Originally Posted by Mustard
Someone needs to tell these guys that before the open era started, the 4 mainstream majors were stepping stones to get into the professional game with the best monetary contract and challenge the real best players in the world, not like now where those 4 majors contain all the best players.
From the end of WW2 up until the start of the open era, apart from Roy Emerson, not one player dominated in the amateur majors for long, and that's because the best amateur players would turn professional. Kramer was dominant in the amateurs in 1946 and 1947, then turned professional, with Pails and Segura joining him. Gonzales turned professional after successfully defending his US Championships title and needing the money for his family. Sedgman turned pro in late 1952 after such a good period as an amateur. Ditto later on with McGregor, Trabert, Rosewall, Hoad, Cooper, Anderson, Olmedo, Gimeno, MacKay, Buchholz etc.
Instead of them recognising that these players moved onto the professional game, i.e. to bigger things, why do I get the impression that they think these players fell off the face of the Earth instead?
There is a good reason, but not a happy one.
True, the level of pro play was incredibly high, the highest ever, in the late 1950's. And the pros played in big-time venues like Forest Hills, Roland Garros, Kooyong, White City, etc.
Unfortunately, Kramer refused television contracts to show these events on national television, which would have broken the doors open to open tennis.
Why? Kramer, and others, figured they could get more immediate financial returns by keeping the pro tours behind doors and charging for live attendance, attempting to monopolize the market for the best tennis.
This was ultimately a strategy which backfired, and after Hoad and Gonzales, the two big draws, went into semi-retirement in 1960, the remaining pros could not command the big venues anymore, and had to settle for minor venues, including sometimes downtown streets in Oklahoma.
The pro game disappeared from the newspaper headlines, unlike the late 1950's, The New York Times no longer had a major pro tournament to cover, people forgot about pro tennis.
It took Open tennis in 1968 to bring the pros back into public consciousness.
But there had been a golden opportunity in the late 1950's for the pro game to dominate, if only it had gone to television, like pro golf.