The Open Era of tennis started in 1969. In 2019 when we celebrate the 50 years of this era in tennis there has been a lot which has changed in the game. The past 50 years have given rise to new records at the cost of older ones, new stars have emerged and some greatest matches have scripted their name in history forever. In this article we look back at the 4 greatest moments in Men’s tennis which shaped the Open Era.
4. Rod Laver’s Calendar Grand Slam
Rod Laver was the Number 1 player in the World as the Open Era started. He had already won 4 slams in singles in 1962. As the Open Era started the Rockhampton Rocket again drew his name in the epochs of tennis history.
He began at home by winning the Australian Open, then conquered the Clay of Paris moving from there across the English Channel to shine at the grass of Wimbledon and finally Laver would conquer New York to achieve something that has never since been repeated in Men’s tennis. The Calendar Slam was complete and Laver was now a tennis legend for times eternal.
Pete Sampras breaks 33 Years Old Grand Slam Record
Pistol Pete announced himself by winning the US Open in 1990 as a teenager then. Many people promised great things of this American legend but few would bet that he would end up with the then holder of most Grand Slam trophies by the time Sampras retired.
Pete dominated the 1990s and when the year 2000 came he did an unthinkable at Wimbledon. Sampras broke the 33 year old record of 13 Grand Slams set by Roy Emerson way back in 1967, even before the Open Era had begun. Sampras would add one more to his tally and finish at 14 Slams, the most by any player till that date.
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Federer breaks Sampras’s Records within 10 Years
Sampras retired from tennis with 2 great records. He won 14 Grand Slams and was World Number 1 for 286 weeks. Many tennis experts believed that these records would hold for a long time. Yet as Sampras was bidding goodbye to tennis, another legend from Switzerland by the name of Roger Federer who had idolized Sampras since childhood was making an announcement.
Federer defeated Sampras in Wimbledon 2001 which was the only match the two met in their career. The Swiss by 2009 would go on the break the Slam record of Sampras which was just 9 year old then. In 2012 Roger smashed the Weeks at World Number 1 record set by Sampras in 2000. In just over a decade both records of Sampras were improved and Federer became the 1st man ever to have 300 plus weeks at World Number 1. The tennis pundits had to rewrite the so called GOAT debate.
Nadal Completes a La Decima at Roland Garros 2017
Rafael Nadal and Roland Garros has been an ideal marriage of a tennis player and a surface. In many ways it could be described as a match made in heaven. The Spaniard took the tennis world apart in 2017 when he became the 1st man ever to win 10 titles at a singles Grand Slam. Nadal did it on the slow clay of Paris which has been described by many players as the physically most demanding and mentally most exhausting tournament.
Rafa won French Open in his maiden attempt in 2005 and continued to win it till 2008. He then won the championship again from 2010 to 2014. Since 2017 Rafa has again been winning the French Open trophy and his count is 12 till date. Experts believe that by the time Nadal’s career ends he might well lift 15 French Open trophies.