SANTA MONICA—On December 9, Tennis International Hall Of Famer Alejandro (Alex) Olmedo died at the age of 84. Olmedo had been battling brain cancer.
Born in Peru in 1936, Olmedo came to the United States as a teenager. At 17, he spoke no English when he arrived in the states, but used $700 that his local supporters gathered for him and went to play tennis at USC. Nicknamed ‘The Chief,’ he worked at a local tennis shop while taking night classes to learn English.
“Coming under the wing of Perry T. Jones, one of the most powerful officials in amateur tennis, Olmedo thrived and attended Modesto Junior College. He was recruited by George Toley, the pro at the Los Angeles Tennis Club, for the University of Southern California. On a student visa, he studied business” https://www.atptour.com/en/news/alex-olmedo-december-2020-obituary.
While attending USC, Olmedo won the NCAA tennis championships in both singles and doubles in 1956 and 1958.
By winning a championship in both Wimbledon and the Australian Nationals in 1959, he reached the number two ranking in the world and was inducted in the International Tennis Hall Of Fame in 1987.
Olmedo represented the United States in 1958 in the Davis Cup Final with a score of 6-0 in two ties under the captaincy of Jones. That same year Olmedo teamed up with Ham Richardson and won the doubles for the U.S. National Championship and the U.S. Open tournament.
He captured the 1959 Australian Championship over Fraser 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 and against Emerson 6-4, 6-0, 6-4 at All England Club in Wimbledon for the semi-finals and Laver, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in the title match.
After going pro in 1960 by beating Tony Trabert in a 7-5, 6-4 match-up for the US Pro title, Olmedo retired four years later.
Olmedo is the second Hall Of Fame player this week to pass away. Earlier last week, USC alum Dennis Ralston, a five-time Grand Slam doubles champion died on December 6, at the age of 78 years.
“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. He was a terrific player and a Davis Cup hero,” said International Tennis Hall of Fame President Stan Smith. “Personally, we shared a love for the USC Trojans, Davis Cup competition, and tennis overall. He was a great champion, a great friend, and he will be missed.”
After leaving behind his professional career in 1964, he taught tennis at the Beverly Hills Hotel for over 40 years, Olmedo taught stars such as Katharine Hepburn, Robert Duvall and Chevy Chase.