If you could restructure tennis history...

Bender

G.O.A.T.
...how would you go about doing it?

I'm certainly no tennis history aficionado, but I feel that tennis history should be a little more segmented to better reflect the fast rate of change in the sport (evidently too fast for some of the older / more nostalgic posters here).

It seems odd that Borg and Rafa for instance are in the same era, even if the said era has only been around for less than half a century.

So, if you were given free rein to reorganise or restructure tennis history, where and how would you draw the lines?

Also, would this possibly help with the GOAT debate, as it makes certain comparisons, such as Laver v Federer or Borg v Nadal more apparent as "apples and oranges" comparisons?

Edit: To be more clear, I'm NOT asking how you would rewrite history ('I wish surfaces were never homogenised') but rather how you would redraw the lines where one era ends and another begins ("the current era should be named 'homogenised era' and should start from 2001"); in other words, I want a revised and more logically categorised history, not an alternative timeline.
 
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urban

Legend
1890-1914, 1919-1940, 1946-1967 (or 1973), 1968-1984, 1985-2002,2003-present. The two Wars were significant historical marks, the invention of open Tennis another benchmark (maybe it started really with Connors and Borg in 1974), he use of the modern graphite rackets another milestone, the unification of surfaces the last big caesur.
 
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Bender

G.O.A.T.
1890-1914, 1919-1940, 1946-1967 (or 1973), 1968-1984, 1985-2002,2003-present. The two Wars were significant historical marks, the invention of open Tennis another benchmark (maybe it started really with Connors and Borg in 1974), he use of the modern graphite rackets another milestone, the unification of surfaces the last big caesur.
Interesting breakdown.

Question though: I agree that surface homogenisation should have its own era, but why start from 2003? Didn't Wimbledon slow down the grass starting from 2001 (or rather 2002, when for the first time we had two baseliners in the final)?
 

BGod

Legend
It's all about the surface and racquets.

The Australian Open was also played on grass until 1988 and scheduled in December until 87. It didn't start becoming a staple for most top players until the 90s however. The 90s was also a time when racquets got in line with the modern sticks we know today. So, while not perfect here's my take:


Pre WWII
Post WWII
Open Era Wood/Metal 1968-1981
Post-Wood 1982-1988
Post-Grass, Fast Court Era 1989-2003
Concentrated Era: 2004-present


By concentrated I mean since 2004 began, we've had 3 men dominate the Slams in victories and Finals appearances. With Andy Murray and Andy Roddick outside contenders and wildcards Safin, Del Potro and Wawrinka winning one title each.
 

urban

Legend
Its tough to single out exact years, there were always some transitional years. I did orientate me somewhat on leading players careers, but also on structural changes in surfaces, equipment and organziation etc.

Beginning here with 1919-1940: Pure wood rackets, mostly amateur play, with pros beginning to make a mark, first big media coverage, mostly grass and clay game, technically mostly baseline play, with now straightened out big swings like Tilden or Vines, big opening court forehands, Budge first with full swing backhand, Riggs first with very compact, spinny game.

1946-1967: Also small wood rackets, segregation of amateurs and pros, pretty bad media coverage of the pro game, still mostly grass and clay, with pros favoring indoor play, new stylistic approach by Big Game with serve and volley style and athletic training, invented by Kramer and followed by Aussies, big cat Tennis by people like Gonzalez, Sedgman, Hoad or Newcombe, 60s champs like Laver and Rosewall showed the way to counter the serve and volley game, by focussing on returns and passings, especially on the backhand, Laver with foremost topspin paved the way for others zo come.

1973-1984: Loose structure of pro Tennis organizations, now wood rackets with fiberglass segments or metal rackets, better media coverage, Tennis boom, shift to slower surfaces (har tru), start of the doublehander (Connors, Borg), more baseline style, mostly with extensive topspin a la Borg or Vilas, contrast of styles (see Mac).

1985-2002: New big graphite rackets, beginnings of a firm ATP scheduling, dichotomy between fast court Tennis and clay court Tennis (almost two circuits), domination of the serve on ultra fast courts (perfected by Becker or Sampras), more power with reduced topspin, hard court style the norm of the day, new focus on nutrition and training (Lendl), contrast of styles.

