Roy Emerson
AC
Roy Emerson 2011.jpg
Full nameRoy Stanley Emerson
Country (sports) Australia
ResidenceNewport Beach, California, U.S.
Born (1936-11-03) 3 November 1936 (age 85)
Blackbutt, Queensland, Australia
Height183 cm (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Turned pro1968 (amateur tour from 1953)
Retired1983
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF1982 (member page)
Singles
Career record1397-416 (77.0%) [2]
Career titles110 [2] (6 open era titles listed by ATP)
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1961, Ned Potter)[3]
Grand Slam singles results
Australian OpenW (1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967)
French OpenW (1963, 1967)
WimbledonW (1964, 1965)
US OpenW (1961, 1964)
Doubles
Career record204–64
Grand Slam doubles results
Australian OpenW (1962, 1966, 1969)
French OpenW (1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965)
WimbledonW (1959, 1961, 1971)
US OpenW (1959, 1960, 1965, 1966)
Team competitions
Davis CupW (1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967)

Roy Stanley Emerson AC (born 3 November 1936) is an Australian former tennis player who won 12 Grand Slam singles titles and 16 Grand Slam doubles titles, for a total of 28 Grand Slam titles. He is the only male player to have completed a career Grand Slam (winning titles at all four Grand Slam events) in both singles and doubles, and the first of four male players to complete a double career Grand Slam in singles (later followed by Rod Laver, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal). His 28 major titles are the all-time record for a male player. He was ranked world No. 1 amateur in 1961 by Ned Potter,[4] 1964 by Potter,[5] Lance Tingay [6] and an Ulrich Kaiser panel of 14 experts[7] and 1965 by Tingay,[6] Joseph McCauley,[8] Sport za Rubezhom[9] and an Ulrich Kaiser panel of 16 experts.[10]

Emerson was the first male player to win 12 singles majors. He held that record for 30 years until it was passed by Pete Sampras in 2000. He also held the record of six Australian Open men's singles titles until 2019 when Novak Djokovic won his seventh title. Emerson won five of those titles consecutively (1963–67), a still-standing record. Emerson is one of only five tennis players ever to win multiple slam sets in two disciplines.

Emerson was a member of a record eight Davis Cup–winning teams between 1959 and 1967. Unlike several of his contemporaries, he chose to remain an amateur player and did not turn pro during the pre-Open Era.

Biography

Emerson was born on a farm in Blackbutt, Queensland. His family later moved to Brisbane and he received better tennis instruction after attending Brisbane Grammar School and Ipswich Grammar School.

Emerson won his first Grand Slam tournament doubles title in 1959 at Wimbledon (partnering Neale Fraser). In 1961, he captured his first Grand Slam tournament singles title at the Australian Championships, beating compatriot Rod Laver in four sets in the final. Later that year, Emerson claimed his second major singles crown when he again beat Laver in the final of the US Championships.

Known as "Emmo" on the tour, the six-foot right-hander was known for training hard and always being ready for strenuous matches because of his outstanding level of fitness. He was primarily a serve-and-volley style player, but was also able to adapt to the rigours of slow courts, allowing him to enjoy success on all surfaces.

From 1963 to 1967, Emerson won five consecutive men's singles titles at the Australian Championships. His record of six Australian men's singles crowns was surpassed in 2019 by Novak Djokovic who won his record seventh.[11]

Roy Emerson at the 1963 Dutch International Tennis Championships in Hilversum.
Roy Emerson at the 1963 Dutch International Tennis Championships in Hilversum.

1963 also saw Emerson capture his first French Championships singles title, beating Pierre Darmon in the final.

Emerson's first Wimbledon singles title came in 1964, with a final victory over Fred Stolle. Emerson won 55 consecutive matches during 1964 and finished the year with 109 victories out of 115 matches. He won three of the year's four Grand Slam events that year (failing to win only the French Open).

During his amateur career Emerson received several offers to turn professional, including an £38,000 offer made at the end of 1964 by Jack Kramer, but declined and opted to remain an amateur.[12][13] In 1966, Emerson rejected a $100,000 guarantee over two years offer to turn pro, stating that he "couldn't afford to take a pay cut."[14] It was estimated that Emerson and Santana were paid about $1,000 to $1,500 a week in living expenses alone from their national tennis associations as "shamateurs".[15]

Emerson was the world No. 1 amateur player in 1964 and 1965 according to Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph and in 1961 and 1964 according to Ned Potter of World Tennis. In 1965, he successfully defended his Australian and Wimbledon singles crowns. He was the heavy favourite to win Wimbledon again in 1966, but during his fourth round match he skidded while chasing the ball and crashed into the umpire's stand, injuring his shoulder. He still finished the match, but was unable to win.

