London, Great Britain, 6 July 2024 | Leigh Rogers

Ken Rosewall was the guest of honour at Tennis Australia’s annual Legends of Lawn barbecue in London last night.

The 89-year-old has travelled over to Wimbledon for the first time in seven years, to mark 70 years since reaching his first singles final at the prestigious grass-court tournament.

It is also the 50th anniversary of his 15th Grand Slam singles final appearance, when he finished runner-up to American Jimmy Connors at Wimbledon in 1974.

When asked how it felt to be back in London, Rosewall quipped: “Not too good”

“When I left it was the middle of winter at home and 25 degrees,” the Brisbane-based Rosewall said. “And here we are in the middle of summer and it’s 15 degrees.”

Yet the wet and cold weather didn’t dampen spirits at the Legends of Lawn event. The much-loved Wimbledon tradition unites members of the Australian tennis community in London, who gather for a backyard barbecue.

During a special presentation, Rosewall reflected on the many different changes in the sport over the years and shared a story detailing the biggest prize money he ever received was $50,000.

“I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” he said. “Now I wish I was a qualifier.”

There’s no room for regrets though, with a proud Rosewall declaring: “If I had the chance, I’d do it all over again.”

The eight-time Grand Slam singles champion was joined by the legendary Rod Laver, who spoke about their rivalry and the challenges of competing against a close friend to a captivated audience.

“Muscles and I played many times and I learned a lesson every time I went out there with him,” Laver related.

Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver at Tennis Australia's Legends of Lawn barbecue in London. Picture: Getty Images

Ken Rosewall and Rod Laver at Tennis Australia’s Legends of Lawn barbecue in London. Picture: Getty Images

Rennae Stubbs, who won the Wimbledon women’s doubles title 20 years ago, and Sam Stosur, the Wimbledon mixed doubles champion 10 years ago, were also recognised on the evening.

Other attendees included Wimbledon 2002 men’s singles champion Lleyton Hewitt, Wimbledon 2023 quad wheelchair singles finalist Heath Davidson and two-time Wimbledon doubles champion Liz Smylie.

Find your way to play: Visit to get out on court and have some fun!