Mervyn Rose, 7-Time Grand Slam Champion in Tennis, Dies at 87

“At the beginning of the championship,” he said, “Mervyn was an outsider among the top men, but he came through and showed great fight to win. This win of Mervyn’s strengthens Australia’s hand for the future.”

Rose played for Hopman on six Davis Cup teams from 1950 to 1957 and was ranked No. 3 in the world in 1958, his highest ranking. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., in 2001.

Rose’s victories at the Australian Open were not his first major titles. He had won doubles at the United States National Championships (now the United States Open) in 1952 with Vic Seixas, an American, and in 1953 with Hartwig.

Rose and Hartwig also won the doubles title at Wimbledon in 1954. Rose would win two more titles: mixed doubles with Darlene Hard at Wimbledon in 1957, defeating Althea Gibson and Neale Fraser, and singles at the French Championships (also known as the French Open) over Luis Ayala of Chile in 1958.


Billie Jean King presented Mervyn Rose with a certificate after he was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., in 2001.

John Mottern/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

But to Rose, nothing stood out more than his five-set victory over Nicola Pietrangeli in the final of the 1958 Italian Open.

“I knew how popular he was, and I really wanted to beat him on his home court,” he told The Coffs Coast Advocate, an Australian newspaper, in 2012. “I outplayed him all match, and the crowd didn’t like to see their champion defeated, so they pelted bottles and cans at me.”

In his haste to leave the court, he added, “I never got my hands on the trophy.”

At the time, the tennis world was split between amateurs and professionals. Only amateurs were allowed to compete in the four Grand Slam championships, while pros played in…

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