Rod Laver Net Worth 2024, Biography, Age, Height

By Alice Moreno

Rod Laver, whose full name is Rodney George Laver, was born on August 9, 1938, in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. He is a left-handed player who turned pro in 1963. Laver had an extraordinary career, holding the world number 1 professional ranking for five years from 1965 to 1969. Some sources indicate that he was number 1 in 1964 and 1970. Before becoming professional, he was ranked the world’s number 1 amateur in 1961 and 1962. He broke records by winning 198 singles titles, the highest ever won by any tennis player.

Laver achieved unparalleled success in major tournaments. He won 11 Grand Slam singles titles and 8 Pro Majors titles. Remarkably, he is the only man to complete a Grand Slam, winning all four major titles in a calendar year, twice—in 1962 and 1969. His 1969 Grand Slam is the only one achieved in the Open Era. Laver also displayed his versatility by winning titles on every court surface of his time: grass, clay, hard, carpet, and wood. He was integral to Australia’s Davis Cup teams, contributing to five victories when the Davis Cup was as prestigious as the four major tournaments.

Laver’s impact extends beyond his playing career. Various tennis institutions and events pay homage to him. The Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, and the Laver Cup tournament are named after him. Off the court, Laver amassed a net worth of $20 million and landed endorsements with companies like Adidas. At 5’8″ and 150 lbs, Laver may not have had an imposing physique, but his skill and achievements have made him one of the greatest tennis players in history.

Quick Facts About Rod Laver

NameRodney George Laver
NicknameRocket
Age85 (1938.08.09)
Weight150 lbs(68kg)
Height5’8″ (173cm)
BirthplaceRockhampton, Qld, Australia
ProfessionAustralian Tennis Player (retd.)
Turned Pro1963
PlaysLeft-Handed, Unknown Backhand
Singles Career High3 (1974.08.09)
Doubles Career High25 (1976.03.01)
Prize Money Singles & Doubles Combined$1,565,413
Net Worth$20 million
EndorsementsAdidas
FatherRoy Laver
MotherMelba Roffey
Marital StatusWidower
SpouseMary Benson
Children1

Rod Laver Biography

Rod Laver was born on August 9, 1938, in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. His parents, Roy Laver and Melba Roffey, raised him on a cattle property, where he developed his physical toughness. Despite his modest height of 5’8″ and weight of 150 lbs, Laver became one of the most dominant tennis players in history. He made his debut in international tennis at the age of 17 by winning the U.S. Junior Championship in 1956. 

Laver turned pro in 1963, battling fierce competitors like Kenny Rosewall in the early days. His talent and versatility in the game were unmatched, and he eventually garnered a net worth of $20 million. Much of this came from endorsements, including a striking deal with Adidas. 

His legacy in the sport is unparalleled. He won 11 Grand Slam singles titles and was the first to achieve the Grand Slam twice, first as an amateur in 1962 and then as a pro in 1969. Although later players like Rafael Nadal and roger federer surpassed his Grand Slam record, Laver’s influence on the sport is memorable. 

Laver’s health faced a significant setback when he suffered a stroke in 1998. However, he recovered with the same resilience that defined his tennis career. He has been honored with inclusion in the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame. Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park’s primary stadium, is evidence of his lasting impact on tennis.

Rod Laver Early Life

Rodney George Laver was born on August 9, 1938, in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. His father, Roy, was a butcher, and his mother, Melba, was a homemaker; he grew up with three siblings. Despite being considered too small to excel in tennis, Rod was determined to prove the skeptics wrong. His parents, both amateur tennis players, introduced him to the sport at a young age, and he practiced diligently in the Australian outback.

At 18, Rod caught the eye of Harry Hopman, the Australian Davis Cup captain, who nicknamed him “Rocket.” Laver left school to focus entirely on his tennis career, aiming to become the world’s number-one-ranked player. 1959, he made a significant mark on the international scene, winning the Wimbledon mixed doubles with American partner Darlene Hard. However, he lost in the singles final to Alex Olmedo of Peru.

Laver’s career continued to ascend rapidly. The following year, he defeated Neale Fraser in a grueling five-set match at the Australian Championships. Then, in 1961, he clinched the Wimbledon men’s singles title by beating Chuck McKinley in just three sets. 

Rod Laver Career

Rod Laver Career

Rod Laver left school as a teenager to focus on tennis and was initially coached by Charlie Hollis in Queensland. Later, he was mentored by Australian Davis Cup captain Harry Hopman, who named him “Rocket.” His early milestones include becoming Australian and US Junior champions in 1957.

In 1959, Laver made waves at Wimbledon, reaching all three finals and winning the mixed doubles title with Darlene Hard. He lost the singles final to Alex Olmedo after a grueling 87-game semifinal against American Barry MacKay.

