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The Handsome Eight were eight professional tennis players that Lamar Hunt signed in 1968 for his newly formed tour, World Championship Tennis (WCT). Taken together with a rival group of another half-dozen professionals such as Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver, so many of the top players were now lost to amateur tennis that an irresistible impetus was given to the need to create Open Tennis, which would let both professional and amateur players compete in the same tournaments. The first Open tournaments were held in 1968.
The so-called "Handsome Eight" were Nikola Pilić of Yugoslavia, Butch Buchholz and Dennis Ralston of the United States, Pierre Barthes of France, Cliff Drysdale of South Africa, Roger Taylor of Great Britain, and John Newcombe and Tony Roche of Australia. All of them were fine players, with many amateur titles to their names, but only Newcombe and Roche were quite at the very highest level of the game as exemplified by Rosewall and Laver.
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