Roy Stanley Emerson, born November 3, 1936 in Blackbutt, Queensland, Australia, was a champion tennis player.
Born on a farm in Australia, his family moved to the city of Brisbane where he was able to receive better tennis instruction. In 1961, Roy Emerson won his first Australian Open singles championship and then five more in consecutive order from 1963 to 1967. In 1964 he won 55 consecutive matches and finished the year with 109 victories out of 115 matches. He won three of the four Grand Slam events that year, losing only at the French Open. He was the No. 1 ranked player in the world in 1964 and 1965.
Known as Emmo, he was the Wimbledon singles champion twice and the doubles champion on three occasions. In addition to winning the French Open singles title in 1963 and again in 1967, he teamed up with five different partners and won the French doubles championship six consecutive times from 1960 to 1965. In the United States, he captured two singles titles and four doubles titles at the US Open.
Emerson is the only male tennis player in history to win singles and doubles titles at all four Grand Slam events. He held the record for most Grand Slam singles titles at 12 until surpassed by Pete Sampras in 2000. Added to his singles victories, his 16 doubles titles gives him the record total of 28 Grand Slam championships. As well, he holds the record for Davis Cup team championships with eight and the individual record of 11 singles victories in the international competition.
Emerson was, of course, a very fine player. But what many of today's generation of sports fans ignore is the fact that all of his Grand Slam titles were won in an amateur field in which the world's best players had already turned professional and were therefore unable to compete against Emerson in these tournaments. If Sedgman, Gonzales, Rosewall, Hoad, Trabert, Fraser, Gimeno, Anderson, and Laver had remained in the amateur ranks it is doubtful that Emerson would have won a single Grand Slam title.
Emerson eventually turned pro, in 1968, just as Open Tennis was beginning. He was the defending French championship titleholder from 1967. In the 1968 French quarterfinals he was beaten by Pancho Gonzales, who was then 40 years old. In the next few years Emerson played Gonzales, a man nearly 9 years his senior, another 12 times. Roy Emerson, winner of 12 Grand Slam titles, never beat Pancho Gonzales, not even once.
He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1982.
Roy Emerson resides in Newport Beach, California and has a home in Gstaad, Switzerland where he holds a tennis clinic each summer. In 1978, he teamed up with his son Anthony to win the United states Hard Court Father-and-Son championship.
Grand Slam Tournament wins:
singles champion - 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967
doubles champion - 3 times
singles champion - 1963, 1967
doubles - 6 consecutive championships from 1960 to 1965
singles champion - 1964, 1965
doubles champion - 2 times
singles champion - 1963, 1967
doubles champion - 4 times