Legends of the game # 2 – Rod Laver

The amount of major titles probably would have been far more if he was not banned from playing in the majors from 1963 to 1967 and part of 1968 because he turned professional. Laver won the amateur Grand Slam in 1962 and then turned pro in 1963. Turning pro prevented him from entering the prestigious major tournaments (Australian, French, Wimbledon and US Championships) for five years. Laver played in the powerful Pro Tour in those years, winning eight Pro Majors in those years including the Pro Grand Slam in 1967 which consisted of the French Pro, Wembley Pro and the US Pro Championships. 

Laver helped Australia win the Davis Cup four consecutive times from 1959–62. In 1973, professionals were permitted to play in the Davis Cup for the first time, and Laver was on a winning team for the fifth time, claiming two singles and a doubles rubber in the final as Australia beat the United States 5–0.

Laver was introduced into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981. He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1970. Rod Laver retired from tennis in 1978.

The Centre Court at Melbourne Park was re-named in his honour in 2000.

Major Titles

1959 – Australian Doubles (w. Bob Mark); Wimbledon Mixed Doubles (w. Darlene Hard)

1960 – Australian Singles; Australian Doubles (w. Bob Mark); Wimbledon Mixed Doubles (w. Darlene Hard)

1961 – Wimbledon Singles; Australian Doubles (w. Bob Mark); French Doubles (w.Roy Emerson); and French Mixed Doubles (w. Darlene Hard)

1962 – GRAND SLAM – Australian Singles; French Singles; Wimbledon Singles; U.S. Singles

1968 – Wimbledon Singles

1969 – GRAND SLAM – Australian Open Singles; French Open Singles; Wimbledon Singles; U.S. Open Singles; and Australian Open Doubles (w.Roy Emerson)

1971 – Wimbledon Doubles (w.Roy Emerson)

“The time your game is most vulnerable is when you’re ahead, never let up. The next point — that’s all you must think about.” Rod Laver

Steven Thorne