Gardnar Mulloy has received just about every accolade he could possibly be honored with during his illustrious 99 years of life. But when the street where he has lived since he was a toddler was named Gardnar Mulloy Way on Thursday, he said the sign beat any trophy or Wimbledon banquet or Hall of Fame ceremony.
“This is a one-time deal,” Mulloy said after a section of Northwest North River Drive was renamed by the City of Miami.
Mulloy lives steps away on Northwest Ninth Avenue in historic Spring Garden, where his father built a home with a tennis court in 1915. Friends, relatives and doubles partners of Mulloy and descendants of the pioneering Spring Garden families attended the ceremony and were recognized in remarks by Mulloy’s daughter, Diane.
Mulloy, the No. 1-ranked American in 1952 and a five-time Grand Slam doubles champion, recalled some of his matches and reminisced about his childhood by the Miami River -- catching crabs, drinking fresh milk from a neighborhood cow and climbing a huge oak tree with Marjory Stoneman Douglas and staying in it overnight to protest the city’s plans to chop it down and pave the street.
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“I’ve got a million stories,” Mulloy said. Then he invited everyone to come back for his 100th birthday in November.