Ken Rosewall

Great Champions

Legendary for his perfect backhand, his nickname (Muscles - an ironic reference to his slight frame), and his on-court agility, four-time Australian champion Ken Rosewall is probably most famous for the longevity of his campaign Down Under.

In 1953 Rosewall's parents listened on the radio as the 18-year-old No.3 seed became the tournament's youngest champion with a 6-0 6-3 6-4 victory over Mervyn Rose. It was Rosewall's first Grand Slam title and he met his future wife, Wilma, during the Melbourne event.

Rosewall won his second Australian title in 1955 in Adelaide. Having spent the morning of the final watching Australia play England in the fourth test at the Adelaide Oval, he dashed over to Memorial Drive and beat Lew Hoad 9-7 6-4 6-4 before returning to watch the cricket until stumps.Turning professional in 1957, the New South Welshman didn't play the tournament again until 1969 when he reached the third round.

Although now old enough to be classed a veteran, Rosewall rated the 1971 event played in Sydney (the last to be played outside Melbourne) as the best grass court performance of his career. He attributed his third title to the serve-volley game he'd developed as a pro, beating Arthur Ashe 6-1 7-5 6-3 in the final, and not dropping a set the entire tournament.

He defended the title in 1972, defeating Mal Anderson 7-6 6-3 7-5 in the final for his fourth and last Australian trophy - a win for the record books. At 37 years and two months Rosewall was the tournament's oldest champion, the combined age of the two finalists (73) was a tournament record and the 19-year-span between Rosewall's first and last title was a Grand Slam record.

The Sydneysider played his last Australian match as a 43-year-old in 1978, reaching the third round. To honour his extraordinary career, on 9 December 2008 the centre court at Sydney Olympic Park was renamed Ken Rosewall Arena.

In 1953 Rosewall's parents listened on the radio as the 18-year-old No.3 seed became the tournament's youngest champion with a 6-0 6-3 6-4 victory over Mervyn Rose.