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Czeslaw Spychala : OBITUARIES

Czeslaw Spychala gave his life to tennis. A former Davis Cup player, he was one of the most widely known officials as Table Controller for all Slazenger tournaments until he retired. Even then he would be found at all manner of tournaments, up unt il theQueen's Club Championships before Wimbledon.

Born in Poznan, Poland, in 1917, he represented his country in the 1938 Davis Cup, but a promising career was cut short by the Second World War. He was taken prisoner by the Russians in 1939 and did not resume tennis until coming to Wimbledon in June 1946.

Although it was his post-war involvement that made "Spike" Spychala so popular with the players, few know of the intrigue of his interesting war record.

Captured by the Russians when they invaded Poland in 1939, he escaped and went underground. He assumed a new identity as "Marian Tworowski" and was involved in raids on the Germans until the Warsaw uprising in 1944, when he was shot through the hand and again taken prisoner. He remained a prisoner-of-war until 1945.

Spychala was decorated by the Polish government in exile with the Gold Cross of Merit in 1966. His work in tennis was recognised by the Lawn Tennis Writers Association with their award in 1971.

Resuming his playing career in 1946, Spychala won a number of British tournaments, including the Welsh Open title. He also won many doubles with his old Davis Cup partner Ignacy Tloczynski, with whom he defected to Britain.

Czezlaw Spychala, tennis player and official: born Poznan, Poland 1 January 1917; married Gladys Pilkington; died 25 December 1994.