Open main menu

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.

Roscoe Tanner
Roscoe Tanner.jpg
Country (sports) United States
ResidenceKiawah Island, South Carolina
Born (1951-10-15) October 15, 1951 (age 68)
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Turned pro1972 (amateur tour from 1969)
Retired1985
PlaysLeft-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money$1,696,198
Singles
Career record590–293 (66.8%)
Career titles16
Highest rankingNo. 4 (July 30, 1979)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenW (1977Jan)
French Open4R (1978)
WimbledonF (1979)
US OpenSF (1974, 1979)
Other tournaments
Tour FinalsRR (1976, 1977, 1979, 1981)
WCT FinalsSF (1981)
Doubles
Career record272-182
Career titles13
Highest rankingNo. 14 (August 23, 1977)

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 lifeEdit

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 historyEdit

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 timelineEdit

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 finalsEdit

Singles: 2 (1–1)Edit

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Win 1977 Australian Open (January) Grass   Guillermo Vilas 6–3, 6–3, 6–3
Loss 1979 Wimbledon Grass   Björn Borg 7–6(7–4), 1–6, 6–3, 3–6, 4–6

Career finalsEdit

Singles (16 titles, 25 runner-ups)Edit

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

Doubles titles (13 titles, 17 runner-ups)Edit

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

Personal lifeEdit

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 recordEdit

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 check 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 campsEdit

Currently, 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]

ReferencesEdit

  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.
  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. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |newspaper= (help)
  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. Archived from the original on July 30, 2012. Retrieved November 10, 2009.
  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 July 25, 2018.
  16. ^ "Roscoe Tanner tennis training". Retrieved July 25, 2018.

External linksEdit