Tennis: Rocket Off the Pad

The first lesson Rod ("Rocket") Laver had to learn when he quit amateur tennis and turned pro in 1963 was respect for his elders. The cocky, carrot-topped Aussie lefthander, then 24, was far from awed by the likes of Pancho Gonzales and Ken Rosewall. After all, he was the first player since Don Budge in 1938 to achieve a grand slam of tennis' four top tournaments—the Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. championships. Experts marveled at his vicious ground strokes and slashing serve, his unique ability to cock his wrist at the last...

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