Most sport is amateur; most sportsmen play for pleasure and aren’t paid. But of course, if your knowledge of sport was restricted to the sport pages of newspapers, you might not be aware of this. Amateur sport gets little attention, except in the local Press.
It wasn’t always so.
Even after the Second World War, the broadsheet newspapers often gave as much coverage to amateur as to professional sport. Some sports – athletics and tennis – were still nominally amateur even at the highest level. Roger Bannister was a post-graduate medical student when he became the first man to run a mile in under four minutes in the summer of 1954. He retired from athletics altogether just a few months later after beating his great rival John Landy to win the 1500 metres at the Empire Games in Vancouver.
Wimbledon, like the other three major championships, remained amateur, though by the 1950s it was usual for a Wimbledon champion to turn professional and join what was known as Jack Kramer’s Circus