2003-present: Solid structure of ATP pro Tennis with majors and masters series, big rackets with new strings (with more topspin and sidespin), homogenization of surfaces, slower courts, return of the baseline game, focus on physical game with horizontal movement,
 
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droliver

Professional
You're making this too complicated. For the modern era, I think you start that with either
1) the 1st slam won with a graphite racquet (? 1982 French Open - Wilander). This was the start of a quantum leap in technology in the game
2) the change of the Australian Open to hard courts in January (1988?) which gave us the modern tour calendar and gave us 4 fully attended majors

I don't get citing 2002 or 2004 as some big break historically. It's just not, at leAst in the big picture.
 

zam88

Professional
I'd have Nadal not born.

Everything else wouldn't matter then as Federer would have 22+ slams and multiple calendar year Grand Slams and be the consensus GOAT with pretty much no chance of being unseated in my lifetime.

/endthread
 

harryz

Professional
Make it more like baseball at its best

No bats other than wood
No poly strings
More grass, har tru and clay

Thus longer rallies, more stylistic variety, less power and more strategy.

The other side of this, however, is that you can't reset technology, even when it isn't a real improvement is some areas. In music playback, for instance, many (myself included) know that vinyl records and master tape and vacuum tubes and big horn loaded speakers still destroy modern digital media and solid state gear for sonics, but not for convenience. Maybe not the best analogy; every step "forward" has its own set of problems and limitations. As for tennis, we have greater technology and training and nutrition and more injuries, shorter careers and less variety in the sport due to technology "improvements" over the past generation or two.

Harry
 

mightyrick

Legend
Racquets must be the same weight, length, and width.
Racquets can only be strung with natural gut or synthetic gut.
Racquets must all have the same string pattern.
Top-layer of court surfaces must be natural: grass, clay, wood
All non-exhibition male tournaments are best-of-five sets
Ranking points start at zero each year and are accumulated. No rolling-off.
Major tournament draws must not exceed 32 players
 

vive le beau jeu !

Talk Tennis Guru
...how would you go about doing it?

I'm certainly no tennis history aficionado, but I feel that tennis history should be a little more segmented to better reflect the fast rate of change in the sport (evidently too fast for some of the older / more nostalgic posters here).

It seems odd that Borg and Rafa for instance are in the same era, even if the said era has only been around for less than half a century.

So, if you were given free rein to reorganise or restructure tennis history, where and how would you draw the lines?

Also, would this possibly help with the GOAT debate, as it makes certain comparisons, such as Laver v Federer or Borg v Nadal more apparent as "apples and oranges" comparisons?
i think i'd put the nadal in the jurassic era, with or without his poly strings.

 
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ultradr

Legend
Regrets we, as a tennis community as a whole, would have

1960s: if we would allowed pros to play at slams.

2002 - present: if we did not slow down Wimbledon and US Open.

I think Graphite dramatically improved quality of professional tennis but
we should have banned polyester strings. They made tennis one dimensional
both professional and amateur.
 

JAY1

Semi-Pro
This is a revelation!!

This is the most interesting and intelligent thread there has been in General Pro Play Discussion.
All the posters are making excellent points.
I wish the ATP would commission some of you to get together and make a report on this, as this is where tennis has lost it's way.....
 

AngieB

Banned
To the OP, I appreciate you opening the discussion of tennis history because it is an important aspect of the game that is largely overlooked. I think a better stated question would be, if you could "structure" tennis history to better quantify GOAT discussions, how would you do it?

Right now, the macro version seems to be "pre" and "post" Open Era.

There were several events that altered the history of tennis:

1. The transition from the challenge system in grand slam events in 1911 to full competition for defending champions.

1a. The French Open opens to all amateurs internationally in 1925.

2. The absence of grand slam play during World War II and the bombing of Wimbledon grounds by German bombers.

3. The horse riding accident that ended the career of Maureen Connolly-Brinker and Althea Gibson and Angela Buston's doubles win at Wimbledon in the 50's. (See "The Match")

4. The transition into the Open Era of tennis, the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobbie Riggs and the initiation of the tie-break. '60's and '70's.

5. The change of racquets from wood, to aluminum, to graphite in the 70's and '80's.

6. The new facility built for the Australian Open in the '80's and their switch from Grass to Hardcourt surface.

7. The ability to challenge line calls in the 2000's.

I'm sure there are other events which could be included, but this is my macro to better quantify the micro.

AngieB
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
It's all about the surface and racquets.

The Australian Open was also played on grass until 1988 and scheduled in December until 87. It didn't start becoming a staple for most top players until the 90s however. The 90s was also a time when racquets got in line with the modern sticks we know today. So, while not perfect here's my take:


Pre WWII
Post WWII
Open Era Wood/Metal 1968-1981
Post-Wood 1982-1988
Post-Grass, Fast Court Era 1989-2003
Concentrated Era: 2004-present


By concentrated I mean since 2004 began, we've had 3 men dominate the Slams in victories and Finals appearances. With Andy Murray and Andy Roddick outside contenders and wildcards Safin, Del Potro and Wawrinka winning one title each.
Thanks for your post!

