Adriano is a former professional tennis player from Italy. He is best remembered for winning the French Open in 1976, and for being the only player to ever defeat Björn Borg at Roland Garros, which he did on two occasions.
Panatta was born in Rome. His father was the caretaker of the Tennis Club Parioli, and as a youngster he learned to play the game on the club's clay courts. He became a successful European junior player before turning professional.
In his early career, Panatta won top-level professional titles at Bournemouth in 1973, Florence in 1974, and at Kitzbühel and Stockholm in 1975.
The pinnacle of his career arrived in 1976, when he won the French Open defeating Harold Solomon in the final 6–1, 6–4, 4–6, 7–6 (in the first round he had saved a match point against Czechoslovakian player Pavel Hutka). In the same year he also won the Italian Open (having saved 11 match points in his first round match against the Australian Kim Warwick) beating Guillermo Vilas in the final (2–6, 7–6, 6–2, 7–6). He finished off 1976 by helping Italy capture its first-ever Davis Cup title, winning two singles and a doubles rubber in the final against Chile. He reached his career-high singles ranking of World No. 4 that year.
Panatta is the only player to have defeated Björn Borg at the French Open. He achieved this feat twice – in the fourth round in 1973 (7–6, 2–6, 7–5, 7–6), and in quarter-finals in 1976 (6–3, 6–3, 2–6, 7–6). He also faced Borg at the semi-final stage of the 1975 tournament; Borg won on this occasion in four sets.
In 1977, Panatta won the WCT tournament in Houston, where he managed to defeat Jimmy Connors and Vitas Gerulaitis. He followed this up with another title in Tokyo in 1978.
Panatta was less successful on fast surfaces. On grass courts, his most notable performance came in reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 1979. He was beaten at that stage by Pat Dupre in 5 sets (3–6, 6–4, 6–7, 6–4, 6–3).
After the 1976 Davis Cup triumph, Panatta helped Italy reach the Davis Cup final on three further occasions – in 1977, 1979 and 1980. The team lost to Australia in 1977, the United States in 1979, and to Czechoslovakia in 1980. Overall, Panatta compiled a 64–36 Davis Cup record (55–17 on clay).
Panatta's final career singles title came in 1980 at Florence. He retired from the professional tour in 1983.
Since retiring as a player, Panatta has gone on to serve as Captain of Italy's Davis Cup team and as Tournament Director of the Rome Masters. He is also a professional powerboat racer.
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