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When looking at a pro tennis agenda, there is one word used in every name of the single tournament. Wether it’s Australia the United States, France or nearly any other location, they mark the tournament with the word Open to display its arrangement. At first peek, this drill seems a little odd to those not that familiar with the story of tennis. How specifically did this practice began?
Why is tennis tournaments called open? In tennis “Open” is used to mark a specific type of tournament. When the tournament is considered an Open, that means there are space for anyone to qualify. While tennis tournaments are almost always won by top-ranked professionals, an Open allows qualifiers to earn a opportunity at the biggest stages. It is not denied by those who currently have a high ranking on the tour.
Why Is Tennis Tournaments Called Open ?
All four major have been in existence for quite a while, but before 1968, these tournaments were only available to amateurs. Watch adequate tennis, and there will be someone talking about the Open Era. This is referred to as tennis after 1968, when professionals were permit to participate in the major tournaments.
It seems insane to look at things now, however 50 years ago, the major tournaments wanted no part of professionals. This made these made the tournaments a little different, to say the least. All the best players in the world were not competing at the same tournament, so it was difficult to gauge who precisely who was the best in the world.
Early on, the names of tournaments began to include the word Open to display that were allowing professionals and amateurs to play. By raising all restrictions and permitting the best players in the world to play in the same tournament, it increased the overall level of competition. Modern technology has also helped quite much with how tennis is viewed and played. Historically speaking, it’s hard to even make a comparison to players before the Open Era to the current generation.
There is a qualifying tournament before every Open. Players who are not formally invited to the tournament still have a chance to prove themselves against others trying to make the main draw. It’s quite a tough process, especially for the major tournaments. Nevertheless, an Open tournament is all-inclusive, and therefore a little more interesting in the eyes of most.
There are very little “what if” scenarios because certain weren’t allowed to play.
The Australian Open was found in 1905. It is the first grand slam of the year these days, but they have moved it around quite a bit throughout the years. They have held it in a sum of seven different cities, including five in Australia and two in New Zealand. It has been in Melbourne, Australia since 1972, and there seem no plan to move from that city in the coming years. Due to its remote location, the tournament did not start to take off until the 1980s. That is when travel came easier for foreign players, and the prize money started to increase also.
The name of the tournament was the Australasian Championships. Once the Open Era started, the tournament officially became Australian Open.
In the Open Era, they have had some low-ranked professionals and also amateurs making the main draw. Most notably, Bob Giltinan reached the semi finals of the year 1977 Australian Open after coming through qualifying.
The French Open started in 1891 going by The Champion at de France for it’s name. It was a much limited tournament in the starting, only open to tennis players who are members of French clubs.
It wouldn’t be until 1925 when the French Championships permit for amateurs everywhere in the world to take part. Therefore the French Championships changed the name to what we today know as the French Open. This is when it chose the label as a major Championship, and the popularity of the clay court tournament really took off.
The French Open officially kicked off the Open Era at the majors when they opened up the tournament to everyone in spring of 1968. The first ever was Ken Rosewall on the men’s side and Nancy Richey on the women’s side.
The most alarming run by a qualifier at the French Open during the Open Era was Felip Dewulf. The Belgian established a way to reach the 1997 semi finals, finally losing to the champion Gustavo Kuerten.
The Champions, Wimbledon
The lonesome major that doesn’t have an “Open” included in the name. Why the Wimbledon tournament doesn’t have Open in the name is not clear. However, it makes sense that they have not changed the name if you think about the history of Wimbledon. No tournament has more history than the championships, Wimbledon. First played as a tournament in 1877, it is the only major tournament held at the same venue throughout it’s history.
The All England club is the most iconic location for tennis in the globe. The famous grass courts have persist the same throughout the years, even when other tournaments have shifted to more lasting surfaces such as hard courts and clay courts.
In the beginning, the 1877 Wimbledon championships only had a Gentleman’s single tournament. It would not hold the First Ladies and double tournaments until 1884.
Wimbledon was the first tournament to start bringing in international competition, but they still forbid professionals until 1968.
Wimbledon provides qualifying like all the other major tournaments, but they are also different with their seeding. In fact , some players who would automatically qualify fo other tournaments might have to go through qualifying if they do not have solid grass court results. Not only does the tournament look at present world rankings, they also stress grass court results when sending out invitations.
Perhaps the most unforgettable qualifier run in the history of tennis was in 1977, when John McEnroe made it to the semi -finals. It was a true shocker in the moment, and it would set the tone for a memorable career. There have been others to make the semi-finals at Wimbledon after coming through for qualifying in the gentlemen’s and ladies’s draw , but they still are still waiting for a qualifier to make the final.
The last major tournament of the year has a unique history since first taking place in 1881. They have used all three major surfaces throughout its history, and they have held it at several different locations in the Northeast.
Presently the U.S Open is held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City. It may not have the same history as some of the major tournament, but the U.S Open has always been at the front of changing the sport. They were the first major tournament to offer equal prize cash in 1973, and they also added lights in 1975.
More presently, they were the first major tournament to bring instant replay reviews for line calls. This is a great solution to all the contention that has surrounded close calls in tennis throughout its history.
The U.S Open provides a very unique way for qualifiers to pull off the extreme underdog story. There are sectional qualifiers all over the United States for an normal player to enter. Theoretically, any player in the U.S could earn entry to qualifying tournament at the U.S Open. From there, they could qualify for the main draw if they can hold out against mostly professionals battling it out.
The probability of some normal person even making it out of their section is slim but it’s still the purest form of Open tournament out there. Who knows, there might be a time in the future when a player is able to pull of the most amazing run in chronicle.
Other Tennis Championships That Are Worth A Mention
It is hard to contradict the high flying opinion that the four “Grand Slam” titles are one of the most-watched and attended. Having said that, here is a list of some other championships that are definitely worth a mention.
- BPN Paribas Open
This is another highly attended event, held in the star-studded Palm Springs area of California. With the luxury resorts, high-end shopping malls, world-class spas, exquisite dining experiences and a backdrop of the rich and famous, it is no surprise, this event is nicknamed the “Tennis Paradise.” It attracts some of the best players on the face of the Earth alongside a staggering audience that reached its peak in 2019, with 475,372 crazy fans in attendance.
- ATP Finals
This historically acclaimed tournament began in the 1970s and has since then been played in over 15 cities over the World. For the last 12 years it was held in London, but this year, the tournament will be making a move to the Italian city of Turin. The tournament follows a bracket system where players are grouped into a bracket and play each other.
- WTA Finals
This is proof of the fact that women do everything, a little extra. This women’s only tournament has the maximum cash prize and it escalated to a burning 4.725 million in recent times. The cheque goes to a player who goes undefeated all through the tournament which would require a herculean effort, considering that the tour is held at the end of October when most of the players are almost burnt out.
- Laver Cup
This English tournament is a relatively new addition but has managed to create a niche for itself since it began in 2017. The tournament aims to pitch European players against the rest of the World and is well attended.
It’s real hard to debate that tennis isn’t in a far better place currently compared to 50 years ago. Open Era has given the chance for best players to go up against each other, and make a good living also they deserve all the compensation they receive.