- August 09, 1938
- Place of Birth:
- Rockhampton, Queensland
- Induction Category:
- Recent Player
- Year of Induction:
- Highest Ranking
World Singles Ranking: 1
A supreme shotmaker who seemed ceaselessly to produce his greatest tennis under pressure, Rod Laver—“The Rocket”—was at any moment capable of explosive bursts of topspin wizardry and sparkling winners hit at wildly improbable angles from anywhere on the court. The only player ever to capture two Grand Slams, the left-handed Laver with the immense forearm was remarkably modest for someone of his stature, winning and losing with equanimity, setting the gold standard for tennis over and over again.
-- Catching Up with Rod Laver on the 50th Anniversary of the Grand Slam! --
Even among the greatest legends of tennis, Aussie great Rod Laver stands out in an elite category of the best of the best. This year, as "The Rocket" celebrates the 50th anniversary of his first Grand Slam, the Hall of Fame had a chance to catch up with Rod for a few questions when he was presented with his official Hall of Fame ring at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.
When you were competing, did you have a sense of what a feat you were accomplishing by winning all four majors in one year?
Well no, at the time, I didn't think of it as going for the Grand Slam. It was the Australian or it was Wimbledon that I was trying to win. I was focused on winning one leg and then going from there. Of course, it was a great moment to have accomplished winning all the titles. I cherished it very much.
Did you ever think you would do it again?
No, I accepted I was turning pro and was just fortunate that Open tennis came around and I had the opportunity to enter again.
What are your thoughts on how the game has evolved since your playing days?
Well, equipment has made a huge difference. It's just a different game now - the larger racquet heads, the strings have changed. These guys just couldn't do what they do now with a wooden racquet. The players are much taller and athletic, which makes a big difference. In today's market- the training, the coaching, the racquets, it has all changed the sport, and it's nice that the players can enjoy being better athletes as a result.
Is there a current player who you most enjoy watching?
I enjoy watching all the top guys - Murray, Nadal, Djokovic, Federer. It's great tennis- the consistency and lack of errors really just make it fantastic to watch. I watch a lot of matches on television, and I enjoy watching them live when I can. I watched a few at Indian Wells, which was fun.
How do you spend your time these days?
I play a little golf and I join in on some charity events now and then. It's always nice to meet the people running the events, and to meet other athletes who participate.
Tennis is such a global sport, and it's certainly taken you all over the world. Tell us, what destination is really the best tennis-city you've been experienced?
I'd have to say I really enjoyed going to London. The importance of tournament and crowd participation always made it nice. There's a great loyalty to tennis from the English. Plus, it's a very international tournament- always nice to see top players from all over the world represented.
Grand Slam Record
- Singles Champion 1960, 1962, 1969
- Doubles Champion 1959-61, 1969
- Singles Champion 1962, 1969
- Doubles Champion 1961
- Mixed Doubles Champion 1961
- Singles Champion 1961-62, 1968-69
- Doubles Champion 1971
- Mixed Doubles Champion 1959-1960
US National Championship
- Singles Champion 1962, 1969
- Davis Cup Team Member 1959-62, 1973