Time-line

Men’s tennis time-line: it is my attempt to gather in one place in chronological order, all the most important events (also most intriguing records and curiosities) of the Open era (1968-2012). In contrary to my e-book, I concentrate below mainly on singles and only on the main level competitions. If you think I have overlooked something which was worth mentioning, please post it on this page :) And please, keep in mind that there is absolutely no need to discuss here an issue of starting with “1” as the first year of a decade… 
If you enjoy the page, and want more detailed info, read my e-book 
List of Grand Slam men’s singles champions (all-time)
1968
– April: the beginning of the Open era in Bournemouth
Ken Rosewall (b. 1934) wins the first “open” Grand Slam tournament (Roland Garros)
Rod Laver (b. 1938) – the best amateur in the years 1961-62 comes back to Grand Slams after a 5-year break and wins Wimbledon, finishes the season as unofficial No. 1
1969
Rod Laver wins his second Grand Slam (the previous one in 1962), the first one in the Open era though, and the only one so far, the Australian never wins another major
– 41-year-old Pancho Gonzales wins a legendary first round Wimbledon clash with Charlie Passarell in 5 hours 12 minutes (no-one will play so long in majors over 23 years!)
Philadelphia: J.Osborne / B.Bowrey d. T.Addison / R.Keldie 3-6, 43-41, 7-5, the 2nd set is the longest doubles set in terms of games in the Open era
The first decade of the Open era  [1970-1979]

– The Grand Prix tennis circuit is launched in 1970; it will be replaced in 1990 by the ATP tour, which merged Grand Prix and World Championship Tennis (existed since 1968)
– It is the decade of three players from three different continents: left-handed North American Jimmy Connors & South American Guillermo Vilas (both b. 1952), and right-handed European Bjorn Borg (b. 1956)

– Other distinctive players of the 70’s are: Jan Kodes, Stan Smith & Ilie Nastase (all born in 1946), three years younger Manuel Orantes, Arthur Ashe (b. 1943) and John Newcombe (b. 1944, one of the bests as early as in the late 60s)
– Taking into account nations, it is the American decade: the United States win 5 out of 10 Davis Cup editions, producing numerous Top 10 players: Vitas Gerulaitis (b. 1954), Brian Gottfried (b. 1952) and Roscoe Tanner (b. 1951, known as the hardest server in the 70s) among the bests 
– Grass is a basic surface (3 out of 4 majors are held on it, US Open in years 1970-74)
– Grand Slam events are uneven, the best players do not want to play at the Australian Open in late December; Roland Garros and US Open have problems with finding the best format for themsleves (some tournaments are entwined by “the best of three” and “the best of five” matches…)
– The season ending ‘Masters’ for the best players of a year is introduced, the ’round robin’ system which is known today, rules since the third edition (1972). In the first six years, the tournament changes its location each year, in years 1976-79 is held in the United States

