It’s Australia Day today (26 January) so I am writing about a truly great Australian; Rod Laver.
Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park is named after the great Rod Laver, who won the first of his two Grand Slams 50 years ago. He is the only player to win the Grand Slam twice.
Given the level of talent and fitness that’s required to win even one Grand Slam, it blows me away that Rod Laver won the whole slam once in 1962, let alone winning it again 7 years later in 1969.
Here’s an interview that Rod Laver did for Australian Open TV this week
Watch an ESPN video of Rod Laver talking to Roger Federer
In the video above Rod describes having Rod Laver Arena named after him as the crown jewel of his whole career.
A few more Rod Laver facts*:
- He was raised on a cattle farm outside Rockhampton, north of Brisbane
- Wins include 11 Grand Slam singles titles, nine mixed and doubles title, six Davis Cup championships
- His first major title was at the Australian Championships in Brisbane in 1960
- In 1981 he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame
- In 1998 he suffered a stroke and was told by a doctor that he wouldn’t play tennis again. This motivated him to hit tennis balls which got his movement back so he didn’t have to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
- The Melbourne Park Arena formerly known as Centre Court was officially named after Rod Laver in January 2000. It is abbreviated to RLA.
- Although several other players have accomplished a Career Grand Slam, no other man has won all the Grand Slam singles titles in the same year. Due credit to Djokovic for winning three out of four last year.
- Read more details about Rod Laver’s career.
*Information sources include the Australian Open program and Australian Tennis magazine, January 2012 edition)
What a great guy, what a great tennis player, what a great Australian!
Until next time
Grand Slam Gal
The thing that really stands out to me is that Rod Laver was the last man to win the whole slam, that shows how difficult it is, and how incredible that Rafa has won 3 Grand Slam tournaments in a row in 2010 and Djokovic won 3 Grand Slam Tournaments in 2011.
What a great article GSG. I really enjoyed reading about Rod Laver who was one of my tennis idols when I was playing small time in the 60′s. Frank Sedgman was another who really impressed but does not seem to get a mention as often as some of the other greats of that era.
Given his achievements you’d think that Melbourne park be renamed in his honour not just the main court.