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Lew Hoad

tennis player
Full name: Lewis Alan Hoad
Nickname: Lew
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Bio During his quarter-century career as a professional, Pancho Gonzalez faced a vast array of first-rate players, and the one he considered the most devastating was Lewis Alan Hoad. 'When Lew's game was at its peak nobody could touch him,' said Gonzalez, who cited Hoad as his toughest foe during his years of the pro tours, mainly head-to-head one-night-stands. Hoad, who turned pro in 1957, after winning his second successive Wimbledon singles, was one rookie who seemed able to dethrone Gonzalez as the pro king. They were just about even when Hoad's troublesome back gave way during the winter of 1958. Gonzalez won the tour, 51-36, but felt threatened all the way, and trailed at one point, 18-9 as Lew won six straight. It was Pancho's closest brush with defeat after taking over leadership in 1954. Hoad, a strapping 5-foot-8, 175-pounder with a gorilla chest and iron wrists, may have been the strongest man to play tennis in the world class. He blistered the ball and became impatient with rallying, preferring to hit for winners. It was a flamboyant style, and made for some bad errors when he wasn't in tune. But when his power was focused along with his concentration, Hoad came on like a tidal wave. He was strong enough to use topspin as an offensive drive. He was assault-minded, but had enough control to win the French title on slow clay in 1956, over Swede Sven Davidson. Born Nov. 23, 1934, 21 days after Ken Rosewall, in the same city, Sydney, the right-handed Hoad was bracketed with Rosewall throughout his amateur days. Although entirely different in stature, style, and personality; the two were called Australia's tennis twins, the prodigies who drew attention as teenagers and were rivals and teammates through 1956. Hoad was stronger, but less patient and consistent, more easygoing. His back problems cut his career short in the mid-1960s while Rosewall, whose style was less taxing, kept on going into the next decade. His countrymen fondly remember Hoad's Davis Cup triumph of 1953 over Tony Trabert on a rainy Melbourne afternoon. At 19, he and Rosewall had been selected to defend the Cup. The U.S. led, 2-1, in the finale and seemed about to clinch the Cup when the more experienced Trabert, already the U.S. champion, caught up at two sets all. Hoad hung on to win, however, 13-11, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 7-5, and Rosewall beat Vic Seixas the following day to save the Cup, 3-2. Although they lost it to the Americans the next year, Hoad and Rosewall were awesome in 1955, retaking the prize from the Yanks, 5-0. Hoad beat Wimbledon champ Trabert the first day and got the clincher with Rex Hartwig over Trabert and Seixas. The twins defended the Cup from the U.S. for the last time together in 1956, 5-0, winning everything. Lew wiped out Herbie Flam on opening day and united with Kenny a last time to decide it, over Sammy Giammalva and Seixas. Their first major titles were bagged in 1953, when Lew and Ken were allied to win the Australian, French, and Wimbledon doubles. They missed out on a Grand Slam on the last leg, the U.S. at Longwood in Boston, in a quarter-final upset by unseeded Americans Straight Clark and Hal Burrows. But, taking 19 of 20 matches, he (in the left court) and Ken were the only male team other than countrymen Frank Sedgman and Ken McGregor (1951-52) and John Newcombe and Tony Roche (1967) to win three of the four in one year. Lew won 13 major titles in singles and doubles, and in 1956 appeared on his way to winning all four (Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S.) singles within one calendar year, thus achieving a rare Grand Slam. However, after Hoad was three quarters of the way there, Rosewall spoiled the Slam with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3, triumph. In his last significant tournament appearance in 1973, Lew reached the final of the South African doubles with Rob Maud, losing to Arthur Ashe and Tom Okker. Despite losing out on a Grand Slam, his 1956 season was a luminous hard-working campaign that netted 32 titles: 15 victories in 26 singles tourneys on a 95-11 match record, 17 victories in 23 doubles starts on 79-5. He had planned to turn pro after that but decided to go for the Slam again. That dream was drilled almost immediately in the semis of the Australian by Neale Fraser. Though Lew resolutely and smashingly did repeat at Wimbledon for the loss of one set, blasting Ashley Cooper in the final -- his 42nd singles title -- he felt it was time to cash in. He accepted an offer from promoter Jack Kramer and began preparing for Gonzalez. For five straight years, he was in the World Top Ten, No. 1 in 1956. Hoad (five attempts) and Bjorn Borg (10) are probably the two greatest players not to win the U.S. Championship. Lew married another player, country-woman Jenny Staley (finalist in the 1954 Australian singles).

Lew was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1980.

Source:Bud Collins

He was an Australian tennis player whose career ran from the early 1950s through the early 1970s. Hoad won four Grand Slam tournaments as an amateur (Australian, French and twice Wimbledon). He was a member of the Australian team that won the Davis Cup four times between 1952 and 1956. Hoad turned professional in July 1957. He won the Ampol Kooyong Tournament of Champions in 1958 and the Forest Hills Tournament of Champions in 1959. He won the Ampol Open Trophy world series of tournaments in 1959–1960, including the Qantas International Kooyong tournament. Hoad's men's singles tournament victories spanned from 1951 to 1971. During his career his main competitors were his longtime amateur tennis teammate Ken Rosewall and, throughout his professional career, Pancho Gonzales.

Hoad was ranked in the world top ten for amateurs from 1952 until he turned pro in 1957, was ranked the world No. 1 by Tennis de France for 1953 and 1956, and by Lance Tingay for 1956. He was ranked the world No. 1 professional in Kramer's 1959–1960 Ampol point ranking system, which was the only comprehensive point ranking of the era. He was ranked the world No. 1 tennis player, professional or amateur, for 1962 in a poll of 85 U.S. sports editors. He holds the men's all-time record for the youngest player to be ranked world No. 1, in 1953, at age 19 years 38 days.

Serious back problems plagued Hoad throughout his career, possibly caused by a weight-lifting exercise he devised in 1954, particularly after he turned professional, and led to his effective retirement from tennis in 1967. Afterwards he made sporadic appearances at tournaments, enticed by the advent of the Open Era in 1968 and was seeded No. 7 for the 1968 open Wimbledon championships and seeded No. 12 for the 1970 French Open championships.

Following his retirement in 1972, Hoad and his wife Jenny owned and operated a tennis resort, Lew Hoad's Campo de Tenis in Fuengirola, Spain, near Málaga. Hoad died of leukemia on July 3, 1994.

