Dunlop has announced that legendary tennis star Rod Laver will return to the brand as an international ambassador. Laver, who remains the only player to win THE Grand Slam twice at four Majors in the same year, used Dunlop rackets throughout his career.

“Dunlop and the Australian Open are two things synonymous with my tennis career and it’s the perfect time to be returning as an ambassador for Dunlop to support their new partnership,” said Laver. “The Australian Open always proves to be a great spectacle and with the players being able to play with the best tennis balls available, it can only enhance the quality of matches that we see. I’m looking forward to the 2019 tournament and seeing the amazing fans that flock to Melbourne Park year in, year out.”

Laver added: “The technology has been revolutionised since my playing days, but one thing that has remained the same is the passionate competitive spirit with which all people all over the world are able to love the game. Dunlop played an integral part in my career and I’m delighted to be partnering with them once again as they relaunch themselves in the world of tennis.”

“We’re delighted to be working with Rod, who is regarded by many as the greatest tennis player of all time,” said Kiyoshi Ikawa, Head of Product Planning & Promotion for SRI. “Rod’s success is iconic in the history of Dunlop and the chance to work with him again at such an exciting time for Dunlop is an unmissable opportunity, especially given that he is synonymous with the Australian Open. Rod is highly respected by today’s tour players and we’re looking forward to working with him in the coming year.”

Laver’s affiliation with Dunlop goes back to when he was 16 years old, where his first paid job was with the brand selling rackets and playing demonstration matches in outback Queensland, Australia. When his career began, Dunlop came on board as his first major sponsor and the pair remained together throughout his 22-year playing career, with Laver winning over 200 singles titles using Dunlop products.

Laver used the wooden Dunlop Maxply racket throughout his career, helping steer him win THE Grand Slam twice in 1962 and 1969. The first generation of the racket was launched in 1932 and remained in production for over 50 years.