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Old 03-13-2013, 12:43 PM   #29
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,773

Originally Posted by Dan Lobb View Post
You might know about the common origin of "Rocket". No, it was not Laver.

The first famous Rocket was "Rocket" (Maurice) Richard, the top NHL scorer from 1944 until his retirement in 1960.
In addition to Laver, baseball's Roger Clemens borrowed the "Rocket" nickname. Also football's "Rocket" Raghib Ismail, in both the CFL and NFL. Also Rodney Morris in professional pool in the 1990's to the present

Maurice's younger brother, Henri, joined the Montreal team as his linemate in 1955, and acquired the nickname of the "Pocket Rocket" because of his small physical stature. (Henri was an instant all-star, and remained so until he retired in 1973.)
NBA point guard Calvin Murphy borrowed the "Pocket Rocket" nickname from Henri Richard. Also boxer Wayne McCullough, a world champion, officially named himself "the Pocket Rocket" in the 1990's.

I doubt that Rosewall was known as "Pocket" in the fifties or early sixties, when Hoad and Gonzales were making more money than Rosewall was. However, it is possible that the Henri Richard nickname was used by some due to Rosewall's relatively small physical size.
It may have started after Laver's 1971 autobiography, ghosted by Bud Collins, where Laver stated that no one knew how much money Rosewall had, but that it was "easily enough to wallpaper his house".
Probably the younger players on the pro tour in the early seventies would pick up on this.
It seems strange, because Laver was top money-winner in the early seventies.

The nickname "The Little Master" was borrowed from Clive Churchill, the great Australian rugby player of the 1940'S.
Dan, Thanks for the explanation.
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