INTERVIEW WITH CHARLES E. “CHARLIE” McHALE, JR.
CHARLES E. “CHARLIE” McHALE, JR.
By Billy E. Crawford
June 30, 2011
Q. Billy. How old were you when you began playing tennis?
A. Charlie. My tennis life commenced when I was 12 years old and continued until I was 65, playing purely amateur. We founded the Audubon Tennis Club around 1948. I was the Club singles and mixed doubles champion several years. We played on Saturdays and Sundays at Audubon Park
Q. Was there a person who inspired you to begin playing tennis?
A. Yes, my uncle Eddie who played at Audubon Park. I also took care of the tennis courts at the Biloxi Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi, where I played tennis games with the hotel guests.
Q. What was the brand of your first tennis racquet?
A. Wooden racquet with cat-gut strings
Q. Who are you all-time favorite professional tennis players?
A. Jack Tuero and Ham Richardson
Q. Who was the most skilled tennis player you ever saw play in person?
A. Jack Tuero and Pancho Gonzales
Q. What is your impression of the new City Park/Pepsi Tennis Center?
Q. Where did you attend high school and college(s)?
A. Gulf Coast Military Academy for high school; colleges were Tulane University, University of Texas, and Loyola University in New Orleans.
Q. What is you profession?
Q. What you your all-time favorite Movies?
A. The African Queen, Casablanca, and Treasure of Sierra Madre
Q. Favorite Books?
A. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Q. Favorite Musical Group?
A. Andrew Sisters
Q. Do you have a tennis-related stories you would like to share with our readers?
A. In 1950 I witnessed an U. S. Amateur final match in Austin, Texas, between Jack Tuero of Tulane University and Sam Match of Rice University. I remember the temperature at match time was 106 degrees (HOT). Tuero was down two sets, then came back to win three straight sets using drop shots and lobs to win—ran Match crazy. What a match to witness!
My most interesting match was against Valerie Edwards who was Newcomb Singles Champion in 1948. She was six months pregnant and challenged me to a match at City Park in the middle of a hot New Orleans summer. She beat me 7-5 in front of a SIZABLE crowd.
Q. Place of worship?
A. Rayne Memorial Methodist Church
Q. When you were actively playing tennis, who was some of the local players in your playing groups?
A. Jack Fox and Nehemiah Atkinson, among others. I had to quit playing tennis in 1980 due to eye trouble.
Q. If you could attend one to the four tennis majors, which tournament would it be?
A. French Open
Q. When family/friends are in town, which of the local restaurants do you take them out to eat?
A. Antoines and Galatoire’s
Q. OK, tough question. Who is your prediction to win this years’ US Tennis Open in New York.
A. Male? Nadal
A. Female? Too difficult to predict