Roscoe Tanner

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Roscoe Tanner
Roscoe Tanner.jpg
Country (sports)  United States
Residence Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Born (1951-10-15) October 15, 1951 (age 66)
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Turned pro 1972 (amateur tour from 1969)
Retired 1985
Plays Left-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money $1,696,198
Singles
Career record 592–290 (67.12%)
Career titles 16
Highest ranking No. 4 (July 30, 1979)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open W (1977Jan)
French Open 4R (1978)
Wimbledon F (1979)
US Open SF (1974, 1979)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals RR (1976, 1977, 1979, 1981)
WCT Finals SF (1981)
Doubles
Career record 272-182
Career titles 13
Highest ranking No. 14 (August 23, 1977)

Roscoe Tanner (born October 15, 1951) is a retired American professional tennis player, who turned pro in 1972[1] 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.[2][3][4] 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 reached the Wimbledon final in 1979, losing to Björn Borg in five sets.

Tanner was in the news in the 2000s for legal problems that included stretches of imprisonment, arrests for missing child support payments, allegations of financial misdeeds, and bankruptcy.

Early life[edit]

Leonard Roscoe Tanner III[5] hailed from Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, graduated from Baylor School[6] in Chattanooga, and with teammate Sandy Mayer helped to lead Stanford University's rise to national prominence in collegiate tennis. Tanner played number one singles, with Mayer playing number two. In 1972, Tanner and Mayer won the NCAA doubles championship, and the Stanford team finished second in the NCAA tournament, behind Trinity (TX). The team also featured Chico Hagey, Rick Fisher, Jim Delaney, Gery Groslimond, Chip Fisher, Paul Sidone, and Tim Noonan.

Playing history[edit]

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 quarterfinals two months later, a match where Tanner's 140 mph serve brought the net down during the fourth set.[7] Tanner lost to Vitas Gerulaitis in the semifinals. 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".[2]

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".[5] His booming 153 mph serve was the fastest ever recorded in tournament competition from February 1978[2][3][4] until Andy Roddick posted a 155 mph serve[8] in a Davis Cup tournament in September 2004.

He won the Davis Cup in 1981 playing with John McEnroe, Eliot Teltscher and Peter Fleming on a team captained by Arthur Ashe, that defeated Argentina in the final, played at Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline[edit]

Tournament 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 SR W–L
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 / 13 39–13
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 88–30

1The Australian Open was played twice in 1977, in January and December.

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles: 2 (1–1)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Winner 1977 Australian Open (January) Grass Argentina Guillermo Vilas 6–3, 6–3, 6–3
Runner-up 1979 Wimbledon Grass Sweden Björn Borg 7–6(7–4), 1–6, 6–3, 3–6, 4–6

Career finals[edit]

