A Grand Slam is not an event but a statistic and it’s a very rare occurrence.
- The four major tournaments are the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. The Australian and US Opens are played on hard courts, the French Open on clay and Wimbledon on grass.
- To win a Grand Slam a player must win all four of the major tournaments in a single calendar year. A considerable feat and a feat only ever achieved by a handful of players throughout the history of the game. So hard in fact that 1982, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) redefined the Grand Slam as simply winning four consecutive titles that could span two years.
- This redefinition of the Grand Slam by the ITF was the source of great controversy in the tennis world and, in the years since, the ITF has distanced itself from the 1982 decision, reverting to the traditional calendar-year definition of the Grand Slam.
- Only two men have ever won a true Grand Slam, Don Budge in 1938 and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969.
- Only three women have ever won a true Grand Slam, Maureen Brinker, 1953, Margaret Court, 1970 and Steffi Graf 1988. Graf also won the Olympic gold medal in 1988 and this became known as her ‘Golden Slam’.
No mention there of the great players of today, such as Federer or Nadal or the Williams sisters, or even of the recent past, player like McEnroe or Borg, Navratilova or Billy Jean King. That’s how hard it is to win a true Tennis Grand Slam, the greatest prize in the sport of tennis.