In 1960, Laver secured his first central singles title at the Australian Championships, defeating Neale Fraser in a five-set final.

1961 was a banner year for Laver as he clinched his first Wimbledon singles crown by beating Chuck McKinley in straight sets.

In 1962, he achieved the Grand Slam, winning all four major singles titles in a single year, a feat only accomplished before him by Don Budge in 1938. He also won the Italian and German Championships this year, beating players like Roy Emerson and Martin Mulligan.

Laver was ranked the world’s No. 1 amateur in 1961 and 1962. His impressive run in the Davis Cup helped Australia win the title each year he competed from 1959 through 1962.

In 1963, Rod Laver turned pro after a successful amateur career. At first, he struggled against top players like Ken Rosewall and Lew Hoad. But by the end of the year, he was the No. 2 professional player, right behind Rosewall. 

In 1964, Laver gained momentum. He won seven major titles, including the USU.S. Pro Championships. He began to outplay Rosewall, setting the stage for his dominance.

From 1965 to 1967, Laver was the top professional tennis player. He won numerous titles, consistently beating rivals like Rosewall and Andrés Gimeno. 1967, he achieved a professional Grand Slam, winning the four most critical pro titles. This made him a powerful competitor, paving the way for the Open Era in 1968, where he would continue his remarkable career.

1968, Rod Laver became the first Open Era Wimbledon champion, beating Arthur Ashe and Tony Roche. He also came second in the French Open, losing to Ken Rosewall. Laver was ranked number one and had wins over players like John Newcombe. 

In 1969, Laver achieved a Grand Slam, winning all four major tournaments in a calendar year for the second time. He beat opponents like Roy Emerson, Tom Okker, and Stan Smith. Significantly, Laver won 18 of 32 singles tournaments that year.

The early 1970s saw a decline in Laver’s performance in Grand Slams, partly due to contracts with National Tennis League (NTL) and World Championships Tennis (WCT). However, he stayed dominant in WCT tours. 

In 1971, he became the first tennis player to earn over $1 million in career prize money. By 1976, Laver semi-retired from the main tour. Laver’s technical skill and adaptability made him one of tennis’ all-time greats.

The Laver-Rosewall rivalry was a significant tennis competition between Australians Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, two of the greatest players in tennis history. They began their professional rivalry in 1963 after Rosewall turned pro in 1957, and Laver followed in 1963. They continued to face each other until 1977 when both semi-retired.

Career Stats

DisciplineCategoryDetails
SinglesCareer Record1689–538 (75.8%) in pre Open-Era & Open Era
Career Titles198 (72 open era titles listed by ATP)
Highest RankingNo. 1 (1961, Lance Tingay)
Australian OpenW (1960, 1962, 1969)
French OpenW (1962, 1969)
WimbledonW (1961, 1962, 1968, 1969)
US OpenW (1962, 1969)
Tour FinalsRR – 2nd (1970)
WCT FinalsF (1971, 1972)
US ProW (1964, 1966, 1967)
Wembley ProW (1964, 1965, 1966, 1967)
French ProW (1967)
DoublesCareer Record235–77 (75.32%)
Career Titles28
Highest RankingNo. 11 (per ATP)
Australian OpenW (1959, 1960, 1961, 1969)
French OpenW (1961)
WimbledonW (1971)
US OpenF (1960, 1970, 1973)
Mixed DoublesAustralian OpenF (1959)
French OpenW (1961)
WimbledonW (1959, 1960)
Team CompetitionDavis CupW (1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1973)

Rod Laver’s Honors, Achievements, and Awards

Grand Slam Titles

  • 11 Grand Slam singles titles: Three Australian Opens, two French Opens, four Wimbledons, and two USU.S. Opens.
  • Achieved a calendar-year Grand Slam in 1962 and 1969, the only player ever to do so.

Other Championships and Rankings

  • He participated in five Davis Cup victories.
  • He won eight Pro Slam championships.
  • Top-ranked singles player in the world from 1964 until 1970.
  • He won the Wembley Championships in 1964, defeating Ken Rosewall.
  • Triumphed in the “US Pro” against Pancho Gonzales.

Awards and Honors

  • He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981.
  • Inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985.
  • Upgraded to a Legend of Australian Sport in 2002.
  • ABC Sportsman of the Year Award in 1969.
  • BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year in 1969.
  • Australian Living Treasure status.
  • Named as a Queensland Great in June 2005.
  • Inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame in 2009.
  • Philippe Chatrier Award in 1998 for contributions to tennis.

