Chasing a Grand Slam: It’s Rarer Than You Think

Most followers know in regards to the tennis Grand Slam: successful the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open in the identical calendar yr.

But for one thing so well-known, it’s an exceedingly uncommon feat.

On the lads’s facet, solely Don Budge in 1938 and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969 have achieved it. Few have come significantly near matching them since. But this yr, Novak Djokovic, along with his win over the weekend at Wimbledon, is three-quarters of the best way there.

Aside from Budge, Laver and Djokovic, solely two different males, Jack Crawford in 1933 and Lew Hoad in 1956, received even the primary three Slam occasions. (Both did almost get their Slams within the U.S. Open, shedding within the last, Crawford to Fred Perry and Hoad to Ken Rosewall.)

Since Laver’s final Slam, solely three males received even the primary two occasions earlier than Djokovic this yr, Mats Wilander in 1988, Jim Courier in 1992 and Djokovic himself in 2016.

On the ladies’s facet, too, the Grand Slam is uncommon, with solely Maureen Connolly in 1953, Margaret Court in 1970 and Steffi Graf in 1988 sweeping the 4 occasions.

Perhaps due to the problem of successful the Grand Slam, a much less formal “Serena Slam” was coined after Serena Williams received the 4 occasions consecutively from 2002-03, however not in the identical calendar yr. Williams did it once more in 2014-15. She was truly overwhelmed to the accomplishment by Martina Navratilova, who did it in 1984-85.

Djokovic has the one Serena Slam for males, getting it in 2015-16. He may nicely have accomplished one other on Sunday, had he not defaulted from the U.S. Open final fall as the highest seed within the fourth spherical after by chance hitting a lineswoman with a ball struck in anger.

There can also be the easier-to-attain profession Grand Slam, by which a participant wins every Slam occasion sooner or later in a profession. On the lads’s facet, this provides Perry, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi and the trendy triumvirate of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic to the ledger.

Increasing the problem of finishing a Slam of any kind is the totally different surfaces the tournaments are performed on. Players as nice as Pete Sampras and John McEnroe by no means received the French Open on clay, for instance.

Besides the U.S. Open, the place Djokovic will go for the Slam beginning on Aug. 30, there’s nonetheless the lads’s singles competitors on the Tokyo Olympics that start on July 24. Djokovic has stated he’s undecided on whether or not to play within the Olympics for Serbia. If he received a gold medal and the U.S. Open, the feat could be referred to as the Golden Slam. Only Graf in 1988 has accomplished it, however tennis was not a part of the Games for the Grand Slams of Budge, Laver, Connolly and Court.

As Nadal and Federer have pale and youthful stars have been gradual to emerge, Djokovic occupies a dominant place within the males’s sport at age 34.

Djokovic misplaced 5 units in his seven matches on the Australian Open and 6 units on the French. But at Wimbledon, he dropped simply two, and regardless of shedding the primary set of the ultimate in a tie break to Matteo Berrettini, he was by no means in severe problem. He is 34-Three on the yr.

Djokovic is listed as the favourite for the U.S. Open at even cash, indicating that bettors and oddsmakers give him about a 50 % probability to win it. (He is even cash for the Olympics, too.)

Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev and loads of different gamers will stand in the best way. But the prospect of seeing one thing this yr that no man has accomplished since 1969, and no girl since 1988, may be very actual.