I have to ask though, do you think that a name such as "concentrated era" would last long, as it requires one or more players to sweep all the big tournaments?

I mean, take away the big four, and you don't really have any players able to make an impression on grass, clay, and hard. Dimitrov could do it I guess, but he's been prone to early upsets as RG this year has shown.

Wouldn't it make more sense to say, label the current era after surface homogenisation rather than the players who are dominating on them?
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
You're making this too complicated. For the modern era, I think you start that with either
1) the 1st slam won with a graphite racquet (? 1982 French Open - Wilander). This was the start of a quantum leap in technology in the game
2) the change of the Australian Open to hard courts in January (1988?) which gave us the modern tour calendar and gave us 4 fully attended majors

I don't get citing 2002 or 2004 as some big break historically. It's just not, at leAst in the big picture.
Well the way I see it, surfaces becoming similar in speed has changed who can or cannot win at the slams.

Not sure why 2004 is being cited, but 2002 was a big year for Wimbledon with two baseliners reaching the finals.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
This is the most interesting and intelligent thread there has been in General Pro Play Discussion.
All the posters are making excellent points.
I wish the ATP would commission some of you to get together and make a report on this, as this is where tennis has lost it's way.....
Thanks :D

I agree that I'm learning quite a bit, even if some posters interpreted my question differently.

Strange, I swear it made perfect sense in my head when I opened the thread...oh well
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
To the OP, I appreciate you opening the discussion of tennis history because it is an important aspect of the game that is largely overlooked. I think a better stated question would be, if you could "structure" tennis history to better quantify GOAT discussions, how would you do it?

Right now, the macro version seems to be "pre" and "post" Open Era.

There were several events that altered the history of tennis:

1. The transition from the challenge system in grand slam events in 1911 to full competition for defending champions.

1a. The French Open opens to all amateurs internationally in 1925.

2. The absence of grand slam play during World War II and the bombing of Wimbledon grounds by German bombers.

3. The horse riding accident that ended the career of Maureen Connolly-Brinker and Althea Gibson and Angela Buston's doubles win at Wimbledon in the 50's. (See "The Match")

4. The transition into the Open Era of tennis, the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobbie Riggs and the initiation of the tie-break. '60's and '70's.

5. The change of racquets from wood, to aluminum, to graphite in the 70's and '80's.

6. The new facility built for the Australian Open in the '80's and their switch from Grass to Hardcourt surface.

7. The ability to challenge line calls in the 2000's.

I'm sure there are other events which could be included, but this is my macro to better quantify the micro.

AngieB
Thanks for your answer! I do like your macro, although I'm not entirely sure why AO's new stadium / surface change, and Hawkeye are so significant. The USO changed its surface a few times if I remember correctly, and I wouldn't structure tennis history around Hawkeye as I would with say, the transition from wood to aluminium, and aluminium to graphite. Clearly there's an aspect to these that I'm forgetting haha

Also, I think I disagree slightly with your interpretation of the focus of the question, although I admit that I worded it poorly to begin with.

I actually meant that if you were tasked to reorganise tennis history, what would it look like? How the GOAT discussion fits into said history is more of a secondary focus rather than a primary one, since afaic, redrawing the boundaries of tennis eras to accommodate one player who could be surpassed at any point in the future seems illogical.
 

pjonesy

Professional
...how would you go about doing it?

I'm certainly no tennis history aficionado, but I feel that tennis history should be a little more segmented to better reflect the fast rate of change in the sport (evidently too fast for some of the older / more nostalgic posters here).

It seems odd that Borg and Rafa for instance are in the same era, even if the said era has only been around for less than half a century.

So, if you were given free rein to reorganise or restructure tennis history, where and how would you draw the lines?

Also, would this possibly help with the GOAT debate, as it makes certain comparisons, such as Laver v Federer or Borg v Nadal more apparent as "apples and oranges" comparisons?
Forget all those guys. I would make myself the greatest tennis player in history!!!
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Forget all those guys. I would make myself the greatest tennis player in history!!!
Well my question is "how would you restructure tennis history", and not "how would you rewrite history".

