The first time I saw “Hunt” at Reisman’s after returning from the trip to Nassau, he said: “My caretaker, Tom Donohue, told me you visited Paradise Island. How did you like it?” “Rogers and I loved the tour that he and his wife gave us but even more we appreciated the opportunity to play your Paradise Tennis. What a thrill that was for us.
Could you tell me a little, Hunt, about the tournament you held there between tennis and table tennis players?”
“I couldn’t attend myself,” he said. “I was on my way to Europe. But my friend Wendell Niles reported to me that the tournament was very exciting. All the ‘greats’ were there – Ellsworth Vines, Don Budge, Pancho Gonzales, Jack Kramer, Althea Gibson, and, of course, our friend, 9-time U.S. National Table Tennis Champion Dick Miles.
Wendell told me that the most exciting match of the tournament was between Pancho and Dick in the semis. Gonzales hit with his usual graceful style with lots of spin and was trying hard to win. But everything he hit came back. The few times Pancho tried to hit the ball hard, it just kept coming back. It was like hitting against a wall,” he said.
“Dick beat my friend Wendell Niles in the finals,” Hunt said. “Niles had eliminated Kramer to reach the finals; Miles beat Budge in the other semi’s. In the finals, Dick was too steady for Niles and he won the tournament 4 and 0. Althea Gibson won the women’s beating Nelle Longshore in the final 3 and 0.” “It sounded exciting,” he said. “I wish I could have bee there.”
Dick Miles, winner of a July 1961”Paradise Tennis” tournament, Paradise Island, the Bahamas. Photo courtesy Marty Reisman.
Watch for more stories of Divinely Inspired lives. Also learn how, in just a few hours a week, as numerous studies have scientifically validated, the sport of table tennis can provide the exercises needed to add years to your life.
Also watch for Dean’s new book A Table For Two launching in June.