Although he had always championed the players’ cause, Chatrier became torn when the inevitable confrontation between amateur officialdom and the increasingly militant professionals came to a head with the Wimbledon boycott of 1973. The advent of Billie Jean King’s World Team Tennis in America also strained relations when Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors and other top stars signed up to play in the summer months.
The WTT playing schedule left a gap for Wimbledon but not the French Open, so Borg’s six title-winning years were interrupted in 1976 & ’77 when he did not play. Earlier, Chatrier had revealed the stubborn, pugnacious side of his nature by refusing to allow Connors to play during the most successful year of his career (1974) even though he had arranged his schedule so that he could play in Paris. He had signed with WTT and Chatrier refused him entry.
Apart from his work in France and many years as president of the Men’s International Tennis Professional Council, Chatrier’s battle to get tennis back into the Olympics became a major part of his life’s work. Hiring the tennis writer David Gray as his Secretary General, the pair set about persuading the International Olympic Committee, of which Chatrier became a member in 1988, to allow tennis entry as an exhibition sport at Los Angeles in 1984 and rejoin as a full medal sport after 64 years’ exile at Seoul in 1988.