Aussies at Roland Garros – Mervyn Rose, Ashley Cooper & Neale Fraser
As we count down to French Open 2012, tennis.com.au will feature some of the best Australian achievements at Roland Garros
As we count down to French Open 2012, tennis.com.au will feature some of the best Australian achievements at Roland Garros. The highlights will be revealed in chronological order and when all 20 have been named, you get the chance to vote for your No.1 achievement.
Four years after winning his first Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open, Mervyn Rose captured his second and final major singles title on the Roland Garros clay.
A left-hander who perfected the art of the chip and charge, the only thing sharper than Rose’s volleys was his wit. And despite enjoying a career that took him around the world, Rose still resides in the New South Wales coastal town of Coffs Harbour where he was born in the summer of 1930.
Rose made his Grand Slam debut in 1949 as a teenager and would go on to reach a career-high ranking of No.3.
Seeded third behind countrymen Ashley Cooper (No.1) and Neale Fraser at Roland Garros in 1958, Rose didn’t meet a fellow seed until the fourth round where he accounted for local Paul Remy in four sets.
Eleventh seeded Frenchman Pierre Damon followed in the quarters, another four-set win, before Rose disposed of Belgian Jacques Brichant in straight sets to set up a final with Chile’s Luis Ayala, the fifth seed.
The favourite heading into the final, Rose lived up to his standing and comprehensively defeated Ayala 6-3 6-4 6-4.
Meanwhile, in the doubles competition, Cooper and Fraser put behind their disappointment at being eliminated in the semifinals and quarterfinals respectively by taking out the title.
Cooper and Fraser came back from a set down to defeat Robert Howe and Abe Segal in four sets, 3–6 8–6 6–3 7–5.
After retiring from professional tennis, Rose stayed in the game as a coach. “My secret was that I had learnt skills from the best players in the world while I was a player and I would just show my students exactly what I had been taught,” Rose said.
The seven-time Grand Slam title winner (two singles, four doubles and one mixed) and member of the winning 1951 Australian Davis Cup team worked with the likes of Billie Jean King, Margaret Court, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Nadia Petrova.
Rose was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001 and into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame a year later.
Aussies at Roland Garros – the complete list to date
1933 Jack Crawford becomes the first Australian to win the Roland Garros men’s singles title.
1951 Ken McGregor plays a marathon semifinal against South African Eric Sturgess.
1953 Ken Rosewall wins the men’s singles title 12 months after winning the Roland Garros boys’ championships.
1958 Mervyn Rose wins the singles final while Ashley Cooper and Neale Fraser take the doubles.