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By Bartee Haile

A single point away from losing a Madison Square Garden grudge match on Apr. 5, 1968, the female half of tennis’ best ever sister-brother team mounted one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the sport.

The story of Nancy and Cliff Richey starts with their father George. Growing up in San Angelo during the Depression, his own dad groomed him for the boxing ring until his mother put her foot down. The athletic boy next showed promise on the baseball diamond before hurting his pitching arm. Searching for a sport in which he could excel, George picked tennis, easily the least popular pastime in 1930’s West Texas. He practiced from daylight to dark on the only private court in town, which happened to be in a neighbor’s backyard, and taught himself to play with his healthy left arm.


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