His career was postponed in time by the war. Under ordinary circumstances, a tennis player of this format would be more and more successful from the very beginning of the game among seniors. He, on the other hand, was the leading Polish junior of the late 1930s (double Polish U18 champion in 1938), had to undergo late apprenticeship. He finished it in 1946 at the national championship in Katowice, where he defeated Józef Hebda after a fierce fight. He took over the reign for 5 years, until he fled Poland in 1951. During this time, he suffered only one defeat against a domestic rival. A solid player from Poznań, Józef Piątek, took advantage of Skonecki's health problems during a league match in the 1948 season.
The world of Polish tennis then revolved around Jadwiga Jędrzejowska and him. Our leaders, however, ran somewhere between Ciechocinek and Zakopane, sometimes they got on the train to go to the tournaments in Prague or Bucharest. The situation was largely due to the currency poverty. At one point, the communist authorities drastically limited all trips abroad, not only sports trips. It could be annoying, especially for Skonecki, who still had high ambitions and felt that he could do more than the nasty national title ...
His popularity skyrocketed after his victory over József Asbót in September 1949 (champion Roland Garros two years ago) 1: 6, 3: 6, 7: 5, 6: 1, 9: 7. In addition, he achieved this great success in the final of the international championship of Budapest, i.e. in the territory of the rival, defending three matches in the fifth set! A year later he defeated in Warsaw one of the most talented tennis players in Europe, the Swede Sven Davidson 13:15, 6: 0, 6: 4, 3: 6, 6: 3. The then reporter of "Przegląd Sportowy", editor Bohdan Tomaszewski (11 years earlier he lost with two years his senior and a head shorter Władek in the doubles final of the junior Polish Championships) wrote: "This match was the most beautiful game played on Polish courts after the war".
And probably these victories finally confirmed Skonecki's belief that he can - and should! - compete with the best for the highest laurels. Besides, the wind from the east brought the idea of transforming all sports associations into sections at the Main Committee of Physical Culture. In the context of foreign starts of Polish tennis players, it could only mean a change for ... even worse.
Thus, in May 1951, after the victorious Daviscup match against Switzerland in Zurich, Władysław Skonecki refused to return to the country, which is, as it was then (with jealousy) used to say, "he chose freedom". And for five years he was erased from Polish sports life. He became a cursed man, a traitor, a salesman, a servant of the imperialists ... Even if Wimbledon had won then our newspapers would not have written a word about it. Only from Radio Free Europe could his compatriots learn about his successes in the West. And there were plenty of them! He won twice (1953 and 1955) the prestigious tournament in Monte Carlo (yes, yes - the same in which Rafa Nadal won 10 times in the 21st century) - he won the match there with Kurt Nielsen from 2: 6, 2: 6, 1: 5 and then won the final against Jaroslav Drobný. He reached the final of the international German championship in Hamburg (1955). He defeated the best players in the world, with the champions of Wimbledon and Roland Garros - Drobný, Budgattaty and Ken Rosewall - in the lead. In total, during these five seasons, he won 40 singles tournaments and twice as many in doubles and mixes.
He was dubbed the "King of Spring" because he usually looked best at the beginning of the season at the Riviera events. He was seen there not only on the courts, but also in ... casinos, because his weakness for gambling was widely known. He was the king of life and an avid card player, but he only raised his glass up, raised a toast, and then put it aside, and so he could sit all night. He was nearby for company and mood building. It is also known that he was also drawn into dances and beautiful women ... Today the boulevards would send paparazzi after him and seek sensation in his unprofessional approach to work. Because, for example, before an important performance in Sopot, he played until the morning at the Grand Hotel, and then went to bathe in the sea. Theoretically, he shouldn't go to the court later, but he would come back and win. After little or no regeneration ...
He returned to Poland in 1956, when the Gomułka thaw broke out. He was already 36 years old, but he played for nearly a decade, although he never won the summer championship of Poland. He lost first to Andrzej Licis, and then to Wiesław Gąsiorek. However, in the indoor championships he was still able to beat much younger rivals. In 1961, he defeated Gąsiorek in the finals, turning a hopeless situation for himself - the first set 1: 6 and his rival's high lead in the second. His last two Polish championship titles - 25th and 26th, counting a total of three competitions in summer and winter - he won a few months before his 45th birthday: he scored a singles and doubles double under the roof.
