Jimmy Connors US Open 1974
After Rod Laver opened up the Open Era with a bang in 1969, tennis was waiting for a new player to take control. For the first half of the 1970s, it seemed as though tennis was any man’s game and anyone could win. All of that changed in 1974, when a 22-year-old American armed with a bowl cut, a deadly two-fisted backhand and a revolutionary graphite racquet arrived on tour. Jimmy Connors caught fire in 1974 and tennis would never be the same again.
Connors entered 1974 ranked third in the world, coming off a season where he won 87 matches and 11 titles. Somehow, he was even better in 1974. He went 93-4 and won an astounding 15 titles. Three of those titles were Grand Slams, the first three of his career. He would reach number one in the world midway through the season and ended the year ranked number one for the first time.
Connors remains the only tennis player in the Open Era to win his first two Grand Slam titles in consecutive tournament appearances, let alone winning three. It is even more impressive when you consider that his first three slam titles came without dropping a match.
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