Famous birthdays: Ken Rosewall turns 83
02/11/1934 - present, 83 years.
"If I were asked to name one aspect of tennis that is the biggest weakness of players of all levels, I would probably say concentration. However good your shots, however fast your movement and reflexes, all is lost if the mind is not controlling every move."
1934: Kenneth Robert Rosewall AM, MBE was born in Hurstville, Sydney, NSW. He is an Australian Tennis Player and Eight-Time Major Champion. His father, Robert Rosewall, was a grocer at Penshurst, New South Wales and when Ken was one year old they moved to the Rockdale where his father bought three clay tennis courts. Ken started playing tennis at age three with a shortened racket and using both hands for forehand and backhand shots. A natural left-hander, he was taught by his father to play right-handed. Perhaps as a result of this unorthodox training (or in spite of it), he developed a powerful and effective backhand but never had anything more than an accurate but relatively soft serve.
1944: He played his first tournament when he was nine and lost to the eventual winner.
1946: At age 11 Rosewall won the Metropolitan Hardcourt Championships for under fourteen.
1949: At age 14 he became the junior champion at the Australian Hardcourt Championships in Sydney, the youngest player to win an Australian title.
1950: In October of that year and at the age of 15 and still a junior player, Rosewall reached the semifinals of the 1950 New South Wales Metropolitan Championships (not to be confused with the New South Wales Championships), where he was defeated by the world-class adult player Ken McGregor. The following year, he won his first men's tournament in Manly.
1952: At only 17, Rosewall reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Championships, upsetting the top-seeded Vic Seixas in the fourth round before losing to Gardnar Mulloy in five sets.
1953: Winner of the Australian Championships on grass and French championships on clay.
1954: Wimbledon runner-up on grass.
1955: Winner of the Australian Championships on grass and runnerup for the US Championships.
1956: Ken Rosewall (21) weds Wilma McIver at St John's Church of England Cathedral in Brisbane. He is father to Brett and Glenn Rosewall, and grandfather of five. Runnerup for the Australian championships and Wimbledon and winner for US.
1957: Rosewall played his first professional match on January 14 at Kooyong Stadium in Melbourne against the reigning king of professional tennis, Pancho Gonzales who won after a close five-set match.
1961: After ten years of World touring, Rosewall decided to take several long breaks in order to spend time with his family and entered no competitions in the first half of the year.
1963: He won the US Pro Grand Slam against Rod Laver.
1968: Winner of the French Open against Rod Laver.
1970: Being a NTL player at the beginning of 1970 he didn't play the Australian Open held at the White City Stadium in Sydney in January because NTL boss, George McCall, and his players thought that the prize money was too low for a Grand Slam tournament. In March, a tournament, sponsored by Dunlop, was organised at the same site, with a higher quality field because of better prize-money and a better date.
1971: Rosewall continued his good performances in 1971 in the great grass court tournaments. Playing at the Australian Open, he became the first male player during the open era to win a Grand Slam tournament without dropping a set.
1972: Winner of the Australian Open against Malcolm Anderson.
1974: Runner-up to Jimmy Connors for both Wimbledon and the US Open.
1977: This was Rosewall's last year in the Top 20, which means he was one of the best players for 26 years (in the Top 20 from 1952 to 1977). In January he reached the semifinal of the 1977 Australian Open, losing in four sets to eventual champion Roscoe Tanner. He won his last two tournaments titles in Hong Kong and Tokyo (Gunze Open) respectively at the age of 43. Rosewall played in the Sydney Indoor Tournament in October 1977. Approaching his 43rd birthday he beat the No. 3 in the world Vitas Gerulaitis in a straight-sets semifinal and put in a credible performance losing to Jimmy Connors in the final in three straight sets. He lost in the semifinals at 44 years of age. Afterwards, he gradually retired.
1980: In October that year at the Melbourne indoor tournament and at nearly 46 years of age, Rosewall defeated American Butch Walts, ranked World No. 49, in the first round before losing to Paul McNamee.
1981: He made a very brief comeback at 47 years of age in a non-ATP tournament, the New South Wales Hardcourt Championships in Grafton in February, where he reached the final, losing to Brett Edwards.
Ken Rosewall was 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in) tall, weighed 67 kg (148 lb) and was ironically nicknamed "Muscles" by his fellow-players because of his lack of them. He was, however, fast, agile, and tireless, with a deadly volley.
INTERESTING FACT: Although he was a finalist four times at Wimbledon, it was the one major tournament that eluded him.