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August 26, 2019

Angela Buxton

New York, NY, USA

Q. Did you ever wonder if this day would come?
ANGELA BUXTON: No. I was quite shocked.

Q. How do you feel about the statue being presented today?
ANGELA BUXTON: You want an honest opinion? Well, it doesn't resemble her at all. Sorry to say that. I would have passed her any day and not know who it was. Sorry, but maybe I said the wrong thing. But that's how I see it. I'm very sorry about that.

But the main thing is not the statue. It's what I learned from her and what I enjoyed with her. That's the main thing.

People are now willing to celebrate it and remember it, that's all very important. The statue goes along. She would be the same without the statue. The memories would still be the same.

Q. Do you think one of the reasons that you got on so well is because you have very similar personalities, very determined?
ANGELA BUXTON: Yes, I think so. I think that could be possible. Neither of us were shy coming forward.

Q. Do you think it's a shame also that Wimbledon haven't recognized the great contribution as much over the years?
ANGELA BUXTON: Well, I think they did with her, I think. But I was told very early on -- I mean, I was, like, 17, and I decided that -- I met somebody whose name was Jimmy Jones. If you read my book you'd have come across him. He approached me to say he could help me because he thought I had a future in tennis when nobody else did.

He said, Of course, you won't enjoy what's going to happen if you decide to go down that track. I said, Why is that? He said, Because everyone there will criticize you whether you're right or wrong. Why is that? He said, Well, basically it's because you're Jewish. They don't like Jews in the LTA. That was my first confrontation with it, or the All England Club.

Oh, I said, How do you know? You're not Jewish.

He said, No, I'm not Jewish, but I was brought up on the wrong side of the tracks. I was brought up in East London, and they don't like that either.

So I was dealt that card.

He said, If I'm taking you on, I'm going to help you, you've got to behave yourself. Be very, very aware of behaving yourself both on the court and off the court, because you're going to be criticized anyway. The best thing is to not give them anything to criticize you about.

I was dealt that card before I even started. But I am of the nature of being able to take it on. Carry on and ignore it.

Q. So you ignored...
ANGELA BUXTON: That's right. I practiced ignoring things. Even to this day.

Q. (Indiscernible question.)
ANGELA BUXTON: Well, yes and no. They haven't given me membership. Although they say they have. And I say, What happened? They said, You refused it. I said, I don't refuse it now. So send it along.

Oh, no, no, no, we can't do that. Why is that? He said, You've gone to the end of the queue now. This was 1980.

It is a laugh. It is a laugh. If you can see the funny side of it.

But despite that, I decided that to exclude Wimbledon, because I wasn't going to get anywhere with them, I have had it terribly, terribly well. So if you want -- I have accomplished so much that I could make my life around it even without the All England Club, which I have done, and it's been very good for me. Pleased I went down that route, but without the LTA, without the All England Club.

However, I'm just touching on memory lane here, one of the chairmen -- I can't remember which one it is without checking the file -- one of the chairmen wrote to me in 1994, a chairman of Wimbledon, and I think he must have had a guilty conscience because he invited me to be a special guest, a chairman's special guest for that year. I just moved from London to Manchester. All my belongings, quite considerable, are in boxes or were in boxes, cardboard boxes, storage, trying to get myself sorted out.

I wasn't going to go. I thought to myself, better of it, no, no, no, this guy has got a guilty conscience. I better accept his invitation and go and leave the sorting out till later.

That involved two seats every day, the best seats in Centre Court, Wimbledon. It was tea on the middle Saturday. Diana came, actually. I sat with her in the Royal Box. A car and a hotel, where I stayed in Knightsbridge at their expense, a car to take me back morning and night, and seats every day, No. 1 Court or Centre Court, whatever I wanted. Of course the No. 1 Court then was not the No. 1 Court now.

It was a very nice experience, actually. But it was that chairman's belief or something about that chairman, and I think he had a guilty conscience that provoked that.

Q. How did you complement each other, you and Althea?
ANGELA BUXTON: Well, it was terrible, actually, to begin with. (Laughter.)

Because she had never played doubles, no one had spoken to her let alone asked her to play doubles. It was out of the question. This is how she came to me in the first place and I came to her.

So when we won the French and then we went to Queen's and we lost in the semifinal to somebody -- I can't remember, like (indiscernible) maybe. We lost the semifinal.

Jimmy is my coach. He had a word about it. He was always available for information, tactics and stuff. Never charged me at all. He said he wasn't going to charge me. He just wanted to have a foot in the door and be able to try out various experiments. And we were available and happy to do it.

After that semifinal, he said to Althea, Do you know that you're behaving very badly towards Angela on the court? She said, What do you mean?

He said, Well, if she makes a mistake, return of serve or at the net, you give her the most awful look. It's a wonder she hasn't left the court by now. That doesn't enhance anybody to play better. Play worse, probably.

So, Oh -- she used to call me Angie -- I didn't know I did that to Angie.

He said, I tell you what, we'll give you practice doubles at Queen's down at the bottom of the court and I'll invite another man, someone called Howard Walton, and we will play doubles against you. And if you don't mind, I'll stop you when you do it so you know exactly what I am talking about.

And he did. She said, What should I do if I don't do what I do? He said, At least put your arm around her or something and say, Never mind. Say something. Makes you feel so bad.

She had never played doubles. That was the point, you see. She only played the singles.

So she did it and we did. We played much better. It really paid off. We played much better.

Your partner is having a bad patch, you've got to do something about it and help her. You must.

Q. (Question about the Los Angeles Tennis Club.) Wonder if you and Althea spoke together about those feelings and what you had in common?
ANGELA BUXTON: No, no, we didn't. But I did experience exactly the same in London as I had in Los Angeles, essentially the same.

Q. (Question about Las Angeles.)
ANGELA BUXTON: Well, it signifies even if you don't know anything, that people that are kicked out probably play better. (Laughter.) Put them in their place. That's the whole thing.

I daresay I did. But it was a rude awakening, getting kicked out of Los Angeles Tennis Club when someone told them I was Jewish. Somebody came from London and said that he was so surprised to see me there. Did you not know she's Jewish? And he said, What? And you accepted money from her and she's playing here? Give it to her straight back.

We paid rent on our flat just over the road for six months, because it was situated right next, opposite the LA Tennis Club. And this guy was Perry T. Jones. He was Mr. Tennis in America for many, many years, had a lot of pull. You didn't get anywhere unless you were in his good favors.

Of course he subsequently died. But I then went over to the recreational courts. I didn't know Los Angeles at all, but I found these courts a long way away. I had to get a bus. But if you're into tennis and you love tennis, a long bus ride and all that doesn't mean anything.

There, you see, I met all the castoffs that Perry T. Jones wouldn't have, like the two Mexicans Pancho Gonzales and Pancho Segura. They played there and several other people. It was much, much more friendly and available. Didn't have the wonderful courts. Just had ordinary cement recreational courts.

But the feeling around the club was much easier and easier to get along with.

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