Rod Laver: Early Life, Grand Slam & Net Worth

Rod Laver is a former Australian tennis legend. Further, he is regarded to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

Moreover, he was ranked world No.1 in nine different years. It is a record in the history of tennis.

Furthermore, he is the winner of eleven Grand Slam titles.

Similarly, Rod won 200 singles titles. Hence, he is the only player in the history of tennis to have 200 titles.

Rod Laver
Rod Laver is posing on a tennis court.

Likewise, the player made his professional debut in December of 1962. This debut came after a win in the Davis Cup.

During this time, he was with the Australian Team.

Besides that, he announced his semi-retirement in 1976. As a result, he only played a few selective games. However, in 1979 he fully retired from tennis.


Here are a few interesting facts about Rod Laver.

Full Name Rodney George Laver
Birth Date August 9, 1938
Birth Place Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
Nick Name Rocket
Religion Christian
Nationality Australian
Ethnicity White
Horoscope Leo
Father’s Name Roy Laver
Mother’s Name Melba Roffey
Siblings Three
Age 85 Years Old
Height 5 feet 8 inches
Weight 148lbs (68kg)
Hair Color Grey
Eye Color Blue
Build Athletic
Profession Tennis Player
Sport Tennis
Plays Left-handed
Active Years 1963-1979
Marital Status Married
Wife Mary Shelby
Kids Rick Laver
Net Worth $28 Million
Social Media Twitter
Merch Signed Tennis Ball, Signed Photo, Signed Postcard
Last Update May 2024

Rod Laver: Early Life, Family, and Education

Rodney George Laver was born in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. His parents are Roy Laver and Melba Roffey.

Further, his father was a cattleman and butcher, while his mother was a housewife. Similarly, the athlete is the third among the four children.

Family picture of Rod Laver
Family picture of Rod Laver.

As a child, Rod was always enthusiastic about sports. Hence, he picked tennis as a hobby at a very young age. Likewise, he practiced tennis with his brothers.

As a teenager, he had already been exposed to playing tournaments. Furthermore, he decided to drop out of school to pursue a tennis career.

During this period, he had already won Australian and US Junior Championships. Moreover, his family was pleased with his outcome. Not to mention, they were also supportive.

Besides that, he was coached by Harry Hopman, a former Australian team captain. Hence, he is the person who gave him the nickname “Rocket.”

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Rod Laver: Age, Height, and Weight

The Australian tennis player is 85 Years Old. As an athlete, Laver used to take excellent care of his body.

Currently, he tries to maintain a healthy diet and also does some jogging.

In his early days, he was always seen training to maintain his stamina. Similarly, running, weight lifting, and practicing was his main workout routine.

Furthermore, Rod is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 148 lbs, i.e., 68kg.

Such a body wasn’t easy to manage as he devoted himself to intense training and diet. Likewise, he also focused on his technique of hitting the ball.

Indeed, he was one of the most hardworking athletes of his era.

Rod Laver: Tennis Career


World Championship

The legend drops out of school after seeing a great future in tennis. Further, as an amateur, he was allowed to compete in Grand Slam and Davis Cup.

Notably, a rule was issued where professional players were not allowed to compete in these tournaments. Henceforth, this was before the Open Era.

Rod Laver next to a statue of himself
Rod Laver is posing next to a statue of himself outside the Laver arena.

Moreover, he competed in the Australian and US Junior Championships. He won both titles in 1957.

Similarly, two years later, he competed at the Wimbledon. As a result, he reached the singles and doubles tournament finals.

Furthermore, the dual of Laver and Darlene Hard went on to win the doubles tournament. However, Laver lost the singles final to Alex Olmedo.

Likewise, he competed in the Australian Championship in 1960. People considered this as his best year as he won the Championship. Not to mention, this was his first central singles title.

After the first taste of victory, the athlete went on a rampage to secure more titles. Hence, in 1961, he recorded his first Wimbledon singles win.

He also set a record for that game’s shortest men’s singles Wimbledon finals.

Correspondingly, he again competed in the 1962 Wimbledon. Wimbledon 1962 was one of his near-perfect tournaments due to only losing one set.

As expected, he again won the title back to back. Coincidently, the finals finished in 52 minutes, less than the previous record.

Grand Slam

The following year he participated in the Grand Slam singles tournament. Instantly, he made a significant impact by winning all four singles titles in that tournament.

Thus, he became just the second player to achieve this milestone. During this period, he was just 24-years-old.

Moreover, he won an additional 18 titles for a season total of 22. Further, some of these were the Italian, German, Paris, Rome, and many more championships.

Notably, he had one of the best sets in the French Championship. Here, he had three consecutive wins out of five sets.

Furthermore, this was the year the press ranked him No. 1 player in the world back to back.

Besides that, he also played in the Davis Cup as a part of Team Australia. Likewise, the Team won the title, after which Laver turned professional.


Before Open era

He turned professional after being named the world’s No. 1 player as an amateur. Further, he quickly established himself among the leading professional Players.

Moreover, he won six tournament titles on an Australasian tour the following year. Thus, he instantly became the No. 2 professional player.

Likewise, in 1964, Laver secured six additional titles. However, four of them were minor titles. But two of them were the most prestigious titles.

Not to mention those titles were the U.S. Pro and Wembley Championships.

Similarly, he added seventeen more titles to his professional career the following year. Hence, he was the No. 1 professional player that year.

