French Open 1970,1971
Jan Kodes will forever be remembered as the 'boycott' champion at Wimbledon but he was a top player in his own right. Kodes made his Grand Slam debut at the 1966 French Open, where he lost early. At the 1970 French Open Kodes twice had to battle from two sets to one down (against Ion Tiriac in the fourth round and Georges Govern in the semis) before an easy win over Zeljko Franulovic in the final. The following year Kodes defended his title beating Ilie Nastase in four sets in the final. At the U.S. Open Kodes came from two sets to one down to beat Arthur Ashe in the semis before losing to Stan Smith in four sets in the final. Going for a hat trick of French titles in 1972, Kodes lost in the quarters to Patrick Proisy in straight sets. At Wimbledon 1973 many of the top players were absent due to a players boycott. The majority of members of the ATP did not play in the event in protest at the governing body banning the Yugoslav player Nikki Pilic. Kodes beat Vijay Amritraj in the quarters and Roger Taylor in the semis both 7-5 in the fifth set and defeated Alex Metreveli in straight sets in the final to take the crown. He continued his good form by reaching the final of that year's U.S. Open, where he beat Stan Smith in five sets in the semis and led John Newcombe by two sets to one in the final before losing in five. Defending his Wimbledon title in 1974, Kodes came from two sets to love down to beat Gorman in the fourth round, but lost in five sets to Jimmy Connors in the quarters. After that Kodes' form began to decline. At the 1976 US Open he made it through to the quarters before losing in straight sets to Connors. He played his last Grand Slam event at Wimbledon in 1981, going out in the opening round. Kodes was the first player under Czechoslovakian nationality to win Grand Slam titles (Jaroslav Drobny won his Grand Slam titles while under Egyptian citizenship). He inspired a generation of Czech players and continued to be involved in promoting the game in his homeland after his retirement. For many years he ran the Czech Open ATP tennis event.
© GRAND SLAM TENNIS ARCHIVE
HEAD TO HEAD Win-Loss: A.Ashe 2-1, J.Connors 0-3, I.Nastase 2-2, J.Newcombe 1-2, A.Panatta 0-1, T.Roche 0-2, S.Smith 1-2, G.Vilas 0-3
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