In the most varied decade that one can imagine, the 70´s, Manuel Orantes was one of the great names. He beat Borg,Connors,Vilas,Panatta,Dibbs,Solomon,Gerulaitis,Kodes,Nastase many times.He beat Smith, Ashe,Rosewall,Roche,Mc Enroe,Tanner,Ramirez,Fibak as well. He was known as the come back specialist, and his two major titles were due to legendary comebacks.In the 75 US Open he was 1-2 and three mp down to Vilas and managed to win their semifinal and then beat Connors in the final.In the QF he had trashed Ilie Nastase who was at his prime. In the 76 Masters final, and with some help from Kirk Douglas wife, he overcame a 1-2 deficit to beat Fibak in the final. But he also suffered a big comeback: he was, in 74, two sets up against Borg at the FO final.In the third set Borg won dramatically the tie break and Orantes faded away so that the legend of Borg at Roland Garros started that day. He was not a bad doubs player: he and his mate Juan Gisbert also won the 1975 Masters doubles against Stewart and Mc Nair in 75.In 1979, he and Higueras lost the FO final. And he could be great on grass ( even if he didn´t like the turf): beat Roche at Wimbledon 74, played the Wimbledon semifinals against Nastase in 72 and, aged only 18, in his first real serious grass court match, almost beat world´s number one amateur Roy Emerson at the DC Finals held on aussie grass at Sidney¡¡¡¡.Nobody could believe their eyes.But Orantes had already won that year the Wimbledon juniors as well as the Orange Bowl. He also reached the US Open QF against Smith in 1971, and would play two more Forest Hills quarters, but this time on clay.In 76 Borg beat him over 5 dramatic sets and in 77 Connors avenged his 75 defeat by trashing Orantes, not before Manolo had knocked down the likes of Vitas Gerulaitis and John Mc Enroe¡¡¡ Of course he was mostly renowned as the posessor of one of the finest clay court ( green or red) records ever.He played another FO semi, losing to unheralded frenchman Proisy in 72.Had he won, I doubt Gimeno could beat him in the final, since Orantes had beaten him in the spanish nationals that year.He also lost very surprisingly to Dick Stockton in the 78 QF. Orantes won Rome against Kodes ( 6-2,6-3,6-3 in the final against the man that had owned the last two FO titles¡¡¡),USCC at Indianapolis against Connors ( 6-1,-6.3 in the finals¡¡¡),US Pro Boston against Ashe ( 6-2,6-3 in the finals), won several titles at Hamburg,Toronto,Montecarlo and Barcelona, his city.In one of the Barcelona finals, again, he overcame a 1-2 deficit to beat Eddie Dibbs.That happening in 1976. Orantes was the son of a poor family who moved from the depressed south of Spain to the relatively rich Barcelona.He learned to play tennis as a ball boy and was a young prodigy that soon would challenge Santana´s reign as the undisputed nº 1 of Spain.In fact, in 1969, aged only 20, he trashed Santana in the final of the Spanish Open and became the inmediate wonderkid of tennis.Who could beat Santana that way on a clay court???.That started a bad reaction from jealous Santana, enhanced by some partisan press, even if Orantes admitedly admired Santana so much ( he got the support of Gimeno instead) He was an autodidact and became one of the craftiest touch players that I have ever seen.He was a smart strategist, and his genious turned into some of the greatest top spin lobs, touch volleys and drop shots this game has ever witnessed.Not to mention that wonderful left handed backhand, that many rate as an all time great stroke, including myself.His serve , however,was second class, but his FH was solid and he was never afraid to volley; he is one of the brightest players at constructing a point with crafty and supervaried strokes in order to conclude the point at the net. To round up the legend, he was one of the worst case of injuries among top pros.Like Roche if not more.He had to go to the surgeon desk 7 times and most of them when he was playing his best tennis.That made him a streaky player and, unfortunately, we will never know how good he could have been without those constant injuries.Of course, Borg,Connors and Vilas may have thanked mother nature...These injuries coming basically from a bad developed musculation that one clearly associates to his deficits in feeding when a kid ( poor family). Finally, if you think Stefan Edberg is a classy guy, news are that he would sound as a jerk compared to Manolrantes gentlemanship was so extreme that all top players, even jerks like Nastase and Connors respected him.Rosewall ,Solomon,Stan Smith, reputed as gentlemen of their own , aknowledged him as the classiest act in the sport.Suffices to say that the only time that Lendl has clapped the shot of an opponent on a tennis court, was in the 1982 Madrid Tournament semifinals, the last time Manuel Orantes, already 33 yrs old, reached an important tour semifinal.Lendl, by the was, was one of the very few great players he didn´t beat, but Orantes was well past his prime when the czech ace became a household name. More memories to share about this great yet often overlooked great name of the greatest decade ever?