Emerson's last major singles title came at the French Championships in 1967 – the year before the open era began. His 12 major singles titles stood as a men's record until 2000, when it was surpassed by Pete Sampras. Emerson signed a professional contract with the National Tennis League in early April 1968.[16]

Emerson had 10 straight victories in Grand Slam tournament finals in which he appeared, which is an all-time record.

Emerson's final Grand Slam doubles title was won in 1971 at Wimbledon (partnering Laver). His 16 Grand Slam doubles crowns were won with five different partners. From 1960 to 1965, he won six consecutive French Open men's doubles titles. Jack Kramer, the long-time tennis promoter and tennis great, writes in his 1979 autobiography that "Emerson was the best doubles player of all the moderns, very possibly the best forehand court player of all time. He was so quick he could cover everything. He had the perfect doubles shot, a backhand that dipped over the net and came in at the server's feet as he moved to the net. Gene Mako and Johnny van Ryn could hit a shot like that sometimes, but never so often nor as proficiently as Emerson."

Emerson was also a member of a record eight Davis Cup winning teams between 1959 and 1967.

Emerson's 12 singles and 16 doubles titles make him one of the leading players in Grand Slam tournament history.

Emerson's last top-20 ranking was in 1973, primarily owing to his winning his 105th and final career title at the Pacific Coast Championships in San Francisco. He defeated Roscoe Tanner, Arthur Ashe, and Björn Borg in the last three rounds of that tournament. Emerson played just a few tournaments through 1977. His last appearance was in the Gstaad, Switzerland tournament in 1983.

Roy Emerson in 1969
Roy Emerson in 1969

Although he exited the tournament circuit, Emerson did not retire. In the late 1970s, he served as a player/coach for the Boston Lobsters in World Team Tennis (WTT).[17] He mostly played doubles with the Lobsters and often teamed with fellow Australian Tony Roche. In the 1978 season, the last season under the original iteration of World Team Tennis, Roy coached the Lobsters to the Eastern Division Championship and into the WTT Finals against the Los Angeles Strings.[18] The final Lobster team that Emerson coached consisted of Tony Roche, Mike Estep (for part of the season), and Emerson himself as the male players.

Emerson now resides in Newport Beach, California with his wife, Joy, and daughter, Heidi, and has a home in Gstaad where he holds a tennis clinic each summer. His son, Antony, was an All-American in tennis at Corona del Mar High School and the University of Southern California and played on the professional tour briefly. Roy and Antony won the United States Hard Court Father-and-Son title in 1978. Roy briefly coached promising juniors at East Lake Woodlands in Oldsmar, Florida.

Awards and honours

Emerson was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1982 and the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1986.[19] The main court for the Suisse Open Gstaad, a tournament which Emerson won five times and where he played his last match as a professional, is named Roy Emerson Arena in his honour.

In 2000, he was awarded the Australian Sports Medal,[20] and in 2001 received the Centenary Medal.[21]

The Roy Emerson trophy, which is awarded to the male champion at the Brisbane International, is named in his honour.[22] In 2009 Emerson was inducted into the Queensland Sport Hall of Fame.[23] He was honoured during the 2013 Australian Open at the Australian Open Legends' Lunch.[24]

In 2014, the Brisbane City Council named the new tennis centre in Milton at Frew Park after Roy Emerson.[25][26][27] The same year at Blackbutt, the Roy Emerson Museum was opened by Roy Emerson. On the 18 January 2017, a statue of Roy Emerson was unveiled at the Blackbutt Museum.[28][29]

Place in history

In the Tennis Channel series "100 Greatest of All Time" in 2012, Emerson was ranked the 11th greatest male tennis player of all time, and the second highest rated Australian in the series, behind Rod Laver.

Grand Slam tournament finals

Singles: 15 (12 titles, 3 runner–ups)

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Win 1961 Australian Championships Grass Australia Rod Laver 1–6, 6–3, 7–5, 6–4
Win 1961 US Championships Grass Australia Rod Laver 7–5, 6–3, 6–2
Loss 1962 Australian Championships Grass Australia Rod Laver 6–8, 6–0, 4–6, 4–6
Loss 1962 French Championships Clay Australia Rod Laver 6–3, 6–2, 3–6, 7–9, 2–6
Loss 1962 US Championships Grass Australia Rod Laver 2–6, 4–6, 7–5, 4–6
Win 1963 Australian Championships Grass Australia Ken Fletcher 6–3, 6–3, 6–1
Win 1963 French Championships Clay France Pierre Darmon 3–6, 6–1, 6–4, 6–4
Win 1964 Australian Championships Grass Australia Fred Stolle 6–3, 6–4, 6–2
Win 1964 Wimbledon Championships Grass Australia Fred Stolle 6–4, 12–10, 4–6, 6–3
Win 1964 US Championships Grass Australia Fred Stolle 6–2, 6–2, 6–4
Win 1965 Australian Championships Grass Australia Fred Stolle 7–9, 2–6, 6–4, 7–5, 6–1
Win 1965 Wimbledon Championships Grass Australia Fred Stolle 6–2, 6–4, 6–4
Win 1966 Australian Championships Grass United States Arthur Ashe 6–4, 6–8, 6–2, 6–3
Win 1967 Australian Championships Grass United States Arthur Ashe 6–4, 6–1, 6–1
Win 1967 French Championships Clay Australia Tony Roche 6–1, 6–4, 2–6, 6–2

Doubles: 28 (16 titles, 12 runner–ups)

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1958 Australian Championships Grass Australia Bob Mark Australia Ashley Cooper
Australia Neale Fraser
5–7, 8–6, 6–3, 3–6, 5–7
Loss 1959 French Championships Clay Australia Neale Fraser Italy Nicola Pietrangeli
Italy Orlando Sirola
3–6, 2–6, 12–14
Win 1959 Wimbledon Championships Grass Australia Neale Fraser Australia Rod Laver
Australia Robert Mark
8–6, 6–3, 14–16, 9–7
Win 1959 US Championships Grass Australia Neale Fraser United States Earl Buchholz
United States Alex Olmedo
3–6, 6–3, 5–7, 6–4, 7–5
Loss 1960 Australian Championships Grass Australia Neale Fraser Australia Rod Laver
Australia Robert Mark
6–1, 2–6, 4–6, 4–6
Win 1960 French Championships Clay Australia Neale Fraser Spain José Luis Arilla
Spain Andrés Gimeno
6–2, 8–10, 7–5, 6–4
Win 1960 US Championships Grass Australia Neale Fraser Australia Rod Laver
Australia Robert Mark
9–7, 6–2, 6–4
Loss 1961 Australian Championships Grass Australia Marty Mulligan Australia Rod Laver
Australia Robert Mark
3–6, 5–7, 6–3, 11–9, 2–6
Win 1961 French Championships Clay Australia Rod Laver Australia Robert Howe
Australia Robert Mark
3–6, 6–1, 6–1, 6–4
Win 1961 Wimbledon Championships Grass Australia Neale Fraser Australia Bob Hewitt
Australia Fred Stolle
6–4, 6–8, 6–4, 6–8, 8–6
Win 1962 Australian Championships Grass Australia Neale Fraser Australia Bob Hewitt
Australia Fred Stolle
4–6, 4–6, 6–1, 6–4, 11–9
Win 1962 French Championships Clay Australia Neale Fraser West Germany Wilhelm Bungert
West Germany Christian Kuhnke
6–3, 6–4, 7–5
Win 1963 French Championships Clay Spain Manolo Santana South Africa Gordon Forbes
South Africa Abe Segal
6–2, 6–4, 6–4
Loss 1964 Australian Championships Grass Australia Ken Fletcher Australia Bob Hewitt
Australia Fred Stolle
4–6, 5–7, 6–3, 6–4, 12–14
Win 1964 French Championships Clay Australia Ken Fletcher Australia John Newcombe
Australia Tony Roche
7–5, 6–3, 3–6, 7–5
Loss 1964 Wimbledon Championships Grass Australia Ken Fletcher Australia Bob Hewitt
Australia Fred Stolle
5–7, 9–11, 4–6
Loss 1965 Australian Championships Grass Australia Fred Stolle Australia John Newcombe
Australia Tony Roche
6–3, 6–4, 11–13, 3–6, 4–6
Win 1965 French Championships Clay Australia Fred Stolle Australia Ken Fletcher
Australia Bob Hewitt
6–8, 6–3, 8–6, 6–2
Win 1965 US Championships Grass Australia Fred Stolle United States Frank Froehling
United States Charles Pasarell
6–4, 10–12, 7–5, 6–3
Win 1966 Australian Championships Grass Australia Fred Stolle Australia John Newcombe
Australia Tony Roche
7–9, 6–3, 6–8, 14–12, 12–10
Win 1966 US Championships Grass Australia Fred Stolle United States Clark Graebner
United States Dennis Ralston
6–4, 6–4, 6–4
Loss 1967 French Championships Clay Australia Ken Fletcher Australia John Newcombe
Australia Tony Roche
3–6, 7–9, 10–12
Loss 1967 Wimbledon Championships Grass Australia Ken Fletcher Australia Bob Hewitt
Australia Frew McMillan
2–6, 3–6, 4–6
↓ Open Era ↓
Loss 1968 French Open Clay Australia Rod Laver Australia Ken Rosewall
Australia Fred Stolle
3–6, 4–6, 3–6
Win 1969 Australian Open Grass Australia Rod Laver Australia Ken Rosewall
Australia Fred Stolle
6–4, 6–4
Loss 1969 French Open Clay Australia Rod Laver Australia John Newcombe
Australia Tony Roche
6–4, 1–6, 6–3, 4–6, 4–6
Loss 1970 US Open Grass Australia Rod Laver France Pierre Barthès
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Nikola Pilić
3–6, 6–7, 6–4, 6–7
Win 1971 Wimbledon Grass Australia Rod Laver United States Arthur Ashe
United States Dennis Ralston
4–6, 9–7, 6–8, 6–4, 6–4

Mixed doubles: 2 (runner–ups)

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1956 Australian Championships Grass Australia Mary Bevis Hawton Australia Beryl Penrose
Australia Neale Fraser
2–6, 4–6
Loss 1960 French Championships Clay United Kingdom Ann Haydon-Jones Brazil Maria Bueno
Australia Robert Howe
6–1, 1–6, 2–6

Grand Slam tournament performance timeline

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# DNQ A NH
(W) winner; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (NH) not held; (SR) strike rate (events won / competed); (W–L) win–loss record.

Singles

Tournament 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 SR W–L Win %
Australian Open 1R 2R 2R A QF QF SF W F W W W W W A 3R A QF A 6 / 15 46–9 83.6
French Open 1R A A 3R A QF 3R QF F W QF SF QF W QF 4R A A A 2 / 13 43–11 82.9
Wimbledon 2R A 3R 4R A SF QF QF 4R QF W W QF 4R 4R 4R QF 4R A 2 / 16 60–14 81.1
US Open 3R A QF 4R A QF 3R W F 4R W QF SF QF 4R QF 4R A 2R 2 / 16 60–14 81.1
Win–loss 3–4 0–1 7–3 8–3 2–1 14–4 10–4 19–2 18–4 18–2 22–1 20–2 18–3 18–2 9–3 11–4 7–2 5–2 0–1 12 / 60 209–48 81.3

Open-Era doubles titles (20)

No. Year Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
1. 1968 Bournemouth, England Grass Australia Rod Laver Spain Andrés Gimeno
United States Pancho Gonzales
8–6, 4–6, 6–3, 6–2
2. 1969 Australian Open, Melbourne Grass Australia Rod Laver Australia Ken Rosewall
Australia Fred Stolle
6–4, 6–4
3. 1969 Stockholm, Sweden Hard (i) Australia Rod Laver Spain Andrés Gimeno
Australia Fred Stolle
6–4, 6–2
4. 1970 Boston, US Hard Australia Rod Laver United Arab Republic Ismail El Shafei
Denmark Torben Ulrich
6–1, 7–6
5. 1971 Wimbledon, London Grass Australia Rod Laver United States Arthur Ashe
United States Dennis Ralston
4–6, 9–7, 6–8, 6–4, 6–4
6. 1971 Quebec WCT, Canada Indoor Australia Rod Laver Netherlands Tom Okker
United States Marty Riessen
7–6, 6–3
7. 1971 Boston WCT, US Hard Australia Rod Laver Netherlands Tom Okker
United States Marty Riessen
6–4, 6–4
8. 1971 Berkeley, US Hard Australia Rod Laver Australia Ken Rosewall
Australia Fred Stolle
6–3, 6–3
9. 1971 Vancouver WCT, Canada Outdoor Australia Rod Laver Australia John Alexander
Australia Phil Dent
6–3, 7–6
10. 1972 Houston WCT, US Clay Australia Rod Laver Australia Ken Rosewall
Australia Fred Stolle
6–4, 7–6
11. 1972 Las Vegas WCT, US Hard Australia Rod Laver Australia John Newcombe
Australia Tony Roche
7–6, 1–6, 6–2
12. 1972 Rotterdam WCT, Netherlands Carpet Australia John Newcombe United States Arthur Ashe
United States Bob Lutz
6–2, 6–3
13. 1973 Miami WCT, US Hard Australia Rod Laver Australia Terry Addison
Australia Colin Dibley
6–4, 6–4
14. 1973 La Costa WCT, US Hard Australia Rod Laver Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Nikola Pilić
Australia Allan Stone
6–7, 6–3, 6–4
15. 1973 Richmond WCT, US Carpet Australia Rod Laver Australia Terry Addison
Australia Colin Dibley
3–6, 6–3, 6–4
16. 1973 Atlanta WCT, US Clay Australia Rod Laver South Africa Robert Maud
Rhodesia Andrew Pattison
7–6, 6–3
17. 1973 Gothenburg WCT, Sweden Carpet Australia Rod Laver Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Nikola Pilić
Australia Allan Stone
6–7, 6–4, 6–1
18. 1973 San Francisco, US Carpet United States Stan Smith Sweden Ove Nils Bengtson
United States Jim McManus
6–2, 6–1
19. 1974 Las Vegas, Nevada, US Hard Australia Rod Laver South Africa Frew McMillan
Australia John Newcombe
6–7, 6–4, 6–4
20. 1975 Denver WCT, US Carpet Australia Rod Laver Australia Bob Carmichael
Australia Allan Stone
6–2, 3–6, 7–5

