It’s not been a great week for Aussie tennis history.
On the heels of the tragic early death of Peter Doohan from Lou Gehrig’s disease comes the news that seven-time Grand Slam champion Mervyn Rose has died.
Rose was 87.
From Coff’s Hardour, New South Wales, on what’s known as the “Banana Coast” about halfway between Sydney and Brisbane, the lefty serve-volleyer’s career in tennis touched every area.
He won the Australian Open, beating No. 1 seed Ken Rosewall on the way to the 1954 title. But he wasn’t just a home-Slam champion; Rose also won the 1958 French Open title.
In doubles, he won the US Championships in 1952 and 1953 and the Australian Championships and Wimbledon, both in 1954. He also won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 1957. Rose was a finalist on another eight occasions in majors.
Rose was a vital cog on the dynastic Australian Open Davis Cup team in the Harry Hopman era. He represented six times and was part of the championship squads in 1951 and 1957.
That was it for Rose, because he turned pro in 1959 (as many players did at that time, to try to make a living in the game), Thus, he couldn’t compete in the major tournaments or represent in Davis Cup after that.
Coaching women legends
After retiring in 1972, he was a coach – notably on the women’s side, where he worked with a few names you might recognize: Margaret Court, Billie Jean King and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. He also coached Eleni Daniliidou and Nadia Petrova.
Rose was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001, in the same class as Ivan Lendl.
(Feature photo from Tennis Australia)