Ken Rosewall

KEN ROSEWALL (AUSTRALIA)

Born: 2/11/1934

Australian Open 1953,1955,1971,1972

French Open 1953,1968

US Open 1956,1970

Pro Champion 1962,1963,1964

French Pro 1958,1960,1961,1962,1963,1964,1965,1966

British Pro 1957,1960,1961,1962,1963

US Pro 1963,1965

Ken Rosewall was the son of two tennis fanatics. Ever since his earliest days he spent time on the tennis court. He had his first racket at the age of 3. He became one of Australia’s top juniors, along with Lew Hoad, and the pair were nicknamed the ‘twins’ because they were the same age. However, their playing styles couldn’t have been more different. Even at 11 years old, Rosewall’s steadier play beat Hoad’s erratic shotmaking. Though few could beat Hoad at his best, Rosewall rarely had a bad day, and he remained a contender at Grand Slam events into his forties. Rosewall was short in stature and had a weak serve but his backhand was deadly. He sliced it like a rapier and placed it with pinpoint accuracy. Rosewall's greatest strength was his anticipation. Rosewall made his Grand Slam debut in the 1951 Australian Open and the following year he lost in the Australian quarters to Merv Rose in five sets. At the 1953 Australian Open Rosewall was still only 18. He beat Seixas in semis with great passing shots and lobs beating Seixas at the net to win in four sets. Rosewall won the first 9 games of the final against Rose as Rose was constantly overhitting. Rosewall won 6-0,6-3,6-4 to become the youngest champion in the event’s history. At the French Open Rosewall beat Enrique Morea in five sets in the semis before beating Seixas in four sets in the final. At the US Rosewall beat Sven Davidson 11-9 in the fifth set in the quarters before losing easily to Tony Trabert in the semis. At the 1954 Australian Rosewall lost in the semis to Rose in five sets. At Wimbledon he beat Bob Falkenburg in the third round, Ashley Cooper in the fourth round, Rex Hartwig from two sets to one down in the quarters and Trabert from two sets to one down in the semis before losing in four sets to Jaroslav Drobny in the final. At the US Rosewall beat Art Larsen from two sets to one down in the quarters before losing in straight sets to Hartwig in the semis. At the 1955 Australian Rosewall beat Cooper in the quarters in straight sets. In the semis he met Tony Trabert and Trabert found that Rosewall’s forehand could be as fearsome as his famous backhand on its day. Rosewall won in straight sets. In the final Rosewall's returning was the key to victory against the big serving Lew Hoad. Hoad made a lot of unforced errors and Rosewall made very few. Rosewall won in straight sets. At Wimbledon he beat Davidson in straight sets in the quarters before losing in four sets to Neilsen in the semis. At the US Rosewall beat Seixas in the semis before losing in straight sets to Trabert in the final. In the 1956 Australian Rosewall beat Mal Anderson in the quarters and Herb Flam in the semis before losing to Hoad in four sets in the final. At Wimbledon he beat Larsen in the fourth round and Seixas in five sets in the semis before losing to Hoad in four sets in the final. At the US he beat Dick Savitt in the quarters in five sets, Seixas in the semis in straight sets and Hoad in four sets in the final to deny him the Grand Slam. Then Rosewall turned professional and lost the 1957 World Championship Series to Pancho Gonzales 50-26. That year he won his first pro slam at Wembley in the British Pro. In a thrilling final he overcame Pancho Segura 6-4 in the fifth set. In 1960 Rosewall finished runner up to Gonzales in a four man World Championship Series that also involved Pancho Segura and Alex Olmedo. Rosewall then became the top pro in the early 1960s. In 1962 he won a classic match against Hoad in the final of the British Pro. In 1963 he won a six man World Championship Series that included rookie pro Rod Laver. It wasn't until 1965 that Laver took over the mantle of King of the pros. Rosewall's record in the pro slams was very impressive and he had leading head to head records against everyone except Andres Gimeno, who he was tied with 3 wins each. He won nine matches against his old rival Hoad and didn't lose to him once! He won the French Pro seven times in a row and eight times in all. He won the British Pro five times and the US Pro twice. The game went open in 1968. Rosewall beat Andres Gimeno in five sets in the semis and Rod Laver in four sets in the final to win the first Open Slam, the 1968 French Open. At the US Open he lost in four sets to Tom Okker in the semis. At the 1969 French Open Rosewall beat Fred Stolle in the quarters and Tony Roche in the semis before losing in straight sets to Laver in the final. At Wimbledon 1970 Rosewall came close to winning the one Grand Slam title to elude him. After a valiant effort he lost to John Newcombe in five sets in the final. At the US Open he beat Newcombe in straight sets in the semis and Roche in four sets in the final. In the 1971 Australian Rosewall was in brilliant form, not dropping a set en route to the title, and beating Arthur Ashe in the final. At Wimbledon Rosewall lost easily to Newcombe in the semis. At the 1972 Australian Rosewall faced fellow veteran Mal Anderson in the final and won in straight sets to win his eight Grand Slam title, 19 years after his first. At the 1973 US Open Rosewall lost in the semis to Newcombe in straight sets. At Wimbledon 1974 the 39 year old Rosewall beat Newcombe in four sets in the quarters before coming from two sets to love down and two match points down to beat Stan Smith in the semis. In the final he lost easily to Connors in straight sets. At the US Open Rosewall beat Newcombe in four sets in the semis before winning just two games against Connors in the final. At the 1976 Australian Open he lost in four sets in the semis to Mark Edmondson. At the 1977 Australian (Jan.) Rosewall beat Edmondson in the quarters before losing in four sets to Tanner in the semis. He played his final Grand Slam event at the Australian in 1978 aged 44 and lost in the third round to Peter Feigl 10-8 in the fifth set having led two sets to love. The idea that Rosewall is a player of lesser stature because he didn't win Wimbledon is complete nonsense. He didn't play in the event from the ages of 22 to 32. The fact that he was still good enough to reach the Wimbledon final at 39 was testament to his extraordinary longevity. Apart from Rosewall, the only other men who won Grand Slam titles in their late 30s were Herbert Lawford, Arthur Gore, Norman Brookes, Bill Larned and Bill Tilden, all pre-war players (and all except Tilden pre-First world war players). Rosewall won more Grand Slam/Pro Slam titles than anyone and his record is unlikely to be surpassed.

© GRAND SLAM TENNIS ARCHIVE

HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: M.Anderson 2-0, A.Ashe 1-1, J.Connors 0-2, A.Cooper 2-0, S.Davidson 2-1, J.Drobny 0-1, M.Edmondson 1-1, R.Emerson 1-0, B.Falkenburg 1-0, A.Gimeno 1-1, L.Hoad 2-2, A.Larsen 3-0, R.Laver 1-1, I.Nastase 1-0, J.Newcombe 3-3, T.Roche 3-2, M.Rose 1-2, D.Savitt 1-0, V.Seixas 6-0, S.Smith 2-0, F.Stolle 2-0, R.Tanner 1-1, T.Trabert 2-2

PRO SLAM HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: M.Anderson 9-1, J.Asboth 1-0, A.Cooper 5-0, A.Gimeno 3-3, P.Gonzales 3-0, L.Hoad 9-0, J.Kramer 3-0, R.Laver 6-5, A.Olmedo 4-0, B.Riggs 1-0, F.Sedgman 3-0, P.Segura 5-1, T.Trabert 3-2

Ken Rosewall's Grand Slam record
Ken Rosewall's Pro Slam record

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