The Rocket Rod Laver

Rod Laver

From Love Thirty: Three Decades of Champions, by Rex Bellamy, published in 1990:

Rodney George Laver was the most astounding player I ever saw, and may have been the greatest ever. His record is without parallel. Consider what that record might have been but for his exclusion from 21 Grand Slam tournaments when he was, presumably, at his physical peak, between the ages of 24 and 29. Had professionals been eligible for those events, Lew Hoad might have had the better of laver for a year or so and Ken Rosewall would always have been worth an even-money bet. But one has to believe that from 1963 to 1967 Laver would have collected another bunch of major championships and perhaps a third Grand Slam. Laver overlapped and dominated two Grand Slam eras separated by seven years. He did so because he had it all. Because he was adventurer and artist in one. Because he could raise his game to any level demanded of it.

Laver was only 5ft 8 1/2in tall and usually weighed around 10st 71lb. But he had gigantic left arm and his speed and agility were breathtaking. The circumference of his left forearm was 12in and the wrist measured 7in. The strength of that wrist and forearm gave him blazing power without loss of control, even when he was on the run at full stretch. The combination of speed and strength, especially wrist-strength, enabled him to hit ferocious winners when way out of court – often when almost under the noses of the front ow of spectators. And he was a bow-legged, beautifully balanced, and as quick as a cat. He had some glorious matches with Rosewall – and with Tom Okker, who could match Laver’s speed and panache but was second-best in terms of strength and technical versatility. Laver also had the eyes of a hawk and fast anticipation and reactions. Like Budge, he was feckle-faced and had copper-coloured hair. Another distinguished feature was a long nose that, in spite of the kink in it, gave a false impression of hauteur. For much of his career Laver was confessedly shy and self-conscious, but there was no ‘side’ to him. He was easy going – except on court.

Marty Riessen once summed up Laver admirably: “To look at him walking around, you wouldn’t think he was world champion. He doesn’t stand out. His stature isn’t something you expect, like a Gonzales or a Hoad. Off the court, his personality seems almost retiring. But it’s as if he goes into a telephone booth and changes. On court he’s aggressive. Such a big change of personality – when a lot of players play the same as they act. What impresses me is his quickness. Speed enables him to recover when he’s in trouble. And the thing I learned from playing Laver is how consistent one can be with power. It’s amazing how he can keep hitting with such accuracy. He combines everything. There are a lot of good competitors. But he’s fantastic.”

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Article written by Dave

I took tennis lessons when I was a kid. Actually, let me rephrase that, my parent’s signed me up for tennis lessons every year. I didn’t really have any interest, but being that my father was an avid tennis player and ranked as high as number 2 on his high school tennis team (a fact that he was to continually remind me of throughout my formative years as a player) I didn’t have any choice. I not only took free tennis lessons in the park every summer, but being that we lived around the block from a tennis club, I was signed up there in the winter. Every Tuesday and Thursday I was hitting forehands and backhands, just me against the relentless ball machine. However, it didn’t take long for my love of the game to grow.

Tennis racquets have come a long way since the days of wooden and oversized racquets. My dad favored an old school wooden contraption. When I was growing up playing tennis it was all the rage to one of those giant, oversized racquets. They were more equipped for self-defense than optimizing power and accuracy. That’s ok. It was a fad. I found my true racquet when I first picked up a Dunlop Biomimetic 300 tennis racquet. With that racquet, my game improved. Effortless and accurate, the engineering and construction of Dunlop Biomimetic racquets bring tennis to a new level.

What makes these racquets so great? Dunlop Biomimetic racquets are the perfect marriage of nature and technology. Biomimetics is a concept that studies the natural world, and then applies what it sees to the development of sporting technology. They are constructed out of 100% Aerogel enhanced graphite. This makes them lighter than other racquets and easier to control. They are also built with Aeroskin, which reduces aerodynamic drag. The Dunlop Biomimetic 300 tennis racquet is all about power and racquet control. The technology is seamless and beautiful. It is as if the Dunlop Biomimetic 300 tennis racquet was the natural extension of your body.

The right racquet makes all the difference in tennis. How my father could have played with a wooden racquet is beyond me. Then again, those oversized racquets I used to play with were not much better. Technology has changed the game. With a sport as difficult as tennis, it is a good idea to get all the help you can get.

The Museum holds personal collections of equipment, dress and archive material relating to Wimbledon champions, pioneer players and stars of the court from each generation. This collection is continually updated with new material from competitors on the current professional circuit.

If you enjoy tennis, history of tennis and want to know more about Wimbledon behind the scenes, a visit to the Wimbledon Museum is a must-do. You can also take a Wimbledon guided tour, read my recap here.

A few pics of the player memorabilia collection.

Wimbledon Museum

Outfit worn by Bjorn Borg when he won his fifth consecutive Wimbledon victory in 1980: close-fitting Fila shirt, short shorts, headband, wristband, socks and Diadora shoes.

Wimbledon Museum

Wimbledon Museum
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