More than three decades later, the biggest upset in Australian Open history still matters

Mark-Edmondson1Thirty-seven years ago this month, Mark Edmondson walked out on court in Melbourne a complete unknown. Two weeks later he had secured a place in tennis history.

The ’76 tournament promised to be more unpredictable than usual, seeing as its top three seeds were all over 30 years old. Sure enough, the championship kicked up a young new star — namely, unheralded hometown kid Mark Edmondson. “Unheralded” is putting it mildly. The 21 year old was ranked 212 in the world and worked part-time jobs to pay his tennis expenses. No one got too excited when the “thick, strong, ever-charging” Edmondson reached the semifinals. The field was pretty thin. But then magic started to happen. “Edo,” sporting an Ion Tiriac mustache and a mound of frizzy black hair, upset Ken Rosewall in the semifinals, ending the 41-year-old legend’s last Grand Slam run. And then, on a windy Sunday at Melbourne’s Kooyong Stadium, he somehow topped defending champion Newcombe in the final, 6–7, 6–3, 7–6, 6–1. All these years later he is still the lowest-ranked player ever to win a major.

Read all about it at The Oregonian:

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This is from last years New York Times Tennis Column:

The Last Gasp of Australian Tennis’s Golden Era

By DAVE SEMINARA     Published: January 13, 2011

On the night he beat Ken Rosewall to reach the final of the 1976 Australian Open, Mark Edmondson took the tram home, just like all the fans leaving the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.

His girlfriend, Vicki, now his wife, still recalls the blunt commentary from one of their fellow straphangers: “ ‘Nice job beating Ken,’ the one bloke said, ‘but you won’t have much of a chance to beat Newky in the final, will you?’ ”

Edmondson, who was ranked No. 212 at the time and had been mopping floors at a hospital just weeks before, seized his opportunity, beating John Newcombe in the final. Thirty-five years later, he remains the lowest-ranked men’s player to win a major and the last native son to win the Australian Open, which begins Monday in Melbourne.

Behind his booming serve, Edmondson pulled off an unlikely four-set victory in stifling heat. Newspaper headlines around the world carried some variation on the theme of “Janitor Beats Rosewall.”

Read that story here:


One response

  1. […] More than three decades later, the biggest upset in Australian Open history still matters […]

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