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September 9, 2015

Singles Grand Slams in tennis

With her victory on Tuesday evening over her sister Venus, Serena Williams is just two victories away from winning the U.S. Open. If she does so, she will have won all four “major” championships this year, completing what is known as the Grand Slam.

Since the so-called “Open era” began in 1968, these four tournaments have made up the Grand Slam:

  • Australian Open (January), hard court
  • French Open (June-July), clay court
  • The Championships, Wimbledon (July-August), grass court
  • U.S. Open (August-September), hard court

Before 1968, major tournaments were restricted to amateur players.

Five players have won all four major championships in the same year, the official definition of a Grand Slam:

Don Budge, 1937

  • Don Budge (USA) – 1938
  • Maureen Connolly (USA) – 1953
  • Rod Laver (AUS) – 1962 & 1969
  • Margaret Court (AUS) – 1970
  • Steffi Graf (GER) – 1988

Graf also won the Olympic gold medal in 1988, completing what’s called the Golden Slam.

In addition to Budge and Laver, five men have won the “career Grand Slam” singles:

  • Fred Perry (GBR) – completed 1935
  • Roy Emerson (AUS*) – 1964
  • Andre Agassi (USA) – 1999
  • Roger Federer (SUI) – 2009
  • Rafael Nadal (ESP) – 2010

*I originally listed Emerson as GBR – thanks to Matt Carberry for catching this.

Agassi (1996) and Nadal (2008) also won gold medals at the Olympics, completing the career Golden Slam.

Seven other women have won the career Grand Slam (all American except the most recent):

Doris, Hart & Connolly, 1953

  • Doris Hart – 1954
  • Shirley Fry Irvin – 1957
  • Billie Jean King – 1972
  • Chris Evert – 1982
  • Martina Navratilova – 1983
  • Serena Williams – 2003
  • Maria Sharapova (RUS) – 2012
  1. jpahk permalink

    the u.s. and australia are hard court now, but prior to 1978 (u.s.) and 1988 (australian), both were played on grass, and not in the bruce england sense. thus graf is the only player with a grand slam on three different surfaces, at least for now.

    • True. The U.S. Open also played on clay for 3 years (1975-1977) with Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert the only two to win on both clay and hard (Connors actually won it on grass, as well).

  2. Roy Emerson is Australian, not British.

  3. William Weyser permalink

    The Tennis Grand Slam event was actually a Daily Double that a contestant named David Charlton, Jr. hit back in 1997. He wagered $2,000 on this Daily Double, and it was the last clue in the Double Jeopardy! round.
    Category: Tennis
    Clue: To accomplish a grand slam, you have to win certain tournaments in these 4 countries.
    Response: What are the United States, France, Australia and England?, and David got England in the nick of time.

  4. clint permalink

    You’ve got the months wrong here.

    The French Open is in May & June.

    Wimbledon is in July & August.

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