Open Tennis Speakers Benefit From Boom
It is more than fifty years since Tennis went ‘Open’. This change allowed professional and amateur open tennis players to compete together at major Grand slam championships. Namely the US Open, French Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon (the oldest Tennis competition in the world). Since 1968 the game has soared in popularity. With millions watching on TV and thousands attending the tennis open events often attended by some of our tennis speakers.
Why the Change?
Before 1968 tennis was divided into pro and amateur circuits. Meaning those paid to play, were stopped from competing in the Grand Slam events. However it was a well known secret, that some amateurs were being paid ‘under the net’; or remuneration was hidden in large expense claims and payments.
Open Tennis Origin
The Open era emerged partially to make the game more honest; and to do away with the hypocrisy which was being practised. The first Open Tennis event was the 1968 British Hard-Court Championships. Held in April at The West Hants Club in Bournemouth, England. While the first open Grand Slam tournament was the 1968 French Open in May. Both of these were won by Ken Rosewall.
The Open Era allowed all tennis players the chance to make a living, by playing tennis all around the world. But the pro system took a while to fully bed in. Power struggles with governing bodies, different professional tours and the start of players unions; led to some boycotts and difficulties.
Open Tennis Today
Once the governing bodies were established, the Open Tennis era, led to increased professionalism and greater riches for the players; which have continued to grow as the game has expanded globally. With currently two professional tours (ATP and WTA) holding more events all around the world. Sponsorship alongside corporate hospitality has helped grow both individual players as brands, guest speakers and Tennis as a sport.
Equality In Open Tennis
Tennis player Billie Jean King’s fight for equal tournament pay in men and woman players, was met by deaf ears; despite various boycotts and protests. It is only in recent years the gap between male and female prize money has lessened. With equal pay at all the Grand slam and open tennis tournaments. This is one change that took its time over many others.
Wimbledon arguably the trophy every pro Tennis player would love to win, has grown in size and income. The facilities at the All England Ground have continually improved and adapted for the modern game. The tournament is seen as a benchmark for the sport.
The men’s champion gets the silver gilt Challenge Cup, which was first presented in 1887. While the ladies’ champion receives the Venus Rosewater Dish, a silver salver first presented in 1886.
Although changes have been seen, yet the traditions of Wimbledon, which secretly everyone adores, still remain…
Open Tennis Attire
What the players wear on court is still scrutinised by the Wimbledon committee. Since 1963, the players must be dressed mostly in white throughout. Although the rule was slightly altered to ‘almost entirely white’ in 1995.
Strawberries And Cream
The serving of strawberries and cream at the Championships has continued; with over 180,000 portions enjoyed by guests over the Wimbledon fortnight.
Open Tennis Tech
The digital age has helped Wimbledon move into the 21st century. No longer the 1968 manual score boards (operated by ball boys and girls) but ones modernised by computers.
The electronic review system, Hawk-eye (also used in pro cricket); enables the umpire to see exactly where a ball has landed. Allowing players to challenge line calls, sometimes successfully. This tech was served up by Wimbledon in 2007. Had this been available in the early eighties, we may have seen less tantrums from a certain John McEnroe.
Total Wimbledon Singles Wins During Open Era
- Roger Federer 8
- Pete Sampras 7
- Bjon Borg 5
- Boris Becker 3
- John McEnroe 3
- Novak Djokovic 3
- Rafael Nadal 2
- Jimmy Connors 2
- John Newcombe 2
- Stefan Edberg 2
- Andy Murray 2
- Rod Laver 2
- Martina Navratilova 9
- Steffi Graf 7
- Serena Williams 7
- Venus Williams 5
- Billie Jean King 4
- Chris Evert 3
- Evonne Cawley 2
- Petra Kvitová 2
Comicus Ltd has provided comedy shows to the LTA for their annual events; and continue to offer the best Tennis Speakers such as John McEnroe, Sue Barker, Andrew Castle, Tim Henman and Pat Cash for corporate events. All of whom have seen these changes in the open tennis game and mostly for the better.
Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.