International Tennis Hall of Fame to Honor ‘Rocket’ Rod Laver in July
April 20, 2009
NEWPORT, RI – The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum will honor one of the greatest champions in the sport of tennis during its annual Hall of Fame Induction Weekend this July. Rod Laver is the only tennis player to capture two “Grand Slams” – winning the Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. singles championships all in the same calendar year – a feat that has yet to be matched by any man or woman in the Open Era.
Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981, “Rocket” Rod Laver will again be in Newport July 10-12 to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of his 1969 Grand Slam triumph. The International Tennis Hall of Fame will honor Laver with a special presentation on Center Court during the Class of 2009 Induction Ceremony, a ceremony beset with tennis traditions and colorful pageantry. Laver will also take part in the weekend’s festivities, including the Rolex Hall of Fame Dinner on Saturday evening at the historic and elegant Rosecliff mansion.
In addition to celebrating his phenomenal Grand Slam feat, the Hall of Fame will officially name Laver a Life Trustee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.
“Rod Laver is arguably the best tennis player ever to swing a racquet,” said Christopher Clouser, Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “And beyond being a great champion of tennis, he is a great person and ambassador of tennis who continues to give back to our sport. For these efforts, we will bestow upon him the distinctive title of Life Trustee of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. We are excited that he will be joining us for the ceremony in Newport, and to celebrate such a tremendous milestone in his tennis career.”
During an incredible tennis career that spanned the amateur, pro and open eras, the Australian-born Laver was ranked twelve times in the World Top 10 between 1959 and 1975, reaching the World No. 1 ranking four times (1961-62, 1968-69). An attacker at the net and on the baseline, he was the complete player, capable of explosive bursts of speed, powerful passing shots and penetrating volleys. Wielding a left-handed service and his wind-blown red hair, he was a fiery sight on any court surface.
Winning the Grand Slam in singles in both 1962 and 1969 certainly sets Laver apart from all other tennis players. Laver’s tennis records note him fifth on the all-time major champions list with 20 Grand Slam championship titles, while he is tied (with Bjorn Borg, Hall of Famer 1987) at fourth place on the all-time Grand Slam Singles Champions list with eleven. Laver captured the Australian Singles title three times (1960, 1962, 1969), the French Singles title twice (1962, 1969), Wimbledon four times (1961-62, 1968-69) and the U.S. Singles championship twice (1962, 1969). He added six doubles titles and three mixed.
Laver was a strategic member of Australia’s Davis Cup team in 1959-62 and 1973, winning the Cup in each year he played. In 2001, Australia honored their countryman by dedicating the Australian Open stadium in Melbourne Park as “The Rod Laver Arena.”
The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is a non-profit organization with a mission dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines, and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide. The International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Class of 2009 Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 11, 2009 and is represented by Recent Player Monica Seles; Master Player Andres Gimeno; and Contributors Donald L. Dell; and Dr. Robert “Whirlwind” Johnson (posthumously). The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony culminates on the final weekend of the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, July 6-12, featuring 32 of the top men on the ATP World Tour competing for $500,000 in prize money. For more information regarding the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, 2009 Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, Tennis Tournaments, Events and Programs, please call 401-849-3990 or visit our website at www.tennisfame.com.