My Champion of Champions: Bud Collins, Veteran US broadcaster and author, on Rod Laver

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The Independent Online

My champion of champions is Rod Laver. His qualities can be summarised easily: as a player he did everything, and he completed two Grand Slams, winning every Slam as an amateur in 1962, and every Slam in 1969 in the Open era, the 40th anniversary of which is this year.

I'd say Laver in 1969 is probably the greatest season a player has had. I remember Wimbledon that year especially well. I'd been commissioned to write a book with him. What I didn't tell him was that the publishers only wanted it if he completed the Grand Slam. He had enough to worry about. His wife was pregnant, and it was a difficult pregnancy.

I recall his second-round match against India's Premjit Lall and Laver went two sets down. It was inexplicably played on an outside court. I rushed to watch and it was so packed all I could see were the arms going up as they served. Of course Laver came back to win.

'The Bud Collins History of Tennis' is out now in paperback. Collins' 1969 book about Laver, 'The Education of a Tennis Player', is about to be re-released.

Who's your champion of champions? Tell us and win a year's David Lloyd membership

Each day during Wimbledon, we'll be running a series of opinions from the great and good of the tennis world, telling us who their Wimbledon champion of champions is – but we also want to knowyour thoughts. Visit and tell us in 200 words or fewer about your all-time great Wimbledon winner. At the end of the tournament, world renowned tennis coach and'Independent' columnist Nick Bollettieri will choose the best entry, and the winner will receivean annual racket membership to a David Lloyd and tennis lessons (worth £2,000). Good luck.

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