Balazs Taroczy is a household name only in his native Hungary and he is certain that today he is very big news in Budapest.
The sturdy, polished 23-year-old completed the most impressive tournament performance of his young career yesterday by beating Ray Moore, 6-4, 6-4, in the final of the $100,000 Ocean City International tennis championships. The match between these unseeded finalists, who surprisingly toppled Ilie Nastase and Vitas Gerulaitis on Saturday, was uninspiring, but Taroczy was understandably elated nonetheless.
The week had not begun promisingly for him. His luggage was lost for a day in London, presumably because not too many people check bags through from there to Salisbury, Md. But after starting out with clothes borrowed from a young Californian named Eliot Teltscher, Taroczy compiled a string of victories worthy of headlines at home.
Playing aggressively on the fast synthetic carpet at the convention hall, the powerful 6-foot-2, 180pounder upset John McEnroe in the first round, save four match points in beating Bob Lutz in the second, recorded his first victory over Nastase in the semifinals, and then played as well as he had to in the final.
Moore, 31, tried to do too much with his returns of Taroczy's short second serves and paid for his overanxiousness. He neither returned serves nor volleyed as well as he had in upset ting Roscoe Tanner, his double partner, and Gerulaitis, the No. 1 seed in the semis.
Taroczy got a high percentage of first serves in volleyed purposefully and hit some superb passing shots, expecially off his forehand.
"I was not as nervous as I thought I would be. I thought I ought to beat him and it was all up to me," said Tar. oczy, whose last tournament victory came in a small Grand Prix event in Vienna in December.
"Through the whole match, I thought I was playing better than he was. It was just a question of how much I choked. I choked a little bit when I was serving for the first set."
Taroczy, who had lost only three points in his first four service games, finally held after three deuces in that tense first set.
Moore had his only break point of the match in hat game, after Taroczy had double-faulted badly, but the personable South African netted three straight backhand returns.
The last was off a very short second serve. Moore tried to punish it and get to the net, but knocked the ball far long, a mistake he repeated several times. He had trouble gauging Taroczy's serves, which were sometimes hard and flat, other times disguised with change of pace and spin.
"I'm sure they will be very happy in Hungary because I'm not winning too many tournaments -- especially when in the draw are Geruliatis, Tanner, Nastase -- names like this that they know," said Taroczy. "They appreciated especially because I beat Nastase, who is one of the biggest names in Eastern Europe."
Taroczy beat Arthur Ashe to reach the quarter finals of the French Open in 1976, and is his country's topranked player and Davis Cup star, but this was his finest sustained effort.
The $36,000 first prize check was by far the biggest of his career. Forty percent of all his earnings go to the Hungarian Tennis Federation, but he gets to keep the gleaming cup that will forever remind him of a sparkling week.
"My mother is going to be very happy with this," Taroczy said, holding the handsome silver vessel aloft. "She is always asking for the cups, and I am only bringing home money. Our country and our people are not so concerned with money as those in the United States, but more with the result."
Taroczy made one service break in each set stand up for the match.
He broke Moore at 15 in the fifth game of the first set with a backhand passing shot down the line that appeared to be wide. The linesman started to call it out, then changed his mind.
Moore lost his serve in the third game of the second set on a double fault. He had got to 40-30 with three aces, but then Taroczy powdered two forehand passing shots, one down the line and the second cross-court. Then Moore, who has been serving well recently, hit a second serve more than a foot long.
Moore, a popular player widely respected for his sportsmanship, received lengthy applause from the crowd of 2,300 for his remarks at the postmatch presentation ceremonies.
A member of the South African Davis Cup team whose scheduled series against the United States in Nashville next month has been opposed by civil rights groups protesting South Africa's racial policies, Moore said: "I would like to say something about Balazs and myself. We come from countries that are poles apart ideologically.
"He comes from an Iron Curtain country and I from one that is slightly right of center, but we have no political games to play. We are happy to compete against each other and enjoy doing so. I wish the United Nations people would take a lead fron that."
Moore opposes the apartheid policies of the South African government, but has remained a member of the South African team.