Bobby After the War:
Part 2

Tom LeCompte

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Fred Perry, one of many champions who joined a new pro players association.

Buoyed by the success of the World Hardcourt Professional Championships (Click Here), Bill Tilden was convinced there was a market for a series of professional tournaments. Enlisting players such as Bobby, Don Budge, Fred Perry, and others, he formed a new organization, the Professional Players Association.

Tilden, a veteran of early professional head to head tours, understood that the head to head format was flawed. Without the threat of elimination, the competitive element was missing and the matches were always susceptible to accusation they were either fixed or the players lacked incentive. Tilden's idea was to create professional tournament play.

The Reality of Purity

Over the years, calls had gone up to open all tournaments to both amateur and professional players, but the ruling amateur establishment staunchly opposed all such proposals, arguing that to do so would sully the "purity" of competition.

Purity, however, had little to do with it. The system of under-the-table payoffs that amateur officials defended was de facto professionalism. What really was at stake was power and control over the game, which amateur officials clung to through their stranglehold on the major tennis events--the national championships and the Davis Cup—and by manipulation of the divisions between the players, the fans, the media, and each other.

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Tom LeCompte is a freelance writer based in Boston. He is the author of the acclaimed biography: The Last Sure Thing: The Life and Times of Bobby Riggs.

The Last Sure Thing: The Life and Times of Bobby Riggs.

Bobby Riggs was a gifted champion who dominated tennis in both the amateur and pro ranks, winning 3 Grand Slam singles titles, and 3 U.S. professional titles. He was a life long opponent of the tennis establishment, a hustler who had an obsessive gambling proclivity and a troubled family history. His playing accomplishments were overshadowed by the hype surrounding his stunning straight set loss to Billie Jean King in the 1973 Battle of the Sexes. Read the real story of one of the great personalities in tennis history.

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