Ken Rosewall - Open-closed Career: April 1968 Through July 1972 - 1972


1972 was a true return to separate circuits because all traditional ILTF events held from January to July were forbidden to the WCT players. As ever this included the Davis Cup but also Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The 1972 Australian Open organizers used a trick to avoid the ILTF's ban of the WCT players. They held the tournament from 27 December 1971, four days before the ILTF's ban could be applied, to 3 January 1972. Thus all contract and, of course, independent pros could have played but few were interested because the tournament was held during Christmas and New Year's Day. In moving the dates from March to December–January they almost killed the tournament which happily strengthened since 1983. A fragile agreement in the spring of 1972 let the WCT players come back to the traditional circuit in August (in Merion, WCT players Okker and Roger Taylor played, the latter defeating independent pros Connors and Malcolm Anderson in the final rounds). The U.S. Open, won by Ilie Nastase, was the greatest event of the year as only in this tournament were all the best players present with the exception of Tony Roche who suffered from a tennis elbow for most of the 1971–1973 period. Later that year two other tournaments had good fields with WCT and independent pros: the Pacific Southwest Open at Los Angeles and, to a lesser extent, Stockholm both won by Stan Smith.

In many 1972 rankings there were 6 or 7 WCT players in the world top 10 (the 3 or 4 independent pros were Smith, Nastase, Orantes and sometimes Gimeno (an ancient NTL then WCT player)) so the WCT Finals held in May at Dallas were considered as one of (if not the first) the greatest events after the U.S. Open. In what is considered one of the two best matches played in 1972, the other being the Wimbledon final, and the best Rosewall-Laver match of the open era Rosewall won his last major title of his long career: 4–6 6–0 6–3 6–7 7–6. (Laver wrote that the two Australians had played better matches between them in the pre-open days, citing their 1963 French Pro final as the pinnacle; McCauley considered their 1964 Wembley final).

Because of the ILTF's ban once again Rosewall could not enter Wimbledon.

Read more about this topic:  Ken Rosewall, Open-closed Career: April 1968 Through July 1972

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