– ‘Never-ending’ sets are not allowed anymore except the fifth set (decisive third set in some tournaments, especially outside the United States, still requires the two-game advantage as well) and all Davis Cup matches
– Doubles competitions are dominated by Australians and Americans. Foremost singles players like Newcombe and Smith belong to the elite in doubles too. Other best doubles players are: Bob Hewitt, Frew McMillan, Gottfried and Raul Ramirez of Mexico
1970
– Second successive year of total Australian domination (John Newcombe, Ken Rosewall, Tony Roche, Rod Laver are the four best players in the world); Roche second straight year is the US Open runner-up and becomes the first player to lose three major finals in the Era having won none 
 – Introduction of ‘tie-break’ (Philadelphia) and ‘sudden death’ (Brookline); out of these two revolutionary scoring systems, the tie-break is adopted in the next few seasons as fairer method of indicating a winner of a set which got stuck at six games apiece
– First “Masters” (Tokyo) is held, based on a weird code of practice: six players in one group, each one faces another with tie-breaks at ‘5:5’, Stan Smith takes the first prize
1971
John Newcombe second straight year is the best player in the world, albeit in both seasons (1970-71) wins “only” one major
Jan Kodes (Roland Garros) and Newcombe (Wimbledon) defends their Grand Slam titles
Ilie Nastase wins his first “Masters’ title (Paris)… this time seven players are gathered in one group to play against each other, Nastase wins all his six matches, no other player will be forced to play six matches at Masters anymore; the Romanian will win three other “Masters’ editions (each time in a different city), becoming the most successful player of this tournament in the 70s
1972
Ken Rosewall becomes the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title, claiming the Australian Open at the age of 37 years, 2 months (defended his title; in 1971 he did not drop a set, but had to play only five matches)
 – The United States win for the 5th successive time Davis Cup, Stan Smith wins for the 5th time  decisive match, this time in singles (thrice in doubles, twice in singles during the golden American period)! It is his year, he wins Wimbledon after the most memorable London final of the 70s (five set victory over Ilie Nastase) and finishes the season as unofficial No. 1 in the world; it is the first Davis Cup year  without “Challenge round”
Pancho Gonzales (43 years 11 months) gets title in Iowa becoming the oldest tournament winner
 – First career match of the 15-year-old teenage idol – Bjorn Borg (Madrid)
Barcelona (Masters), Tom Gorman retires holding a match point in the 4th set of his semifinal against Smith!
1973
John Newcombe wins two majors (Australian Open & US Open) and with Rod Laver‘s help, overwhelms 5-time defending champion, the United States, in the Davis Cup final in Cleveland
Bjorn Borg beats Premijt Lall 6-3, 6-4, 9-8(20/18) in Wimbledon‘s first round, to this day the longest tie-break in singles (the record equaled five times)
Wimbledon is held without 59 players (who would have participated in the tournament) as a boycott to support Nikki Pilic who was suspended for refusing to play in Davis Cup, Jan Kodes is the champion of the most unusual Wimbledon ever
Vijay Amritraj becomes the only player so far to win a tournament saving match points in three different matches (Bretton Woods)
 – Davis Cup doubles rubber between Chile and the United States lasts 6 hours 20 minutes: the longest doubles match in the Open era (Stan Smith & Erik van Dillen are the winners)
 – Introduction of the ATP ranking (Ilie Nastase becomes the first leader)
1974
– It is the year of 22-year-old Jimmy Connors, who wins three majors (doesn’t play at the Roland Garros due to suspension), two of them after the most lopsided Open era finals against the same player, “poor” 39-year-old Ken Rosewall (the oldest player to reach a major final)
– Twilight of the Australian ascendancy in men’s tennis, for the first time since 1938 (!) none Australian player wins a major
Bjorn Borg becomes the first teenage Grand Slam winner (Roland Garros)
Borg and Connors modernize the game as the first Grand Slam champions with double-handed backhands
 – The only time as the Davis Cup final is not played (due to political reasons). South Africa is awarded the champion
1975
US Open is played for the first time on a different surface than grass and for the first time with floodlights
Manuel Orantes wins the most amazing (arguably) singles match of the Open era in majors, coming back from a 0:5 deficit in the 4th set, saving five match points, against Guillermo Vilas in semifinals of the US Open, first of three clay-court editions
Jimmy Connors loses three major finals, being the defending champion each time
Bjorn Borg captures almost alone the first Davis Cup for Sweden, playing singles and doubles, the Swede will win 33 consecutive singles Davis Cup rubbers (absolute record!)
– In Stockholm (Masters) for the first time in history two players (Arhtur Ashe and Ilie Nastase) are disqualified simultaneously, the following day the decision is changed
– In spite of winning Australian Open, John Newcombe drops out of Top 10 (at the end of the season) for the first time in 10 years
1976
– Unbelievable: 21-year-old Mark Edmondson, playing his just sixth main level tournament, becomes the lowest ranked Grand Slam champion at Australian Open (No. 212 at the time), later on he confirms his tennis skills especially in doubles
– The ATP ranking begins working for doubles (Bob Hewitt becomes the first leader)
Adriano Panatta wins the two biggest clay-court tournaments, Rome and Roland Garros, saving a match point in the first round on both occasions, in Rome fights off 11 match points in total, which stays as the record up to this day
Bjorn Borg wins Wimbledon for the first time, making it in an impressive style because he doesn’t lose a set!

