At the age of 25, Bjorn Borg had already conquered 11 Grand Slam titles and more than 60 ATP crowns, taking most of those on clay and carpet. The great Swede was the player to beat on grass too, winning five straight Wimbledon titles between 1976-1980 and standing as one of the most successful players at the All England Club.
Borg's results on hard courts were not as good as on the other three surfaces but he still reached three US Open finals on hard between 1978-81 and lifted Canada Open title, one of four on a hard surface. The most successful season in this outstanding player's career came in 1979 when he claimed 13 ATP titles and grabbed 84 out of 90 encounters, including Major crowns in Paris and London.
Also, Bjorn managed to achieve an extraordinary feat that summer, winning back-to-back titles on three different surfaces after going all the way at Wimbledon, Bastad and Toronto, something that will not be repeated for the next 25 years!
The Swede was two sets to one down in two Wimbledon matches that year, against Vijay Amritraj and again in the final versus Roscoe Tanner, overcoming all the obstacles to pick up the fourth consecutive crown in the cathedral of tennis and become the first player since 1913 and Anthony Wilding who achieved that!
Bjorn returned to Sweden to play Bastad on clay, dropping just 17 games in ten sets to celebrate another title in an already high season, hoping for more during North American hard-court swing. Carried by this momentum, Borg headed to Toronto where we witnessed one of his most excellent performances on hard, losing ten games in the semi-final and final against the upcoming youngsters Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe to win the fourth consecutive tournament and the third on different surfaces.
Twenty-five years later, Roger Federer was the dominant figure on the Tour, scoring 74 wins in 80 matches in that 2004 season and delivering 11 titles, becoming the first player with three Major crowns in a single year since Mats Wilander in 1988!
Tim Henman, Rafael Nadal, Albert Costa and Gustavo Kuerten were the only players who had beaten Roger before Canada that year.
In Toronto, the Swiss became the first player since Borg with three consecutive titles on grass, clay, and hard.
At Wimbledon, Roger defended his title after beating Andy Roddick in four sets, having no time to celebrate and traveling back home to Gstaad in what probably was his last attempt to win the event where he made an ATP debut back in 1998.
Roger survived a scare against Ivo Karlovic in the second round and overpowered Igor Andreev in the title match after two hours for his first crown on the home ground and the fourth on clay. After taking a well-deserved two weeks off, Roger was back on the court in Toronto and went all the way again, lifting his fourth Masters 1000 trophy following another triumph over Roddick.
Thus, Federer proved his class on different surfaces in just a couple of weeks, and we are yet to see another player who would join Borg and Federer on this exclusive list.