French Open 1973
US Open 1972
Ilie Nastase was a very talented player but was never quite sure whether he was a serious competitor or a clown. At times Nastase’s playful antics were light-hearted fun, but at other times they would become irritating and disruptive. Unlike McEnroe, Nastase would often play worse after an altercation with the umpire. Nastase made his Grand Slam debut at the 1966 French Open, where he lost early. At the 1971 French Open Nastase beat Stan Smith in the quarters and Frank Froehling in the semis before losing in four sets to Jan Kodes in the final. At Wimbledon 1972 Nastase beat Jimmy Connors in straight sets in the quarters and Manuel Orantes in straight sets in the semis before losing in five sets in the final to Stan Smith. At the US Open Nastase beat Stolle in four sets in the quarters, Tom Gorman in four sets in the semis and Arthur Ashe in five sets in the final to take his first Grand Slam title. At the 1973 French Open Nastase was untroubled in beating Francois Jauffret in the fourth round, Roger Taylor in the quarters and Gorman in the semis. In the final he lost just six games to Nikki Pilic to take his second Grand Slam title. That same year the ATP rankings began and Nastase was the first player to be ranked number one. At Wimbledon 1976 Nastase lost in the final in straight sets to Bjorn Borg. At the US Open Nastase came from two sets to one down to beat Roscoe Tanner in the fourth round before losing to Borg in straight sets in the semis. By now in his thirties, Nastase’s career began to decline and he increasingly became known for his behaviour rather than his tennis. In an early round of the 1979 US Open, Nastase faced John McEnroe in a 'clash of the brats'. At one point the umpire got so fed up with Nastase’s timewasting that he defaulted him and called the match in McEnroe’s favour. However, the referee feared a riot and reversed the umpire’s decision and the match continued, though Nastase predictably lost. Nastase played his last Grand Slam event at the 1985 US Open where he lost in the opening round to Mike Bauer in four sets. After retiring Nastase played a lot of exhibitions and seniors tennis.
© GRAND SLAM TENNIS ARCHIVE
HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: A.Ashe 1-0, B.Borg 0-3, P.Cash 0-1, J.Connors 1-1, J.Kodes 2-2, J.Kriek 1-0, J.McEnroe 0-1, M.Orantes 1-2, A.Panatta 0-2, K.Rosewall 0-1, S.Smith 2-1, F.Stolle 1-0, R.Tanner 2-1, G.Vilas 0-1
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