Rod Laver is considered amongst many experts to be one of the top tennis players the world has ever seen.
In an era dominated by swashbuckling Australians such as John Newcombe and Ken Roswall, the ruthlessness of Laver made him the first truly modern player.
Leading the way with earnings from sponsorships he was the first tennis millionaire, his achievements made even more amazing when you think of the fact he didnt play in the majors a large portion of his career, and when he did he reached six consecutive finals.
Born August 9th 1938 in Rockhampton Australia, Laver was the only tennis player to ever win all four Grand Slam singles titles twice in one year, making him the number one player in the world. They say charisma and tenacity cant be taught and in Lavers case this was right, he had one of the strongest work ethics in the game, spending hours upon hours on the practice courts. And it showed in his matches.
As once said by one of Lavers fellow Aussies and many rivals, John Newcombe: "Most of us thank God for our great shots, Rod takes his for granted".
He was a left-handed player and his stealthy shots found themselves with mind blowing consistency inside the lines every time. He played his games with the guts and skill most wouldnt risk.
Rod Laver Arena
It is no wonder the "Rockhampton Rocket" has an arena named after him, located as part of the Melbourne Park complex in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
The Rod Laver arena, home for the Australian Open is a tennis fans paradise. The Victorian Government broke ground on the arena in 1985 for opening in 1988 it was then called Centre Court, or National Tennis Centre, it wasnt until 1992 it was named after Laver.
Rod Laver arena is the centerpiece for tennis action in Melbourne.
With its retractable roof, weather is not an issue as players are able to continue play despite rain or even the extreme heat of summer. That's good because when the Australian Open gets played it is usually very hot.
Equipped with Hawk-Eye, players are able to challenge any given umpires decision on calls made throughout championships. There is more than just tennis attracted to the arena, however, as it has been host to the likes of motorbike super-crosses, music concerts, conferences, and even the World Wrestling Federation, which hosted the World Championship of Wrestling in October of 2000. The highest attendance record was for RAW Survivor, an event put on by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) on November 10th 2007. The event drew 15,500 spectators to the Rod Laver Arena.
Attracting over 1.5 million visitors per year, Rod Laver Arena is a major forum for anything a sports and entertainment fan could hope for.
Acts such as Justin Timberlake, Maroon Five, Michael Buble and Guns N Roses make the list of names who have graced the stage.
Add to that regular major sports events like the Australian Open, the wrestling events mentioned before and much more.
This all makes the Rod Laver Arena a versatile, multi-purpose venue.
When you come to Melbourne it is well worth your time to check out their great agenda to see if there is anything on that tickles your fancy. See you there!