Class of 2009
World No. 3 (1962)
Grand Slam Results
1-time major champion, 1-time finalist
Member of the Spanish Davis Cup 1958-1960, 1972-1973
Overall Record 23-10
Singles Record 18-5
Doubles Record 5-5
After he turned 30 years old, Rod Laver won the Grand Slam. There are legions of tennis Hall of Famers who won majors and assorted championships in their 30s, and Spanish baseliner Andrés Gimeno added his name to the record books when at 34 years, 10 months and 1 day old he became the oldest player to win the French Open in 1972.
Seeded No. 6 at Roland Garros, Gimeno was buoyed by Ilie Năstase being upset in the first round. He breezed through his first two rounds and then needed to comeback from being 2-1 sets down against American Clark Graebner in the third round, 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1. In the quarterfinals, he defeated Stan Smith for the only time in six meetings, 6-1, 7-9, 6-0, 7-5, and found himself in another five-set pickle in the semifinals against Russian Alex Metreveli. His all-court game was just enough to muster a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 victory. In the finals against Frenchman Patrick Proisy, who had upset No. 4 Manuel Orantes in the semifinals, Proisy captured the first set 6-4, but Gimeno fostered a potent turnaround, taking the next three sets in dominating fashion, 4-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1 victory.
Three years prior to his French title, Gimeno was on the brink of capturing the Australian Nationals as the No. 9 seed. He produced the event’s biggest upset in the third round, dismantling Ken Rosewall in three sets (7-5, 6-1, 6-4), only the third time he’d register a win over the master in 13 attempts. His quarterfinal and semifinal matches were routine three-set victories, but once the final arrived, he was paired against Laver, who was en route to his Grand Slam and won 6-3, 6-4, 7-5. Gimeno reached the Wimbledon semifinal in 1970 (6-3, 8-6, 6-0 loss against John Newcombe) and advanced to the US Open fourth round in both 1969 and 1972.
While Gimeno won the 1971 German Open impressively over Hungarian Peter Szoke, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 and teamed with Aussie John Alexander to win the doubles over Dick Crealy and Allan Stone, 6-4, 7-5, 7-9, 6-4, some of his best results came as a professional. He reached the finals of the U.S and French Pro in 1967, the Wembley Pro in 1965 and a previous French Pro in 1962. Laver was a particular foil, defeating him in all championship finals except the 1962 French Pro, where he was felled by Rosewall.
After his playing career, Gimeno founded his own tennis club in Barcelona and worked as a tennis commentator on Spanish television broadcasts.
Australian Open: F 1969
French Open: W 1972
Wimbledon: SF 1970