|Residence||Kiawah Island, South Carolina|
October 15, 1951 |
|Height||6' (183 cm)|
|Plays||Left-handed (one-handed backhand)|
|Highest ranking||No. 4 (July 30, 1979)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||W (1977Jan)|
|French Open||4R (1978)|
|US Open||SF (1974, 1979)|
|Tour Finals||RR (1976, 1977, 1979, 1981)|
|WCT Finals||SF (1981)|
|Highest ranking||No. 14 (August 23, 1977)|
Roscoe Tanner (born October 15, 1951) is a former American professional tennis player, who turned pro in 1972 and reached a career high world singles ranking of World No. 4 on July 30, 1979.
Tanner was famous for his big left-handed serve, which was clocked at 153 mph at Palm Springs in 1978 during the final against Raúl Ramírez. He is also known for winning the men's singles title at the first of two Australian Open tournaments held in 1977. Tanner won the tournament held in January, Vitas Gerulaitis won the December tournament. Tanner also reached the Wimbledon final in 1979, losing to Björn Borg in five sets.
Tanner has been in the news in recent years for his legal problems.
Leonard Roscoe Tanner III hailed from Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, graduated from the Baylor School, and with teammate Sandy Mayer helped to lead Stanford University's rise to the number one ranking in collegiate tennis in 1973. Tanner played number one singles, with Mayer playing number two. The team also featured Rick Fisher, Stanley Pasarell, Jim Delaney, James "Chico" Hagey, Gery Groslimond, Pat DuPre, Tim Noonan and Paul Sidone. Of the winning 1973 Stanford tennis team, Tanner, Mayer and DuPre were all brothers in the Zeta Psi fraternity.
Tanner defeated Haroon Rahim 10–8 in the fifth set to win the 1970 United States Amateur Championships (Men's Tennis).
Tanner defeated Guillermo Vilas in three straight sets in the 1977 Australian Open (January) final, to win his first and only grand slam title. Tanner lost a five set match to Björn Borg in the 1979 Wimbledon final, which was the first Wimbledon final to be broadcast live in the United States as part of NBC's Breakfast at Wimbledon. Tanner avenged this loss to Borg by beating him in four sets in the US Open quarter finals two months later, a match where Tanner's 140 mph serve brought the net down during the fourth set. Tanner lost to Vitas Gerulaitis in the semi finals. Tanner described his 1979 US Open win over Borg and loss to Gerulaitis in his autobiography as "the highest of my highs and the lowest of my lows on a tennis court within two days of each other".
Tanner's strong left-handed serve was thrown very low and struck with a lunge involving the whole body, earning him the nickname "The Rocket". His booming 153 mph serve was the fastest ever recorded in tournament competition from February 1978 until Andy Roddick posted a 155 mph serve in a Davis Cup tournament in September 2004.
Grand Slam singles tournament timeline
|Australian Open1||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||A||W||1R||A||A||A||2R||A||3R||A||1 / 4||9–3|
|French Open||A||A||A||A||A||1R||3R||A||A||4R||A||A||A||A||A||A||0 / 3||5–3|
|Wimbledon||A||A||A||3R||A||4R||SF||SF||1R||4R||F||QF||2R||4R||QF||A||0 / 11||36–11|
|US Open||1R||2R||3R||QF||3R||SF||3R||4R||4R||4R||SF||QF||QF||2R||3R||1R||0 / 16||40–16|
|Win–Loss||0–1||0–1||2–1||6–2||2–1||8–3||9–3||8–2||9–3||9–3||11–2||8–2||6–3||4–2||8–3||0–1||1 / 34||90–33|
1The Australian Open was played twice in 1977, in January and December.
