Woody Woodburn: Ojai to Ohio to Wimbledon, Stan Smith shined
How a trophy found at garage sale revived forgotten champ’s legacy Douglas Robson
Joe Hunt was one of the most accomplished tennis players of his era, but after he died in a military accident in 1945, he was largely forgotten — until one of his trophies turned up in Beverly Hills.
The Lost Ojai Trophy
We at 10Balls.com pride ourselves at being “Guardians of the Game.” We look after the sport and want to see it continue to grow and thrive. When we found the 1938 Ojai trophy on Ebay back in December, we purchased it and sent it up to Ojai PR Director Steve Pratt, who then did the research to find Joe Hunt, a grand nephew of the tennis Hall of Famer and former US Nationals champion.
The following is an excerpt from esteemed sports columnist Bill Dwyre’s Los Angeles Times piece that ran in the paper’s sports section during the 2012 Ojai Tennis Tournament:
Ojai is where Bill Tilden slept under a tree. It is where Arthur Ashe forgot to change his clock to daylight saving time and would have been defaulted out of the final had not Dennis Jenks’ mother, at whose home Ashe stayed, violated several speed limits through downtown Ojai.
This is where Carl Chang won several times and his little brother, Michael, never did. It is where a pigtailed 15-year-old named Tracy Austin, a year away from winning the U.S. Open, created a battlefield of photographers. Sampras won 14 Grand Slam titles and zero Ojais. A Stanford wonder named John McEnroe was on the bus and ready to head to Ojai when he got a call that he had been given a wild-card entry into a pro event. He got off the bus and never made the Ojai wall. His brother, Patrick, did.
Check out this LA Times story on the tournament previewing the 100th anniversary of the event back in 2000 by Steve Pratt: click here