 – For the first time in the Open era a player serves more than 40 aces: John Feaver fires 42 aces against John Newcombe at Wimbledon
 – Aluminum racquets supplant the wooden ones
1977
– Two editions of the Australian Open are fully played within a season (January and December)
– The year of Guillermo Vilas, the Argentinian wins two majors, both on clay (Roland Garros & US Open)… his 16 season titles are the Open era record, he notches also a 46-match winning streak (has another long streak shortly afterwards, 74-1 record at one stage in 1978), paradoxically finishes the season as No. 2 behind Jimmy Connors who does not win a major! It makes an impact on calculation of ranking points
 – 18-year-old unruly John McEnroe becomes the first qualifier to reach a Grand Slam semifinal (Wimbledon), a couple months later the same feat achieves Bob Gilitinan in Australia
(1978-1980)
Three years of absolute Bjorn Borg‘s domination, however, Jimmy Connors finishes the ’78 season as the world’s best player mainly thanks to a better start of the year – precisely the first five months of the season, Borg is almost invincible between Roland Garros 1978 and Wimbledon 1981 (232-20 record during that time… 92%)
1978
Bjorn Borg for the first time in career wins Roland Garros and Wimbledon the same year (he will repeat this accomplishment in the next two years), but is devastated in the US Open final by Jimmy Connors despite a 49-unbeaten match streak (the Swede gave two walkovers in the meantime, at the initial phase of the streak)
Connors beating Borg in that US Open final, becomes the only man to win the same major on three different surfaces (1974 – grass, 1976 – clay, 1978 – hard)
Heintz Gunthardt (Springfield) and Bill Scanlon (Maui) become the first players to grab titles as “lucky losers”, none “lucky loser” gets a title in the next 12 years!
1979
John McEnroe wins his first major (US Open) having arguably the easiest road to the Grand Slam title consisted of seven rounds (got a walkover in one match, in the other one his opponent retired after three games), a couple months afterwards helps his team to win Davis Cup, a record-holder Stan Smith who plays in doubles, capitalizes his seventh and last Davis Cup scalp (1968-1972 & 1978-79)
Guillermo Vilas joins John Newcombe and Connors as the third player to win three different majors in the 70s (the Argentinian triumphs on January 3, 1979 at the Australian Open ’78 :)); Bjorn Borg did not win neither Australian Open (played there only once) nor US Open
Borg finally wins in New York, it is “Masters ’79”  held at Madison Square Garden in January 1980, the Swede will defend his title
The second decade of the Open era  [1980-1989]
– It is the decade of Ivan Lendl (b. 1960), the Czech(oslovak) born player competes in the first half of the decade with US-boys Jimmy Connors & John McEnroe (b. 1959), and Europeans Mats Wilander (b. 1964), Stefan Edberg (b. 1966) & Boris Becker (b. 1967) in the second half
– In the aftermath of Bjorn Borg‘s  (prematurely retires at the beginning of the decade) successes in the 70s, the tennis world is invaded by a group of blond-haired Swedes trying to imitate their tennis-icon (except Edberg); Sweden participates thanks to them in seven straight Davis Cup finals
J.McEnroe in the early 80s is the best player in the world not only in singles but in doubles too (aided by Peter Fleming). The tradition of Australian superiority in doubles keep players like: Mark Edmondson, Paul McNamee, Peter McNamara and John Fitzgerald. “The Swedish invasion” manufactures two excellent doubles specialists: Anders Jarryd and Edberg, however, the latter sacrifices doubles in the late 80s to focus himself mainly on singles career
1980
Bjorn Borg for the second time in career wins Roland Garros not dropping a set, the Swede is not forced even once in the fortnight to play at ‘5:5’, wins 4 bagel sets, two years before he won two additional ‘6-0’ sets during his Parisian triumph
Borg wins his 5th straight Wimbledon after an epic final with John McEnroe 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(16/18), 8-6, highlighted by a 20-minute 4th set tie-break
McEnroe defends his title at the US Open in impressive style, overcoming in the last two matches, Jimmy Connors and Borg after dramatic 5-setters (it breaks Borg’s 13 consecutive fifth set wins (!)  – specific record)
– In the fourth quarter of the season, 20-year-old Ivan Lendl arises as the 4th main force in men’s tennis, threatening the 3-year-old ‘Borg-Connors-McEnroe’ supremacy, Lendl wins in Autumn five tournaments (!) and gets the Davis Cup for Czechoslovakia playing both singles and doubles
1981
Bjorn Borg, at the start of the year, claims ‘Masters ’80’ overcoming McEnroe, Connors and Lendl (!), but is beaten at Wimbledon (by John McEnroe in the final) for the first time after 41 consecutive wins (record) at the All England & Cricket Club
McEnroe manifests his superiority over Borg also in the US Open final second straight year and that match virtually conduces to the end of Borg’s career; the 25-year-old Swede plays never again a Grand Slam tournament, participating in the next three seasons only in one tournament each year!
1982
Johan Kriek wins twice within the same year (January & December) the same major – Australian Open, outlasting the same opponent in the final (Steve Denton)!
– Swedish Borg’s replacement in Paris: Mats Wilander emerges at the age of 17, wins his first major, struggling past in the final Guillermo Vilas in four sets – the longest Roland Garros match at the time despite two lopsided sets (1-6 & 6-0)!!!
– The resurgence of 30-year-old Jimmy Connors as he triumphs at Wimbledon and US Open (he did not win a major in  three previous seasons)
– Graphite racquets supplant aluminum and wooden ones
Yannick Noah snaps Ivan Lendl‘s 44-match winning streak (La Quinta) – the third best streak in history, Lendl later on has a 70-1 record
John McEnroe overcomes Wilander in the Davis Cup quarterfinal rubber of a tie between the United States and Sweden; the first singles match in history which lasted more than 6 hours! Interestingly, they both will play in the 80s once again more-than-6-hour Davis Cup rubbers, losing in both cases (McEnroe to Boris Becker in 1987, Wilander to Horst Skoff in 1989)
1983
Mats Wilander, who was labeled as a clay-court specialist, surprisingly triumphs at the Australian Open on grass, the first Aussie Open with solid draw for many years, becoming the youngest champion of the event at the age of 19 years 3 months (he will defend his title in 1984)
Yannick Noah triumphs in Paris becoming the first Grand Slam champion from France in 37 years!
Jimmy Connors second straight year beats Ivan Lendl in four sets in the US Open final
– The only time in the Open era a player (Bill Scanlon) takes a set without dropping a single point (Marcos Hocevar is the loser); so-called “golden set”, it happens at Delray Beach
Guillermo Vilas drops out of the Top 10 for the first time in 9 years (at the end of the season)
1984
Ivan Lendl on his 5th attempt in Grand Slam finals, finally lifts the title (Roland Garros), coming back from a 2-sets-to-0 deficit to John McEnroe; the American prior to the final had the best start of the year in history, being unbeaten in 42 consecutive matches, it is the 5th best winning streak of the Open era, he finishes the year with the best win/loss record in a season so far: 82-3 (96.5%)
Los Angeles: tennis returns to the Olympic Games after 60 years, as an exhibition sport though, only under-20 players are permitted to participate (18-year-old Stefan Edberg gets the gold medal)
Aaron Krickstein becomes the most impressive prodigy of the Open era (1983-84): gets a final of a big tournament in Rome, advances to the Top 20 and wins a title (Tel Aviv), he does it everything before turning 17!
Lendl takes 21 consecutive games (!!!) against Jimmy Connors, counting four different matches, Connors led initially 8-0 in their H2H!
– Introduction of “wild cards”
1985
– Emergence of two youngsters, different serve & volleyers – powerful Boris Becker and technical Stefan Edberg; the German diving more than anyone in the past, becomes the youngest Wimbledon champion (17 years 7 months); the untypical, in terms of tennis game-style, Swede (19 years 10 months) triumphs at the Australian Open and clinches the Davis Cup final
