Sets The Pro Example
For Laver, 1970 was a letdown after the glory of 1969. Not only was he unable to retain any of his Grand Slam titles, but he also lost the U.S. Pro title for the first time since 1966. One consolation, however, was the fact that he became the first player to exceed $200,000 in annual earnings in the pro ranks, winning more prize money than
golf's leading money earner that year, Lee Trevino. The following year, though failing to win any major tournaments but the Italian Open, Laver was victorious in six of 25 smaller tournaments, winning 78 of 86 matches. His prize earnings for that year escalated to $292,717, making him the first career millionaire in professional tennis. The World Championship of Tennis was held in 1972, in Dallas, Texas, with Rosewall and Laver once again doing battle in what some observers have called the greatest match of the century, a five-set battle that has been "credited with establishing tennis as a sport worth televising," according to Mike Lupica in an Esquire article.
In 1973, pros were allowed to compete in Davis Cup for the first time, and Laver teamed up with John Newcombe to end the United States' five-year stranglehold on the cup. Laver also played a big part in Australia's victories in the 1972, 1974, and 1975 World Cups, a team competition which has since been discontinued. Laver continued to play on the pro circuit until 1978. As late as 1976, at 38 years of age, he signed with San Diego in World Team Tennis. When he finally decided to call it quits in 1978, he left behind an illustrious career including two Grand Slams, 11 major titles, 47 pro titles, and 13 years in the World Top Ten. Additionally, he had earned over $1.5 million in his career, making him the all-time money winner of his day.
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: