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Rod Laver Bio And Facts

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Rod Laver

Rod Laver is an Australian tennis legend who holds many records for his time and many that still stand today. This left handed player was one of the most incredible players of all time, racking up wins in the pre and post open era. This legendary player was considered one of the best players of all time. Through his career, he has accumulated many title wins, in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. While all of his rankings come from his singles playing, he still is a dominant force in doubles and mixed doubles. He also holds 72 national titles and has amassed an impressive number of prize money winnings.

Over his career, Rod Laver has proven to be a dominant force in the sport and has inspired many others to take up the sport and create their own legacy.

  • Birthday: August 9th, 1938 (09-08-1938)
  • Net Worth: $20 Million
  • Occupation: Retired professional tennis player and philanthropist
  • Height: 5'8" (1.73 m)
  • Weight: 150 lbs (68.04 kg)
  • Position: Singles and doubles tennis
  • Years Active: 1957-1979
  • Career Wins: 652
  • Career Losses: 161
  • Nicknames: Rocket

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Tennis Career

Rod Laver was introduced into the sport of tennis as a young age, being the son of two tournament lawn tennis players. His first overseas tour was in 1956 and his first notable tour win was in 1959 when he beat his opponents in the Australian doubles championship and Wimbledon mixed doubles. Laver won the Australian Singles in 1960 and after that, his career took off, collecting many wins and tournament wins through his time in the professional stage.

Officially turning professional in 1963, he was a dominant player, racking up wins including the first open Wimbledon championship. Because of his incredible playing style and the fact that he is left handed, he dominated the scene, being the first professional tennis player to surpass the $1,000,000 mark in career prize money. He is known for being the best player to ever live. After his incredible career, retiring in 1976, he had amassed an impressive 200 singles titles and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981.


Titles and Awards

Rod Laver is one of the winningest tennis players in the history of tennis and to list his titles and award would be an incredible list. A few of the most significant include:

  • His first notable win was the Australian Championships in 1960, solidifying him as a significant threat to the tennis community.
  • He won his first Wimbledon title in 1961.
  • From 1968 to 1975 his average title wins per year was 9.
  • He was awarded the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame in 1993 and the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981.

Through his incredible career, Laver has won countless titles and additionally been awarded many other titles hailing him as one of the best tennis players of all time and especially of the 20th century. Not only has he helped shape modern day tennis, but has been a model for pro tennis players to strive for.


Personal Life

Born in Rockhampton, Australia, Laver was introduced to sports at a very young age. Not only did he excel, but he dropped out from high school to pursue his passion for tennis. He worked on a cattle farm as a kid and that made him a strong athlete and toughened him up significantly. His early love for sports kickstarted his love and passion for the game. He has had to overcome some injuries that could have ended his career or even his life. In 1998, Laver suffered a huge stroke that could have easily killed him, but he survived to play another day.

Through his incredible career, not only has he been able to be an amazing husband, but an amazing father as well. In 1966, Laver married Mary Benson and then soon had one son. Unfortunately, Mary passed away in 2012 at the age of 84. Laver currently lives in Carlsbad, California.


Fun Facts

  • Laver has a record for winning the most titles in one year, winning 22 in 1962, 19 in 1967, and 18 in 1969.
  • His famous rivalries included Ken Rosewall, Pancho Gonzales, and Roy Emmerson (another Australian tennis professional).
  • While not the number one player in the world, U.S. Magazine conducted polls and with the assistance of 37 tennis experts, ranked him first on their list, even ahead of all current players.
  • Laver suffered a stroke in 1998 during an interview with ESPN for "20th Century's Greatest Athlete."
  • After suffering that serious stroke, he took up golf in order to satisfy his urge to compete and found it easier to do the motion of swinging a golf club.
  • As an Australian Davis Cup athlete, he never lost a series. He has a win and loss record of 16-4 and 4-0 for singles and doubles respectively.


How did Rod Laver get his nickname?

Laver was commonly known as 'The Rocket' throughout his incredible career. Many do not know why that nickname stuck. Some believe that it came from his ability to chase down balls and smash them for winners. In his memoirs, he said that he became 'The Rocket,' ironically because he was not fast or agile. This name stuck when he was asked "You're the Rockhampton Rocket, aren't you?"

Does Rod Laver play any other sports?

While being an incredible and legendary tennis player, Laver finds solace in other sports, especially since he has been getting older. After suffering that serious stroke, he took up golf in order to satisfy his urge to compete and found it easier to do the motion of swinging a golf club. As a kid, he was specifically a tennis player, because he was very talented at an early age and never branched to any other major sports.