(born 9 July 1950) is a former professional tennis
player from Italy. He is best remembered for winning the French Open
, 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
The pinnacle of his career arrived in but 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 the Czechoslovakian
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,... Read More