USC legend Alex Olmedo, who won Wimbledon and the Australian Open in 1959 plus two NCAA singles titles, has died. He was 84.
Olmedo, who was born in Arequipa, Peru, was only 17-years-old when he boarded a ship from Peru to Cuba, flew to Miami and a bus to Los Angeles because he wanted to be part of the Southern California tennis scene.
Olmedo won NCAA championships in singles and doubles in both 1956 and 1958.
In 1959, he won two Grand Slam tournaments, defeating Rod Laver in the Wimbledon final.
He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987.
“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,” said fellow USC tennis legend Stan Smith, president of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, in a statement. “He was a great champion, a great friend, and he will be missed.”
- Dennis Ralston, another USC tennis great, died earlier this week. He was 78.
Ralston and fellow USC tennis player Rafael Osuna won the Wimbledon doubles’ title in 1960. Ralston was part of three NCAA championship teams in 1962, 63 and 64. Ralston lost in the 1966 Wimbledon final to Manuel Santana, 6-4, 11-9, 6-4.
“Dennis Ralston lived his whole life in tennis. He was a terrific champion, but he contributed to every part of the sport really, and with a real passion for it,” Smith said. “To me, he was a fellow USC Trojan, my coach, my captain, and a great friend. I, along with so many in the tennis world, will greatly miss his friendship and kindness.”