Lewis Hoad was born on November 23, 1934, in the working-class Sydney inner suburb of Glebe, the eldest of three sons of tramway electrician Alan Hoad and his wife Ailsa Lyle Burbury. Hoad started playing tennis at age five with a racket gifted by a local social club. As a young child, he would wake up at 5 a.m. and hit tennis balls against a wall and garage door until the neighbours complained, and he was allowed to practice on the courts of the Hereford Tennis Club behind the house. At age 10 he competed in the seaside tournament at Manly in the under 16 category.

In his youth, Hoad often played Ken Rosewall, and they became known as the Sydney "twins", although they had very different physiques, personalities and playing styles. Their first match in Sydney in January 1947 (when both were aged 12) was played as an opener of an exhibition match between Australia and America. Rosewall won 6–0, 6–0. Hoad built up great physical strength, especially in his hands and arms, by training at a police boys' club, where he made a name as a boxer. Hoad was about 12 when he was introduced to Adrian Quist, a former Australian tennis champion and then general manager of the Dunlop sports goods company. Quist played a couple of sets with Hoad and was impressed by his natural ability. When Hoad was 14 he left school and joined the Dunlop payroll, following the pattern of that 'shamateur' era when most of Australia's brightest tennis prospects were employed by sporting goods companies.

Hoad had just turned 15 when he and Rosewall were selected to play for New South Wales in an interstate contest against Victoria. In November 1949, Hoad won the junior title at the New South Wales Championships, and the same weekend, he also competed in the final of the junior table tennis championship in Sydney.

Hoad's first Grand Slam tournament appearance was at the 1951 Australian Championships held in January at the White City Tennis Club in Sydney. He won his first match against Ronald McKenzie in straight sets but lost in the following round to defending champion Frank Sedgman. It was the only Grand Slam tournament he played that year. Hoad won his first men's singles title, the Brisbane Exhibition tournament at Milton, on grass, on August 11, 1951, defeating Rosewall in the final in four sets.

In 1952, Hoad reached the third round of the Australian Championships in Adelaide. In April, he was selected by the Australasian Lawn Tennis Association as member of the team to play in overseas tournaments. In May, before departing to Europe, he won the singles title at the Australian Hardcourt Championships on clay after a five-set win in the final against Rosewall. Hoad, who had never played a tournament on European red clay courts, received a walkover in the first round of the French Championships and lost in straight sets to sixth-seeded and 1947 and 1951 finalist Eric Sturgess. In only their second appearance as a doubles team at a Grand Slam event, Hoad and Rosewall reached the French semifinal. Hoad lost in the quarterfinal of the Belgian championships in Brussels in early June, where he was defeated by Budge Patty. Hoad's first entry at the grass court Queen's Club Championship in June 1952 ended in the quarterfinal against countryman and eventual champion Frank Sedgman. A week later, he played his first match at the Wimbledon Championships defeating Beppe Merlo in a nervous and unimpressive five-set encounter. Wins against Rolando del Bello and Freddie Huber were followed by a fourth round loss against second-seeded and eventual finalist Jaroslav Drobný. Hoad and Rosewall caused an upset when they defeated second-seeded Gardnar Mulloy and Dick Savitt in the third round of the doubles event in a run that ended in the semifinal against Vic Seixas and Eric Sturgess.

After a semifinal result at the Swedish championships in July, and an exhibition between Australia and West Germany, Hoad and the Australian team traveled to the United States under the guidance of coach Harry Hopman. As a preparation for his first U.S. Championships he played the Meadow Club Invitational (Southampton), Eastern Grass Court Championships (South Orange), and Newport Invitational before teaming up with Rosewall to reach the semifinal of the U.S. National Doubles Championships in Brookline. Hoad was the eighth seeded foreign player at the U.S. Championships. He won four matches to reach his first Grand Slam quarterfinal but due in part to making 64 errors could not overcome his countryman Sedgman who would win the tournament without losing a set. With Thelma Coyne Long he reached the final of the mixed doubles event, the first Grand Slam final of his career, but they lost in straight sets to Doris Hart and Frank Sedgman. An early loss at the Pacific Southwest Championships in September concluded his first overseas tour. In September, he was jointly ranked No. 10 in the world for 1952 with Rosewall by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph.

Hoad started 1953 poorly in the singles with a second-round exit against Clive Wilderspin at the Australian Championships in Melbourne after playing an uncharacteristic baseline game. He was more successful in doubles where he and Rosewall became the youngest team to win the Australian doubles title after a victory in the final against Mervyn Rose and Don Candy. In March, Hoad defended his singles title at the Australian Hardcourt Championships, defeating Rosewall in a five set semifinal in which he survived six matchpoints, and 34-year-old John Bromwich in the final. Two weeks later, Hoad lost the final of the N.S.W. Hardcourt Championships against Mervyn Rose. Hoad's second overseas tour started in late April, and after an exhibition in Cairo at the Gezira Sporting Club, he reached the final at Italian Championships in Rome losing to Drobný in straight sets but won the doubles title with Rosewall. At the French Championships in May, Hoad was seeded fourth and made it to the quarterfinals in which he lost to Vic Seixas due to overhitting and an unreliable serve. Hoad and Rosewall followed up their Australian title with a win at the French Championships after a three-set win in the final against countrymen Rose and Wilderspin. In June Hoad's attacking serve-and-volley game proved too good for Wimbledon favorite Rosewall in the final of the Queen's Club Championship and he won the tournament without losing a set. At Wimbledon, Hoad was seeded sixth, and as at the French, Vic Seixas defeated him in the quarterfinal, this time in a close five-set match that ended on a Hoad double fault. In an all-Australian doubles final Hoad and Rosewall defeated Hartwig and Rose to win their third Grand Slam doubles title of the year. Hoad lost to Enrique Morea in the final of the Dutch Championships in mid July. He won his first title on U.S. soil in South Orange at the Eastern Grass Court Championships in mid August, defeating compatriot Rex Hartwig in the final. In the semifinal against Rosewall, he pulled a back muscle. Hoad and Rosewall's hopes of winning the doubles Grand Slam, two years after fellow Australians Ken McGregor and Frank Sedgman had first achieved that feat, were dashed when they lost surprisingly in the third round of the U.S. Doubles Championships. As the second-seeded foreign player, Hoad was one of the favorites for the singles title at the U.S. Championships. He won four matches to reach the semifinal where for the third time in 1953 he lost in a Grand Slam event to Vic Seixas. Following his defeat, and that of Rosewall in the other semifinal, there was criticism in the press that both 18-year-old players were physically and mentally worn out due to the intensive schedule imposed by coach Harry Hopman. In September, Seixas again beat Hoad, this time in the semifinal of the Pacific Southwest Championships in Los Angeles.

