Former Australian, Wimbledon and US Open champion Ashley Cooper died on Friday aged 83. Tennis Australia announced that Cooper had passed away after battling with an illness for a long time.
Cooper led Australia’s Davis Cup team to victory against USA to retain the title in 1957. According to Tennis Australia, Cooper contemplated withdrawing from a professional contract after the Americans won in the following year.
After a back injury ended his career in 1959, Cooper returned to Brisbane to run a business and work as an administrator.
He was involved in moving the state’s main tennis facility from Milton which hosted an Australian Open and three Davis Cup finals to Tennyson, where Pat Rafter Arena is now the venue for the annual Brisbane International, the Associate Press reported.
“Ashley was a giant of the game both as a brilliant player and an astute administrator and he will be greatly missed,” Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley was quoted as saying by AP.
“Ashley was also the most humble of champions and a great family man.”
Australian tennis great Rod Laver posted a tribute to Cooper on his Twitter page. “He was a wonderful champion, on and off the court. And what a backhand! So many cherished memories,” Laver wrote “Farewell my friend,” he added.
A right-handed serve-and-volley player, Cooper won four Grand Slam singles and four Grand Slam doubles titles in the amateur era. In 1958, his only loss in Grand Slams came in the semi-finals at the French championships.