Grand Slam finals
Singles: 2 (1–1)
|Outcome||Year||Championship||Surface||Opponent in the final||Score in the final|
|Winner||1977||Australian Open (January)||Grass||Guillermo Vilas||6–3, 6–3, 6–3|
|Runner-up||1979||Wimbledon||Grass||Björn Borg||7–6(7–4), 1–6, 6–3, 3–6, 4–6|
Singles titles (16)
|Outcome||No.||Date||Championship||Surface||Opponent in the final||Score in the final|
|Runner-up||1.||1972||Albany, U.S.||Carpet||Jimmy Connors||2–6, 6–7|
|Runner-up||2.||1972||Los Angeles WCT, U.S.||Hard||Stan Smith||4–6, 4–6|
|Runner-up||3.||1973||Milan WCT, Italy||Carpet||Marty Riessen||6–7, 0–6, 6–7|
|Runner-up||4.||1974||Palm Desert WCT, U.S.||Hard||Rod Laver||4–6, 2–6|
|Winner||1.||1974||Denver WCT, U.S.||Carpet||Arthur Ashe||6–2, 6–4|
|Runner-up||5.||1974||Columbus, U.S.||Hard||Raúl Ramírez||6–3, 6–7, 4–6|
|Runner-up||6.||1974||Maui, U.S.||Hard||John Newcombe||6–7, 6–7|
|Winner||2.||1974||Christchurch, New Zealand||???||Ray Ruffels||6–4, 6–2|
|Runner-up||7.||1975||St. Petersburg WCT, U.S.||Hard||Raúl Ramírez||0–6, 6–1, 2–6|
|Runner-up||8.||1975||St. Louis, U.S.||Clay||Vitas Gerulaitis||6–2, 2–6, 3–6|
|Runner-up||9.||1975||Charlotte, U.S.||Clay||Raúl Ramírez||6–3, 4–6, 3–6|
|Winner||3.||1975||Las Vegas, U.S.||Hard||Ross Case||5–7, 7–5, 7–6|
|Winner||4.||1975||Chicago, U.S.||Carpet||John Alexander||6–1, 6–7, 7–6|
|Runner-up||10.||1975||Los Angeles, U.S.||Hard||Arthur Ashe||6–3, 5–7, 3–6|
|Runner-up||11.||1976||Birmingham, U.S.||Carpet||Jimmy Connors||4–6, 6–3, 1–6|
|Runner-up||12.||1976||Palm Springs, U.S.||Hard||Jimmy Connors||4–6, 4–6|
|Winner||5.||1976||Cincinnati, U.S.||Clay||Eddie Dibbs||7–6, 6–3|
|Winner||6.||1976||Columbus, U.S.||Hard||Stan Smith||6–4, 7–6|
|Runner-up||13.||1976||South Orange, U.S.||Clay||Ilie Năstase||4–6, 2–6|
|Winner||7.||1976||San Francisco, U.S.||Carpet||Brian Gottfried||4–6, 7–5, 6–1|
|Winner||8.||1976||Tokyo Outdoor, Japan||Clay||Corrado Barazzutti||6–3, 6–2|
|Runner-up||14.||1976||Wembley, U.K.||Carpet||Jimmy Connors||6–3, 6–7, 4–6|
|Winner||9.||1977||Australian Open−1, Melbourne||Grass||Guillermo Vilas||6–3, 6–3, 6–3|
|Runner-up||15.||1977||South Orange, U.S.||Clay||Guillermo Vilas||4–6, 1–6|
|Runner-up||16.||1977||WCT Challenge Cup, Las Vegas||Carpet||Jimmy Connors||2–6, 6–5, 6–3, 2–6, 5–6|
|Winner||10.||1977||Sydney Outdoor, Australia||Grass||Brian Teacher||6–3, 3–6, 6–3, 6–7, 6–4|
|Runner-up||17.||1978||Philadelphia WCT, U.S.||Carpet||Jimmy Connors||2–6, 4–6, 3–6|
|Winner||11.||1978||Palm Springs, U.S.||Hard||Raúl Ramírez||6–1, 7–6|
|Winner||12.||1978||New Orleans, U.S.||Carpet||Victor Amaya||6–3, 7–5|
|Winner||13.||1979||Rancho Mirage, U.S.||Hard||Brian Gottfried||6–4, 6–2|
|Winner||14.||1979||Washington Indoor, U.S.||Carpet||Brian Gottfried||6–4, 6–4|
|Runner-up||18.||1979||New Orleans, U.S.||Carpet||John McEnroe||4–6, 2–6|
|Runner-up||19.||1979||Wimbledon, London||Grass||Björn Borg||7–6, 1–6, 6–3, 3–6, 4–6|
|Runner-up||20.||1979||Cincinnati, U.S.||Hard||Peter Fleming||4–6, 2–6|
|Runner-up||21.||1980||Richmond WCT, U.S.||Carpet||John McEnroe||1–6, 2–6|
|Winner||15.||1980||Manchester, U.K.||Grass||Stan Smith||6–3, 6–4|