Hoad was rested a few weeks upon his return to Australia and then won the Queensland Championships in early November in a 41-minute final against Hartwig. Two weeks later, Hoad won the N.S.W. Championships after four-set victories over Tony Trabert in the semi-final and over Rosewall in the final in front of a 10,000 Sydney crowd but had trouble with a sore right elbow. His good form continued in early December at the Victorian Championships when he again defeated Rosewall in the final. The much anticipated Davis Cup challenge round match against the challenging team from the United States took place at the Melbourne Kooyong Stadium in late December. Surprisingly Hartwig was selected to partner Hoad in the doubles instead of Rosewall, a decision widely criticized in the press. In the opening singles matches, Hoad defeated Seixas, his nemesis that season, in straight sets, while Trabert defeated Rosewall, also in straight sets. Hoad and Hartwig lost the doubles match against Seixas and Trabert and Australia trailed 1–2 at the start of the final day. Hoad is remembered for his match as a 19-year-old amateur against the United States champion Tony Trabert. In a hard-fought match in front of a 17,000 crowd, Hoad defeated Trabert in five sets to help his country retain the Cup. It was seen as one of the best Davis Cup matches in history. Directly following the final, Hoad received his call-up papers for National Service.

Hoad was ranked No. 5 in the world for the year 1953 according to Lance Tingay in his September rankings. At the end of the year, following the Australian season, Hoad was ranked world No. 1 for the complete season of 1953 by the editors of Tennis de France, published by Philippe Chatrier, the only contemporary full season rankings. Tingay stated in September 1954 that Hoad in 1953 "played so well during the Australian season that his status as best in the world was axiomatic." He added that for the 1954 season, "His form since has been almost disastrous. Hoad's decline has been a mystery." Hoad was the youngest tennis player ever at 19 years 38 days to achieve a world No. 1 ranking, a record which still stands.

In January of 1954, Hoad played just one tournament before entering his National Service training. At the South Australian Championships in Adelaide he reached the final but sub-par play led to a straight-sets defeat to Trabert. On 13 January, Hoad joined the 13th National Service Training battalion in Ingleburn for a period of 98 days and commented that "It will be a welcome break from tennis". As a consequence, Hoad was unable to participate in the Australian Championships. At the end of February, Hoad received a leave from service to play for the Australian team in the third test match against South Africa in front of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. He played a singles match, a doubles match with Rosewall and a mixed-doubles match with his girlfriend Jenny Staley. When Hoad returned to service, he was bitten by a spider while on maneuvers which caused him to become ill and hospitalized him for ten days. He spent two days in coma which was not made public.

While he was in service, Hoad devised a weight-lifting exercise, doing push-ups with round 50 lb. weights placed on his back, which Hoad later believed probably initiated his back trouble. Hoad left the National Service at the end of April and his third overseas tour with an Australian team started on 5 May. For the first time in his career, Hoad was the top-seeded player at a Grand Slam tournament at the French Championships but he lost in the fourth round to 40-year-old Gardnar Mulloy. Hoad lost the doubles final with Rosewall to Seixas and Trabert in 56 minutes. Partnering Maureen Connolly, who had won the women's singles title, Hoad won the mixed-doubles final against Jacqueline Patorni and Rex Hartwig. In June, Hoad overcame countryman Rose in the final of the Queen's Club Championship to successfully defend his title. Hoad was one of the favorites for the Wimbledon Championships and was seeded second behind Trabert. In the fourth round, Hoad avenged his loss to Mulloy at the French Championships, defeating him in four sets. In the quarterfinal the powerful service and excellent returns of 32-year-old Drobný proved too much for Hoad and he was beaten in straight sets within an hour. Hoad and Rosewall were unable to defend their Wimbledon doubles title after losing in fives sets in the semifinal to Seixas and Trabert. A surprise loss against Roger Becker in the semifinal at the Midlands Counties Championships in Birmingham was followed in mid-July by winning the singles title at the Swiss Championships in Gstaad. As in the previous year, Hoad met Rosewall in the Eastern Grass Court Championships in August, this time in the final, and again the titleholder was victorious, overpowering Rosewall to win the singles title in three straight sets. At Newport in mid August, Hoad was beaten by 17-year-old compatriot Roy Emerson who won the deciding set 8–6. For the third time in 1954, Seixas and Trabert defeated Hoad and Rosewall at a Grand Slam doubles event, winning the U.S. Doubles Championships in Brookline.

Hoad, no. 1 foreign seed at the U.S. Championships, lost to Ham Richardson in a five-set quarterfinal. His lackluster form continued when he was defeated by unseeded Luis Ayala in the quarterfinal of the Pacific Southwest Championships in mid-September. After returning to Australia at the end of September, Hoad scheduled extra practice to work on his serve and volley but subsequently lost to Don Candy in the semifinal of the Sydney Metropolitan Championships. In early November, matters briefly improved. In the final of the Queensland Championships in Brisbane, he overcame a sunstroke and the loss of sets three and four by 0–6 to defeat Hartwig in five sets. In mid-November, he was upset by veteran John Bromwich who better exploited the windy conditions in the quarterfinal of the N.S.W. Championships. At the Victorian Championships, the last significant tournament before the Davis Cup Challenge Round, Hoad was defeated in straight sets in the semifinal by Seixas. As in the previous match against Sven Davidson he showed such poor form and at times an apparent lack of interest that he was jeered by the crowd and several left after he smashed a ball into the stands. The 1954 Davis Cup Challenge Round was played on December 27-29 on the grass courts at the White City Stadium in Sydney between title holders Australia and the United States. Hoad lost the first rubber to Trabert, in front of a record crowd of 25,000, in a high-quality four-set match. Rosewall also lost his singles match and the United States won back the cup after Seixas and Trabert defeated Hoad and Rosewall in four sets in the doubles rubber.

In September, Hoad's world ranking had slipped to No. 7 in Tingay's ranking. Tingay, Chatrier and other writers ranked Hoad world No. 5 in a collaborative ranking. In a season review article in the Dunlop Lawn Tennis Annual & Almanack editor and former tennis player G.P. Hughes mentioned that "Hoad in particular had a bad year". In a 1956 interview, Hoad admitted that especially in 1954 he often got fed-up with tennis and didn't care whether he played or not.

