Alex Olmedo, winner of the Wimbledon Championships and Australian Open in 1959, has died of brain cancer aged 84.
Alex Olmedo came from humble beginnings and he made sacrifices and worked hard to chase his dreams of a tennis career, ultimately becoming a major champion and Hall of Famer Stan Smith
His death earlier this week was announced by his son, Alejandro Jr at the International Hall of Fame where his father had been inaugurated in 1987.
Alejandro “Alex” Olmedo was born in Arequipa, Peru, in 1936 and was introduced to the sport by his father, who coached tennis at a local club.
Aged 14 he won the club championship and when it became clear that he had an above average talent, his friends and supporters clubbed together to fund his trip to the US in order to further improve his tennis.
They raised $700 and I in 1974, aged 17, he used the funds to book a himself on a boat travelling from Lima in Peru, to Havana in Cuba where he took a flight to Miami.
His final leg from Florida was bus to Los Angeles where the young Peruvian who spoke no English, successfully honed his talents.
Once in LA, Olmedo attended University of Southern California (USC), where he won NCAA tennis championships in singles and doubles in both 1956 and 1958 seasons.
Olmedo played in the Davis Cup for the United States and led the team to the trophy in 1958, when he also paired with Ham Richardson to win the doubles title at what is now known as the US Open, namely the US National Championships.
The following year he made his mark by winning two grand slam titles securing the Wimbledon title with a 6-4 6-3 6-4 victory over Rod Laver.
He then turned professional in 1960, eight years before the sport went Open.
“Alex Olmedo came from humble beginnings and he made sacrifices and worked hard to chase his dreams of a tennis career, ultimately becoming a major champion and Hall of Famer,” Stan Smith, president of the Rhode Island-based International Tennis Hall of Fame, said in a statement.
“He was a terrific player and a Davis Cup hero. … He was a great champion, a great friend, and he will be missed.”
Olmedo taught tennis for more than 25 years at the Beverly Hills Hotel, with celebrity students such as Katharine Hepburn, Robert Duvall and Chevy Chase, according to the IHF.
In addition to Alejandro Jr, Olmedo is survived by his daughters, Amy and Angela, and four grandchildren, the IHF added.