Well-known former tennis star Dennis Ralston passed away on 6th December after playing a match for his life against brain cancer. He was 78. Dennis Ralston was a world-class American Tennis player who spent the last year of his life in Austin, Texas.
Dennis Ralston had given his heart and soul to the sport, first as a player and then as a coach.
Dennis Ralston: The end of an era
Coached by another veritable genius of the game, Pancho Gonzalez, Dennis Ralston achieved his first Grand slam victory in 1960 in doubles at the age of 17.
He was ranked as the top American player for three years from 1964-1966. It was very hard to find someone who gave everything to tennis. The peak tenure of Dennis Ralston's career started when he finished as a runner up at Wimbledon in 1966.
He won 41 titles in singles with a record of 576-251. Whereas 125-87 was his record in his doubles career, in which he finished with five Grand Slams. In 1987, Dennis Ralston was inducted into the International Tennis hall of fame, almost 10 years since his retirement from the sport in 1977.
Ralston once said, “There were so many things I learned the hard way when I was playing that I knew were important for the players." Ralston achieved considerable success as a coach, too. He coached Chris Evert, Gabriela Sabatini, Roscoe Tanner, and Yannick Noah among others.
Fellow International Tennis Hall of Fame member and its current president, Stan Smith was also coached by Ralston. Talking about his mentor, Smith shared, "Dennis Ralston lived his whole life in tennis. He was a terrific champion, but he contributed to every part of the sport really, and with a real passion for it."
Then, recalling how Dennis Ralston had helped him and the US Davis Cup team in their final against Romania in 1972, Smith added, "Dennis had an incredible mind for tennis, and he wanted to share what he knew to help others.
He really prepared us for that battle in Romania. It was the most challenging and satisfying of all my Davis Cup campaigns. Dennis knew what it would take for us to compete, and he was a tremendous leader for me and the team."