Rod Laver MBE was born 9 August 1938, in Rockhampton, Australia and is a former World No. 1 player for seven consecutive years, from 1964 to 1970. He is the only tennis player to have twice won all four Grand Slam singles titles in the same year — first as an amateur in 1962 and second as a professional in 1969. He is the only male player during the open era to have won a calendar year Grand Slam. Laver is rated, along with Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg as one of the greatest male tennis players of all time by many experts and polls.
As an amateur, Laver was a somewhat flashy player, often a late starter. He had to learn to control his adventurous shotmaking and integrate percentage tennis into his game when he turned professional. In his prime, he could adapt his style to all surfaces and to all conditions. Laver had a great record in five-set-matches, often turning things around with subtle changes of tactics or by simply hitting his way out of danger.
Laver turned professional after completing the Grand Slam in 1962. He quickly established himself among the leading professional players such as Pancho Gonzales and Ken Rosewall. During the next seven years, Laver won the U.S. Pro Championships five times, including four in a row beginning in 1966. In the first half of 1963, Laver was beaten badly by both Rosewall and Hoad. Hoad won the first 8 matches against Laver, and Rosewall won 11 out of 13. By the end of the year, however, with six tournament titles, Laver had become the No. 2 professional player behind Rosewall.
In 1973, Laver won seven tournaments and successfully participated in the semifinals and final of the Davis Cup, where he won all six of his rubbers for Australia. The following year, Laver won six of 13 tournaments and ended the year as World No. 4 on the computer. At 36, he was the oldest player during the open era to have been included in the year-ending top five. In 1975, Laver set a record for WCT tournaments by winning four titles and 23 consecutive matches but in 1976, Laver semi-retired from the main tour, playing only a few selected events. He also signed with World Team Tennis, where he became "Rookie of the Year" at the age of 38.
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