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People Top 5
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- February 23, 1976
- Vol. 5
- No. 7
Mark Edmondson remembers meeting John Newcombe last December in the dressing room before the start of the Australian Open Tennis Championships. Newcombe, ranked 18th in the world, was on hand to defend his Australian title. "I was the only one there so he asked me to practice," says Edmondson. "I thought, 'Crikey, he hits hard. I hope I don't have to play him.' " Surprisingly, the unranked Edmondson, 21, went on not only to play Newcombe but to beat him in the finals. Edmondson thus became the first unseeded player to win the 70-year-old competition. When Edmondson began playing tennis at 10, he did not seem particularly gifted. In fact, when he was 12, local experts in his hometown of c suggested a switch to swimming or rugby. But Edmondson was convinced that tennis would offer greater financial rewards. After three years of playing local and international tennis circuits, Edmondson's bankroll had shriveled to $889. He had to take odd jobs—mopping floors and selling flowers—to finance his tennis touring. His victory over Newcombe netted him $10,358. "Newcombe told me how to play the center court," says Edmondson. "Perhaps he wouldn't have been so helpful if he knew he would be meeting me in the final."
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