Wins Second And Historic Grand Slam
Laver's first strong competition in his run for a second Grand Slam came early in the year at the Australian Open when he and Roche played 80 games over four hours under the melting Brisbane sun in the semifinals. The second set alone was a 22-20 marathon lasting longer than many full matches. Both players resorted to the old Australian trick of sticking cabbage leaves in their hats to avoid sunstroke. Surviving that, partly as the result of a questionable line call against Roche, Laver had a relatively easy final, defeating Andres Gimeno in straight sets. There was another scare at the French open when another Australian, Dick Crealy, took a couple sets off him in the second round, but Laver came back to win that one and ultimately beat Rosewall in straight sets in the finals. Laver was again challenged at Wimbledon, two sets down in the second round, but went on to win that match and subsequent rounds against Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe, and John Newcombe to take Wimbledon for the fourth time.
Laver moved on to the U.S. Open, still played on grass in 1969, ready for a repeat of his 1962 amateur Grand Slam. Record crowds greeted this first hyped U.S. Open, until the rains set in. Still Laver prevailed, cruising through opponents, and ultimately having to wear spikes on the slippery court in the final against Roche, which he won in four sets. The prize money presented him that day—a check for $16,000—took second place to Laver's elation at his second slam. This one, also, was sweeter than his first, for in 1962 some of the best players in the world had already turned pro and thus had not been allowed to play. In 1969, Laver met the best in the world, amateur or pro, and bested them all.
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: