How do you rate Ken Rosewall among the great clay courters?

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by noeledmonds, May 9, 2007.

  1. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

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    Ken Rosewall has a remarkable record on the clay. Rosewall won 1 pre-open era French Open (as an amateur), 8 French Pro tournaments (as a professional) and then 1 more French Open (as a professional). This includes a run of 7 consecutive French Pro tournaments from 1960 to 1966. Surely this puts Rosewall right up at the top end of the all time greats on clay, although he rarely gets a mention in such discussions.
     
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  2. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Noeledmonds, while Rosewall was indeed one of the best clay courters of all time, it is to be said, that the French pro 1963-1967 was played on carpet (or wood) indoors at the Coubertin stadium in Paris. Rosewall won 4 French pros at RG on clay in the late 50s and early 60s. He was one of the best clay courters in the 50s, alongside Drobny and Tony Trabert, who won two French champs and two French pros at RG. In the 60s, Rosewall competed and would have to compete (amateur-pro split) with Spaniards Gimeno and Santana, Italian Pietrangeli, and Laver. I checked the Rosewall-Laver head to head on clay, and its about even. In 1963 Laver had his breakthrough against Rosewall on European clay, and in the open era, its 4-3 to Rosewall, with the last match played (and won by Rosewall) at Houston in 1976.
     
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  3. Gillian

    Gillian Banned

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    Have you guys seen any footage of him playing?? I never have but would like to.
     
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  4. VikingSamurai

    VikingSamurai Banned

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    I am sorry you have never seen him play.. Growing up in Australia, we were breast fed the old greats of Australian tennis and have seen many special matches of the Era.. If I am not mistaken Ken probably plays in the old seniors tour at the GS's and is known for playing at charity events.. .. I have been away for a long time, and he may have infact hung up the sticks, but he was always around having a hit with somebody at the AO..
     
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  5. noeledmonds

    noeledmonds Professional

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    I have seen him play but you won't find any free matches of Rosewall online. There are plenty of good web pages for buying the matches if you want.

    However I did find this clip of Rosewall vs. Ashe from the 1971 Australian Open.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=131337
     
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  6. rasajadad

    rasajadad Hall of Fame

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    I actually had the privilige of playing with him at one of those "Grand Slam Legends" events. It was on grass at the West Side Tennis Club in NY (Forest Hills.) In addition to being totally fit (he was in his early 60's I believe,) he was still a great player, a fine gentleman, and a good sport. All the other players still admired him as well.
     
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  7. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    damn....i am missing out. all i have is a Ken Rosewell woodie :p
     
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  8. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    When I was a kid, back in the mid to late 80's, I used to, occasionally, see Ken Rosewall having a hit at Kooyong. During the summer months, when he was in town, he would play a few sets with the head coach at Kooyong (Don Tregonning) and a couple of friends (Brian Tobin once or twice). I used to hang around the club, hitting against their wall and hoping someone would see me with my racquet and ask me to have a hit LOL. Whenever one of the pros or old pros were on court I just sat back and watched.

    Rosewall was in his 50's then but still hit a very, very heavy ball. Not heavy with spin but heavy due to the weight of his shot. Sitting behind the court I would watch him hit a backhand down the line and it was always a surprise, after the graceful swing, to see just quickly the ball came off his strings. When it finally hit the back fence, it really crashed into the back fence. Even his serve, which he didn't seem to hit very hard, had a lot of work on it as well as great placement. You could just hear the difference when one of his shots hit his opponents racquet. Volleys were crisp, especially the half-volley, and his overhead was a very big shot- far bigger than his serve and impressive given his size.

    I also remember him being very competitive and getting annoyed whenever he missed a shot (use to do a little flip of the racquet). Of course, he rarely missed a shot but I got the feeling he was something of a perfectionist. Also have a recollection of him using, not a wooden racquet, but a Wilson frame that I think might have been the Ultra.
     
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  9. Gillian

    Gillian Banned

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    ^
    Great anecdote. Thanks!!
     
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  10. Gillian

    Gillian Banned

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    thanks for the clip! Not the most close up camera angle, but they both look great!!
     
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  11. mctennis

    mctennis Hall of Fame

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    Great clip. I saw Rosewall play a few times. He was a great player and such a gentleman also. He made playing look so effortless. I started playing after seeing him play. Then the bad-boys came up and started controlling the game ( Conners, Johnny Mac, Naste, Tiraic, etc). It became a different sport with those guys playing. Not that I have a problem with that....
     
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  12. krosero

    krosero Legend

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    I remember an interview in the late 80s, in Tennis magazine, where an older champion rated Rosewall just below Borg as the best ever on clay.

    My apologies but I can't remember who the interviewed player was. Possibly it was Drysdale. Or maybe I'm remembering Ted Tinling's list of the greatest ever.

    Not much information but maybe someone else remembers it.

    It was mentioned today that Laver called the French Open "the Gateway to the Grand Slam." He beat Rosewall at the French in his '69 Slam, so if Rosewall was one of the best-ever on clay, there's a direct comparison with what Federer was trying to do today against Nadal. I have more about it here:

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showpost.php?p=1509441&postcount=16
     
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  13. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    Laver did it all in 1969.
     
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  14. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

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    I only saw Rosewall on grass, but from all accounts he was one of the greatest ever clay court players. To me Borg is definitely the best of the Open era on clay, but Rosewall would rank with players like Vilas, Lendl, Kuerten and Nadal.
     
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  15. chaognosis

    chaognosis Semi-Pro

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    If you single out one clay event each year as the "major" tournament on the surface, then Rosewall indeed won six clay majors, tying Borg's record. (It is debatable whether one should weigh these amateur/pro titles, won in either case against only a partial field of players, as the equivalent of open titles--but I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.) Cochet also won six clay majors. All three faced some formidable opponents on the surface as well. Cochet, Rosewall, and Borg are clearly the top three clay-courters of all time in my mind. I am not so sure about the pre-Tilden players, notably the Dohertys, who may also have won the equivalent number of major events on clay... I would be curious if SgtJohn could give us his count of who won the most major clay tournaments throughout history.
     
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  16. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

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    I would also be interested in SgtJohn's take on this, particularly in regards to clay pros won in a row. We know that Rosewall won many, but how dominant was he from year to year?
     
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  17. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    Against many clich├ęs, Rosewall wasn't completely dominant on the pro tour on clay. In the 50s maybe Trabert was the best pro on clay alongside Rosewall, he beat Rosewall once 2, 2 and 1 at the Frech pro sf at RG (1958 or 59). In the mid 60s, Rosewall shared the clay prizes with Laver and Gimeno. Gimeno is often underrated, he was on par with Santana on clay. On top for the 60s were both Spaniards and the Aussies Rosewall, Laver and also Emerson, who beat Rosewall 6-4, 6-0, on clay at Florida, at his pro debut in March 1968.
     
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  18. Rabbit

    Rabbit G.O.A.T.

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    Great anecdote. Rosewall did that racket flip whenever he was purturbed about his play.

    The racket you're thinking of was a Wilson, but not the Ultra. Rosewall, for a time, endorsed the Wilson WCT or was it the Wilson Open? It was an aluminum frame and was pretty hefty as I remember, but they were all like that back then.
     
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