That said, a lot of replies seem to have misinterpreted my question, so I either phrased poorly, or people here can't read...both of which are highly plausible hahaha
 

JAY1

Semi-Pro
Thanks :D

I agree that I'm learning quite a bit, even if some posters interpreted my question differently.

Strange, I swear it made perfect sense in my head when I opened the thread...oh well
Yep you're right a lot of the folk on here are missing the point, but this always happen I'm afraid.

I actually think there are many fewer factors in tennis history.
These in my opinion are the key points.....

The break for World War 2
The breakaway of 'Pro' players
Tennis becoming 'Open'
McEnroe & Connors being the last men to win Slams with 'Old rackets'
The change to 4 different surfaces
The introduction of new equipment (rackets, balls & strings)
The tinkering of court speeds

Now for a little quiz, who can add the years to the points above......
 
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DMP

Professional
Birth of Wimbledon - pre-World War 1
post-World War 1 - pre-World War 2
post-Word War 2 - 1973
1974-1987
1988-modern
I pretty much agree with these, although I would split pre-WW2 also into pre-WW1.

Focussing only post-WW2 if I was going to divide tennis into eras then I would go more for these descriptions:

'Uncontrolled' era - from around 1950-start of Open tennis. Characteristics: no organised control of tennis (pro/am split), and not enough money or technical understanding to control the surfaces being played on. Hence the ad-hoc surfaces played by the pros, and the highly variable quality of the grass(es) played on.

'Chaotic' era - from the start of Open tennis until the 1980s. Characteristics: continuous turmoil in organisation, technology, surfaces.

'Homogeneous' era - from 1989 to the present (i.e. from the formation of the ATP). Characteristics: formalisation of tournaments, standardisation of points scoring/ranking. I would further subdivide into Phase1: 1989-2001, Phase 2: 2001-now. Phase 2 is the most homogenised era I can remember, with court surfaces being brought much closer together.


However these are not particularly snappy titles! And there is not insignificant 'leakage' of players like Rosewall and Laver into the Open Era. So I would go (post WW2)

Immediate post-WW2 (1946-1973/4)
Early Open Era (1973/74-1989)
ATP Era (1990 - present)

I think these reflect significant watersheds. The Open era started in 1968, but in fact it was the same players who hade been separated into amateur and pros who were still playing. Really it was in 1973 or 74 (there is always a lot of discussion which should be chosen) when the new generation of Connors and Evert emerged that signalled the true changeover. 1990 is a good changeover because it really signals another new era, and with the emergence of Sampras, forms a logical measuring point for players for whom Grand Slam victories now seenm the gold standard.
'True'
 

andrewski

Semi-Pro
1890-1914, 1919-1940, 1946-1967 (or 1973), 1968-1984, 1985-2002,2003-present. The two Wars were significant historical marks, the invention of open Tennis another benchmark (maybe it started really with Connors and Borg in 1974), he use of the modern graphite rackets another milestone, the unification of surfaces the last big caesur.
The two Wars were significant historically, but in tennis terms?

Could you explain, please?

The other dates make a lot of sense, but I have a feeling they just reflect history as we know it and OP is after "alternative history", I think.
 

andrewski

Semi-Pro
No bats other than wood
No poly strings
More grass, har tru and clay

Thus longer rallies, more stylistic variety, less power and more strategy.

The other side of this, however, is that you can't reset technology, even when it isn't a real improvement is some areas. In music playback, for instance, many (myself included) know that vinyl records and master tape and vacuum tubes and big horn loaded speakers still destroy modern digital media and solid state gear for sonics, but not for convenience. Maybe not the best analogy; every step "forward" has its own set of problems and limitations. As for tennis, we have greater technology and training and nutrition and more injuries, shorter careers and less variety in the sport due to technology "improvements" over the past generation or two.

Harry
I am into Hi-Fi as well, but it must be the only area of human endeavour based on technology that anyone would claim that 30 years old was better than new.

I do not mean sentimental evaluation (Jaguar E-type etc.) but performance.

Modern rackets are not better than wood?

Moder tennis shoes not better than unsupportive plimsolls of yesteryear?

Do you want TVs from 80s against modern plasma or projector?

Do cars from 80 are better than current ones?

Would you rather ski on wooden skis from the 50's or even Volkl P10 from 1992 or modern equivalent?

Would you ski in leather boots?

Would you climb mountains in waxed cotton or Goretex?

You want surgery done using equipment from the 80's?

None of the above?

But vinyl still rules on quality grounds?
 
