From Laver himself: "Yet the perfectionist Hopman still had a gripe about me. He thought I wasn’t strong enough, or speedy enough, and that is why, in the ironic Australian way, he christened me “The Rockhampton Rocket”. He once explained: “He was the Rocket — because he wasn’t. You know how those nicknames are. Rocket was one of the slowest kids in the class, but his speed picked up as he grew stronger. Rod was willing to work harder than the rest and it was soon apparent that he had more talent than any of our fine players.” Like Hop said, I did get quicker, but the name stuck." from ROD LAVER: A MEMOIR, published by PAN MACMILLAN Laver was nicknamed "The Rocket" by Harry Hopman because, when Hopman first worked with him, he was slow. Some on here believe that Laver was called the Rocket because of his terrific speed. Yes, he did develop great quickness later as he matured, but not initially. It is a good example of Australian irony.