Alex Olmedo, Latin American tennis legend, died

The former Australian Open, Wimbledon and Davis Cup champion with the United States in the late 1950s, passed away at 84.

The Peruvian Sports Tennis Federation (FDPT) confirmed the death of Luis Alejandro Olmedo Rodríguez, better known as Alex Olmedo, considered one of the great tennis legends of the region for being champion of two Grand Slam tournaments and a member of the Hall of Fame of world tennis.

“We regret to announce his death at the age of 84 in the city of Los Angeles. He was the only Peruvian and the first South American to win the prestigious Wimbledon. He was also the winner of the Davis Cup after the Committee approved it since Peru did not present its own team that season, ”says the FDPT letter.

Olmedo was born in Arequipa on March 24, 1936 and from a young age he showed talent for tennis, accompanying his father Salvador who worked in a club. This earned him a scholarship to the University of Southern California to practice this sport and study finance and business administration. After winning some NCAA titles, he made the leap to the elite of world tennis, where he also managed to raise several prestigious trophies.

The Chief, as he was nicknamed since his college days, won the Davis Cup with the United States led by Perry Jones in 1958. A year later he was champion of the Australian Open and Wimbledon. In the Cathedral of Tennis he beat Rod Laver in the final 6-4, 6-3 and 6-1 in one hour and 11 minutes of play. That year he also reached the final of the US Open and became No. 2 in the world.

His victory at Wimbledon and the rest of his exploits were experienced in Peru with great euphoria. Olmedo was received at that time by President Manuel Prado Ugarteche, played two exhibitions in the Arequipa and Nacional stadiums in Lima, and received all possible distinctions in his country.

In 1968, when the Open era arrived, El Jefe played some tournaments but then turned to another source of income. He settled in California and became the tennis coach of Hollywood moguls and great movie stars such as Kirk Douglas, Raquel Welch, Ronald Reagan and Katherine Hepburn, among others.

For his achievements in this sport, Alex Olmedo was also inducted into the world Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987. According to RPP, he died of a heart complication and the fact was confirmed by his brother Jaime.