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urban

Legend
Somehow the two Wars play a significant role for Tennis history. Before WWI Tennis was played mainly by upper class and Oxbridge men, many great tournaments were played for national competition only, a challenge round system was intact, although there were beginnings of an internalization especially by the Davis Cup competition, and some interchange between Britain and US, and respectively Australasia. The strokes were still emerging and many top Players played the backhand with the forehand side (see Brookes). With the end of WWI the first two superstars emerged: Tilden and Lenglen, and Tennis in the Golden Twenties became a global sport, with great media coverage (see the Lenglen-Wills match at Cannes). In DC Japan, Spain, France, Germany, Italy for instance became factors, the great Tennis tournaments became open (since around 1925) for international players and the challenge round system was abolished. The shots were straigthened out and the game was more analyzed by people like Tilden or Lacoste.
The difference between pre WWII and post WWII is marked by the shift to shorts and T-Shirts among the men, but more significantly by a new style of play, the Big Game with serve and volley and the focus on athleticism, perfected by Kramer and the Aussies. Tennis was no longer a so called Sissy game. Post WWII, a big sports market opened up in the US, but Tennis was hampered by the pro -am divison, and the bad media coverage of pro Tennis.
 
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Bender

G.O.A.T.
The two Wars were significant historically, but in tennis terms?

Could you explain, please?

The other dates make a lot of sense, but I have a feeling they just reflect history as we know it and OP is after "alternative history", I think.
Actually what he's provided is exactly what I was looking for - not to rewrite or change historical events, but rather how we could recategorise events. The idea of Borg and Nadal being in the same era for instance, never sat particularly well with me, and I think it's partly why we keep making absurd GOAT comparisons: Laver or Federer? Borg or Nadal? Etc
 

harryz

Professional
You missed my point

I am into Hi-Fi as well, but it must be the only area of human endeavour based on technology that anyone would claim that 30 years old was better than new.

I do not mean sentimental evaluation (Jaguar E-type etc.) but performance.

Modern rackets are not better than wood?

Moder tennis shoes not better than unsupportive plimsolls of yesteryear?

Do you want TVs from 80s against modern plasma or projector?

Do cars from 80 are better than current ones?

Would you rather ski on wooden skis from the 50's or even Volkl P10 from 1992 or modern equivalent.

Would you ski in leather boots?

Would you climb mountains in waxed cotton or Goretex?

You want surgery done using equipment from the 80's

But vinyl still rules on quality grounds?
I never said that older technology is better. I"m not sure that the game is better for all of the changes, that's all. Different, yes. And of course the examples you give are good ones. However, I would rather read a book than on a computer, and studies overwhelmingly prove that we learn better and retain more from books. Modern medicine still uses leeches. Technicolor kills digital video. And so on. Most modern things are better. Some are not.

The question was not about technology but about restructuring tennis. Early graphite rackets are fine; I don't think modern one have done much for our sport, overall. Shoes, of course. Clothes, yes. Poly strings- the jury is out IMO. They are fine for young people but can cause arm problems as can lighter, head heavy modern frames.

If you read my post, I explicitly said that I am not a Luddite. Did you see thar?
 
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PMChambers

Hall of Fame
I can only comment on what I've seen,
Open-82(83) - Wood, composite and metal with gut
83(84) - 03 (04) - Graphite and gut
04 (05) - present - Graphite and poly.

Surface changes have done little except make AO more acceptable and that maybe due to timing. Wood and gut assisted smaller touch orientated players (under 6" Mac, Borg, Laver, etc), poly negates the surface variance making one style fits all and removes net play.

The sport constantly develops and the giants of today stand on the giants of yesteryear achievements.
 

droliver

Professional
As I mentioned, I think the really clear break in "modern tennis" was graphite composite rackets in the early 1980's. It changed things much more dramatically then other things suggested.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
Regrets we, as a tennis community as a whole, would have

1960s: if we would allowed pros to play at slams.

2002 - present: if we did not slow down Wimbledon and US Open.

I think Graphite dramatically improved quality of professional tennis but
we should have banned polyester strings. They made tennis one dimensional
both professional and amateur.
ultradr, Yes the ban against the pros in the 1960s (and earlier) was a shame. Otherwise even young fans would have more respect for Laver, Rosewall and Gonzalez and their great achievements.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
I pretty much agree with these, although I would split pre-WW2 also into pre-WW1.

Focussing only post-WW2 if I was going to divide tennis into eras then I would go more for these descriptions:

'Uncontrolled' era - from around 1950-start of Open tennis. Characteristics: no organised control of tennis (pro/am split), and not enough money or technical understanding to control the surfaces being played on. Hence the ad-hoc surfaces played by the pros, and the highly variable quality of the grass(es) played on.

