Rod Laver


Born: 9/8/1938

Australian Open 1960,1962,1969

French Open 1962,1969

Wimbledon 1961,1962,1968,1969

US Open 1962,1969

Pro Champion 1965,1966,1967

French Pro 1967

British Pro 1964,1965,1966,1967

US Pro 1964,1966,1967

(Wimbledon Pro 1967)

Rodney George Laver was the youngest of three children who all played tennis as kids. Laver's father fancied the eldest two to go far and Rod used to come along just to practice with them. But when Laver's father showed coach Charlie Hollis the three lads Hollis saw that Rod had the greatest potential of three. He said the other two were too hot headed whereas Rod was even tempered. Although he was slight in build, Laver had a dazzling array of shots and nearly always played the right shot at the right time. His temperament was strong and he had good stamina. Laver made his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open in 1956 and went out in the opening round. At Wimbledon 1959 Laver outlasted Barry MacKay in the semis before losing in straight sets to Alex Olmedo in the final. In the semis of the Australian in 1960 Roy Emerson served for the match against Laver at 5-3 in the fifth set. Then Laver raised his game and hit winners all over the court and won the match. In the final Laver was again in trouble against Neale Fraser. Fraser had a match point in the fourth set but Laver saved it and went on to win the set. Though Fraser held on in the final set and saved six match points, Laver took the set and match 8-6. Fraser gained his revenge at Wimbledon, beating Laver in four sets in the final. At the US Open Laver came from two sets to love down to beat Butch Bucholtz in the semis before losing in straight sets to Fraser in the final. At the 1961 French Open Laver lost in the semis to Manolo Santana. At Wimbledon he thrashed Chuck McKinley in the final. In the US Open final Laver was beaten by Emerson in straight sets. In the 1962 Australian Laver beat Emerson in the final. Emerson was tired after having to play 16 sets in the previous two days due to a backlog of matches. At the French Laver saved a match point against Martin Mulligan in the quarters before outlasting Fraser in five sets in the semis and Emerson in five sets in the final. He beat Mulligan again in the Wimbledon final in three very easy sets and Emerson in the US final in four sets to win the Grand Slam. Then Laver turned professional and everyone expected him to dominate the pro circuit, but at first he played second fiddle to Rosewall. Laver finished runner up to Rosewall in the 1963 World Championship Series but was a class above the other pros. In the 1964 British Pro final Laver came from 3-5 down in the fifth set to win a classic match against Rosewall. By 1965 Laver was beating Rosewall regularly and winning the majority of the pro tournaments that he entered. This continued until 1968, when open tennis finally arrived. At the 1968 French Open Laver beat Pancho Gonzales in straight sets in the semis before losing to Rosewall in four sets in the final. Laver won Wimbledon beating Arthur Ashe in the semis and Tony Roche in straight sets in the final. He lost in the fourth round of the US Open to Cliff Drysdale in five sets. At the 1969 Australian Open Laver beat Emerson and Fred Stolle before outlasting Roche in a marathon 4 hour 35 minute semi final 6-3 in the fifth. Laver outplayed Andres Gimeno in the final in straight sets. At the French Open Laver beat Stan Smith in the fourth round, Gimeno in the quarters and Tom Okker in the semis before overcoming Rosewall in the final in straight sets. At Wimbledon Laver beat Smith in five sets in the fourth round, Drysdale in the quarters in straight sets and Ashe in four sets in the semis before coming from 4-1 down in the third set to beat John Newcombe in four sets in the final. At the US Open Laver came from two sets to one down to beat Dennis Ralston in the fourth round. He then beat Roy Emerson in the quarters and Ashe in the semis before coming from a set down to beat Roche in the final to win his second Grand Slam. He remains the only player to win two Grand Slams. Defending his title at Wimbledon in 1970, Laver lost in four sets in the fourth round to home favourite Roger Taylor. At the US Open he lost in five sets in the fourth round to Ralston. At Wimbledon 1971 Laver lost in the quarters to Tom Gorman in straight sets. Then he began to scale down his career and played less events. He played his last Grand Slam event at Wimbledon 1977, where he lost in the second round to Dick Stockton. In 2000 Laver attended the Wimbledon Champions Parade. Had open tennis been around throughout Laver's career it is quite possible that he would have won the Grand Slam three times (1966, 1967 and 1969). Laver had every shot in the book and was a great match player and he played in the wooden racket era. Armed with a modern racket Laver would have been truly awesome.


HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: A.Ashe 4-0, B.Borg 0-1, J.Drobny 0-1, R.Emerson 7-2, N.Fraser 3-2, A.Gimeno 2-0, P.Gonzales 1-0, C.McKinley 1-0, J.Newcombe 1-0, A.Olmedo 0-1, R.Osuna 1-0, N.Pietrangeli 2-0, T.Roche 3-0, K.Rosewall 1-1, M.Santana 2-2, D.Savitt 0-1, P.Segura 1-0, S.Smith 3-0, F.Stolle 2-0

PRO SLAM HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: M.Anderson 1-0, A.Gimeno 5-0, P.Gonzales 2-0, A.Olmedo 3-0, K.Rosewall 5-6, F.Sedgman 3-0, P.Segura 1-0, F.Stolle 2-0

Rod Laver's Grand Slam record
Rod Laver's Pro Slam record

The Professional Tennis Archive