Named Facilities and Memorials

  • Centre Court at Melbourne Park was renamed Rod Laver Arena in 2000.
  • Rod Laver Hall at Rockhampton Tennis Association’s Victoria Park precinct was named in his honor in 1963.
  • Bronze busts at Melbourne Park and Fitzroy River in Rockhampton’s city center.
  • Rod Laver Plaza was named in 2018 upon completing the riverbank redevelopment.

Notable Firsts

  • He debuted his international circuit in 1959 by winning all three Wimbledon finals and the mixed doubles championship.

Tournaments Named After Him

  • The Laver Cup debuted in 2017, featuring Team Europe and Team World.

Books and References

  • Co-wrote “The Education of a Tennis Player” (1971; with Bud Collins) and “Rod Laver” (2013; with Larry Writer).

Rod Laver Net Worth

Rod Laver Net Worth

As of 2023, Rod Laver’s estimated net worth is around $20 million. He and his wife have made wise financial choices, investing in property, stocks, and bonds. These investments provide them with a steady income through dividends and profit.

In addition to his investments, Laver also earns money from his tennis camps and personal appearances at tennis tournaments. He has also been involved with brand endorsements, including a partnership with Adidas. His diverse income streams and wise investments contribute to his substantial net worth.

Rod Laver Endorsements

Rod Laver was active in tennis during the 1960s and 1970s. During this time, he secured a shoe endorsement deal with Adidas. The deal led to the creation of signature models of shoes that bore his name and likeness.

These signature Adidas sneakers have not only been popular but also enduring. They continue to be available and worn to this day, indicating the lasting impact of Laver’s endorsement and his legacy in tennis.

Rod Laver Family

Rod Laver was born on August 9, 1938, in Rockhampton, Australia. He is the third child in a family of four. His father, Roy Laver, worked as a cattleman and butcher, while his mother’s name was Melba Roffey.

Laver comes from a family with a sports background. Specifically, he is related to cricketers Frank Laver and Jack Laver. 

Rod Laver’s Personal Life

In 1966, Rod Laver married Mary Benson in San Rafael, California. Mary, named initially Mary Shelby Peterson, was a divorcee with three children. The couple had a son named Rick and lived in various locations in California. Mary Laver passed away in November 2012 at their home in Carlsbad.

In 1998, Laver suffered a stroke while on an ESPN-TV interview in the US. He was hospitalized for a month and had memory and speech issues but recovered within a year. He lives in Carlsbad, California, and has been inducted into the Southern California Tennis Hall of Fame. He also used to attend San Diego Chargers games.

Conclusion

Rod Laver is an iconic figure in tennis, highly celebrated for his unmatched achievements and contributions to the sport. He is the only player to win two calendar-year Grand Slams and has been honored with numerous awards, including induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Significant landmarks like the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne indicate his enduring legacy.

His influence extends beyond the tennis courts, evident through prestigious recognitions like the Companion of the Order of Australia and being declared an Australian Living Treasure. The Laver Cup, named in his honor, and his enduring endorsements like those with Adidas continue to keep his legacy alive. Rod Laver’s impact on tennis and sports is monumental, a legacy that inspires new generations of athletes.

FAQs

Why is Rod Laver so important?

Laver is regarded by many as the greatest tennis player in the sport’s history. Laver was ranked the world No. 1 amateur in 1961 by Lance Tingay and in 1962 by Tingay and Ned Potter. Laver was the number one professional in some rankings in 1964, in all rankings from 1965 to 1969, and some in 1970.

How many times did Rod Laver win Wimbledon?

In Wimbledon play, Laver won the men’s singles four times (1961–62, 1968–69), the mixed doubles twice (1959–60), and the men’s doubles once (1971)

Why is the Laver Cup named after Rod Laver?

The tournament is named after Australian Rod Laver, a tennis player widely regarded as one of the greatest in the history of the sport (He won all four major titles in the same calendar year, winning the Grand Slam twice in singles, in 1962 and 1969; the latter is the only time a man has done so in the Open Era.)

Why is it called Rod Laver Arena?

Previously known as ‘Flinders Park,’ the ‘National Tennis Centre’ or ‘Centre Court,’ the venue was renamed Rod Laver Arena on January 16, 2000, to recognize Rod Laver’s remarkable tennis career that saw him achieve the Grand Slam twice.

Why is Rod Laver called Rocket?

Laver was known for his speed and thunderous left arm, which earned him the nickname “Rocket.” He soared above the sport both as an amateur and a professional. 

Alice Moreno
About the author

Hi, I'm Alice Moreno. I've been writing about celebrities since 2005. I love sharing stories about famous people and finding out how much they're worth. I studied Journalism and enjoy digging for facts to make sure everything I write is true.

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