Hoad started the 1955 season on a low note when he was unable to play the South Australian tennis championship in early January due to a torn ligament. To some surprise he entered the mixed doubles event at the 1955 Australian Championships with his girlfriend Jenny Staley and the pair finished as runner-ups to Thelma Coyne Long and George Worthington. In the singles event, Hoad reached his first Grand Slam tournament final after solid wins over Seixas (quarterfinal) and Hartwig (semifinal). In the final Rosewall's accuracy and control were too strong for him and he lost in three straight sets. Hoad did not participate in the French Championships as the Davis Cup team that he was part of only left for Europe at the end of May during the Championships. In the singles final of the Queen's Club Championship in mid-June Hoad, who was married earlier that day, lost his service seven times and lost to Rosewall in two straight sets but won the doubles event with Hartwig. Hoad was the fourth-seeded player at the Wimbledon Championships at the end of June. In his quarterfinal match against seventh-seeded Budge Patty, his game lacked accuracy and he conceded a break in each set resulting in a loss in straight sets.

Having lost the Davis Cup in 1954, Australia had to play through the 1955 Davis Cup preliminary rounds to challenge holders United States. In July, Australia defeated Mexico, Brazil and Canada to win the Americas Zone and subsequently beat Japan and Italy in the Inter-zone matches in August. In the Challenge Round at the West Side Tennis Club, Forest Hills from August 26 to 28, Hoad defeated the French and Wimbledon champion Trabert in four sets in his first singles rubber and with Hartwig won the doubles match to reclaim the Davis Cup for Australia. These were the first ever tennis matches broadcast in color, on a national broadcast by NBC television.

Hoad was no. 2 foreign seed at the U.S. Championships held from September 2 to 11, immediately after the Davis Cup Challenge Round, on the muddy courts of Forest Hills. In the quarterfinal, he lost his service three times in succession in the third set and suffered a straight-sets defeat in 50 minutes against Trabert, the first-seeded U.S. player, and eventual champion. In his first significant tournament after the U.S. Championships, Hoad won the New South Wales Championships in November after a win in the final against Rosewall. In December, he won the singles title at the Victorian Championships after a tough five-sets final win over 19-year old Ashley Cooper. In September, he was ranked No. 3 in the world according to Tingay.

Hoad started the 1956 year with a five-set defeat in the final of the South Australian Championships against countryman Neale Fraser. At the following Manly tournament, the crowd overflowed the stands during the final hindering Rosewall's baseline game more than Hoad's, resulting in a straight-sets win for Hoad in 35 minutes. At the Australian Championships in Brisbane, Hoad overcame a two sets to one deficit against Mervyn Rose in the quarterfinal and beat Neale Fraser in the semifinal to reach his second consecutive Australian final, where he overcame titleholder Rosewall in four sets to win his first Grand Slam singles title. He won the doubles title with Rosewall against Don Candy and Mervyn Rose. At the beginning of March, Hoad and his wife left for an overseas private tour (a tour sanctioned but not organized by the Australian tennis federation). First stop of the tour was Cairo where Hoad won the singles title at the Egyptian Championships against Sven Davidson followed by a tournament win in Alexandria over Fred Kovaleski. At Monte Carlo in late March, he was surprisingly beaten by Tony Vincent in the quarterfinal. In the Australian ranking published in April, reflecting the season until the end of March, Hoad overtook Rosewall as No. 1. Singles titles at the Lebanese Championships and at the Connaught Club in Essex followed in April but the month ended with a semifinal loss to Ham Richardson at the British Hard Court Championships in Bournemouth.

Hoad won his first Italian Championships on red clay at the Foro Italico in Rome in early May when he outplayed Sven Davidson in straight sets. At the French Championships at Roland Garros stadium on red clay, Hoad survived a five-set scare against Robert Abdesselam in the third round before winning the final against Sven Davidson in straight sets to claim his second consecutive Grand Slam singles title. Unknown to the public, Hoad had stayed up the night previous to the final, invited by a Russian diplomat, and was drunk when he came home. An intensive workout by Rod Laver got him into a state that allowed him to play the final. Following the win in Paris, Hoad stated his intention to remain amateur after 1956, "Even if I win the three big tournaments, even if Kramer raised his offer, I still wouldn't turn pro for at least two or three seasons." In May, Hoad won the International Golden Ball tournament in Wiesbaden, West Germany after a straight-sets victory in the final over Art Larsen but at the Trofeo Conde de Godó in Barcelona, he lost in the quarterfinal to Bob Howe. As a preparation for Wimbledon, Hoad played the singles event at the Northern Championships in Manchester instead of the Queen's Club Championships. He reached the final but lost to 34-year old Jaroslav Drobný who won the deciding set 7–5. Hoad was seeded first for the Wimbledon Championships and was the pre-tournament favorite. He lost two sets en route to the final, in which he faced Rosewall. In the first all-Australian final since 1922, Hoad was victorious in four sets to gain his first Wimbledon and third successive Grand Slam championship title. Hoad also won the doubles title with Rosewall, their third Wimbledon title, defeating Orlando Sirola and Nicola Pietrangeli in the final in straight sets. Following his Wimbledon title he lost in the semi final of the Midlands tournament to Mike Davies. In August, Hoad won the singles title at the German Championships, on clay at Hamburg, with a four-set defeat of Orlando Sirola in the final.

Shortly after Wimbledon, Hoad experienced severe pain and stiffness in his lower back, at a level higher than before the tournament. He arranged to travel to the U.S. by boat on the RMS Queen Mary rather than suffer a long plane trip. However, the pain continued and reduced the level of his play for the remainder of the year and into 1957.

After his transatlantic voyage in August, Hoad played directly in the U.S. Championships, having missed the preparatory grass court tournament at Newport. Having won the first three stages of the Grand Slam, Hoad was favoured to win the fourth and then turn professional for a lucrative contract offered by Jack Kramer. In an upset, however, he lost the final in four sets to Rosewall in the U.S. Championships at Forest Hills. Hoad and Rosewall won the doubles title against Seixas and Richardson. In September Hoad defeated Luis Ayala in the semifinal and Sven Davidson in a four set final at the O'Keefe Invitational at the Toronto Lawn Tennis Club in Rosedale, Toronto on red clay and at the Pacific Southwest Championships, the last leg of his overseas tour, Hoad was beaten by Alex Olmedo in the third round. In early November he lost the final of the Queensland Championships to Ashley Cooper in five sets and was hindered by numbness in the serving arm between the elbow and the wrist. The following week Hoad retired from the New South Wales Championships during his first round match against Ross Sherriff due to a sore arm. In mid December Hoad and Rosewall competed in the final of the Victorian Championships which was their last final as amateurs as Rosewall turned professional at the end of the month. The final started late due to rain and was stopped due to darkness at two sets to one for Hoad but the following day Rosewall won the last two sets and the title. In late December, Hoad was part of the Australian Davis Cup team which successfully defended the cup in the Challenge Round against the United States who were weakened by the absence of Tony Trabert (now a pro). In his last Davis Cup appearance, Hoad won both his singles rubbers, against Herbie Flam and Seixas, as well as his doubles match with Rosewall to help Australia to a 5–0 victory. Hoad was confined to bed with back pain for the two days prior to the Davis Cup matches, and was relieved to find that he could play well. In September, Hoad was ranked No. 1 in the world by Lance Tingay, and at the end of the year was ranked No. 1 by Tennis de France. Hoad won 16 tournaments in 1956, and 17 doubles titles.

