Rose was born in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales and turned professional in 1959. He was ranked inside the world's Top 10 throughout much of his tennis career and represented Australia in the Davis Cup from 1951 to 1957. He was ranked World No. 3 in 1958 by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph.
He coached numerous female and male players, including Billie Jean King, Margaret Court, Ernie Ewart, Michael Fancutt, Brett Prentice, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, Eleni Daniilidou, Nadia Petrova, Magdalena Grzybowska and Caroline Schnieder.
Rose was awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000, inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2006 for service to tennis, particularly as a competitor at national and international levels and as a coach and mentor to both amateur and professional players.
Rose died on 23 July 2017 at the age of 87.
- "It's an Honour - Honours - Search Australian Honours". Archived from the original on 5 March 2018. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
- "Mervyn Rose, star of the golden era, dies at 87". The Australian. Retrieved July 24, 2017.