Decade 1970s

# 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
# 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 facing Charlie Passarell in 5 hours 12 minutes (no-one will play so long at 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 of the Open Era
The first decade of the Open Era  [1970-1979]
# 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 a special 13th game – ‘tie-break’ up to 7 points with two-point advantage (Philadelphia) and its mutant ‘sudden death’ – up to 5 points (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
# John Newcombe, second straight year, is unofficially the best player in the world, albeit in both seasons (1970-71) he wins “only” two majors
# 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
# 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 a decisive match, this time in singles (thrice in doubles, twice in singles during the golden US 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” (the defending champion was placed in the final for another season)
# Pancho Gonzales (43 years 11 months) gets a 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!
# 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 played in Cleveland
# Teenager Bjorn Borg beats Premijt Lall 6-3, 6-4, 9-8(20/18) in the Wimbledon‘s first round, the longest tie-break in singles until 2022 (the record will be equaled seven times)!
# Wimbledon is held without 59 players (who could have participated in the tournament) as a boycott to support Nikki Pilic who was suspended for refusing to play a Davis Cup tie; Jan Kodes is the champion of the most unusual Wimbledon ever
# Vijay Amritraj becomes the only player so far to win a main-level 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 of the 20th Century (Stan Smith & Erik van Dillen are the winners)
 # Introduction of the ATP ranking (Ilie Nastase becomes the first leader)
# It is the year of 22-year-old Jimmy Connors, who wins three majors (doesn’t play at 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)… Connors’ girlfriend Chris Evert (picture) wins two majors that year
# Twilight of the Australian supremacy in men’s tennis, for the first time since 1938 (!) none Australian 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 two-handed backhands
 # The only time when the Davis Cup final is not played (due to political reasons: ApartHeid). South Africa is awarded the champion
# US Open is played for the first time on a different surface than grass and for the first time with floodlights, also for the first time in the 70s without ‘sudden death’
# Manuel Orantes wins the most amazing (arguably) singles match of the Open Era at 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, working a lot as a singles & doubles player, 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, Nastase loses
# In spite of winning Australian Open, John Newcombe drops out of Top 10 (at the end of the season) for the first time in ten years
# Unbelievable: 21-year-old Mark Edmondson, playing his just sixth main level tournament, becomes the lowest ranked Grand Slam champion, at Australian Open (he’s No. 212 at the time), in the following years 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 he 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 (really?) against John Newcombe at Wimbledon
 # In cases of many players, aluminium racquets supplant the wooden ones
# Two editions of the Australian Open are fully played within a season (January and December)
# The year of Guillermo Vilas; the lefty 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 Masters ’77), paradoxically he 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 of months later the same feat achieves Bob Giltinan in Australia
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 for three years between Roland Garros 1978 and Wimbledon 1981 (232-20 record during that period… 92% efficiency)
# Bjorn Borg, for the first time in his 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 New York 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!… the first Challengers are held which allows more players to earn money thanks to tennis
# John McEnroe wins his first major (US Open) having arguably the easiest road to a 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 of months afterwards he helps his team to win the Davis Cup, a record-holder Stan Smith who plays in doubles, capitalizes his seventh and last Davis Cup scalp (1968-1972 and 1978-79)
# Guillermo Vilas joins John Newcombe and Jimmy 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 :)); great 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

# At Wimbledon tie-break sets are played for the first time at standard ‘6-all’ instead of bizarre ‘8-all’ obligated since 1971

The 1980s