Jack Kramer's first attempt to sign Hoad and Rosewall for his professional tour came in September 1954 when both players were in Los Angeles for the Pacific Coast Championships. Both signed a contract but later changed their minds and elected to remain amateurs. A renewed offer in October 1955 was also turned down. Following the Davis Cup final in December 1956, it was Ken Rosewall who first signed a professional contract.

Hoad played poorly in early 1957, due to back trouble, and was placed in an upper body cast for six weeks, following which he slowly returned to tennis competition in April 1957. He then experienced a period of pain-free playing for 11 months. Hoad won his second successive Wimbledon singles title, defeating Ashley Cooper in a straight-sets final that lasted 57 minutes. After the tournament, he turned professional by signing a two-year contract with Kramer for a record guarantee of US$125,000 which included a US$25,000 bonus for winning the 1957 Wimbledon singles title. Hoad would receive 20% of the gate receipts for each match, along with a 5% bonus if he won the match of the day (against Gonzales). Hoad stated that his contract would guarantee him AUS£56,000 (US$125,440) over a two-year term, and 25% of all receipts for the matches in which he played, plus another 6% for expenses. In a Sports Illustrated article, it was reported that Hoad would receive 25% of the gate for every match against Gonzales, plus an extra 5% for each match won. Gonzales would receive 20% for every match. These "percentage of gate" clauses of the contract would result in Hoad earning over GBP £50,000 (US$140,000) in the first 11 months of his pro career (through May, 1958) according to Kramer. Hoad's biographers state that Hoad earned "nearly $200,000" by the end of the 1958 tour. Hoad's business relationship with Kramer in 1957 and later was congenial and smooth compared to the experiences of Pancho Gonzales. Hoad would later claim, "I never had a problem with Jack Kramer." By turning professional, Hoad was no longer eligible to compete in amateur tournaments, and missed 42 Grand Slam events during the pre-open era.

In July 1957, Hoad won his debut match as a professional against Frank Sedgman at the Forest Hills Tournament of Champions, broadcast nationally on the CBS television network. He won his next match, against Pancho Segura, but then lost nine straight matches to various opponents as he adjusted to the pro tour. After Forest Hills, Hoad commented on the difference between amateur and professional tennis: "It's an entirely different league. These pros make mistakes but they don't make them on vital points. That's the difference."

In September during a four-man tour of Europe by Hoad with Kramer, Rosewall, and Segura, Kramer and Hoad were interviewed live on BBC television. Kramer stated in that interview his estimation of Hoad's game: "I feel that he's potentially the best player that tennis might ever have." At the Wembley Indoor Pro Championships, Kramer defeated both Hoad and Gonzales, his headliners for the upcoming world championship tour.

In 1958 a series of 100 head-to-head matches was planned between Hoad and the reigning champion of professional tennis, Pancho Gonzales, together with an undercard series between Trabert and Segura. The series started in January in a number of Australian cities in stadiums on grass courts with a best-of-five set format, and at the end of the Australian subtour, Hoad was leading 8–5. The key match of the Australian series was the second Kooyong encounter, which Hoad won in four sets, a marathon 80 games, which leveled the series at five wins each. Hoad followed-up with a 15 to 3 winning streak against Gonzales (including the non-tour Kooyong Tournament of Champions deciding match and the third-place match at Sydney Masters). In February, the series continued in the United States, mostly in indoor venues and local gyms with a best-of-three set format. Hoad won 18 of the first 27 matches, and on February 28, Gonzales met with Kramer and indicated that he had lost confidence of winning the series. However, after they played an outdoor match on 1 March on a chilly night in Palm Springs, Hoad's back stiffened which affected him significantly for the rest of the series. Twice Hoad was forced to take time off to rest his back and was substituted for in his absence by Rosewall and Trabert. From 9–18 Gonzales surged to a 26–23 lead, and at the end of the series on June 8, he had defeated Hoad by 51 matches to 36. Gross receipts for the American portion of that series were reported in a Daily Mail interview with Hoad in 1959 to be US$240,000.

In late 1958, Jack Kramer was asked which of the many "World Professional Championships" he considered deserving of the title, and he named four tournaments under his own aegis: Forest Hills, L.A. Masters, Kooyong and Sydney White City. Hoad won three of these eight tournaments in 1958/59. For the 1958/1959 seasons, Kramer had a troupe of professional champions that included 11 Hall of Fame players, under contract, [h] and he designed a series of tournaments to provide a format in which all of them could participate. In January 1958, Hoad won the Kooyong Tournament of Champions in Melbourne, with prize money of AUS£10,000 (US$22,400). The tournament was funded by the Australian oil company Ampol. Hoad defeated Gonzales and Sedgman in deciding matches, and won all five of his matches in the round-robin event. He received AUS£2,500 (US$5,600) for his win, US$6,160 including doubles returns, a record payday in pro tennis. During the world championship tour in the U.S. in May, the four players participated in the Cleveland event. In the final at Cleveland on 5 May, Hoad lost a two-set lead against Gonzales while struggling with a leg-muscle injury. Hoad dropped out of the tour in late May to rest his thigh injury. At the Forest Hills Tournament of Champions in June 1958, Hoad's thigh injury healed in time for his final match which he won against Gonzales on the final day in a weekend match televised nationally on CBS. The reporter for the L.A. Times called this Hoad/Gonzales broadcast "one of the most sensational displays of tennis that I can remember." However, Gonzales won the event with a better overall round-robin record. At Roland Garros in September, Hoad won his quarterfinal against Trabert, and his semifinal against Gonzales. While leading in the final against Rosewall, Hoad wrenched his back reaching for a ball, and could not play well in the remainder of the match. He had to default the Wembley Pro tournament in September due to an "arthritic" back. Hoad rested for the next three months and did not play again until 1959. Hoad had earned nearly US$200,000 by the end of the 1958 season.