"Dean" - because that was what he was called, and because of his age, and because he always gave the impression that he knew a lot ... about every topic - he took part in his greatest tennis flights mainly in the Davis Cup. In 1957, he had to face Torwar (the rink was turned into a clay court at a great cost - the only repetition of such an operation in the history of Polish tennis took place only 56 years later, in the same hall for a match against Australia) with one of the best tennis players in the world, Luis Luis Ayala. A tireless, brave Indian, who in later years advanced twice to the final at Roland Garros. Less than two weeks before this duel, the Pole had a serious road accident. Driving his famous blue Chevrolet, he collided with a motorcyclist near Ostrów Mazowiecka. Nothing happened to the tennis player himself, but his wife suffered a lot, who was taken by plane to a hospital in Warsaw. In these difficult circumstances, Skonecki was able to stay focused and play one of the best matches in his career with Ayala. He won 3: 6, 9: 7, 6: 4, 8: 6, and "Przegląd Sportowy" wrote: "The way in which he accomplished this extraordinary feat, the sacrifice he showed, fighting in a seemingly lost position, his desire to break through his own weakness in the moments of a dramatic 2.5-hour fight and an unexpected victory over an opponent who is 13 years younger than him, restore him in the country the position he had years ago ”. The fact that he added a point that was victorious for Poland in the duel with the weaker Chilean in this match, hardly anyone noticed ...
Was it during the match with Ayala someone from the stands shouted: "Władzia, save me!" (Bohdan Tomaszewski quoted this exclamation in one of his stories)? And Władzio saved the national team in games with Mexico (victories over Mario Llamas and Pancho Contreras) and Brazil (victories with Ronald Barnes and Carlos Alberto Fernandes). Among the tournament successes, one should mention the one from 1958, when Skonecki went to Berlin instead of Roland Garros, because the main prize there was a golden watch ... In the finals, the Pole defeated the Swede Sven Davidson, who also gave up his start in Paris. In 1961, the 41-year-old "Dziekan" became the international champion of Czechoslovakia, defeating the leading European tennis player, Jiři Javorský.
Three times he was among the winners of the Plebiscite "Przegląd Sportowy" for the 10 Best Polish Athletes of the year - in 1948, 10th, in 1950 - 3rd, and in 1953 - 9th. One of the most interesting stories in history is associated with the latter choice. the prestigious plebiscite of the oldest Polish sports newspaper. It is very likely that it was his successes that caused the then authorities to order the editorial office to cancel the election made by readers, for fear that the tennis player they cursed would be in a high position or even win the vote. The gap was filled only after 35 years, and the retrospective selection of the "ten" was made by means of a survey among professionals.
How did he play? He was not even a meter seventy, but he could win with a head taller. Tadeusz Nowicki, who watched Skonecki as a junior, says: “It was said that there was no service, but he placed the application in such a way that it was his strong weapon. The work of the legs was flawless. He was right on the court. He had the wonderful ability to predict where his opponent would play. Backhand - a dream ... On impact, he took such a wide swing that the opponent could not see the racket. From the forehand he struck flat, he could always play the ball quickly and accurately. He rarely went to the net, but the volleys were not a problem for him. " Nowicki, a generation younger, managed to bounce some balls with Skonecki, when he was already working as a coach at the same club, MKT Łódź. And when they were leaving the court, after a while he heard: "What are you doing ?! Why are you playing where I am? Play where I'm not! ”.
In 1965, Władysław Skonecki left for Vienna. Legally, with the consent of the PRL authorities. The training contract in Austria was arranged for him by the then head of the PZT training, Stanisław Szczukiewicz. He never returned to Poland. He developed cancer and died prematurely in 1983 at the age of 63. He was buried in a cemetery in the Ottakring district of Vienna. On the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of his birth (it was a year older than the PZT), an initiative was launched to bring the ashes to the country, but so far nothing has come of it ...
