Open Era (tennis)
Until 1968, professionals were not allowed to compete in the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments: the Australian Open, the French Open, the U.S. Open, and the British Open (Wimbledon). These four tournaments were reserved for amateur players, to make them “fair” to players who could not devote their lives to practicing tennis (much like the older Olympic tradition).
Many amateur players were torn between wanting to continue playing in Grand Slam events, and wanting to make a living from tennis. Additionally, amateur players could have their “travel expenses” covered by their country tennis associations, and it was widely believed that some players were covertly receiving de facto payment in this way.
In 1968, the rules were changed to allow professionals to compete in his tournaments, thus changing many of the dynamics and power structures of tournament tennis. Thus began what is known as “the Open Era.”
Most tennis records are designated as “Pre-Open Era” and “Open Era.”
Why I Looked It Up
For no reason at all, Annie and I were watching the U.S. Open while eating in a restaurant. Later that night, I was looking up some of the players, and that led me to a page of tennis records, and I noticed that all the records were qualified as “Open Era.”