Across the early 1970s, Jan Kodeš was among the most prideful competitors in the game of tennis and more accomplished than many realized. Taking back-to-back titles on his favorite clay court surface at the French Open in 1970 (beating Željko Franulović in the final in straight sets) and again in 1971 (this time defeating Ilie Năstase in the final in four sets), he was not willing to rest on those laurels.
Kodeš never played the Australian Open but he was twice the runner-up at the US Open, in 1971 (losing to Stan Smith) and 1973 (he lost in five sets to John Newcombe) and also won on the lawns of Wimbledon in 1973. Although 13 of the top 16 players, and 81 players in total, did not play Wimbledon in that year because of a boycott over the ILTF banning Nikola Pilić from that Wimbledon. Kodeš beat home favorite Roger Taylor in the semifinals in five sets and Alex Metreveli in the final in three straight sets.
Kodeš reached his highest tour ranking of World No. 5 in September 1973. During his career, he won a total of 9 top-level singles titles and 17 doubles titles.
For 12 years he was the No. 1 player for his home country of Czechoslovakia, and he proudly represented his nation in a record 96 rubbers across 15 years of Davis Cup play, finishing runner-up in the team competition in 1975 and as the champions in 1980.
He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1990, in 2013 he received Czech fair play award from Czech Olympic Committee.
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