1980s Tennis

The 80s were a great decade for sports, especially tennis.

Whether they were innovative, mouthy, or a complete powerhouse, there were some big names on the court that helped 1980s tennis explode in popularity.

Bjorn Borg

Though most of his wins were during the mid and late 70s, Borg was still a prominent figure in early 1980s tennis.

A powerful and athletic player, Borg was great on clay and used a heavy topspin; he was a legend in tennis and set a great example for the up-and-coming players.

Borg finished his successful career with wins at Wimbledon in 1980, and the French Open in 1980 and 1981.

John McEnroe

Mc Enroe was a worthy opponent of Borg and became a legend of the sport. McEnroe was number one from 1981 to 1984. McEnroe used a rare Continental left-handed forehand, which he used to his advantage in his serve and volley style of play.

He was also a lot of fun to watch – he had quite a temper and you never knew when he would start an argument.

McEnroe won Wimbledon in 1981, 1983, and 1984 and the U.S. Open in 1980, 1981 and 1984. He was also a fantastic doubles player, winning Wimbledon with Peter Fleming in 1981, 1983, and 1984. The duo also won the U.S. Open in 1981 and 1983.

Ivan Lendl

Lendl brought a new style to the court – ‘power tennis.’ His style required strength, accuracy, and a whole lot of topspin. Lendl won the French Open in 1984, 1986, and 1987, and the Australian Open in 1989. He also won the U.S. Open three years in a row – 1985, 1986, and 1987.

Chris Evert

Sometimes compared to Bjorn Borg, Evert was great on clay. She started playing tennis at 5 years old with the help of her father, Jimmy Evert, who was a coach and accomplished player. Evert ended up keeping the double-handed backhand that she used when she was younger, starting a trend with other players who wanted more power.

Evert won the Australian Open in 1982 and 1984; the French Open in 1980, 1983, 1985, and 1986; the U.S. Open in 1980 and 1982, and Wimbledon in 1981.

Martina Navratilova

A friend of Evert off the court, Navratilova was a fierce rival of hers on the court. Much like John McEnroe, she had a serve and volley style and was great in doubles matches.

She won the Australian Open in 1981, 1983, and 1985; the French Open in 1982 and 1984; and the U.S. Open in 1983, 1984, 1986, and 1987. She also won Wimbledon six year in a row, from 1982-1987.

Steffi Graf

Graf went pro in 1982, but really began to dominate the game later in the decade. She was a versatile player who could play on any surface and was great in doubles.

Graf won the Australian Open in 1988 and 1989, the French Open in 1987 and 1988 and both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 1988 and 1989.

Graf also became the only player, male or female, to win what was called the ‘Calendar Year Golden Slam.’ This happened in 1988 when she won four Grand Slam singles and Olympic gold.

With such great players to watch, 80s tennis skyrocketed in popularity. Tennis was not just for country clubs anymore. As more people watched these intense matches on television, they were also inspired to sign up for lessons and begin playing.

A tennis ball is going over the net on a beautiful clear day.