Australia was known worldwide in the sport of tennis with the appearance of Rod Laver. Rod Laver was born on August 9, 1938 in Queensland, Australia. He was known for being the World Number 1 tennis player for seven consecutive years and was the only tennis player to ever have won all four Grand Slam singles titles in the same year. With this kind of achievement, Laver deserved all recognition for being the greatest male player of all time.
Laver decided to leave school to pursue a career in tennis. During his amateur years, Laver was nicknamed the “Rocket” by Australian Davis Cup team captain, Harry Hopman. In the year 1956, Laver became the US junior champion and just a year later, he was crowned the Australian junior champion. It was the year 1959 when Laver’s string of successes started. That year, he reached all three finals at the Wimbledon. He won his first major singles title in 1960 at the Australian Championships and in 1961 he won his first Wimbledon singles crown. In 1962, Laver became the second player after Don Budge to win all four Grand Slam singles in the same year.
When Laver entered professional tennis, he quickly established himself among the leading professional tennis players in the world. Laver’s professional record consisted of winning the US Pro Championships five times. In 1963, Laver was ranked the Number 2 player behind Rosewall. 1964 was the start of Laver’s long reign as the Number 1 tennis player and Laver made true to his ranking with the following achievements: 1965 – 17 title wins; 1966 – 16 event wins; 1967 – 17 title wins; and in 1967 – won three tournaments unofficially called the “Professional Grand Slams”. In the year 1969, Laver did it again by winning all four Grand Slam tournaments in the same year for the second time. In 1970, Laver still remained the leading player and the leading prize money winner. In 1971, he successfully defended his title at the “Tennis Champions Classic”. It was in the year 1972 when Laver started to cut back on his tournament schedule due to back and knee injuries. In 1976, Laver semi-retired from the main tour and also signed with World Team Tennis where he was named “Rookie of the Year” at the age of 38.
Laver’s win-loss percentage places him fifth among leading open era players such as Borg, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe but ahead of players like Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. For his achievements, Laver was elevated to the Hall of Fame in 1981.