The tangled web that tennis weaves (page 22) is increasingly confusing to a public already befuddled by the incessant wars among an alphabet soup of organizations—ILTF, USLTA, WCT, WTT, ad nauseam. The latest move, World Championship Tennis' declaration of independence from U.S. Lawn Tennis Association authority, seemed likely to set off another debilitating struggle between pro tennis and the national and international associations that traditionally have been the ultimate rulers of the game. So everyone waited as the International Lawn Tennis Federation met in London last weekend, just after Lamar Hunt made his announcement about the WCT going its own way. Curiously, and perhaps happily, no sounds of belligerence emerged. Maybe, then, this is the true dawn of peace in tennis. Maybe authority will be divided once and for all along the lines that golf has followed so successfully. That is, the professionals will run their own game, and the old associations will run Wimbledon and Forest Hills (akin to the British and U.S. Opens in golf), along with junior development programs and a lot of amateur tournaments. Which is the way it should be.
If not, tennis will be in danger of losing the widespread popularity it has recently come to command. Fans like historic events such as Wimbledon and Forest Hills, but they also like to see the stars of the game playing on these prestigious occasions.
Even though the Oakland A's all speak highly of Dick Williams, star Pitcher Jim (Catfish) Hunter does not want him to return as manager, unlikely as that prospect is. Hunter says, "I've come to the conclusion that we'll be better off in 1974 without Williams. All of us loved playing for him, but he has made a decision that he does not want to manage us. Now if, by some strange fate, he were to come back and manage us, I think it would hurt. How can you play for a man who does not want to be your manager?
"He doesn't want us, so we shouldn't want him."
KANSAS CITY: UP TO DATE
A counterpoint to the current chorus of antistadium sentiment (new stadiums are too expensive, too much of a tax burden, not really needed) is the voice of Joe McGuff, sports editor of the Kansas City Star. "I've become a city watcher in this job," he says, "and I like to compare my town with others. What I saw in the 1950s and '60s didn't please me. Kansas City was standing still. Forward-looking cities were accomplishing so much more, while Kansas City stagnated.
"That's not true anymore. We've got a vibrant, improving city, and you can ask anybody in our town and they'll tell you it all stems back to 1967, when we passed the bond issue that included the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex, with its stadiums for football and baseball.
"These were general obligation bonds, backed by public funds, and they had to pass by a two-thirds majority. There was some very vocal opposition, but enough support developed to just barely push it over the top. The next thing to pass was the Kemper Arena. This opens next fall, for pro basketball and pro hockey. And last December a bond issue was passed to build a convention center.