Ivan Lendl outplays John McEnroe in the US Open final, replaces him at the top of the ranking (McEnroe finished four straight years as No. 1) and the 26-year-old American never plays a major final again (in the following season experiences a 7-month sabbatical)
 – The longest tie-break in doubles so far, (26/24) at Wimbledon (Jan Gunnarsson + Michael Mortensen are the winners)
1986
Australian Open is not held for the first time since 1945 (World War II)
Ivan Lendl for the first time collects two majors within a season (he will repeat this feat  in 1987)
Boris Becker capturing the title at Wimbledon becomes the first teenager to defend a Grand Slam title
– After 9 seasons (1977-85) ‘Masters’  is moved from January to December, it is the only year in which two Masters editions are played,  Lendl out-guns Becker in straight sets in the finals on both occasions
1987
Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander play against each other 3 out of the 5  most important finals of the season (Roland Garros, US Open, Masters), Lendl prevails every-time
WimbledonPat Cash becomes the first Australian to win a major since 1976 (the longest Grand Slam title drought for Australia since 1905!)
Nduka Odizor at Queens Club wins the longest deciding third set in terms of games for the next 25 years, 22-20; Ken Flach wins the longest fifth set tie-break – (17/15) at the US Open
1988
– The year of Mats Wilander. The Swede becomes the first player since 1974 to win three majors within a season, Wilander gest also Key Biscayne, a tournament called “the 5th Grand Slam” at the time (in years 1987-89 there was required winning 7 matches “the best of five”)
– 18-year-old Andre Agassi wins 6 titles and plays semifinals in Paris and New York (in both cases loses to the best players in the world at the time – Wilander & Lendl after competitive matches)
Australian Open recaptures its prestige moving the tournament from December to January and from grass-courts at Kooyong to hard-courts at Flinders Park, the draw increases from 96 to 128;  the tournament has been regularly visited by the best players since then
Yahiya Doumbia becomes the first player to win a tournament in his debut at the main level
1989
Michael Chang becomes the youngest man to win a major (17 years 3 months) as he triumphs in Paris
Boris Becker wins Wimbledon, US Open and leads West Germany to the second straight Davis Cup triumph over Sweden
— The year of Ivan Lendl for the first time in the 80s does not play a final at ‘Masters‘ (!), in semifinals he is beaten by Stefan Edberg, this event foretells the end of Lendl’s hegemony in men’s tennis; ten months before, the Czech joined Mats Wilander as the second player to win three different majors, grabbing the Austrlaian Open title
– 37-year-old Jimmy Connors drops out of Top 10 (at the end of the season) for the first time in 16 years (!!), but wins his last titles, Nos. 108 & 109, no other player has won 100 singles titles
Wilander as the first player of the Open era slips outside the Top 10 twelve months after reaching the top of the ATP ranking (the same thing will occur to Lleyton Hewitt 14 years later)
– First edition of the Davis Cup with tie-breaks
The third decade of the Open era  [1990-1999]
– After a slight decline in the 80s, the American tennis revives, three of its representatives dominate tennis competitions: Bollettieri’s “children” Jim Courier, Andre Agassi (born in 1970) and above all, one year younger Pete Sampras
– Other distinctive players are: Sergi Bruguera (b. 1971), Yevgeny Kafelnikov (b. 1974), Michael Chang (b. 1972) and Thomas Muster (b. 1967)
 – It is the decade of “serve & volley” players, the best of the decade, Sampras, uses this style on every surface, in the first half of the decade guys like Edberg, Becker and Michael Stich are constant threat for him; the Australians: Patrick Rafter, Mark Philippoussis and the Brits: Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski in the second half of the decade; Goran Ivanisevic, Marc Rosset, Richard Krajicek and Todd Martin, actually throughout the 10-year period; it is connected to new technologies (no-one uses wooden racquets in the 90s) and rapid increase of the serve speed; at the beginning of the decade only a few tallest guys serve more than 200 kph (125 mph), at the end of 90s, make it even players below 180 cm (5’11”)
 – The season ending ‘Masters’ tournament changes its location, throughout the 80s was held in New York, in the 90s in Germany (Franfurt 90-95, Hanover 96-99)
 – Doubles is ruled by two pairs: Australian (Todd “the most successful doubles player” Woodbridge / Mark Woodforde) and Dutch (Jacco Eltingh / Paul Haarhuis)… Kafelnikov will be remembered as the last player who was able to win majors in both, singles and doubles
1990
Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker play their third consecutive Wimbledon final, Edberg wins for the second time, he becomes a ruler of men’s tennis after the Wimbledon final, will be dethroned one and a half years later by Jim Courier
Pete Sampras becomes the youngest US Open champion (19 years, 28 days), advances to the Top 10 for the first time and will stay there over the next 12 years!
– Introduction of “Mercedes Super 9” series (will change its name a couple times in the future) and “Grand Slam Cup” in Munich – the most lucrative tournament so far (6 million dollars the prize money for only 16 players… looks extraordinarily in comparison to the second biggest tournament of the season in terms of prize money, Roland Garros, ($2,700,000 for 128 players), Sampras gets the first prize in Munich (2 million dollars)
 – Sweden loses in the first round of Davis Cup (the Swedes played seven consecutive finals in years 1983-1989, winning three editions)
1991
Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg join an elite group of champions of three different Grand Slam events, Becker in Melbourne, Edberg in New York
Michael Stich unexpectedly  takes the Wimbledon title, he does it in impressive style, beating in the last two matches recent champions: Edberg and Becker. Out-smarting Edberg, Stich became the first winner of a Grand Slam match without breaking the opponent’s serve even once during the match (4-6, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6)
 – The longest mixed-doubles match of the Open era (5 hours 13 minutes) at Wimbledon, Michiel Schapers and Brenda Schultz are the lucky winners
– 39-year-old Jimmy Connors becomes the oldest semifinalist of a Grand Slam tournament (US Open) since Ken Rosewall in 1974, who was beaten in the US Open final by… Connors, 22-year-old at the time
Guy Forget secures France the first Davis Cup in 59 years (!) clinching the final with a 4-set win over Pete Sampras
1992
– The year of Jim Courier, the 22-year-old American overwhelms his opponents with extreme forehand top-spin which was not used before with such efficiency, he is the best at Australian Open, Roland Garros, and clinches the Davis Cup final
 – Courier’s peer, Andre Agassi, celebrates his long-awaited first major title, oddly enough beating service-monster Goran Ivanisevic in the Wimbledon final
Stefan Edberg wins a major in the most dramatic circumstances (considering the whole second week), being a break down in the 5th set of three consecutive matches against former or future Grand Slam champions (Krajicek, Lendl, Chang); his semifinal with Michael Chang remains the longest US Open match in history (5 hours 26 minutes)
Ivan Lendl plays his last matches against arch-rivals John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, Lendl’s Head to Head’s with two Americans are the most impressive  (36 & 35 matches respectively)
Ivanisevic as the only player survives four consecutive five-setters (the Olympics in Barcelona); the Croat brings serving aces to  another level during the season
J.McEnroe as the only man triumphs in the Davis Cup final in three different decades (this time playing doubles only), after that he retires having won the most titles combined (singles + doubles)

