Australian tennis great, Hall of Famer Ashley Cooper dies at 83

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Former top-ranked player and four time Grand Slam singles winner Ashley Cooper died on Friday after a long illness, Tennis Australia announced

He was 83. 

The Melbourne, Australia, native won the Australian Open back-to-back in 1957 and 1958, and claimed both the Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles in 1958 before a back injury ended his career in 1959. He also claimed four Grand Slam doubles titles.

He then returned home and married former Miss Australia Helen Wood that year, and later became an administrator with Tennis Australia. 

“Ashley was a giant of the game both as a brilliant player and an astute administrator and he will be greatly missed,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said in a statement. “His contribution to the sport went far beyond his exploits on the tennis court. His rich legacy includes the magnificent Queensland Tennis Centre, a project he was passionate about, nurturing the development from the very beginning, and resulting in the return of world-class international tennis to Brisbane.

“Ashley was also the most humble of champions and a great family man. Our hearts go out to his wife Helen and his family, along with his wide and international circle of friends, including so many of our tennis family.

“On a personal note, Ash was instrumental in our family moving to Australia and for that we will be forever grateful. He was a very humble advisor and great supporter of our transformation of Australian tennis. I will miss him.”

Cooper was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1991. 

Plenty in the tennis world, including 11-time Grand Slam winner Rod Laver, took to Twitter to honor Cooper on Friday.

“So sad to hear of Ashley’s passing,” Laver wrote. “He was a wonderful champion, on and off the court. And what a backhand! So many cherished memories. Farewell my friend.”

Former champions Bill Bowrey, left and Ashley Cooper, right, present the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup on the 50th and 60th anniversaries, respectively, of their Australian Open wins on Day 14 of the 2018 Australian Open. (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

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