Wimbledon Pro

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The Wimbledon World Lawn Tennis Professional Championships also known as the Wimbledon Pro, was a men's tennis tournament held in August 1967.<ref name=barrett>Template:Cite book</ref> The tournament was sponsored and broadcast by the BBC to mark the invention of colour television. It was the first tournament staged at Wimbledon that was open to male professional tennis players and it had a prize fund of US$45,000. The singles competition was an eight man knockout event won by Rod Laver, who received £3,000, whilst the doubles was a four team knockout event won by Pancho Gonzales and Andrés Gimeno.<ref name=tingay/>

History

During Wimbledon in 1966, Jack Kramer was doing radio commentary for the BBC when Wimbledon's working chairman Herman David came to the broadcast booth and talked to Kramer and BBC tennis exec Bryan Cowgill to discuss the possibility of making the tournament "open" to both amateurs and pros. The topic had been raised on and off for years. In the summer of 1960 the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF) had met in Paris and voted on open tennis, but the motion, which required 139 out of 209 votes to pass, got only 134 votes, 5 short. By 1966 public interest in tennis had been at a long-sustained low. Cowgill suggested a trial pro tournament at Wimbledon for the following year, and in late August, 1967, the tournament was held at Wimbledon with total prize money of US$ 35,000 for singles and US$ 10,000 for doubles, making it the largest prize-money event in tennis history at that time. All matches were played on Centre Court.<ref name=tingay>Template:Cite book</ref> The Wimbledon Pro tournament was deemed very successful with over 30,000 spectators attending the three days of play.<ref name=stpet/> There was an 8 player draw for singles and a 16 player draw for doubles, all professionals.

Most of these players had won honours at Wimbledon in their amateur days but had forfeited the right to play there on turning professional. The segregation of the two categories was soon to come to an end. In December 1967, the Annual Meeting of the British Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) voted overwhelmingly to admit players of all categories for the 1968 Wimbledon Championships and other future tournaments in Britain. Faced with a fait accompli the ILTF yielded and allowed each nation to determine its own legislation regarding amateur and professional players.

Singles Draw

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Doubles Draw

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References

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External links

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