Sponsorship draws talent

Corporate sponsorship ended up attracting several professional tennis players to the sport, with Herb S. Fitz Gibbon II, Clark Graebner, and Hank Irvine being the most successful.

Fitz Gibbon ranked among the world’s top tennis players between 1961 and 1973, and became the first amateur to beat a professional in the 1968 Wimbledon.

Graebner, originally from Cleveland, was on the winning U.S. Davis Cup team and ranked seventh in the world in 1968.

Irvine was from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and represented his country on the Davis Cup team in 1968 and 1969, and at Wimbledon from 1970 to 1972. In 1970, he teamed with Helen Gourlay from Australia and made it to the semifinals of the Mixed at Wimbledon.