Rodney George "Rod" Laver MBE (born 9 August 1938) is an Australian former tennis player who holds the record for titles won in career, and was the World No. 1 player for seven consecutive years, from 1964 to 1970 (from 1964 to 1967 in the professional circuit) . He is the only tennis player to have twice won the Grand Slam (all four major singles titles in the same year) – first as an amateur in 1962 and second as a professional in 1969. He is the only male player and was the first player, male or female, to have won the Grand Slam during the open era. In 1988 Steffi Graf also achieved this feat. He won eleven Majors and eight Pro Slams. In 1967 he also won the Professional Grand Slam (only Ken Rosewall did the same in 1963). In addition he won nine Championship Series titles (1970-75) the precursors to the current Masters 1000. Laver won and excelled on all the surfaces of his time (grass,clay and wood/parquet), and was ranked as the best professional player in the world during the five-year period he was excluded from the Grand Slam tournaments. Rod Laver is the second and last male player to win each major title twice in his career. Only Roy Emerson and Margaret Court had won all four Grand Slam tournaments twice before Laver in the history of tennis. Laver is regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Within his slams there are also 6 in doubles and 2 in mixed doubles.
Although of a slightly short and medium build (1.72 m), Laver developed a technically complete serve-and-volley game, with aggressive groundstrokes to back it up. As Dan Maskell put it, he was "technically faultless, from his richly varied serve to his feather-light touch on drop volleys plus a backhand drive carrying destructive topspin when needed or controlling slice when the situation demanded it." His left-handed serve was well disguised and wide swinging. His wristy groundstrokes on both flanks were hit with topspin, an innovation in the 1960s, as was the attacking topspin lob, which Laver developed into a weapon. His stroke technique was based on quick shoulder turns, true swings, and exquisite timing. His backhand, often hit on the run, was a point-ender that gave him an advantage. Laver was very quick and mobile and had a gigantic left forearm. Rex Bellamy wrote, "The strength of that wrist and forearm gave him blazing power without loss of control, even when he was on the run and at full stretch. The combination of speed and strength, especially wrist strength, enabled him to hit ferocious winners when way out of court." At the net, he had forcing volleys, often hit as stroke volleys. Especially on the backhand, he could hit sharp underspin angles as well. Julius Heldman pointed out, "He is competent on low balls, handling them with underspin for control, but he will cream any ball at waist level or higher." He was difficult to lob, because of his springing agility, and when forced to retreat, he could come up with a vicious counterpunch.
As an amateur, Laver was a somewhat flashy player, often a late starter. He had to learn to control his adventurous shotmaking and integrate percentage tennis into his game when he turned professional. In his prime, he could adapt his style to all surfaces and to all conditions. Laver had a great record in five-set-matches, often turning things around with subtle changes of tactics or by simply hitting his way out of danger. When he got into the "zone", he went for broke. Then he would, as Heldman explains, "literally jump and throw his racket at the ball with all the force he could muster, wrist and arm snapping over at the hit."