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Tennis’ Laver in Serious Condition

July 30, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Rod Laver, the tennis Hall of Famer who won two Grand Slams, is facing months of physical therapy to recover from a stroke that impaired his speech and movement on his right side.

Laver, 59, remained in serious condition today in the intensive care unit at UCLA Medical Center, where he is expected to remain for a week to 10 days.

``A doctor treating him said today there’s a slight improvement in the movement in his right arm, and some speech improvement, but it is still difficult for him,″ a medical center spokeswoman, Roxanne Yamaguchi Moster, said.

The Australian, who lives in Newport Beach, was stricken while being interviewed for a television show on the century’s greatest athletes.

The stroke suffered Monday caused Laver to become weak on his right side, but he is not paralyzed.

``He’s going to have a substantial job in front of him as far as physical therapy,″ Dr. Neil Martin, co-director of the hospital’s stroke center, said Wednesday. ``We’re talking months of therapy.″

Nicknamed ``Rocket″ for his powerful ground strokes, Laver is the only player to have won two Grand Slams _ the Australian, French and U.S. championships and Wimbledon _ in one calendar year, accomplishing the feat as an amateur in 1962 and as a professional in 1969.

He was the world’s No. 1 player in 1961, 1962, 1968 and 1969, and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1981.

Laver won 11 Grand Slam singles titles, one less than career leader Roy Emerson. Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras also have won 11 Grand Slam events.

Laver won Wimbledon four times, the Australian crown three times and the U.S. and French titles twice each. He also won nine Grand Slam doubles championships.