It started in Queensland, the state Aussies sometimes call --with a mixture of respect and derision--the Deep North. On August 9, 1938, in the northern coastal town of Rockhampton (population 33,500), Roy and Melba Laver greeted the arrival of their third child.
He was a healthy boy. Named Rodney George, he was to become Rockhampton's most famous son.
Only a month after the birth, an event occurred on the other side of the world. Although apparently unrelated, it was eventually to have far reaching consequences in the life of the new baby.
Another redhead, the American Don Budge, completed the first ever Grand Slam. And as young Rod developed his game, it became is dream to repeat Budge's odyssey that coincided with his birth.
The Lavers were a rural clan of bushmen and sportsmen. And the women too. Only days before she died at ninety, Rod's grandmother was still riding a horse.
Father Roy ran cattle stations—ranches--and at times worked as a butcher.
Peter Underwood is a doctor, writer, broadcaster, activist, and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017. He has a long involvement with the Medical Association for Prevention of War, a group of health professionals who in 2009 founded the International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons. He divides his time between peace work, medical education, growing fine wool, and writing. A passionate student of tennis since childhood, The Pros is his first nonfiction book.
The Pros: The Forgotten Era of Tennis
The Pros: The Forgotten Era of Tennis chronicles almost 40 years when the best players in the world were barred from competing in the biggest tournaments, including the Grand Slams. It focuses on the lives of careers of 8 players who dominated the traveling circus of pro tours around the world, from Bill Tilden to Rod Laver and all the champions in between, depicting the ruthless battles of these players for prize money and status as the best players in the world.