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Roy Emerson Wins First Wimbledon Title

July 3, 1964 - Roy Emerson (right) won the Wimbledon lawn tennis championship today after nine years of trying. In an all-Australian final, the superbly conditioned 27-year-old whipped Fred Stolle, 6-4, 12-10, 4-6, 6-3, in 2 hours 10 minutes of slam-bang serve and volley.

Roy threw his racket high, jumped the net, and hugged Stolle as applause thundered down and Princess Marina came on court to present him with the prize he wanted most, the highest accolade in tennis.

“I’ve won the one I’ve never won,” said Emerson. Now he has won, at one time or another, all the titles that matter: of England, Australia, France, and the U.S.

Through the luck of the draw, the sixth-seeded Stolle was the only seeded player Emerson met in the tournament. He paraded through the early rounds with ease, losing only one set — to Nicola Pilic of Yugoslavia — on his way to the final.

Great player though he is, Stolle seems doomed to the role of an also-ran. He lost the Wimbledon final to Chuck McKinley of the U.S. a year ago, dropped the Australian title final to Emerson at Brisbane early this year, and was beaten by Jan Erik Lundquist of Sweden in the Italian championships.

Starting with the third set, Stolle’s control of service disintegrated. He double-faulted in the first game of the fourth set, hit a half-volley out, and then dropped his racquet and clapped in admiration when Emerson hit the shot of the day — an angled backhand that slid across court. Stolle double-faulted again, and that game was gone.

With victory looming, Emerson served like a giant, rattling his thunderbolts downcourt as Stolle swung futilely.

Fred had fought his fight, but Roy was untouchable. He lost just four points on the serve in that last set and broke through with a glorious forehand down the middle for the match as Stolle volleyed low into the net.

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