1993
– The year of two Yankees, former doubles partners: Jim Courier and Pete Sampras. Courier plays three major finals (loses two of them) becoming the youngest player to reach all four Grand Slam finals, Sampras wins Wimbledon & US Open and deprives his one year older compatriot of the No. 1 in the world (they met twice in the season, Sampras won both encounters); the third best American Andre Agassi suffers crisis
Petr Korda in back-to-back matches in Munich (Grand Slam Cup), overcomes the two best players in the world at the time, Sampras and Michael Stich, 12-10 & 11-9 respectively in the 5th set!!
Bjorn Borg plays in Moscow his definitely final match in pro-career, he did not win a match during his lingering retirement over 10 years!
Ivan Lendl drops out of the Top 10  for the first time in 13 years (at the end of the season)!!
Cedric Pioline becomes the first man to advance to the Top 10 not having won a title, the Frenchman played five finals within the season

1994
– The year of Pete Sampras who wins two majors (Australian Open, Wimbledon), two biggest at the time “Mercedes Super 9” tournaments (Key Biscayne & Rome) and ‘Masters’ (Frankfurt)
Sergi Bruguera successfully defends his Roland Garros title, his compatriot beaten in the final, Alberto Berasategui, shows that a player can advance to the season-ending ‘Masters’ playing good tennis only on clay (seven titles, second best behind Sampras), apart from beloved surface, the Basque wins only two matches during the season!
Ivan Lendl retires in his second round match at the US Open and never comes back on court (he is 34 at the time)
1995
– It is the year of three players: Americans Pete Sampras & Andre Agassi, who totally rule on hard courts and Thomas Muster, actually untouchable on clay in years 1995-96
– The comeback of Agassi after disappointing last two seasons (1.5 year to be precise, Agassi won the US Open ’94 as the first unseeded player in the Open era). The American cuts his long hair in January and  plays arguably the best tennis of his life during the triumph at the Australian Open in his first appearance in Melbourne
Muster captures 7 titles (12 in total) being one point away from defeat at different stages of those tournaments!!
Moscow: Andrei Chesnokov secures Russia a final spot in the Davis Cup final, surviving 9 match points on return (!) in one game
against Michael Stich
1996
Pete Sampras loses his only Wimbledon match in  years 1993-2000, being upset by Richard Krajicek, who takes the Grand Slam title as the first Dutchman; Yevgeny Kafelnikov inscribes himself to record books as the first Russian to win a major (Roland Garros), he triumphs also in doubles becoming the last man to win the same major in singles and doubles
Arnaud Boetsch pushes himself to ‘transcendence’ saving a triple match point in the 5th set against Nicklas Kulti in the decisive Davis Cup rubber
Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg play the last match against each other (final at Queens Club), it is their 35th meeting (only Lendl and McEnroe played more… 36); Edberg retires in ’96 (also Mats Wilander plays his last match that year), Becker three years later
Alberto Bersategui wins the longest game (28 minutes, 20 deuces) – Casablanca
Halle: Jimmy Connors at the age of 44 becomes the third oldest notable player to participate in a tournament (behind Pancho Gonzales – 48 in 1976 & Ken Rosewall – 46 in 1980); the American participated in only 11 tournaments given years 1993-96
1997
Pete Sampras for the fourth and last time captures two majors (Australian Open, Wimbledon) within a season
Gustavo “Guga” Kuerten‘s first miracle in Paris, the Brazilian becomes a Grand Slam champion although he did not play even an ATP quarterfinal before! En route to the title overcomes champions of the three previous editions (Muster, Kafelnikov, Bruguera)!
– Another slump of Andre Agassi, this time much more heavier than four years before, the American in years 1988-2005 only once dropped outside the Top 10 (No. 22 in 1993), in 1997 drops outside the Top 100!
Goran Ivanisevic withstands the longest decisive 3rd set tie-break, out-serving (20/18) Greg Rusedski at Queens Club (semifinal)
1998
Carlos Moya and Alex Corretja share two big finals: Moya wins in Paris, Corretja prevails in Hanover (Masters), Spain begins ruling in men’s tennis, two other Spaniards – Albert Costa & Felix Mantilla finish the season in the Top 20
Marcelo Rios becomes the first No. 1 in the world from South America (he does it mainly thanks to back-to-back titles at Indian Wells and Key Biscayne), and competes with Pete Sampras to the end of the season, ultimately Sampras maintains his position despite the worst season in six years – won only one big title (Wimbledon – defeated finalist Goran Ivanisevic suffers his third Wimbledon final loss)
– Australian Patrick Rafter defends the US Open title, his 9 years younger compatriot Lleyton Hewitt becomes the the lowest-ranked (No. 550 triumphing in Adelaide) tournament champion in history
Nicolas Escude as the first man wins three matches in a major, erasing a 2-sets-to-love deficit (Australian Open)

