Biography of Famous Tennis Player and Athlete Rod Laver

About the biography of the famous tennis player and athlete Rod Laver, history and information.

Rod Laver

From an anthill court in Queensland to immortality at Forest Hills: Rod Laver, a small Australian powerhouse, could blast a tennis ball so hard that it would literally knock the racket out of his opponent's hand.

In 1962, he became the 2nd man in history to win the Grand Slam--Wimbledon, Australia, France, and the U.S.--in one year. It hadn't been done since Don Budge did it in 1938, the year Laver was born.

He began playing at 13 on a dirt court that his father had laid out for him. At 18, on his 1st trip to the U.S., he won the junior championship. In 1961, after several tries, Rod the Rocket took Wimbledon, using his left-handed power and wrist-whipping spinners to flatten Chuck McKinley in 55 minutes, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

It was but a prelude to 1962. He took Wimbledon again, won the Australian and French titles and came to Forest Hills with a great chance at the Grand Slam. He reached the finals and faced his Davis Cup teammate Roy Emerson, who had beaten him the year before. But Laver would not be stopped. He won 6-2, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

The 1962 Grand Slam was accomplished against amateurs. By 1969, the championships had been opened to pros and the best players in the world were Rod's competition. He battled past John Newcombe in a stirring match to win the Wimbledon title for the 4th time. Again, he took the Australian and French crowns. Once more he visited Forest Hills, this time with a $16,000 1st prize at stake and he reached the finals with a 2nd Grand Slam (and 1st Open Grand Slam) within his reach.

His opponent was fellow Australian Tony Roche. Rain had softened the court and the footing was unsure. But Laver triumphed 7-9, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. He was acknowledged as the greatest tennis player alive.

In 1971, Laver achieved the seemingly impossible feat of winning 13 straight matches against the cream of the world's pros in the Tennis Champions Classic. His total prize money for that year was a record $292,717.

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