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Rod Laver

Amateur Years

After serving a year in the Australian Army in 1957, Laver was again back in the amateur rankings, and in June of 1958 surprised one of America's top-seeded players, Barry MacKay, knocking him out of the second round of London's Queen's Club Tournament, 6-3, 6-3. This victory was an announcement to the tennis world: Laver was at the gates. At the time of his victory over MacKay, Laver was ranked only eighth in Australia, demonstrating the depth of tennis talent Down Under. In 1959 Laver, who had to wait his turn until older players either retired or turned pro, was finally selected for his country's Davis Cup team, along with Neale Fraser and Roy Emerson. The Australians defeated the Americans that year, and though Laver lost twice—one of the losses in 66 games to Alex Olmedo—his performance did not go unnoticed. Arthur Dale of the New York Times noted that "Laver's performance in defeat made the victory of The Chief [Olmedo] all the more noteworthy. The twenty-one year old left-hander [Laver] made chalk shots that would have discouraged anyone less hardy." Already Laver was developing his reputation for risky play and line shots that sent the chalk spitting. Laver lost again to Olmedo at Forest Hills, going all the way to the finals.

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Famous Sports StarsTennisRod Laver - An Aussie Upbringing, Chronology, Amateur Years, Lead Up To First Grand Slam, Related Biography: Tennis Player/coach Harry Hopman - CONTACT INFORMATION, SELECTED WRITINGS BY LAVER: