Amateur Career: 1950 Through 1956
At the age of 15 and still a junior player, Rosewall reached the semifinals of the 1950 New South Wales Metropolitan Championships (not to be confused with the New South Wales Championships), where he was defeated by the world-class adult player Ken McGregor. The following year, he won his first men's tournament in Manly.
In 1952, still only 17, Rosewall reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Championships, upsetting the top-seeded Vic Seixas in the fourth round 3–6, 6–2, 7–5, 5–7, 6–3 before losing to Gardnar Mulloy in five sets. In his end-of-year rankings, the British tennis expert Lance Tingay ranked Rosewall and Lew Hoad, his equally youthful doubles partner, jointly as the tenth best amateur players in the world.
Rosewall was only 18 years old when he won the singles titles at the Australian Championships, the French Championships, and the Pacific Southwest Championships in 1953. He was the top seed at Wimbledon but lost a quarterfinal match to Kurt Nielsen. Rosewall then reached the semifinals at the U.S. Championships, where he was defeated by Tony Trabert 7–5, 6–3, 6–3. Rosewall lost again to Trabert in the Challenge Round of the Davis Cup in Melbourne, Australia 6–3, 6–4, 6–4. Rosewall, however, won the fifth and deciding rubber of that tie, defeating Seixas 6–2, 2–6, 6–3, 6–4. At the end of the year, Tingay placed Trabert first and Rosewall second in his annual amateur rankings.
In 1954, Rosewall defeated Trabert in a five-set semifinal at Wimbledon but lost the final to Jaroslav Drobný 13–11, 4–6, 6–2, 9–7.
Rosewall won the singles title at the Australian Championships for the second time in 1955, defeating Hoad in the final 9–7, 6–4, 6–4. That was the only Grand Slam tournament Trabert did not win in 1955. At the U.S. Championships, Trabert defeated Rosewall in the final 9–7, 6–3, 6–3.
In 1956, Rosewall and Hoad captured all the Grand Slam men's doubles titles except at the French Championships, from which Rosewall was absent. For several years in their youthful careers, Rosewall and Hoad were known as "The Gold-dust Twins." In singles, Rosewall lost to Hoad in the final of two Grand Slam tournaments. At the Australian Championships, Hoad defeated Rosewall 6–4, 3–6, 6–4, 7–5 and at Wimbledon, Hoad won 6–2, 4–6, 7–5, 6–4. Rosewall, however, prevented Hoad from winning the Grand Slam when Rosewall won their final at the U.S. Championships 4–6, 6–2, 6–3, 6–3.
During his amateur career, Rosewall helped Australia win three Davis Cup Challenge Rounds (1953, 1955, and 1956). Rosewall won 15 of the 17 Davis Cup singles rubbers he played those years, including the last 14 in a row.
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Famous quotes containing the word amateur:
“The true gardener then brushes over the ground with slow and gentle hand, to liberate a space for breath round some favourite; but he is not thinking about destruction except incidentally. It is only the amateur like myself who becomes obsessed and rejoices with a sadistic pleasure in weeds that are big and bad enough to pull, and at last, almost forgetting the flowers altogether, turns into a Reformer.”
—Freya Stark (18931993)