The Wimbledon championship was held from Aug. 25 to 28, 1967, with the final on the Monday of a bank holiday weekend. First prize was $8,400, a record sum back then. But the potential rewards were much greater.
“In the whole scope of world tennis these days, a small event with eight players wouldn’t seem to be very important,” Rosewall, now 82, said by telephone from Sydney, Australia, last week. “But it was rather an enlightening little tournament that the All England Club decided to put on, and I think it was a big step in getting open tennis in the following year.”
The professional championship drew live coverage on the British Broadcasting Corporation, which had begun broadcasting in color earlier that year, and drew big crowds on its final three days, changing hearts and minds about where the game needed to go.
“We were just a small part of a big decision being made by Wimbledon,” Laver said. “But we eight players were proud of being part of this beginning. None of us felt, maybe six months prior to Herman David approaching us, that we were going to have open tennis the next year. It was just amazing we’d gone…