My dad got me interested in tennis as a boy by teaching me how to play, and telling me stories about his favorite players. During his time, he played tennis with some top amateur players in Europe and the US, though I don't remember now who they were. Though he was an excellent player, he unfortunately had too fiery a temperament to be a good teacher on the court.
I believe I watched my first tennis match on TV just after the start of the Open Era, probably in '69. I remember us being excited about the moon landing and Rod Laver winning the Grand Slam.
My viewing interest increased in the 70's as the competition did, watching and studying the games of John Newcombe, Stan Smith, Ilie Nastase, Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, Vilas, etc. I started watching women's tennis when Chris Evert came along, but I have to admit I admired more than just her tennis...