1 minute read

Rod Laver

An Aussie Upbringing, Chronology, Amateur Years, Lead Up To First Grand Slam, Related Biography: Tennis Player/coach Harry HopmanCONTACT INFORMATION, SELECTED WRITINGS BY LAVER:

1938-

Australian tennis player

Rod "Rocket" Laver has been called the greatest tennis player of the twentieth century, and for good reason. He is the only player in the history of tennis to win two Grand Slams—taking the singles titles of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open in a single year. His first Grand Slam came in 1962, while he was still an amateur, but when later that year he turned professional, he was no longer eligible to play those tournaments. With the advent of the Open era in 1968, however, pros like Laver were once again allowed to compete in the Grand Slam tournaments, and the Australian wonder once again scored the Royal Flush of tennis, winning his second Grand Slam in 1969. Tennis historians contend that, had Laver been able to play in those intervening years, he may have won as many as nine Wimbledons in a row and no telling how many Grand Slams.

A small man, Laver is credited with bringing power to the game, turning his left-handed topspin into an offensive weapon, and influencing future generations from John McEnroe to Pete Sampras. His blend of aggressive play and rapid movement makes him one of the first truly modern players in the sport, and his record of 11 major titles held for many years into the Open era. Laver was the first tennis millionaire, earning almost $300,000 in tournaments in 1971, an unheard of amount up to that time. When he retired in 1978, he had earned over $1.5 million on the courts, thus paving the way for other tennis professionals to make a living from the sport from winnings, sponsorships, and endorsements. In both his style of play and his earnings as a professional, Laver thus became a model for later players and helped pave the way for modern tennis.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Address: Rancho Mirage, CA.

SELECTED WRITINGS BY LAVER:

(With Jack Pollard) How to Play Winning Tennis, Mayflower, 1970.

(With Bud Collins) The Education of a Tennis Player, Simon & Schuster, 1971.

(With Bud Collins, editors) Rod Laver's Tennis Digest, Follett, 1973.

(With Roy Emerson and Barry Tarshis) Tennis for the Bloody Fun of It, Quadrangle, 1976.

228 Tennis Tips, DBI Books, 1977.

Sketch by J. Sydney Jones

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsTennis