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
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:
- Tomic troubles just a hiccup: Rosewall (news.smh.com.au)
- Hewitt says it’s not farewell time yet (news.smh.com.au)