If you’re Rod Laver or Don Budge (back in 1938) you’re the only male singles champions to win the Grand Slam which includes the US Open, Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the French Open. It literally criss-crosses the world and changes from clay to grass for the court. It’s a huge challenge and very difficult to accomplish. Not even the likes of Sampras, Agassi, McEnroe, Becker, Connors. Lendl, the great Bjorn Borg and many others could accomplish the grand slam.
For the women, only a few have been able to do it including Steffi Graf, Margaret Court, and Maureen Connolly Brinker have been able to accomplish the Grand Slam. Even such dominant players as the Williams Sisters, Martina Navratilova and Chris Everett were able to achieve the Grand Slam.
There have only been a handful of doubles grand slam champions across men’s, women’s and mixed. Another testament to how hard it is to accomplish.
The rare Golden Slam
There is also a Golden Slam which includes winning the gold in the Summer Olympics in the same year – of which only Steffi Graf has accomplished (truly amazing!).
So the answer to the question – whats the big deal?
It all comes down to the fact that the court surfaces are different and favor different type players. Your game has to be so complete at all levels to be able to compete at the highest level on each court. You have one clay, one grass and two hard court tournaments. Serve and volleyers are going to struggle at the French open. Where as Rafael Nadal is excellent in dirt but hasn’t been able to win the hard court Australian open.
Steffi Graf if you consider the Golden Slam she accomplished in 1988 truly stands out as one of the most dominant performances in all of Tennis and certainly in all of sport as well.
Useful links for further reading
- Grand Slam (tennis) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Women’s Grand Slam Singles Champions
Click for a table of Open Era women’s Grand Slam tennis singles champions and winners.
- Tennis Grand Slam Men’s Champions – Tennis Grand Slam Men’s Champions – ESPN
Find out every men’s tennis Grand Slam winner throughout history, here at ESPN.com