NEW DAY DAWNING
Peace broke out in tennis last week. The ILTF, the international ruling body, and WCT, Lamar Hunt's troupe of professionals, worked out a deal that will let contract pros play in ILTF events and will limit Hunt's pro tour to the first four months of the year. The agreement still has to be ratified by the ILTF at its annual meeting in July, but it is certain that when Forest Hills begins on Aug. 30 all the top names in tennis will be there.
Wimbledon, which takes place before the ILTF meeting, will have to wait until next year for a full complement of stars but, even so, a few of Hunt's pros will be on hand this time. Defending champion John Newcombe, whose contract with WCT expires in May, expects to play, and so do Roy Emerson, Nikki Pilic, Cliff Drysdale, Fred Stolle and possibly Ken Rosewall.
All we can say is hurrah—and it's about time.
Echoes of the baseball strike continue to reverberate. As Dick Moss, one of the attorneys for the players' association, said at a University of Wisconsin sports symposium, "Things will never be the same again in baseball." Nor, apparently, in any other sport.
In Washington, Ed Garvey, head of the pro football players' group, said. "It was like watching a trial run. This could be us two years from now. We were within 12 hours of canceling the first preseason game in 1970. It wasn't something either side wanted, and good sense on both sides finally prevented it. What I want to do is begin talks now so that we don't have to go to a deadline again. But I'm not optimistic.
"The baseball owners were after one thing—Marvin Miller—and the negotiations got down to personal insults, which is something football has avoided. We've criticized the power the commissioner has, the office, the position as it now exists, but we have not attacked Pete Rozelle personally. The owners, however, try to make it appear that we are after him. That's not true, but the owners like to make the public think the players are the villains.
"If the baseball owners broke the players and won out, it would certainly have hurt us. Then the NFL owners could say, 'Baseball called their bluff. We can do the same.' They should know now that we mean it when we say we are willing to strike. Baseball didn't believe the players were serious, either."
More food for thought for NFL owners concerns its current crop of college draftees, whose hopes of big salaries and bonuses were earlier dashed by repeated comments from professional experts that this was the weakest batch of collegians to come along in years. Last year 11 players turned away from the NFL and went instead to Canadian football. This year the number is almost that big already, with Alabama's Johnny Musso and Stanford's Don Bunce the most prominent defectors. Money makes the mare go, claims the old saying. Lack of money makes the players go.