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Front Page | In Depth | Wimbledon 2001
Wimbledon 2001
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Bjorn Borg
Martina Navratilova
Steffi Graf
Pete Sampras
John McEnroe
Chris Evert
Jimmy Connors
Boris Becker
Billie-Jean King
Rod Laver
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Rod Laver
Rod Laver

Born August 9, 1938, Queensland, Australia

Wimbledon titles: 1961, 1962, 1968, 1969

Runner up: 1959, 1960

Grand Slam titles: 11

Career prize money $1,564,213

The "Rockhampton Rocket" is rated by many as the greatest tennis player of all time. His two Grand Slams of all four majors in 1962 and 1969 are evidence of that.

His achievements are even more remarkable when you realise that he did not play at Wimbledon and the other great championships between turning professional in 1963 and the start of the Open era in 1968.

But the five years away did not seem to make much difference. When he did play at SW19 he reached six consecutive finals, a record only equalled by Bjorn Borg.

There is no doubt that if Laver had played in those intervening years, he would have won far more Grand Slam championships than Pete Samprasís record of 13 and could have won nine Wimbledons in a row.

In style of play, Laver was a fiercely-competitive left-hander. He combined aggressive and powerful ground strokes with lightning-quick movement and great discipline on court. In an era when swashbuckling Australians like John Newcombe and Ken Rosewall dominated the game, Laverís ruthlessness made him probably the first truly modern player.

He was the first tennis millionaire and led the way with earnings from sponsorships.

In those days, the Grand Slam was probably a slightly easier proposition than it is today. There were far fewer players on the circuit and in the early rounds he was likely to come up against county standard players who wouldnít get near the draw these days.

In addition, there were only two surfaces to contend with in the majors, grass and clay.

But few doubt that Laverís all-round abilities and character would have made him a dominant character whatever era he played in.

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