In early 1959, it was announced that the Australian oil company Ampol[i], would provide an award of AUS£2,500 (US$5,600), plus the Ampol Open Trophy, to the "acknowledged world's best tennis player", adjudged from the world series of tournaments managed by Jack Kramer, which included all of the best pros ranked by a point system. The first five tournaments of the series were played in Australia on a portable outdoor wooden plywood court, playing slow on a sand/paint surface for traction, but with no sliding possible. Hoad began the series slowly, hampered by an elbow injury. At the end of January, Hoad defeated Rosewall and Cooper to win at Perth and in February 1959, he defeated Rosewall in three sets to win the South Australian Pro tournament at the Norwood Cricket Oval in Adelaide. This gave Hoad the lead in Ampol bonus points after the first group of five tournaments, a lead which he would not relinquish until the Ampol Open Trophy series ended in January 1960. The Ampol series would resume in North America in June.

In the four-man 1959 Kramer World Professional Championship Tour, which ran from February 20- May 31 in North America, Hoad built a lead of 12 to 5 in his series of matches against Gonzales, after a win in Newcastle, Pennsylvania in late April. Gonzales stated that "I had blisters under my blisters from the punishment" on that tour. However, the daily grind of the tour began to cause a renewal of Hoad's back trouble, and he finally won against Gonzales by 15 matches to 13. He also won his head-to-head's with newly turned pro Ashley Cooper (18–2) and Mal Anderson (9–5). With a win-loss record of 42–20 he finished second in the four-man tour behind Gonzales (47–15) and earned $28,250. Gross receipts for that American series were reported in a Daily Mail interview with Hoad as US$160,000. This would be the only 4-man world professional championship tour in which the winner would have a losing record against one of the other players, and the second-place finisher would have winning records against all of the other players. Four-man tours were held in 1942, 1954, 1959, and 1960. In late April the players in the 4-man tour played in the Cleveland event, and Hoad lost the final to Gonzales in three straight sets. This would be Hoad's final appearance at the Cleveland event.

The Ampol series resumed in June with three tournaments in North America. At the L.A. Masters round robin from 5-14 June, held at the L.A. Tennis Club on concrete, and part of the Ampol series, Hoad and Gonzales both finished with five wins and one loss, but Gonzales won the title on account of his victory over Hoad in their head-to-head match, which had been the first match for both in the event. During the tournament, Hoad received several Hollywood offers for screen tests, but turned them down with the comment "What do I want with money?". At the O'Keefe Professional Championships on red clay at Toronto Lawn Tennis Club from June 16–21, included in the Ampol series, Hoad lost to Sedgman and Rosewall lost to Trabert. Gonzales won the tournament by beating Cooper, Trabert and Sedgman.

The Forest Hills Tournament of Champions from June 23–28, played on grass at the Forest Hills stadium in New York, and part of the Ampol series, was broadcast nationally on the CBS television network. Hoad defeated Rosewall in the semi-final and Gonzales in the final, both in four sets, to claim the title. Hoad won US$3,000 for his victory in the singles, plus US$750 for winning the doubles with Trabert. In the August 1959 issue of World Tennis, Riggs wrote of the Forest Hills final, "the match signified the end of an era. The great Gonzales who had dominated professional tennis for four years had been decisively beaten..." It was noted that Hoad had been seeded No. 1 at Forest Hills and Gonzales seeded No. 2 on the basis of Ampol points. According to tennis journalist and author Joe McCauley this was the zenith of Hoad's career.

In August 1959, Hoad defeated Cawthorn and Worthington to reach the final of the Slazenger Pro Championships in Eastbourne, but lost to Cooper in the final. In September, Hoad lost to Sedgman in the semifinal of the French Pro at Roland Garros, part of the Ampol series, but defeated Rosewall in a playoff for third place. At the Wembley Indoor Championships, part of the Ampol series, Hoad was upset by Segura in the second round, and Segura eventually lost the final to Anderson in a close match. In the Grand Prix de Europe regional tour of European locations from August to October, which excluded Roland Garros and Wembley, Hoad finished in third place behind Sedgman and Rosewall (Gonzales defaulted the European tour), and at the end of 1959, Kramer placed Hoad in fourth place in his personal world professional rating, while the French sportspaper L'Équipe ranked Hoad fifth as of mid-December, before the Ampol series was completed. Kramer's Australian tennis agent Bob Barnes placed Hoad in first spot, corresponding to Hoad's standing on the official Ampol ranking.

The Ampol Open Trophy series moved from Europe to Australia where it was completed with five tournaments in November and December/January played in stadiums on grass courts. Hoad won the Perth and Adelaide events to begin the final group of tournaments. At the Sydney White City Tournament of Champions from December 8-13, Gonzales defeated Rosewall in the semifinal and Hoad in the final, both in straight sets. At Brisbane from December 15–19, Rosewall defeated Hoad in the semifinal and Gonzales in the final in long matches. The final event of the Ampol Open Trophy series, the Qantas International Kooyong Championships, began on December 26, 1959 with prize money of AUS£6,000 (US$14,000). With a victory at Kooyong, either Hoad or Gonzales would have won the series, but Gonzales decided to return to the U.S. for the holidays to be with his fiancée, thereby defaulting the Ampol series to Hoad. Kramer had warned that "it could cost Gonzales AUS£5,000 (US$11,200) by going home for Christmas." On December 24, the day following Gonzales' departure, Hoad announced that he would not participate in the upcoming 4-man tour in January 1960. On January 2 1960, Hoad defeated Rosewall in a three-and-a-half hour, four-set match to win the Kooyong tournament, a match which Kramer acclaimed as one of the best ever played. With Hoad's successful defence of the Kooyong title also came the Ampol Open Trophy win, a bonus prize of AUS£2,500 (US$5,600), and a payday of AUS£3,500 or US$7,840, a record in pro tennis. Kramer denied reports that he had lost money on the Australian tournaments, saying that the Kooyong event "netted us £5,000 more than the Sydney tournament", and drew a crowd of 6,500.

