ATP HERITAGE PROGRAMME
ATP Heritage: Ilie Nastase, 1973
by ATP Staff|
One month from today, ATP celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Emirates ATP Rankings. We begin our countdown with a look at Ilie Nastase, the first year-end No. 1. #ATPHeritage
Ilie Nastase, one of the sport's most colourful and explosive personalities, was a stunning natural talent from Romania.
Nastase became the first World No. 1 on 23 August 1973, a year when he won 14 titles.
"It's funny, but I learned I was No. 1 on the same day that is Romania's Independence Day," said Nastase, who, aged 27, was playing at a tournament in South Orange.
"I was winning everything on clay in 1973, but I also knew that alone wouldn't automatically make me No. 1. I had to win on hard, grass or indoor courts as well to reach that level."
Nastase relinquished No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after a 40-week stint on 3 June 1974.
"I didn't really have much time to enjoy my top ranking when I had it, because everybody wanted to take it away from me."
Nastase won two Grand Slam championship singles titles at 1972 US Open and 1973 Roland Garros. He is just one of five players to win more than 100 singles and doubles trophies.
He won four Masters crowns (now named the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals) in 1971-73 and 1975.
Read more about Nastase in "No. 1", our special commemorative coffee table book, celebrating all year-end ATP World Tour No. 1s over the past 40 years. Buy Online Through Tennis Warehouse: Europe | Outside Europe
This year, the ATP pays special tribute to 25 former World No. 1s as part of the ATP Heritage programme, marking 40 years since the ranking system was introduced in 1973.