team. "In this situation," Barnaby says, "we won't be in a position to mash anyone, but we're at the mercy of a well-graded squad.
Yale and Princeton are among this latter type of team, with some of the country's ranking amateurs at the top of their lists. This leaves the Varsity definite underdogs at present, although they will be a team that improves with the season. "We need all the practice we can get," Barnaby says, "and a wet season can hold us back a lot. No one is ready to just step out there and play, and without experience no one will be steady enough for good tournament play."
Tennis throughout the College was a war casualty, with only 18 courts now remaining for undergraduate use. The 32 courts at Jarvis Field are permanently buried under a veterans housing project, as are eight more at Divinity field. Barnaby will need eight of the remaining courts for squad practice this spring, leaving only ten to take care of the swarms of Freshmen who have first priority to get athletic credits. So for the present, tennis privileges must be denied the rest of the College.
Even the 18 remaining courts have deteriorated badly from lack of care, and are in need of extensive repair. But this situation will not be permanent.: athletic director William Bingham '16 is working on plans to bring the situation back to a pre-war level as soon as possible. An estimated $200,000 will be needed to bring this about, not all of which can be allotted to tennis at this time. The work of repairing and constructing the courts may take anywhere from one to three years, depending on conditions. Bingham is working toward this goal at present, and playing condition for the College at large should start to improve in the near future.