Singles (16 titles, 25 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1. 1972 Albany, U.S. Carpet United States Jimmy Connors 2–6, 6–7
Runner-up 2. 1972 Los Angeles WCT, U.S. Hard United States Stan Smith 4–6, 4–6
Runner-up 3. 1973 Milan WCT, Italy Carpet (i) United States Marty Riessen 6–7, 0–6, 6–7
Runner-up 4. 1974 Palm Desert WCT, U.S. Hard Australia Rod Laver 4–6, 2–6
Winner 1. 1974 Denver WCT, U.S. Carpet (i) United States Arthur Ashe 6–2, 6–4
Runner-up 5. 1974 Columbus, U.S. Hard Mexico Raúl Ramírez 6–3, 6–7, 4–6
Runner-up 6. 1974 Maui, U.S. Hard Australia John Newcombe 6–7, 6–7
Winner 2. 1974 Christchurch, New Zealand Hard Australia Ray Ruffels 6–4, 6–2
Runner-up 7. 1975 St. Petersburg WCT, U.S. Hard Mexico Raúl Ramírez 0–6, 6–1, 2–6
Runner-up 8. 1975 St. Louis, U.S. Clay United States Vitas Gerulaitis 6–2, 2–6, 3–6
Runner-up 9. 1975 Charlotte, U.S. Clay Mexico Raúl Ramírez 6–3, 4–6, 3–6
Winner 3. 1975 Las Vegas, U.S. Hard Australia Ross Case 5–7, 7–5, 7–6
Winner 4. 1975 Chicago, U.S. Carpet Australia John Alexander 6–1, 6–7, 7–6
Runner-up 10. 1975 Los Angeles, U.S. Hard United States Arthur Ashe 6–3, 5–7, 3–6
Runner-up 11. 1976 Birmingham, U.S. Carpet (i) United States Jimmy Connors 4–6, 6–3, 1–6
Runner-up 12. 1976 Palm Springs, U.S. Hard United States Jimmy Connors 4–6, 4–6
Winner 5. 1976 Cincinnati, U.S. Clay United States Eddie Dibbs 7–6, 6–3
Winner 6. 1976 Columbus, U.S. Hard United States Stan Smith 6–4, 7–6
Runner-up 13. 1976 South Orange, U.S. Clay Romania Ilie Năstase 4–6, 2–6
Winner 7. 1976 San Francisco, U.S. Carpet (i) United States Brian Gottfried 4–6, 7–5, 6–1
Winner 8. 1976 Tokyo Outdoor, Japan Clay Italy Corrado Barazzutti 6–3, 6–2
Winner 9. 1976 Beckenham, U.K Grass United States Jimmy Connors 6-3, 6-4
Runner-up 14. 1976 Wembley, U.K. Carpet (i) United States Jimmy Connors 6–3, 6–7, 4–6
Winner 10 1977 Australian Open (Jan.), Melbourne Grass Argentina Guillermo Vilas 6–3, 6–3, 6–3
Runner-up 15. 1977 South Orange, U.S. Clay Argentina Guillermo Vilas 4–6, 1–6
Runner-up 16. 1977 WCT Challenge Cup, Las Vegas Carpet (i) United States Jimmy Connors 2–6, 6–5, 6–3, 2–6, 5–6
Winner 11 1977 Sydney Outdoor, Australia Grass United States Brian Teacher 6–3, 3–6, 6–3, 6–7, 6–4
Runner-up 17. 1978 Philadelphia WCT, U.S. Carpet (i) United States Jimmy Connors 2–6, 4–6, 3–6
Winner 12 1978 Palm Springs, U.S. Hard Mexico Raúl Ramírez 6–1, 7–6
Winner 13 1978 New Orleans, U.S. Carpet (i) United States Victor Amaya 6–3, 7–5
Winner 14 1979 Rancho Mirage, U.S. Hard United States Brian Gottfried 6–4, 6–2
Winner 15 1979 Washington Indoor, U.S. Carpet (i) United States Brian Gottfried 6–4, 6–4
Runner-up 18. 1979 New Orleans, U.S. Carpet (i) United States John McEnroe 4–6, 2–6
Runner-up 19. 1979 Wimbledon, London Grass Sweden Björn Borg 7–6, 1–6, 6–3, 3–6, 4–6
Runner-up 20. 1979 Cincinnati, U.S. Hard United States Peter Fleming 4–6, 2–6
Runner-up 21. 1980 Richmond WCT, U.S. Carpet (i) United States John McEnroe 1–6, 2–6
Winner 16 1981 Philadelphia, U.S. Carpet (i) Poland Wojtek Fibak 6–2, 7–6, 7–5
Runner-up 22. 1981 Memphis, U.S. Carpet (i) United States Gene Mayer 2–6, 4–6
Runner-up 23. 1981 Bristol, U.K. Grass Australia Mark Edmondson 3–6, 7–5, 4–6
Runner-up 24. 1981 Sydney Indoor, Australia Hard (i) United States John McEnroe 4–6, 5–7, 2–6
Runner-up 25. 1982 La Costa WCT, U.S. Hard United States Johan Kriek 0–6, 6–4, 0–6, 4–6

Doubles titles (13 titles, 17 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome No. Year Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1. 1971 Cincinnati, U.S. Clay United States Sandy Mayer United States Stan Smith
United States Erik Van Dillen
4–6, 4–6
Runner-up 2. 1971 Columbus, U.S. Hard United States Jimmy Connors United States Jim McManus
United States Jim Osborne
6–4, 5–7, 2–6
Runner-up 3. 1973 London WCT, U.K. Hard (i) United States Arthur Ashe Netherlands Tom Okker
United States Marty Riessen
3–6, 3–6
Runner-up 4. 1973 Washington WCT, U.S. Carpet United States Arthur Ashe Netherlands Tom Okker
United States Marty Riessen
6–4, 6–7, 2–6
Runner-up 5. 1973 Houston WCT, U.S. Clay United States Arthur Ashe Netherlands Tom Okker
United States Marty Riessen
5–7, 5–7
Winner 1. 1973 Denver WCT, U.S. Carpet United States Arthur Ashe Netherlands Tom Okker
United States Marty Riessen
3–6, 6–3, 7–6
Runner-up 6. 1973 Paris Indoor, France Hard (i) United States Arthur Ashe Spain Juan Gisbert Sr.
Romania Ilie Năstase
2–6, 6–4, 5–7
Runner-up 7. 1974 Bologna WCT, Italy Carpet United States Arthur Ashe Sweden Ove Nils Bengtson
Sweden Björn Borg
4–6, 7–5, 6–4, 6–7, 2–6
Winner 2. 1974 Barcelona WCT, Spain Carpet United States Arthur Ashe United States Tom Edlefsen
United States Tom Leonard
6–3, 6–4
Runner-up 8. 1974 Houston, U.S. Clay United States Arthur Ashe Australia Colin Dibley
Australia Rod Laver
6–4, 6–7, 4–6
Winner 3. 1974 Denver WCT, U.S. Carpet United States Arthur Ashe United Kingdom Mark Cox
Japan Jun Kamiwazumi
6–3, 7–6
Winner 4. 1974 Maui, U.S. Hard United States Dick Stockton Australia Owen Davidson
Australia John Newcombe
6–3, 7–6
Winner 5. 1974 Christchurch, New Zealand Indoor carpet Egypt Ismail El Shafei Australia Syd Ball
Australia Ray Ruffels
W/O
Winner 6. 1974 Jakarta, Indonesia Hard Egypt Ismail El Shafei West Germany Jürgen Fassbender
West Germany Hans-Jürgen Pohmann
7–5, 6–3
Runner-up 9. 1975 St. Petersburg WCT, U.S. Hard United States Charlie Pasarell United States Brian Gottfried
Mexico Raúl Ramírez
4–6, 4–6
Runner-up 10. 1975 La Costa WCT, U.S. Hard United States Charlie Pasarell United States Brian Gottfried
Mexico Raúl Ramírez
5–7, 4–6
Winner 7. 1975 Nottingham, U.K. Grass United States Charlie Pasarell Netherlands Tom Okker
United States Marty Riessen
6–2, 6–3
Runner-up 11. 1975 Stockholm, Sweden Hard (i) United States Charlie Pasarell South Africa Bob Hewitt
South Africa Frew McMillan
6–3, 3–6, 4–6
Runner-up 12. 1976 Memphis WCT, U.S. Carpet United States Marty Riessen India Anand Amritraj
India Vijay Amritraj
3–6, 4–6
Winner 8. 1976 La Costa WCT, U.S. Hard United States Marty Riessen United States Peter Fleming
United States Gene Mayer
7–6, 7–6
Winner 9. 1976 Johannesburg WCT, South Africa Hard United States Marty Riessen South Africa Frew McMillan
Netherlands Tom Okker
6–2, 7–5
Winner 10. 1976 San Francisco, U.S. Carpet United States Dick Stockton United States Brian Gottfried
South Africa Bob Hewitt
6–3, 6–4
Runner-up 13. 1976 Maui, U.S. Hard United States Dick Stockton South Africa Raymond Moore
Australia Allan Stone
7–6, 3–6, 4–6
Winner 11. 1976 Perth, Australia Hard (i) United States Dick Stockton Australia Bob Carmichael
Egypt Ismail El Shafei
6–7, 6–1, 6–2
Winner 12. 1976 Wembley, U.K. Carpet United States Stan Smith Poland Wojtek Fibak
United States Brian Gottfried
7–6, 6–3
Runner-up 14. 1977 Palm Springs, U.S. Hard United States Marty Riessen South Africa Bob Hewitt
South Africa Frew McMillan
6–7, 6–7
Runner-up 15. 1977 Cincinnati, U.S. Clay South Africa Bob Hewitt Australia John Alexander
Australia Phil Dent
3–6, 6–7
Runner-up 16. 1977 Hong Kong Hard United States Marty Riessen Australia Syd Ball
Australia Kim Warwick
6–7, 3–6
Winner 13. 1978 Palm Springs, U.S. Hard South Africa Raymond Moore South Africa Bob Hewitt
South Africa Frew McMillan
6–4, 6–4
Runner-up 17. 1980 Manchester, U.K. Grass United States Dennis Ralston United States John Sadri
United States Tim Wilkison
3–6, 4–6

