AO Press Release, January 18, 2020
Beloved sporting icon Rod Laver, the only man in history to have won two calendar-year Grand Slams, returns to the Australian Open in a special documentary celebrating an extraordinary year in the life of the Aussie tennis legend.
Rod Laver Lap of Honour 2019 follows Laver on his four-Slam tour where the 50th anniversary of his 1969 Slam was feted at the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open.
The documentary features behind the scenes footage of Laver meeting today’s stars of tennis including Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and latter day legends, Bjorn Borg, Chris Evert, Fred Stolle and John Newcombe.
“My greatest honour was to have the opportunity to play in a Wimbledon final against Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver,” Newcombe said at a special tribute dinner during the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.
“To shake his hand and give him a hug after my match was something I never dreamed of,” said Australian world No.1 Ashleigh Barty, who won her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros last year.
Laver was presented with replica championship trophy at each of the Grand Slams, an unprecedented honour capping off a career that transitioned from amateur to professional tennis, when he won all four Slams in 1962 and 1969 as part of an overall 11 Grand Slam singles haul.
“It’s been a huge honour to bring 1969 back,” said Laver, who will attend the Australian Open again this year.
“It’s been the biggest thrill of my life to have those four trophies in my home.”
Famed for his humility and understated manner as much as his extraordinary tennis feats, 81-year-old Laver is filmed mixing with the greats of tennis, as well as his adoring fans worldwide.
“We all have egos, but he’s just a normal bloke,” Laver’s long-time manager and friend, Stephen Walter said.
“He loves the game, he loves the current players. He’s happy to share his records.”
Rod Laver’s Lap of Honour 2019 is now on Australian Open YouTube and can be viewed here.