His two-year younger cousin, Henryk, also played tennis. In the years 1948–1950 and 1955–1959, he was classified in the top ten of the country. Together they won the Polish doubles championship in 1957 and played for the CWKS / Legia Warszawa team, which won the league serially (DMP).
Based on the biography of Władysław Skonecki by Andrzej Fąfara, which is being prepared
Clubs: WiMa Łódź, ŁKS Łódź, Pogoń Katowice, Cracovia, Legia / CWKS Warsaw.
In the first half of the 1950s, he was classified in the top five ranking of European tennis players.
Australian Open: Never played.
Roland Garros - single: twice 1/8 finals (1953 and 1955); 3 times 1/16 (1951, 1954 and 1961); 1 times 1/32 (1952).
Wimbledon - single: 3 times 1/16 finals (1947, 1951 and 1955); 2 times 1/32 (1953 and 1959); 5 times 1/64 (1949, 1952, 1957, 1958 and 1961).
US National - single: 1/16 finals (1962).
International tournaments won: over 40 - incl. Sopot (1948, 1958 and 1960), Cannes (1949 and 1955), Budapest (1949 and 1957), Bucharest (1950), Grenoble (1951), Karachi (1951 and 1952), Lahore (1952), Barcelona - Da La Salud (1952), Villars (1952 and 1953), Lausanne (1952), Lugano (1952), Grenoble (1952), Barcelona - Int. Christmas (1952), Valencia (1953), San Remo (1953), Monte Carlo (1953) and 1955), Gstaad (1953), Ortisei (1953), Cortina d'Ampezzo (1953), Pau (1953), Paris - Coupe Porée (1953), Casablanca (1953), Rabat (1953), Tangier (1953), Paris - Coupe Gillou (1954), Istanbul (1954), Allahabad (1955), Trivandrum (1955), Colombo (1955), Beaulieu (1955), Nice (1955), Vienna (1955), London - British Covered Court Championships ( 1955), Sao Paulo (1955), Dubrovnik (1957), Berlin (1958), Bad Kissingen (1958), Guilford (1961), Prague (1962).
Davis Cup: 1947, 1950, 1951 and 1956-1962; 21 matches, 26 wins / 20 defeats - single 23/13, doubles 3/7.
Wins over the world's top competitors: József Asbóth, Luis Ayala, Jaroslav Drobný, Sven Davidson, Jiři Javorský, Kurt Nielsen, Alfred Huber, Ramanathan Krishnan, Budge Patty, Ken Rosewall, Ion Țiriac.
PZT classification: 2nd (1945), 1st (1946–1950), 2nd (1956), 1st (1957–1959), 2nd (1961, 1962), 3rd (1963).
Polish champion titles (excluding MMP): 26.
National MP - single: 5 times winner (1946–1950) and 6 times finalist (1945, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1961 and 1962); doubles: winner 9 times (with Józef Hebda 1945 and 1947, Włodzimierz Olejniszyn 1946 and 1950, Ksawery Tłoczyński 1947, Henryk Skonecki 1957, Bogdan Maniewski 1961 and Wielisław Nowicki 1963 and 1964) and a finalist twice (with Zbigniew Bełdowski 1949 and Jan R56 and Jan R56) ); mixed: 2 times winner (with Jadwiga Jędrzejowska 1949 and 1950) and 4 times finalist (with Helena Szeraucówna 1945 and 1946, Maria Rudowska 1947 and J. Jędrzejowska 1957).
Halowe MP - single: winner 7 times (1951, 1957, 1959–1961, 1964 and 1965) and finalist (1962); doubles: winner 3 times (with Hebda 1951, W. Nowicki 1964 and Wiesław Gąsiorek 1965) and a finalist twice (with Maniewski 1959 and Józef Orlikowski 1962).
International MP - single: 3 times winner (1946, 1948 and 1949); doubles: winner 4 times (with Ferdinand Vrba CSRS 1948, K. Tłoczyński 1949 and Jiři Javorsky CSRS 1958 and 1961), a finalist twice (with Olejniszyn 1946 and W. Nowicki 1964); mixed: 3 times winner (with Szeraucówna 1946 and J. Jędrzejowska 1948 and 1949), 2 times finalist (with Olga Miškovą CSRS 1947 and J. Jędrzejowska 1958).
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