1999
– Great comeback of Andre Agassi, the Amercian survives a dramatic 5-set match against Andrei Medvedev in the Roland Garros final, it is the fourth different Grand Slam tournament he wins, Agassi does it as the first man since Rod Laver in 1969, the same feat will repeat Roger Federer (2009) and Rafael Nadal (2010); the American notches four consecutive Grand Slam finals (the fourth – Australian Open ’00), no-one achieved this feat since 1969. Agassi finishes the season as No. 1 in the world, surpassing his old-time rival Pete Sampras, who kept the leadership at the end of seasons in years 1993-1998; a new record (the previous belonged to Jimmy Connors – No. 1 in  years 1974-1978)
Sampras consoles himself after losing the leadership, winning ‘Masters’ (Hanover) for the fifth and last time (Roger Federer will win this tournament six times)
The fourth decade of the Open era [2000-2009]
– Actually it is the decade of two players: Roger Federer (b. 1981) and Rafael Nadal (b. 1986), they win together 21 out of 40 Grand Slam tournaments!
– After the offensive 90s, tennis changes its direction to the defensive 00s, with development of new technologies receivers get an advantage over net-attacking players, understands it even Federer, who as a boy was inspired by tennis which proposed Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg
– In the first half of the decade rule Lleyton Hewitt (b. 1981) and Marat Safin (b. 1980)… Andy Roddick (b. 1982) maintains dangerous throughout the decade, guys like born in 1976, Gustavo Kuerten and Carlos Moya are worth mentioning as successful players on the turn of two decades
Andre Agassi becomes the third man (joining fellow Americans Jimmy Connors & John McEnroe) to reach major semifinals in three different decades and the first one who achieves the highest level of competitiveness in his teenage years (highest ranking – 3), his 20s (high. rank. No. 1) and early 30s (high. rank. No. 1)
– Spain is the most powerful tennis nation winning four Davis Cups; the Spaniards removed “clay-court specialists” label, glued to them in the previous decades
– Tennis becomes more and more a global sport, to the Top 100 advance with bigger frequency players from countries without exceptional tennis tradition, instead the discipline drops away in European forces of the previous two decades: Sweden and Germany, partially also in the United States
– Liberalization of tennis fashion: the white is not a dominant color of outfit anymore (except Wimbledon), players use sleeveless T-shirts

– The season ending ‘Masters’ tournament is held on four continents, mostly in Asia (Shanghai – five times)
– The decade produces specialization in doubles: the best singles players begin to avoid playing in doubles tournaments – it leads to cut the third set, introducing so-called “super tie-break” instead of. The biggest successes obtain identical American twins, Bob & Mike Bryan, other most prominent players are teamed up with different partners, among the best are: Leander Paes, Daniel Nestor, Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi
2000
– It’s the year of decay of players who ruled in the 90s and the fans observe three new heroes: Gustavo Kuerten, Magnus Norman and a prototype of a new player – Marat Safin. Norman doesn’t maintain a good form in the second part of the season, but Safin with Kuerten fight in the season ending tournament in Lisbon for the No. 1 spot – Kuerten wins that battle taking the title in extraordinary circumstances. A couple months before at the US Open, Safin becomes the first very tall Grand Slam champion (195 cm), who bases his game-style mainly on ground-strokes
Pete Sampras sets up a new record for the most majors titles: 13 (overcomes the previous 33-year-old record of Roy Emerson, the Australian won all his majors in the pre-Open era though
– First Davis Cup triumph for Spain
Vincent Spadea produces a shameful record losing 21 matches in a row
2001
Lleyton Hewitt becomes the youngest No. 1 in the world at the end of a season (20 years 8 months) thanks to the US Open & Masters titles – he wins Masters (Sydney) without a loss at the group stage as the first player since 1993 (Michael Stich)
Gustavo Kuerten‘s second miracle in Paris. The Brazilian defends his title, overcoming earlier unknown Michael Russell in the fourth round, saving a match point with a long rally at helpless situation – 3-6, 4-6, *2:5 (30/40)!!
– Young man from Switzerland, Roger Federer snaps Pete Sampras‘ 31-match-winning streak at Wimbledon in a 5-set thriller; Sampras explicitly is not able to compete with young guns like Hewitt, Safin, Roddick or Federer; that loss assigns his decline
Marc Rosset serves as the first player 30 double faults in a match (Davis Cup, Neuchatel)
Goran Ivanisevic becomes the first “wild card” champion of a major (wins Wimbledon, on his fourth final attempt), the Croat is two points away from defeat in his last two matches!
– Grand Slam tournaments (except Wimbledon) introduce a super tie-break for mixed doubles replacing the third and final set