'Chaotic' era - from the start of Open tennis until the 1980s. Characteristics: continuous turmoil in organisation, technology, surfaces.

'Homogeneous' era - from 1989 to the present (i.e. from the formation of the ATP). Characteristics: formalisation of tournaments, standardisation of points scoring/ranking. I would further subdivide into Phase1: 1989-2001, Phase 2: 2001-now. Phase 2 is the most homogenised era I can remember, with court surfaces being brought much closer together.


However these are not particularly snappy titles! And there is not insignificant 'leakage' of players like Rosewall and Laver into the Open Era. So I would go (post WW2)

Immediate post-WW2 (1946-1973/4)
Early Open Era (1973/74-1989)
ATP Era (1990 - present)

I think these reflect significant watersheds. The Open era started in 1968, but in fact it was the same players who hade been separated into amateur and pros who were still playing. Really it was in 1973 or 74 (there is always a lot of discussion which should be chosen) when the new generation of Connors and Evert emerged that signalled the true changeover. 1990 is a good changeover because it really signals another new era, and with the emergence of Sampras, forms a logical measuring point for players for whom Grand Slam victories now seenm the gold standard.
'True'
DMP, I would not say the pre open era period was uncontrolled.
 

JonC

Banned
By racket head size and only two eras. Was the Prostaff 85 the first popular large head racket? If so, that would be the division between the two eras.
 

DMP

Professional
DMP, I would not say the pre open era period was uncontrolled.
I deliberately wrote 'uncontrolled' in quotations, to indicate that it was more uncontrolled than it is now, at many levels.

So there was a separate professional tour, completely outside the control of the authorities, and making their own playing rules (e.g. the serving rule). The authorities also did not act together as much as they do now. The players had no control over the playing conditions. The rackets were made from natural materials - wood and gut - which are more variable than modern technological materials. There was less technological knowledge about, and money available for, court preparation and maintenance. So the grass courts, which were much more predominant, were variable in the way they played. The professionals played where they could, on ad hoc surfaces which varied greatly according to what they could manage to arrange.

So if I was to choose a single adjective to describe the period between the end of WW2 and the start of Open tennis, I could have chosen 'Split' (to indicate the pro/amateur split), or 'Egalitarian' (to indicate that it seems to have been a period when many of the top players came from more humble begiinings thatn they do now, or did in the between war years), or 'Authoritarian' (to indicate the power of the tennis authorities over the players), or 'Australian/American' (to indicate where the powerhouses were).

However I just decided when I looked at the over-riding features, especially when compared with now, 'Uncontrolled' sums it up best.

Others choose different features to emphasise.
 

PMChambers

Hall of Fame
By racket head size and only two eras. Was the Prostaff 85 the first popular large head racket? If so, that would be the division between the two eras.
Why not the Max200g prior? It was more of an identifying 65" wood to Mid Size plastic. I had a Rossignol in early 80's that was Mid and popular prior to PS85, The 85" wood graphite composites in the early 80's where also very popular for a few years but superseded by plasticised graphite.
 

BobbyOne

G.O.A.T.
I deliberately wrote 'uncontrolled' in quotations, to indicate that it was more uncontrolled than it is now, at many levels.

So there was a separate professional tour, completely outside the control of the authorities, and making their own playing rules (e.g. the serving rule). The authorities also did not act together as much as they do now. The players had no control over the playing conditions. The rackets were made from natural materials - wood and gut - which are more variable than modern technological materials. There was less technological knowledge about, and money available for, court preparation and maintenance. So the grass courts, which were much more predominant, were variable in the way they played. The professionals played where they could, on ad hoc surfaces which varied greatly according to what they could manage to arrange.

So if I was to choose a single adjective to describe the period between the end of WW2 and the start of Open tennis, I could have chosen 'Split' (to indicate the pro/amateur split), or 'Egalitarian' (to indicate that it seems to have been a period when many of the top players came from more humble begiinings thatn they do now, or did in the between war years), or 'Authoritarian' (to indicate the power of the tennis authorities over the players), or 'Australian/American' (to indicate where the powerhouses were).

However I just decided when I looked at the over-riding features, especially when compared with now, 'Uncontrolled' sums it up best.

Others choose different features to emphasise.
DMP, Thanks for the explanation.

Did you know that the outcast pros founded a players' organisation in 1962? "IPTPA" with Sedgman as president.
 
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