The Ampol Open Trophy "world series" or "world's open tennis championship" had consisted of 15 tournaments around the world between January 10, 1959 and 2 January 1960. Hoad finished first in the series with 51 bonus points, ahead of Gonzales (43 points) and Rosewall (41 points).The Melbourne Age on January 4, 1960 stated, Hoad "was crowned the new world professional tournament champion at Kooyong" by winning the Ampol world series. French language "L'Impartial" on January 6, 1960 stated "Lewis Hoad world champion", the win at Kooyong "allows him at the same time to claim the world title for 1959". There were also many references of Gonzales between January and April 1960 being described variously that he was "world professional tennis champion, will defend his title", was "World Pro Champion", "goes after an unprecedented sixth straight world crown", was "perennial professional champion", was "world professional tennis champion since 1954", "titleholder" of the "World Professional Tennis Championship" and that Gonzales with "five world series championships as his record, defeated Ken Rosewall at Cairns last night in straight sets and added further to his claims for his sixth successive world title". On January 15, 1960, Lawn Tennis and Badminton said Hoad was taking a six-month rest and the article stated "J. Kramer is urging Hoad not to take this step, as during this year he will have his best chance of taking R. A. Gonzales' world professional title from him". The successor event to the 1959 4-man pro tour was the 1960 4-man pro tour, where Gonzales defended his 1959 title, and this was not a successor event to the 1959 Ampol series. There was a 1960 tournament series from May to November to which Kramer attached a point system, but the final results are unknown. Hoad would participate in the 1960 tournament series, but Gonzales would withdraw from tournament play.

The order of finish of the 12 professionals on the Ampol world series was designated by Kramer to be the official ranking for 1959, and determined the seeding list for all tournaments. It was the only world championship tournament series and comprehensive point ranking results reported for the pros between 1946 and 1964 and Hoad finished as world No. 1 in the point ranking and seeding list.

Kramer's office reported that in 1959 Hoad had won his personal series of matches against Gonzales 24 to 23. Hoad withdrew from the 1960 world championship tour, citing a need for family time.

Hoad was reported to have made about GBP 71,400 (US$200,000) by late 1959. An Australian newspaper interview with Hoad reported his professional winnings under his two-year contract at £100,000 or US$224,000 (taking the £100,000 as Australian currency), including US$70,000 for 1959 alone. Kramer stated that he paid Hoad US$140,000 through May, 1958 and US$225,000 through June 1959, not including promotional money, with much of the 1959/60 season still to come. The total before promotions would be well over US$250,000 through 1959, or about GBP 100,000, more than twice the level of his contract guarantee of US$125,440. Hoad stated in the interview that his endorsement income was about £20,000 or US$22,440 per year, plus investment returns on a hotel ownership with other players. It was reported that Hoad would likely earn more in 1959 than top baseball player Mickey Mantle and the best-paid American football players.

Hoad had been the number-one money winner in pro tennis for both 1958 and 1959, and he negotiated a new seven-year contract with Kramer in early February 1960, as did Rosewall, to run through the 1966 season. In March, Kramer resigned as the pro tour entrepreneur, and reorganized the pro tour ownership, terminating his own company, "World Tennis Inc.", which had owned the contracts and assumed responsibility for the player contract guarantees. The pro tour was now under the new "International Professional Tennis Players Association", owned corporately by the contract pros. The players themselves were now responsible for the contract guarantees and any liabilities of the tour. Kramer continued as tour director and promoter without personal liability.

Hoad took a three-month layoff at the beginning of 1960 to rest his back and spend time with his family. When he returned to play, he was rusty, slow, and carried some extra weight, but he gradually recovered his form. He won a New Zealand tour in April, over Anderson, Sedgman, and Cooper. In May, he lost a five-set final to Rosewall at the Melbourne Olympic Pool where a court was set up on the drained pool floor. Hoad won tournament finals in June at Santa Barbara, California and in September at Geneva, Switzerland, both over Rosewall, but appeared out of condition in the Roland Garros final against Rosewall. At the Wembley Indoor Championships that year, Hoad was again upset by Segura in the second round. In late 1960, Hoad won the inaugural Japanese Professional Championships in Tokyo, beating Rosewall, Cooper, and Gimeno to win the US$10,000 tournament. In the final, Hoad prevailed at 13–11 in the fifth set over Rosewall. Hoad received US$2,400 for winning both the singles and doubles with Anderson in Tokyo.

Hoad played a few one-set matches on the 1961 Professional World Series tour in January, but soon withdrew because of a broken left foot and was substituted for by first Trabert and then Sedgman. He finished fourth in a tour of five Soviet cities in July, behind Trabert, Buchholz, and Segura, returning to play after his broken foot had healed. In September, Hoad lost in the first round of the French Pro to Luis Ayala. Also that month, Hoad and Gonzales played a ten-match best-of-three sets tour of Britain and Ireland, with Buchholz and Davies playing the undercard matches. Hoad won his series against Gonzales by a score of six matches to four. Hoad won four of the five matches in the series which were played on grass. The four players shared AUS£9,000 (US$20,160). At the Wembley Pro, Hoad defeated Gonzales in a four-set semifinal but lost in a four-set final to Rosewall, appearing stiff and sluggish. In November, Hoad won the fifth and deciding rubber for Australia against the United States in the inaugural Kramer Cup (the pro equivalent of the Davis Cup) by beating Trabert in four sets. Trabert said afterwards: "Trying to stop Lew in that final set was like fighting a machine gun with a rubber knife". L'Équipe ranked Hoad as the third-best player of the year. In July 1961 Gardnar Mulloy rated Hoad as world No. 1 ahead of Gonzales, and the favourite to win a prospective open Wimbledon.

There was no official pro championship tour in 1962, as Laver had declined to accept pro offers made by Kramer at the 1961 Wimbledon. Kramer resigned as tour promoter and director. From March 14 to 17, 1962, Hoad won the Adelaide Professional Championships, beating Rosewall, Gimeno, and Sedgman, the final against Rosewall very close. On August 12, 1962, Hoad was awarded the Facis Trophy for winning the pro tour of Italy. In late August, Hoad played a five-match, best-of-three sets tour in Britain against Trabert, defeating Trabert at Nottingham, Edinburgh, Bournemouth, and Dublin, while Trabert won at Scarborough. Hoad won the professional tournament in Zürich in September 1962 by a win in the final against Pancho Segura. In late September, Hoad lost to Rosewall in a ​3 1⁄4-hour, four-set final at Wembley. Hoad and Rosewall teamed to win the doubles final at both Roland Garros and Wembley. In the 1962 Kramer Cup tournament, in best-of-five set formats, Hoad defeated Gimeno in the semifinal tie in Turin, Italy on clay, and Hoad won the opening match of the final at Adelaide in December against Olmedo on grass. Hoad was voted the world No. 1 tennis player for 1962, amateur or professional, in a poll of 85 U.S. sports editors.

