Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), Jan's greatest success was on the clay of Roland Garros in the French Open. He won his first title in 1970, beating Zeljko Franulovic 6-2, 6-4, 6-0. He followed that the next year by beating Ilie Nastase 8-6, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5, before he made the successful transition to grass by winning Wimbledon in 1973. In those finals he beat home favourite Roger Taylor in the semi-final in a five-set match 6-1, 6-8, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. The final against Alex Metreveli was more straight-forward, winning in straight sets 6-1, 9-8, 6-3.
Kodes could never repeat the success of Wimbledon and the French Open elsewhere, indeed, he never appeared at the Australian Open. In 1971 however, he did cause an upset by knocking top seed John Newcombe out of the first round in the US Open.
As Kodes was winding down in career at the beginning of the 1980s, a fellow countryman was on the way to the top - Ivan Lendl.
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