Personal life[edit]

Tanner has been married three times, first to Nancy, then Charlotte and last to Margaret. He has five children, all daughters.[5]

Tanner has coached Dennis Early, Frank Norman, Jesse Stirge, Adrienne Radakovic and a session with Kenzo Wong.

Criminal record[edit]

Tanner has an extensive record of conflicts with the law. He was first arrested in 1997 for failure to pay child support.[9] He was arrested again in June 2003 on a fugitive warrant on charges related to passing a bad cheque and to further nonpayment of child support.[3] He pleaded guilty and received an initial sentence of probation. Tanner violated his probation and served one year in prison in Florida, but was then jailed for Contempt of Court in California.[10]

In 2008, Tanner was again arrested for writing a bad check in Knoxville, Tennessee, but it was settled out of court.[11][12] After being evicted from his home, Tanner was arrested in January 2012 for writing another bad check.[13] In March 2013, Tanner was arrested in Florida for writing a bad check and Grand Theft, and in 2014 he served 10 days for driving with a suspended license.[14] In 2015, Tanner was arrested for Failure to Appear in court on a previous warrant.[14]

Tennis camps[edit]

In the present, Tanner has a successful venture in teaching tennis. He has taught at doubles tennis camps with other professionals,[15] and is the camp director at his own training camp.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Big Interview Roscoe Tanner". The Times. London. December 5, 2004. 
  2. ^ a b c Yorkey, Mike; Roscoe Tanner (2005). Double Fault: My Rise And Fall, And My Road Back. Liguori, Mo: Triumph Books. ISBN 1-57243-779-0. 
  3. ^ a b c L. Jon Wertheim (November 29, 2004). "Outside Looking In". Sports Illustrated. 
  4. ^ a b Wimbledon '99: Secrets of an express delivery, by Ronald Atkin, The Independent, June 20, 1999 Retrieved 12/9/09.
  5. ^ a b c Wigmore, Barry (August 8, 2003). "How the rocket crashed to earth". The Times. UK. Retrieved April 4, 2015. (Subscription required (help)). 
  6. ^ "Baylor School: Leonard Roscoe Tanner, Jr. '69". 
  7. ^ "Powering up". St. Petersburg Times. August 27, 2007. Retrieved November 10, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Serving up a tennis treat..." The Press. October 24, 2009. Retrieved November 10, 2009. 
  9. ^ Greg Garber (June 24, 2006). "Jailed Tanner's losses: Game, set, match . . . family". sports.espn.go.com. ESPN. 
  10. ^ "Roscoe Tanner in Trouble With Law, Again". WTVC. May 29, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2009. [dead link]
  11. ^ Tanner accused of not returning vehicles after check bounced, Associated Press, May 28, 2008. Retrieved April 15, 2009.
  12. ^ "Theft Charges Dismissed Against Roscoe Tanner After Restitution Made". The Chattanoogan. August 14, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2009. [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Leonard Roscoe Tanner Mugshot - Leonard Roscoe Tanner Arrest - Indian River County, FL". 
  14. ^ a b "Inmate Booking Details". Indian River County Sheriff's Office. 
  15. ^ "Tennis Camp with Roscoe Tanner". Retrieved 25 July 2018. 
  16. ^ "Roscoe Tanner tennis training". Retrieved 25 July 2018. 

External links[edit]