|Winner||16.||1981||Philadelphia, U.S.||Carpet||Wojtek Fibak||6–2, 7–6, 7–5|
|Runner-up||22.||1981||Memphis, U.S.||Carpet||Gene Mayer||2–6, 4–6|
|Runner-up||23.||1981||Bristol, U.K.||Grass||Mark Edmondson||3–6, 7–5, 4–6|
|Runner-up||24.||1981||Sydney Indoor, Australia||Hard (i)||John McEnroe||4–6, 5–7, 2–6|
|Runner-up||25.||1982||La Costa WCT, U.S.||Hard||Johan Kriek||0–6, 6–4, 0–6, 4–6|
Doubles titles (13)
|Outcome||No.||Date||Tournament||Surface||Partner||Opponents in the final||Score in the final|
|Runner-up||1.||1971||Cincinnati, U.S.||Clay||Sandy Mayer|| Stan Smith
Erik Van Dillen
|Runner-up||2.||1971||Columbus, U.S.||Hard||Jimmy Connors|| Jim McManus
|6–4, 5–7, 2–6|
|Runner-up||3.||1973||London WCT, U.K.||Hard (i)||Arthur Ashe|| Tom Okker
|Runner-up||4.||1973||Washington WCT, U.S.||Carpet||Arthur Ashe|| Tom Okker
|6–4, 6–7, 2–6|
|Runner-up||5.||1973||Houston WCT, U.S.||Clay||Arthur Ashe|| Tom Okker
|Winner||1.||1973||Denver WCT, U.S.||Carpet||Arthur Ashe|| Tom Okker
|3–6, 6–3, 7–6|
|Runner-up||6.||1973||Paris Indoor, France||Hard (i)||Arthur Ashe|| Juan Gisbert, Sr.
|2–6, 6–4, 5–7|
|Runner-up||7.||1974||Bologna WCT, Italy||Carpet||Arthur Ashe|| Ove Nils Bengtson
|4–6, 7–5, 6–4, 6–7, 2–6|
|Winner||2.||1974||Barcelona WCT, Spain||Carpet||Arthur Ashe|| Tom Edlefsen
|Runner-up||8.||1974||Houston, U.S.||Clay||Arthur Ashe|| Colin Dibley
|6–4, 6–7, 4–6|
|Winner||3.||1974||Denver WCT, U.S.||Carpet||Arthur Ashe|| Mark Cox
|Winner||4.||1974||Maui, U.S.||Hard||Dick Stockton|| Owen Davidson
|Winner||5.||1974||Christchurch, New Zealand||Ismail El Shafei|| Syd Ball
|Winner||6.||1974||Jakarta, Indonesia||Hard||Ismail El Shafei|| Jürgen Fassbender
|Runner-up||9.||1975||St. Petersburg WCT, U.S.||Hard||Charlie Pasarell|| Brian Gottfried
|Runner-up||10.||1975||La Costa WCT, U.S.||Hard||Charlie Pasarell|| Brian Gottfried
|Winner||7.||1975||Nottingham, U.K.||Grass||Charlie Pasarell|| Tom Okker
|Runner-up||11.||1975||Stockholm, Sweden||Hard (i)||Charlie Pasarell|| Bob Hewitt
|6–3, 3–6, 4–6|
|Runner-up||12.||1976||Memphis WCT, U.S.||Carpet||Marty Riessen|| Anand Amritraj
|Winner||8.||1976||La Costa WCT, U.S.||Hard||Marty Riessen|| Peter Fleming
|Winner||9.||1976||Johannesburg WCT, South Africa||Hard||Marty Riessen|| Frew McMillan
|Winner||10.||1976||San Francisco, U.S.||Carpet||Dick Stockton|| Brian Gottfried
|Runner-up||13.||1976||Maui, U.S.||Hard||Dick Stockton|| Raymond Moore
|7–6, 3–6, 4–6|
|Winner||11.||1976||Perth, Australia||Hard (i)||Dick Stockton|| Bob Carmichael
Ismail El Shafei
|6–7, 6–1, 6–2|
|Winner||12.||1976||Wembley, U.K.||Carpet||Stan Smith|| Wojtek Fibak
|Runner-up||14.||1977||Palm Springs, U.S.||Hard||Marty Riessen|| Bob Hewitt
|Runner-up||15.||1977||Cincinnati, U.S.||Clay||Bob Hewitt|| John Alexander
|Runner-up||16.||1977||Hong Kong||Hard||Marty Riessen|| Syd Ball
|Winner||13.||1978||Palm Springs, U.S.||Hard||Raymond Moore|| Bob Hewitt
|Runner-up||17.||1980||Manchester, U.K.||Grass||Dennis Ralston|| John Sadri
Tanner has been married three times, first to Nancy, next to Charlotte and currently to Margaret. He has five children, all daughters.