2002
Lleyton Hewitt still dominates in men’s tennis, winning a major (Wimbledon) and like in the previous season – Masters (Shanghai)
US Open: 31-year-old Pete Sampras after more than a two-year drought, wins another title, serving better than ever, but never plays a professional match again (!) assuring himself the best possible retirement
Martin Lee defeats Sjeng Schalken in the only ‘double-bagel tie-break’ match  (Rotterdam)
Mikhail Youzhny secures the first Davis Cup for Russia, becoming the first man to win a clincher in the Davis Cup final from a 2-sets-to-0 deficit
2003
Andre Agassi becomes the oldest No. 1 in the world at the age of 33 years 4 months
– First majors win young players, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick; it foreshadows a new era… despite of huge expectations, Ferrero won’t be a clay-court king in the consequence of Gustavo Kuerten‘s decline, it is reserved for Ferrero’s younger compatriot Rafael Nadal, who at the age of 17 shows astonishing potential, beating on clay former Roland Garros champions in straight sets: Albert Costa (Monte Carlo) & Carlos Moya (Hamburg)
Lleyton Hewitt, the best player of the last two seasons, finishes the year as No. 17! 

2004
Roger Federer changes his style of play (stressed the defensive attitude) and commences to dominate in men’s tennis winning three majors within the season as the first man since 1988 (Mats Wilander)
Gaston Gaudio becomes the first man to win a Grand Slam final being one point away from defeat (Roland Garros); the Frenchmen Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement play in Paris the fourth more-than-6-hour match in history, surpassing the McEnroe-Wilander’s record, unbeaten over 22 years
– Chilean Nicolas Massu within 24 hours collects two Olympic gold medals (Athens) – first Olympic gold medals for his country in history!!
Vincent Spadea establishes another unique records – in Paris survives a Grand Slam match with the most match points saved (9 m.p. – ties Christophe Roger-Vasselin‘s ’82 record to be precise);  gets his first ATP title in the 223rd tournament attempt (Scottsdale)
Andy Roddick fires the fastest serve at the time, in Charleston (Davis Cup) – 155 mph… 249 kph, it will be overcome seven years later by Ivo Karlovic‘s 251 kph
(2005-2007)
Three years of complete “Fedal” reign, especially the 06-07 seasons, in both of them, Roger Federer wins three majors, whilst Rafael Nadal triumphs at Roland Garros (overcoming in the final twice…. Federer), they will keep for themselves the two first positions   replacing each other yearly also in years 2008-2010!
2005
Roger Federer loses only four matches within the season, it’s the most dominated season by a player since 1984 (John McEnroe); Federer would have equaled McEnroe’s best win/loss record if he had beaten David Nalbandian in his last match of the year at ‘Masters’ (Shanghai), the Argentinian won 7-6 in the 5th set though, in the most balanced (until the end) Masters final since 1988
 – A teenager from Mallorca, playing with unusual long shorts, Rafael Nadal, after a bit disappointing 2004 season, wins two consecutive ‘Masters Series” events (including the longest final at the time, 5 hours 14 minutes, in Rome against Guillermo Coria), precedented the Roland Garros crown, and starts timidly his long rivalry with Federer
2006
Rafael Nadal like in the previous and the next season, wins three biggest clay-court tournaments (Monte Carlo, Rome, Roland Garros) and signalizes his grass-court potential advancing for the first time to the Wimbledon final; the Spaniard in the first round at Roland Garros overcomes the unbeaten since 1977 record of Guillermo Vilas in the most successive wins on clay (53)
Andre Agassi quits with tennis after 20 years on the tour, his last tournament: third round loss at the US Open to familiar surname BeckerBenjamin
– Implemented the “hawk-eye” system
 – The new system in doubles is applied in all tournaments except majors: ‘no-ad’ and ‘super tie-breaks’ instead of standard third sets

