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46 Interesting Facts About The Australian Tennis Legend Rod Laver

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Rod Laver is an Australian former tennis player, who is considered by many as one of the greatest players in tennis history. Here are 46 facts about the tennis legend:

Rod Laver poses at the Legends Lunch during day thirteen of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 30, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.
(Photo : Graham Denholm/Getty Images) Rod Laver poses at the Legends Lunch during day thirteen of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 30, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.
  1. Laver was the No. 1 ranked tennis player both as amateur and as professional between 1961 and 1970.
  2. He was born on August 09, 1938 in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. He was christened Rodney George Laver.
  3. He was the third of four children to Roy Laver and Melba Roffey. His father was a cattleman and a butcher. He had two brothers, Trevor and Bob, a younger sister Lois.
  4. He married Marry Benson at St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church in San Rafael, California in 1966. She is a divorcee with three children.
  5. According to Dan Maskel, the English Tennis Professional and BBC’s Voice of Tennis, Laver is technically faultless. He has aggressive ground strokes to go with serve and volley game.
    Australian tennis player Rod Laver during the Men's Singles semi-final against Ramanathan Krishnan of India on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, 5th July 1961. Laver won the match 6-2, 8-6, 6-2 and went on to win the final against Chuck McKinley.
    (Photo : Popperfoto/Getty Images) Australian tennis player Rod Laver during the Men's Singles semi-final against Ramanathan Krishnan of India on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, 5th July 1961. Laver won the match 6-2, 8-6, 6-2 and went on to win the final against Chuck McKinley.
  6. He discontinued his studies for a career in tennis. He was coached by Charlie Hollis and later by his Davis Cup captain Harry Hopman.
  7. He won the Australian Junior championship in 1957 before announcing his arrival in a big way by reaching all three final of 1959 Wimbledon Championship.
  8. He won his first grand slam of his career the 1959 Wimbledon Mixed Finals with Darlene Hard. He lost the singles final to Alex Olmedo 4-6,3-6,4-6 and the Doubles final to Emerson and Fraser combination, partnering Bob Mark.
  9. He won his first Major singles final when he defeated his compatriot Neale Fraser in five sets after being two set down in the 1960 Australian Open. He won 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 8-6, and 8-6. He also won his doubles match with Bob Mark defeating Emerson and Fraser 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 and 6-4.
  10. Laver won his first Wimbledon singles title by defeating Chuck McKinley of United States 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in 1961. He defeated Ramanathan Krishnan of India in the semi final.
    Rod Laver of Australia stands holding the Gentlemen's singles trophy after winning the Men's Singles final against his fellow countryman Tony Roche in straight sets at the 1968 Wimbledon Championships in Wimbledon, London on 6th July 1968.
    (Photo : Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images) Rod Laver of Australia stands holding the Gentlemen's singles trophy after winning the Men's Singles final against his fellow countryman Tony Roche in straight sets at the 1968 Wimbledon Championships in Wimbledon, London on 6th July 1968.
  11. In 1962, he won all the four Grand Slam Singles title in one calendar year. He is the first player after Don Budge to do so since 1938.
  12. In the same year he also won major clay court championship called “Clay Court Triple.” He won the French Open in Paris, The Italian Open in Rome and The German Open Tennis Championship in Hamburg.
  13. He helped Australia to win the 51st edition of Davis Cup before turning professional. He led Australia to 5-0 win against Mexico in the finals played at Milton Courts, Brisbane, Australia.
  14. In 1963, he became No.2 professional player in the world behind Ken Rosewall. Beginning of the year, he was losing consistently to Ken Rosewall and LewHoad. They were his nemeses.
  15. The year 1964 was the turning point in his career. He won two of the most prestigious title, the U.S. Pro Championship and Wembley Championship apart from the four important titles. He started dominating Ken Rosewall by winning 15 of the 19 matches against him.
    Australian tennis legend Rod Laver hits a forehand when hitting with Roger Federer of Switzerland during the Roger Federer Charity Match at Melbourne Park on January 8, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by )
    (Photo : Michael Dodge/Getty Images) Australian tennis legend Rod Laver hits a forehand when hitting with Roger Federer of Switzerland during the Roger Federer Charity Match at Melbourne Park on January 8, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by )
  16. In 1965, he had complete dominance over Rosewall and Gonzales. He was the No.1 professional player in 1965 with 17 titles under his belt and started dominating the men’s circuit.
  17. He had many adjectives to his name. He was called the “Rocket” sarcastically by his Davis Cup captain, Harry Hopman. He was also referred to as “The Man with Copper Hair but with Golden Touch.”
  18. Laver won the 1968 Wimbledon Singles Title in the open era defeating fellow Australian, Tony Roche in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. He also defeated Arthur Ashe en-route to final in straight sets.
  19. He was still acknowledged No.1 even with National Tennis League (NTL) and World Championship Tennis (WCT) group operating separately. He won the U.S Professional Championship and French Pro Championship, defeating John Newcombe.
  20. In 1969, he won for the second time all the four Grand Slam Tournament in one calendar year. Unlike the previous time, in 1969 both amateur and professional participated. He also set a record for winning 18 out of 32 singles tournament title he entered in a season.