Tanner has an extensive record of conflicts with the law. He was first arrested in 1997 for failure to pay child support to Connie Romano, with whom he fathered a child in the early 1990s. Tanner was arrested again in Karlsruhe in June 2003 on a fugitive warrant. He had fled from Florida after felony charges were filed against him. In this case, the charges related to passing a bad cheque to purchase a yacht in 2000 and to further nonpayment of child support to Romano. He pled guilty and received an initial sentence of probation.
After violating the terms of his probation, Tanner was arrested again on Fugitive and Probation Violation warrants and was convicted and sentenced to two years in the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections. He was released one year early for "good behavior"and extradited to Orange County California where he was jailed there on an outstanding warrant for Contempt of Court on a charge of refusal to pay child support.
In May 2008, Roscoe Tanner was arrested in Knoxville, Tennessee for the felony of writing US$72,000 in worthless cheques as payment for two Toyota Highlanders. The felony charge was dismissed on August 14, 2008 after the dealership obtained return of the vehicles, which were taken out of town, and upon Tanner's payment of US$5,000 in restitution to the dealership for the reduced value of the vehicles after their recovery. Several years before, Tanner had been arrested in Knoxville for violating probation resulting from his guilty pleas in Florida relating to felony worthless cheques and grand theft.
In April 2010, Tanner was evicted from his residence in Florida, and was in hiding from another warrant for his arrest from July 2010 until he was arrested in January 2012, on charges of writing a worthless $1,200 cheque for boat repairs. 
On March 13, 2013 Tanner was arrested in Indian River County Florida on additional warrants, including a warrant for Worthless Cheque/ Failure to Appear and a Felony 3rd degree Grand Theft warrant from St Lucie County Florida. Tanner was released from jail on a $5000 bond and is awaiting trial.
Additionally, Tanner is wanted in Georgia for Contempt of Court according to the Clerk of Court of Dade County, Georgia as of March 29, 2013. Tanner has been evading service of that warrant since July 23, 2009 according to the Sheriff of that county, where Tanner used to reside.
- "The Big Interview Roscoe Tanner". The Times (London). December 5, 2004.
- Yorkey, Mike; Roscoe Tanner (2005). Double Fault: My Rise And Fall, And My Road Back. Liguori, Mo: Triumph Books. ISBN 1-57243-779-0.
- "Outside Looking In", by L. Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated, November 29, 2004.Retrieved April 15, 2009.
- Wimbledon '99: Secrets of an express delivery, by Ronald Atkin, The Independent, June 20, 1999 Retrieved 12/9/09.
- Wigmore, Barry (August 8, 2003). "How the rocket crashed to earth". The Times (UK). Retrieved November 10, 2009.
- "Powering up". St. Petersburg Times. August 27, 2007. Retrieved November 10, 2009.
- "Serving up a tennis treat...". The Press. October 24, 2009. Retrieved November 10, 2009.
- Jailed Tanner's losses: Game, set, match ...family, ESPN, June 24, 2006. Retrieved July 8/9
- "Roscoe Tanner in Trouble With Law, Again". WTVC. May 29, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2009.[dead link]
- Tanner accused of not returning vehicles after check bounced, Associated Press, May 28, 2008. Retrieved April 15, 2009.
- "Theft Charges Dismissed Against Roscoe Tanner After Restitution Made". The Chattanoogan. August 14, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2009.
- Roscoe Tanner, Ex-Tennis Star, Says He's Trying to Change New York Times, February 13, 2012.