Originally Posted by timnz
Yes the Pro slams can't be equated with the Open era slams. However, it is pretty much universally agreed that the Pro's were better players than the amateurs.
So if we care at all about tennis history - we want it to be accurate. Open era Grand Slam's didn't exist before 1968. So what do we say to that. Nothing that happened before 1968 was important in tennis? Or that the pre-1968 players weren't good players? Obviously neither of those. So how do we assess the best players in the world of the 1950's and 1960's? The only way we can is with the tournaments (and perhaps the head to head tours) that they played. The top tournaments that they played were the Pro. Slams - so we can discount those. And they have to be rated than the amateur slams at the same time. Almost everyone believes that Rosewall was number 1 for 1962 not Rod Laver. So if Pro. Slams rated over Amateur slams - then they were the highest rated events at the time. Hence, unless you feel that tennis should be totally discounted before 1968 - then you have to rate the Pro. Slams. There was no other standard to measure by at the time.
A very significant event was Laver's Open era slam of 1969. That showed that the best Pro was also the best Open era player.
Do we really think that Laver or Rosewall wouldn't have won most of the Grand Slam titles from 1963 to 1968 Australian - if tennis had gone open in 1961 (which it very nearly did)? If we do - then doesn't it just make sense to rate their top titles?
"The top tournaments that they played were the Pro Slams."
Unfortunately, this was not always true. In fact, between 1952 and 1962 the so-called US Pro at Cleveland was not officially recognized by the USPLTA as an official championship. The 1951 US Pro, definitely a pro major, was held at Forest Hills, and lost a ton of money for the promoter, Jack March. He decided to hold the 1952 US Pro in a minor locale in Cleveland, where the costs were lower, and the USPLTA refused to sanction the event, or the other so-called "US Pro" events he continued to hold in Cleveland.
Jack Kramer moved his own Tournament of Champions to Forest Hills in 1957, where it became the preeminent pro tournament of the late 1950's, and following the 1959 Forest Hills Pro, a great event with Hoad defeating Gonzales in an awesome display of tennis, Kramer applied to the USPLTA for official recognition of the event as the real US Pro. Kramer obtained approval for this application, but the 1960 Forest Hills Pro had to be cancelled when Gonzales pulled out of the tournament schedule. In 1963, the event was finally held, with Laver and Rosewall playing the final to a largely empty stadium for no prize money.
In short, you have to look at each individual tournament, and its peculiar circumstances, to assess its importance.
In 1967, the most important tournament was not Wembley (held in a densely smoked arena, with no air-conditioning), or the equally smoky Stade Coubertin, or the Boston US Pro, but the Wimbledon Pro, with a great final between Laver and Rosewall, the best of the year.
Similarly, the list of competitors and champions at the Kooyong Pro in the late 1950's and early 1960's, held in Australia's foremost stadium, marks it as a major Pro event. The pretender US Pro at Cleveland, the British Pro at Nottingham, and the Australian Pro at various small venues in Australia, were actually minor events with weak fields.