Australian Open honors Rod Laver
Posted: Friday January 14, 2000 12:06 PM
Rod Laver is regarded not only as Australia's greatest player but possibly the world's greatest. Vincent Laforet/Allsport
MELBOURNE, Australia (Reuters) -- The center court at Melbourne Park, the venue for the Australian Open, has been renamed in honor of Rod Laver, Australia's greatest tennis player.
Australian tennis officials said the center court would now be known as the Rod Laver Arena after the only player to have twice won all four Grand Slam titles in a single year.
"I am delighted to accept this wonderful honor," Laver said. "This is a crowning achievement to my tennis career."
The decision by Australian tennis officials follows the trend set by organizers of the French and U.S. Opens who have already named their show courts after former champions with Roland Garros honoring Suzanne Lenglen and Flushing Meadow recognizing the achievements of Arthur Ashe.
Laver, nicknamed the Rockhampton Rocket, is regarded not only as Australia's greatest player but possibly the world's greatest.
He is the only player to have twice won the Wimbledon, Australian, French and U.S. Open championships in the same year, in 1962 and 1969.
He won a total of 11 Grand Slam singles titles during his career and might have won more but was banned from competing for six years after turning professional.
Laver, 61, suffered a stroke in July last year, but is almost fully recovered.
"I still have a little way to go but I'm very happy with my performance -- I feel I'm going to get all the way back," he said.
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