Furthermore, in the next two years, he will win 35 titles. Some of them also include U.S. Pro and Wembley Championships.

Notably, in the course of seven-year, he won five titles at U.S. Pro Tennis Championships. Not to mention, the athlete won four in a row, starting from 1966 to 1969.

During Open era

After 1967, the Grand slam also decides to involve professional players in the tournament. Before this, only amateurs were allowed to play in these events.

Further, after this decision, critics called it the Open Era. Hence, he now began to dominate this era too.

As a result, he became the first open-era Wimbledon Champion in 1968.

Likewise, the same year he was also ranked No. 1 globally. He also won U.S. Pro, French Pro, and Pacific Southwest tournaments that year.

Moreover, for the second time, he won all four Grand Slam titles. Also, he set a record of 31 consecutive match wins at Wimbledon.

Furthermore, he had signed multiple contracts for playing in different leagues. As a result, he could only play five Grand Slam tournaments in the 1970s.

However, in 1970 he won fifteen titles and seven more in the following year. Nevertheless, in 1972, he didn’t play much due to a knee injury.

In 1973, the player again won the Davis Cup. Aside from that, he also won seven other titles in the same year.

Moving to the following year, he won six more titles. Eventually, he finished No. 4 globally. Ironically, he was the oldest player in the top five that year.

Besides that, he signed with the World Team Tennis in 1975. Not to mention, he was the rookie of the year at the age of 38.

Nonetheless, his best years were behind him. Therefore, he semi-retires from the game. He hung on for some years as a player, officially retiring in 1979.

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Rod Laver: Career Stats

The retired tennis player has impressive career statistics; let us check out some of Rod’s career stats.

Grand Slam finals.

  • Singles: 17 finals (11 titles)
  • Doubles: 12 finals (6 titles)
  • Mixed doubles: 3 finals (3 titles)

Pro Slam finals

  • Singles: 14 finals (8 titles)

Rod Laver: Marriage and Kids

The legendary tennis player was married to Mary Shelby Bensen. They briefly dated before tying knots.

Further, Mary was a U.S. citizen born in Illinois. Similarly, she was a divorced woman with three children.

The divorce did not stop her from getting married again. Hence, they tied knots in a San Rafael, California church.

Rod Laver after his wedding
Laver’s Friend gives him a tribute after getting married.

Furthermore, some well-known tennis players were in attendance. Thus, these players paid tribute to the couple by raising their tennis rackets and forming an archway.

Moreover, the couple had a son, Rick Laver. The family lived at various locations since Laver owned multiple properties in California.

Besides that, Mary died in November 2012 at the age of 84. It was a sudden death as she died in her sleep.

Since her death, the tennis player stayed single and kept himself busy with work until he met Susan Johnson.

Susan Johnson and Rod Laver have an age difference of about 14 years.

The couple first met in the 1990s and had known each other since the 80s.

Likewise, Susan and Rod became a couple in 2018 after Johnson approached the Australian legend.

Rod Laver: Net Worth and Salary

Rodney laver has built a splendid amount of wealth throughout his tennis career.

His estimated net worth is around $28 million.

Further, his career earnings were approximately $1,540,000 annually.

Furthermore, he was the first player to earn $1 million from tournament wins. After turning professional, he also made $1.56 million as prize money.

Similarly, after his wife died, he endorsed her corporate property. Hence, this made him eligible to earn outside the sports.

Likewise, he brought a series of properties in California which he still owns. As a result, he lives in a luxurious house in California.

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Rod Laver: Social Media Presence

The Rocket is quite active on social media platforms. He is on Twitter with over 37.4 thousand followers. Furthermore, he mostly tweets about tennis-related news.

Similarly, he tweets about matches held in Laver Cup. Further, Laver Cup is a tennis tournament dedicated to his name.

Likewise, this tournament specializes in tennis matches between European and international players.

Alongside sharing news, he also congratulates many individual players for their victory. Notably, he has commended Roger Federer for participating in the Laver Cup.

However, not many pictures of him are shared on his handle. Hence, he likes to keep his personal life out of the limelight.

Nevertheless, he does share pictures with his favorite tennis player Roger Federer on his Twitter handles.

On June 1, 2022, Rod congratulated Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic for their fantastic rivalry.

Rod Laver: FAQS

Why is Rod so famous?

He is famous due to his mesmerizing achievement as a tennis player. Further, he is just the second male player in history to win Australian, French, British, and U.S. titles in one year.

Who is Rod Laver’s rival?

One of Rod’s fiercest rivals is Ken Rosewall.

Rod became the World No.1 and won 19 Major singles and 200 singles titles, while Ken became the World No.1 and won 23 central singles and 133 singles titles.

Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver played 164 matches against each other, and Rod led the rivalry with 89-75.

Does Rod Laver own Rod Laver Area?

No, Rod Laver doesn’t own Rod Laver Area; the Flinders Park was renamed Rod Laver Area to honor the legendary Australian in 2000.

The Rod Laver Area Schedule includes events involving sports artists’ performances and more exquisite events.

Does Rod Laver have grandchildren?

Yes, the retired Australian legendary tennis players have grandchildren.

Renae and Riley are the apples of Rod’s eyes; both of Laver’s grandchildren are involved in sports.

Renae plays tennis, and Riley plays a goalkeeper in football on her college football team.

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