Alejandro Olmedo was born in Arequipa and he was introduced to tennis by his father, the resident pro and caretaker at a local club.
By his early teens, Olmedo had developed into a promising player and caught the eye of Stanley Singer, an American coach in Lima, Peru's capital. When Olmedo was 18, Singer sent him to live with a friend in California, where the youngster spent several months in night school learning English. He later attended Modesto College and then transferred to USC on scholarship.
By then, Olmedo had met and was mentored by Perry T. Jones, the septuagenarian who was the President of the Southern California Tennis Association at the Los Angeles Tennis Club (LATC) and ruled organized tennis in California in those days. Jones became one of Olmedo's staunchest supporters.
George Toley recruited him to play for the University of Southern California (USC), as he wrote in his book "The Golden Age of College Tennis, 2009".
Olmedo graduated with a Business Degree from USC. While there, he won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Singles and Doubles Championships in 1956 and 1958. (In 1957, USC was excluded from NCAA competition.)
Alex is the first player from Peru to reach the sport’s upper echelons, Olmedo settled in California and made his mark all over the world as an exceedingly appealing court stylist with a congenial manner on and off the court.
Olmedo was ranked World No. 2 in 1959 by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph.
Perry T. Jones became Davis Cup Captain in 1958 and recruited Olmedo to play on the team. He represented the U.S. in Davis Cup competition in 1958 and 1959, winning in both singles and doubles – achieving 2 of the 3 points required to win the Cup. His teammates were Ham Richardson and Barry MacKay, when they won the Cup in 1958.
He toppled the young Rod Laver to win Wimbledon in 1959, and was also victorious at the Australian Championships that same season. Olmedo excelled on the volley and was a superb fast-court player.
Olmedo was the first Latin American to win the Wimbledon men's singles title.
He spent over 40 years teaching tennis at the Beverly Hills Hotel in California.
Alex was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987.
Your email address will not be published.