In the 22 years of the WCT (co-founded by Lamar Hunt, Class of 1993), the tour saw many iconic moments with the greatest players of the era. The first two championships, held in 1971 and 1972, featured iconic players of the beginning of the Open Era, with Ken Rosewall defeating Rod Laver in both years. Over the next few years, various players lifted the trophy, including Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, John Newcombe, and Björn Borg. The following years from 1977-1985 were dominated by three players, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, and John McEnroe, each winning several titles, except for Vitas Gerulaitis’s victory in 1978. In the latter half of the 1980s, a new generation of players won the title, Anders Jarryd in 1986, Miloslav Mecir in 1987, and Boris Becker in 1988. In a fitting manner, the final victor to hold the WCT finals trophy in 1989 was John McEnroe, when he won his fifth championship, breaking the four-title tie with Ivan Lendl.

The physical WCT Trophy has a bit deeper history as it was originally called the Kramer Cup for Jack Kramer’s professional team competition that started in 1961 as a professional alternative to the then-amateur Davis Cup. Kramer resented Lamar Hunt for not only the success of WCT, but also for resurrecting the physical Kramer Cup. WCT Executive Director Mike Davies (Class of 2012) recounted, “Well, Kramer can blame me for that, because it was my idea…and when I found out he was mad, I still didn’t care—the players bought the trophy in the first place. It was in Kenny Rosewall’s garage.”

(quote credit: Lamar Hunt: A Life in Sports by Michael MacCambridge ©2012, page 213)

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