2007
– A failed experiment with “round robin” tournaments
Roger Federer loses his first match after a 41-match winning streak (outplayed by Guillermo Canas at Indian Wells); one out of six players to win at least 40 matches in a row
Rafael Nadal is defeated on clay (by Federer in Hamburg) for the first time after 81 consecutive matches won, an all-surfaces record
Novak Djokovic emerges as the third serious force in men’s tennis; catching a title in Montreal becomes the first man since 1994 (Boris Becker in Stockholm) to beat the three best players in the world in one tournament
 – The longest super tie-break, [23-21]: winners Albert Montanes / Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo in Estoril
 – The longest doubles fifth set in terms of games: 28-26 (winners Andre Sa / Marcelo Melo at Wimbledon)
– American giant John Isner (206 cm) survives five consecutive matches in the 3rd set tie-break in Washington (no-one won even four in a row before); Isner’s older compatriot – Andy Roddick makes another interesting TB-record, the most consecutive tie-breaks won, 18 
2008
Rafael Nadal after occupying the No. 2 over three years,Goran Ivanisevic finally dethrones Roger Federer defeating the Swiss in Paris (third straight time in the final) and Wimbledon (an epic 5-set battle comparing to the Borg-McEnroe’s 1980 clash as the best match in the Open era), Nadal gets also the Olympic gold medal in singles – Beijing (Federer triumphs in doubles with Stanislas Wawrinka, who did not win a doubles tournament before)
Federer‘s record of 237 consecutive weeks at the top of the ATP ranking is finished
Andy Murray emerges as the fourth serious force in men’s tennis, the 21-year-old Scot finds a way to beat Federer on regular basis, has a 5-1 H2H record with him in a 16-month period (years 2008-09)
2009
Roger Federer‘s resurgence, the Swiss recaptures his position of the best player in the world becoming the fourth player of the Open era (after Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and Rafael Nadal) to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon within a season, in London he beats 16-14 in the 5th set Andy Roddick (their third Wimbledon final) which is considerably the longest set in finals in terms of games; thanks to this triumph Federer overcomes Pete Sampras‘ record of the most Grand Slam titles
Porec (Davis Cup, semifinal), the first match in which would have been played 5 tie-breaks if there hadn’t been required the two-game advantage in the 5th set. Radek Stepanek struggles past the tallest player in history (208 cm) Ivo Karlovic 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 6-7, 16-14 in a 6-hour battle; Karlovic improved his previous world-record in aces from 55 to 78 (both achieved on clay!)
Juan Martin del Potro emerges as the fifth serious force in men’s tennis (joining Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray), the young Argentinian does something what Djokovic and Murray could not in the previous two years, namely he beats Federer at the US Open final, the triumph is more impressive in regard of devastating win over Nadal in the semifinal
– For the first time in the history of “Masters”, ratio of games won/loss decides who advances to the semifinals! Andy Murray is a victim of it
The fifth decade of the Open era  [2010-2019]
2010
Rafael Nadal like Jimmy Connors (1974), Mats Wilander (1988) and Roger Federer (three different years), wins three majors within a season, thanks to that, he shares with Andre Agassi a so-called “Career Golden Slam” (all Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal)
Fabrice Santoro plays his farewell Grand Slam tournament (Australian Open) becoming the first man who notched at least  70 majors… participating in them in four different decades, which is a specific record too
Nadal becomes the first player to win the same tournament in six consecutive years (Monte Carlo), he follows that triumph with titles in Rome & Madrid surpassing Agassi‘s record of the most ‘Masters Series’ titles
The Bryan brothers establish a new record in tournaments won by a team
John Isner and Nicolas Mahut play at Wimbledon a titanic first-round match, extended to three days (they produced unimaginable ’59:59′ unfinished set in the middle day)  on Court No. 18, overcoming multiple records, the three most important:
longest match – 11 hours 5 minutes (previous record: 6:35)
# longest 5th set in terms of games – 70-68 (previous record: 21-19)
most aces served – each of them more than 100 (previous record: 78)
2011
– The year of amazing Novak Djokovic‘s supremacy. The Serb wins three majors, and wins all six finals he plays against Rafael Nadal!
Djokovic with his 43-match winning streak joins Bjorn Borg, Guillermo Vilas, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Roger Federer as the 6th man to win at least 40 matches in succession in the Open era
Daniel Nestor becomes the first player to win at least 800 doubles matches and the season-ending ‘Masters’ with three different partners; after clinching a title in Shanghai he is the only player (singles or doubles) to win all ‘Masters’ events
Federer triumphs at the year end championships second straight year without a loss to get the record 6th ‘Masters’ title; he faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga eight times which is the most matches between two players within a season
2012
Andy Murray ends successfully his campaign at the US Open becoming the first player of Great Britain in 76 years to win a major!
Novak Djokovic is the best player in the world second straight year, however, it’s the most balanced season since 2003; for the first time in nine years four different players win Grand Slam tournaments
Pete Sampras‘ record of the most weeks (286) on No. 1 is broken by Roger Federer when the Swiss wins Wimbledon for the seventh time (as many as Sampras)
– Surprisingly a player outside the Big 4, David Ferrer, notches the most victories in tournaments (7) and matches (76)
The Bryan brothers become the first doubles specialists to have collected all the most important titles as they get the Gold medal at Olympics (earlier they’d won all Grand Slams, Davis Cup and Masters); Mike Bryan overcomes Todd Woodbridge‘s record of the most doubles titles winning his 84th (two without the twin brother)
– Clay-court tournament is played for the first time on a blue surface (Madrid) with mixed acceptance

10 Responses to Time-line

  1. statsman says:
    thanks, great
  2. Wanaro Evernden says:
    Voo are the best !
  3. Wanaro Evernden says:
    (in years 1987-89 there was required winning 7 matches “the best of five” to get the title) I don’t know that, about Miami. Thanks
  4. Yves says:
    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Players/Head-To-Head.aspx?pId=S017&oId=M092

    Motta won his both matches against Scanlon!

    -Yves (from MTF)

  5. Voo de Mar says:
    Dank je Yves :) Scanlon beat 6-2 6-0 Hocevar, in the following round lost to Motta… Corrected.
  6. Wanaro Evernden says:
    Federer 2005, 1 year/4 lost, is not the best result ever but he lost 3 match ball against Safin and 1 against Gasquet and he lead 2 sets 0 against Nalbandian, just Nadal beat him easily in 4 set in clay ! °_°
  7. Wanaro Evernden says:
    Albert Costa egalise the Escudé record of Australian Open 1998 in Roland-Garros 2003.
    They have done the same way : comeback in 1 round, 3 round and quarter.
  8. buy tramadol says:
    Very interesting site. Hope it will always be alive!

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