Rod Laver named the best Queensland athlete of all time


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Rod Laver named the best Queensland athlete of all time

Queensland, the northeast Australian state has always been the fertile ground for the prominent athletes in various sports, including tennis, cricket, golf, athletics, rugby and swimming. Brisbane's Courier-Mail has made a great effort in trying to complete a list with 100 most successful players from Queensland and there are five tennis players included, starting with Mal Anderson who claimed the US Open crown in 1957 (he is also one of the oldest Grand Slam finalists in the Open era). Mal is ranked 54th on the list, 15 places behind the Brisbane native Sam Stosur who had been the highest-ranked Australian player for almost nine years.

Stosur won the US Open in 2011 in singles and two more Majors in doubles and three in mixed doubles, becoming doubles number 1 in February 2006. A former world number 1 Pat Rafter has been ranked 25th, winning two US Open titles in 1997 and 1998 and losing two Wimbledon finals in 2000 and 2001.

19 spots above him we could find the great Roy Emerson, the winner of 12 Grand Slam titles and the record-holder at the Australian Open with six crowns between 1961-1967. Roy is the only player in the history of the game who had won all four Major titles in both singles and doubles (he won every tournament at least twice), adding 16 doubles Grand Slams to his already impressive tally.

In addition, Roy Emerson is one of the most accomplished players in the history of Davis Cup, winning 34 out of 38 singles matches and lifting eight titles in the late 50s and 60s. Kieren Perkins, Wally Lewis, Cathy Freeman and Greg Norman all ranked ahead of Roy but the special place has been reserved for another Queensland legend, with Rod Laver being named the greatest athlete ever in this state! Widely considered as one of the greatest players of all time together with Roger Federer, Laver had won two calendar Grand Slams in 1962 and 1969 and he claimed some 200 tournaments overall, standing as the greatest player during the 60s, both in the amateur and pro tennis.

Rod claimed 11 Grand Slam titles overall but his tally would have been much better if he was allowed to play at Slams during his pro career, where he was also the player to beat from 1964. Despite the fact he was almost 30 when the Open started in 1968, Rod managed to win 46 ATP titles and the first two Open era Wimbledon crowns in 1968 and 1969.

"Honored to be named Queensland’s greatest ever sportsperson by @couriermail last night. In sport, Queensland has always punched above its weight. All top 100 are worthy. This is one title I feel extremely proud to be awarded."
1 - Rod Laver
6 - Roy Emerson
25 - Pat Rafter
39 - Sam Stosur
54 - Mal Anderson