1954 / Saturday April 3 to Tuesday April 6

Particpants: Lennart Bergelin and Sven Stockenberg of Sweden (ranked no 2 and 3 respectively); Beppe Merlo (Italian no 2) of Italy; Andres Hammersley of Chile; Elie Attieh and Jo Jabbour of Lebanon; Ladies = Ms. Totta Zehden (no 3 in Germany), Morris (US) and Vera Mattar (Lebanon)

Merlo won his singles on all of the 4 days, but his match with Bergelin (3 sets) was the best show of the event

  • Sponsored by the Alumni, and specially by its president Emile Bustany,a delegation from the Lebanese Tennis Federation, headed by Emile Yazbeck had gone in March to Egypt where two international tournaments had taken place, and convinced a few of the participants there to come afterwards to Beirut for a long week-end . The event , a round robin, would be called : "Beirut Tennis spring Festival"!!! In Cairo, at the Gezira club, the Argentinian Enrique Morea won , in the semis over Merlo, and in the final over the famous Jaroslav Drobny 63 16 60 64, and in Alexandria (19 to 28 March) the same Morea won the final by beating Italian no 1 Fausto Gardini 62 60 57 63. Other world first Tenners in the Egyptian circuit included Budge Patty (US) and Miss Pat Ward + some seasoned circuit players like Gil Shea, Jack Arkinstall,the ever-elegant Gottfried von Cramm, Jean-Noël Grinda and the French lady Simone Mathieu.

  • Drobny had won the Egptian title in 1950-51-52-53. The expatriate Czech, who had been granted the Egyptian citizenship by King Faruk, went on to achieve his dream of winning Wimbledon, in July 1954, at the age of 34 y.o.

  • Mrs Betsy Abbas, the Egyptian no 1 lady, had beaten Pat Ward both in Cairo and Alexandria, losing to Ms Zehden in Cairo, but beating her in Alexandria.

  • Stockenberg did not have a great career except for an arduous 5 set match against Gardnar Mulloy (US) at Wimbledon in 1953.
Emile Bustany
AUB today
Bergelin with Borg in the 70's