  21. He set a record for winning 31 matches consecutively, from 1961 to 1970 at Wimbledon. He won the championship title in 1961, 62 and in 1968, 69 in the open era. The record was broken by Bjorn Borg in 1980’s.
  22. In the year 1969, he won South African Open, U.S Professional Championship, Philadelphia U.S Pro Indoor and Wembley British Indoor apart from the four Grand Slam of the year. He earned that year $124,000 prize money to become the first player to cross $100,000 in a year.
  23. In the 1969, US open final against him was down by a set in a slippery condition. He put on a pair of spiked shoe and went on to win the match. It was his 11 and last career grand slam singles title.
  24. In 1970, he won most of the titles and earned $201,453 in prize money. With no clear cut ranking system to determine World No.1, he was considered to have taken the honor according to John Newcombe.
  25. In 1971, he won seven titles and total prize money of $292,717. He became the first tennis player to surpass $1 million career prize money.
  26. He lost the first edition of 1971 World Championship Tennis Final to Ken Rosewall, 4-6, 6-1, 6-7, 6-7. The eight top players in points qualified for the finals. The final was rated as one of the best of all times and drew audience of 20 million. American astronaut Neil Armstrong gave the prize money.
  27. Laver helped Australia to win Davis Cup consecutively from 1959 to 1962. He was also part of 1973 winning team in the open era, when professional also participated.
    Australian tennis player Rod Laver stretches to reach a ball against Tom Okker, 27 June 1971, during the Wimbledon championships. Laver won four times the men's singles title at Wimbledon in 1961, 1962, 1968, and 1969. Throughout his career, he won twice the Grand Slam (Wimbledon, Melbourne, Roland Garros, Forest Hills), in 1962 and 1969.
    (Photo : AFP/AFP/Getty Images) Australian tennis player Rod Laver stretches to reach a ball against Tom Okker, 27 June 1971, during the Wimbledon championships. Laver won four times the men's singles title at Wimbledon in 1961, 1962, 1968, and 1969. Throughout his career, he won twice the Grand Slam (Wimbledon, Melbourne, Roland Garros, Forest Hills), in 1962 and 1969.
  28. As an Australian Davis Cup performer, he was the only one never to play in a losing series. He has a win-loss record of 16-4 and 4-0 in singles and doubles.
  29. In 1972, his tennis was affected partially due to his back and knee injuries and due to his business commitments.
  30. In 1974, by the age of 36, he was ranked World No.4. He was the oldest in open era to be ranked among the top .He won six titles out of thirteen tournaments that season.
  31. By the year 1976, Laver semi retired and participated in only handful of tournaments as he also signed up with World Team Tennis.
  32. The members of the press issued a subjective ranking taking in account before and after Open Era. He was ranked World No.1 by the press.
  33. Many experts such as Dan Maskel, John Barrett, Ted Schroeder and Tony Trabert consider him to be the “Best Player of All Time.” His credentials are longevity, proficiency on grass and clay and his behavior.
    Australian tennis player Rod Laver pictured in action during his semi-final match with India's Ramanathan Krishnan at the Wimbledon Championships in July 1961.
    (Photo : Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images) Australian tennis player Rod Laver pictured in action during his semi-final match with India's Ramanathan Krishnan at the Wimbledon Championships in July 1961.
  34. In 1981, he was inducted into “International Tennis Hall of Fame.” As an amateur and professional, he won 184 singles titles in a career spanning 23 years.
  35. He has a record of winning most titles in a single year, as an amateur, as a touring pro and as professional. He won 22 titles in 1962, 19 in 1967 and 18 in 1969.
  36. In January 2000, the centre court stadium at Melbourne Park home of Australian Open was renamed Rod Laver Arena. A sculpture of Laver adorns the park grounds.
  37. He has won 11 singles and 6 doubles apart from 3 mixed doubles Grand Slam Titles.
  38. Among his rivalries on tennis court, Rosewall, Gonzales and Emerson were the main.

  39. U.S Magazine Inside Tennis conducted a poll in 1986 with the help of 37 experts and he was ranked first on the list ahead of all past and current players.
  40. In 2000, Associated Press by its poll voted Laver as “The Male Tennis Player of the Century.”
  41. In 1969, he was awarded the “ABC Sportsman of the Year Award,” one of the premier award voted by sports supervisors and sports editors of Australian sports editors.
  42. In 1985, he was inducted into “Sports Australia Hall of Fame Award.” He was later upgraded to Legend of Australian Sports status in 2002.
  43. In July 1998, while being interviewed for a program titled “20th Century’s Greatest Athlete” by ESPN T.V, Laver had a stroke. His long time friend Tommy Tucker, the tennis pro helped him in rehabilitation.
    Former tennis player Rod Laver attends 'G'Day USA 2011' Black Tie Gala at Hollywood Palladium on January 22, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by )
    (Photo : John Sciulli/WireImage) Former tennis player Rod Laver attends 'G'Day USA 2011' Black Tie Gala at Hollywood Palladium on January 22, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by )
  44. He took to Golf after recovering from stroke, to satisfy his competitive urge. He found it easier to swing a golf club than a tennis racket due to arthritis in his wrist.
  45. In 2016, he was appointed as “Companion of the Order of Australia.” He was cited for his service to tennis as a player, representative, and as mentor national and international level.
  46. He resides in Carlsbad, California and spends time attending San Diego Chargers games on occasion.

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