An excerpt from the book...

CHAPTER 12

THE LOVE MATCH THAT STARTED WITH A CAST OF THOUSANDS

Love is a tennis term meaning no reward to show for the effort you've made. But not to the Sedgmans. Their love story is, in many ways, even more remarkable than Frank's monumental career - and it has certainly lasted a lot longer. Their marriage is now well into its seventh decade and going as strongly as ever.

Frank and his bride Jean Spence tied the knot at the Presbyterian Church in the upmarket Melbourne suburb of Toorak on Wednesday, January 30, 1952. It was no ordinary wedding. Frank's celebrity status ensured it would be front-page news no matter what and that was made doubly certain when about 2,500 fans mobbed them as they tried to leave the ceremony.

"Children and elderly women were knocked down and trampled in one of the wildest wedding scenes seen in Melbourne", the Sun newspaper reported. "A policeman was called into the church to clear the aisles to let the couple leave for the reception".

"A laughing Sedgman and a stern-faced policeman fought off the clutching crowd to clear a path for the bride, who came through it calmly and unruffled. Despite Frank's efforts to shield her, Jean was nearly swept off her feet several times on the way from the church door to the car".


Dated August 27, 1951, from an address in the village of Newton Centre, Massachusetts, this fan letter remains in the Sedgman memorabilia collection:

Dear Mr Sedgman,

I flew from Boston to New York to see the final match of the national doubles championship, which incidentally afforded me an excellent excuse to see New York for the first time.

Naturally I was very excited and the tennis matches took a back seat - that is, until I saw you an Mr McGregor warming up on one of the outside courts. Honestly, I don't know what happened - the instant I looked at you my mouth dropped a foot and a large bomb exploded in my tiny brain. I don't think I'm insane - at least they haven't locked me up yet.

It wasn't all your tennis either ("brilliant" is an understatement) I have never in all my eighteen years seen such character expressed in any face or being.

Don't ask me why I'm writing this - I don't know. You'll either get a big laugh out of it or if you're feeling serious be pleasantly surprised and wonder what crackpot wrote it. At any rate you've acquired a new admirer who wishes you the very best of luck in the coming matches.

Sincerely,

Miss Jean Manley

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