In January 1963, Hoad and Rosewall guaranteed the contract of new pro Rod Laver, and Hoad and Rosewall, longtime teammates, became the proprietors of the professional tour. Hoad agreed to reduce his own share of money taken in at the gate for the upcoming 1963 tour of Australia (his share dropped to 15%) in order for Laver to be able to take 25% of the gate, which arrangement would help Laver earn his guarantee more quickly. In January, Hoad beat Laver 8–0 in a series of matches in Australia, some of which were best-of-five and televised from sold-out stadiums. Hoad was then inactive for five months due to a shoulder injury. On his return in June, he lost to Laver in the semifinal of the Adler Pro, and at the Forest Hills U.S. Pro tournament he lost to Buchholz in the first round. The Forest Hills event did not have a television contract, was a financial failure, and the players, with the exception of Gonzales, were not paid. At the French Pro indoor event at Stade Coubertin in September, Hoad was defeated in straight sets by Rosewall in the semifinal and lost the third place play-off against Sedgman. At the Wembley Pro, he reached the final after surviving a marathon semifinal against Buchholz in which he strained his leg muscle and was limping throughout most of the match. Hoad was tired and sluggish in the final, which again he lost to Rosewall, this time in four sets. McCauley acclaimed the semi-final with Buchholz "one of the best contests ever staged at Wembley". At the end of the year, Laver had become the No. 2 professional player behind Rosewall, although Hoad held a head-to-head advantage over Laver on the year.

Hoad's gross earnings from tennis play for the year were about US$20,000, or fifth among the pro players. However, in addition to this prize money, Hoad's seven-year contract from the Kramer era inherited by the IPTPA and the guarantees contained within it were reportedly met by a distribution of tournament profits and television revenues above the purse prize money.

In February and March 1964, Hoad played a 16-day 24-match best-of-three sets tour of New Zealand with Laver, Rosewall, and Anderson. Hoad and Laver both finished on top with seven wins and five losses, but Hoad won first place with a 3 to 1 head-to-head score against Laver. In late September 1964, Hoad and Gonzales played a four match best-of-three sets head-to-head series in Britain, at Brighton, Carlyon Bay (Cornwall), Cardiff (Wales), and Glasgow (Scotland). Hoad won at Carlyon Bay and Cardiff, while Gonzales won at Brighton and Glasgow. Hoad experienced foot trouble in 1964 and finished in sixth place in the tournament series point system. In early 1965, much of his large right toe was removed, and he was only able to play a limited schedule thereafter. Hoad won his final victory against Laver on 24 January 1966 at White City in Sydney, his home town, defeating him in straight sets.

Hoad played out his seven-year contract on November 14, 1966, and withdrew from competitive play for ten months. Hoad and his wife invested in the development of a tennis club and real estate holdings in southern Spain. He returned unexpectedly to participate in the Wimbledon Pro tournament in late August 1967. The Wimbledon Pro was a three-day BBC televised tournament organized by the All-England Club as a trial for "open" tennis and as such the first Wimbledon tournament open to male professional tennis players. Hoad was one of the eight players invited for the singles event and despite being in semi-retirement and without competitive play for ten months, he won his first match against 39-year-old Gonzales in three sets. The BBC television commentator called it "the finest match ever seen on these hallowed grounds." This would be the last match on grass between Hoad and Gonzales, with Hoad holding a lifetime edge on grass over Gonzales of 21 matches to 14. With little energy left he lost the semifinal to Rosewall in two straight sets. Hoad played for an eight-week period on the pro tour in 1967, and then retired permanently from regular competitive tennis play.

Back problems plagued Hoad throughout his career and forced his retirement from the tennis tour in October 1967 but the advent of the Open Era enticed him to make sporadic appearances at tournaments. Hoad lost in the final of the Irish Championships at Dublin in July 1968 to Tom Okker in straight sets, hampered by a thigh injury. In November 1969, Hoad won the Dewar Cup Aberavon singles title, part of the Dewar Cup indoor circuit, defeating Mark Cox in the semifinal and Bob Hewitt in the final, both wins in two straight sets. At the 1970 Italian Open, he lost in the third round in four sets to Alex Metreveli. At the 1970 French Open, he defeated Charlie Pasarell in four close sets, and reached the fourth round before succumbing to eventual finalist Željko Franulović. At Wimbledon that year he lost in the second round to Ismail El Shafei.

Hoad won his final tennis tournament title in singles on August 7, 1971, the Playmon Fiesta 71, on red clay at Benidorm, Spain. He defeated Antonio Muñoz in the semifinal and Manuel Santana in the final by identical scores of 9–7, 6–3. This would mark a twenty-year span during which Hoad won men's singles titles in tennis, between the ages of 16 and 36, dating back to the Brisbane tournament of August 1951. In spring 1972, Hoad played the doubles final at Italian Open with Frew McMillan against Ilie Năstase and Ion Ţiriac. Hoad/McMillan led 2–0 in sets but retired at 3–5 down in the fifth set in protest of the poor light conditions and the antics of the Rumanian pair. At the end of June, at the age of 37, Hoad made his final Wimbledon appearance losing in the first round to Jürgen Fassbender in four sets.

From 1970 to 1974, Hoad was the coach of the Spanish Davis Cup team.

According to research done for a 1970 British Pathé documentary film about Hoad's tennis ranch, Hoad had earned GBP 350,000 during the course of his playing career. In a 1977 newspaper interview, Hoad's career earnings were stated to be GBP 250,000.

Strength of arm and wrist played an important part in Hoad's game, as he often drove for winners rather than rallying and waiting for the right opportunity, though he also had the skill to win the French Championships on the slower clay court. Hoad played right-handed and had a powerful serve and groundstrokes but his game lacked consistency. At times Hoad had difficulty maintaining concentration. According to Kramer, "Hoad had the loosest game of any good kid I ever saw. There was absolutely no pattern to his game.... He was the only player I ever saw who could stand six or seven feet behind the baseline and snap the ball back hard, crosscourt. He'd try for winners off everything, off great serves, off tricky short balls, off low volleys. He hit hard overspin drives, and there was no way you could ever get him to temporise on important points."

Hoad was runner-up for the Australian junior table tennis championship in 1951, and developed strong wrists and arms through heavy weight-lifting regimes. Hoad would use wrist strength in his strokes to make last split-second changes in racquet direction. He would saw off about a half inch from the ends of his racquet handles, which were short to begin with, and move the grip higher to wield his racquets as if they were ping-pong bats.

Youngest player to be ranked as world No. 1; 1953 at age of 19 years 38 days.
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