Notes

References

  1. ^ "Roy Emerson". atpworldtour.com. Association of Tennis Professionals. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Roy Emerson: Career Match Record". thetennisbase.com. Tennis Base. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  3. ^ Potter, Edward C. (November 1961). "The 1961 World's First Ten". World Tennis. Vol. 9, no. 6. New York. p. 13.
  4. ^ Potter, Edward C. (November 1961). "The 1961 World's First Ten". World Tennis. Vol. 9, no. 6. New York. p. 13.
  5. ^ "The Miami Herald, 3 November 1964". newspapers.com.
  6. ^ a b Collins (2016), p. 758
  7. ^ "Around the World..." World Tennis. Vol. 12, no. 8. New York. January 1965. pp. 67–68.
  8. ^ "Letters". World Tennis. Vol. 13, no. 9. New York. February 1966. p. 8.
  9. ^ "Around the world..." World Tennis. Vol. 13, no. 11. New York. April 1966. p. 75.
  10. ^ "Around the World..." World Tennis. Vol. 13, no. 9. New York. February 1966. p. 66.
  11. ^ "Novak Djokovic crushes Rafael Nadal to win record seventh Australian Open". Sky Sports. 27 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Emerson likely to refuse pro. offer". The Canberra Times. 26 November 1964. p. 36 – via National Library of Australia.
  13. ^ "Emerson demand 'right'". The Canberra Times. 2 December 1964. p. 30 – via National Library of Australia.
  14. ^ McCauley, Joe (2000). The History of Professional Tennis. Windsor: The Short Run Book Company Limited. p. 136.
  15. ^ "Manuel Santana, Spain's first Grand Slam champion : Tennis Buzz".
  16. ^ "Emerson Wins in Pro Debut". The Canberra Times. 15 April 1968. p. 12 – via National Library of Australia.
  17. ^ "Emerson will boss Lobsters". Bangor Daily News. 16 November 1976 – via Google News Archive.
  18. ^ Bud Collins (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (2nd ed.). New York: New Chapter Press. p. 575. ISBN 978-0942257700.
  19. ^ "Roy Emerson". Sport Australia Hall of Fame. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  20. ^ It's an Honour: Australian Sports Medal. Retrieved 3 February 2015
  21. ^ It's an Honour: Centenary Medal. Retrieved 3 February 2015
  22. ^ Margie McDonald (22 November 2011). "Men will play for Roy Emerson trophy in Brisbane International". The Australian.
  23. ^ "Mr Roy Emerson". Queensland Sport Hall of Fame. qsport.org.au. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  24. ^ "Grand day for Emerson". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 27 January 2013.
  25. ^ "The Roy Emerson Tennis Centre". www.emersontennis.com.au. Emerson Tennis Centre.
  26. ^ Tony Moore (21 March 2013). "Plan to honour Brisbane tennis greats". Brisbane Times.
  27. ^ "Frew Park (former Milton Tennis Centre site)". Brisbane City Council. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  28. ^ "Tennis legend Roy Emerson to be immortalised as a bronze statue". Tennis Australia. 5 February 2016.
  29. ^ Grantlee Kieza (19 January 2017). "Tennis legend Roy Emerson treasures humble hometown start". The Courier Mail.

Sources

See also

Records Preceded by Bill Tilden Most career Grand Slam singles titles 30 January 1967 – 9 July 2000 Succeeded by Pete Sampras