The dentist who filled in at the first US Open

Published to on August 15, 2018

A late-August midday sun was beating down on the manicured lawns of the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y., as the first round of the first-ever US Open was getting underway.

Billie Jean King, the defending champion from the 1967 U.S. National Championships the previous year, was waiting restlessly in West Side’s ladies locker room, harnessing a mixture of excitement and nervous energy in anticipation of her first-round match.

This would be a historic happening, as the 1968 US Open marked the first time in America that professionals and amateurs could compete against each other at a Grand Slam event and King, the No. 1 seed at the tournament, had been one of the most passionate and vocal advocates of Open tennis.

But history, and those who were in attendance to witness it, would have to wait a few more minutes, as King’s scheduled first-round opponent, Helen Amos of Australia, was nowhere to be found.

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