By Bob Stockton
Every year the world’s finest tennis players gather at Melbourne Park, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows to fight for fame and fortune at the Grand Slams. Each one is ferociously competitive and securing victory represents the pinnacle of many players’ careers. Winning the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon or the US Open is the Holy Grail for young players, and securing multiple Slams puts them on a path to superstardom.
Who has the most Grand Slam wins?
Australia’s Margaret Court is the all-time record holder with 24 Grand Slams, although many of those triumphs came before the Open era began. Serena Williams has 23 to her name and she could move level with Court if she prevails at Flushing Meadows this year. She is sure to be a popular pick in the US Open betting, as she is the favourite, she will benefit from strong home support and she has a great record there. Roger Federer is the most decorated male player of all time, with 20 Grand Slams. However, Rafa Nadal is just two behind him and Novak Djokovic now trails by just four after beating the Swiss in a five-set epic at Wimbledon in June. Djokovic is now 32 years old, but still going strong, and he might even trouble Court’s record at this rate.
Has anyone completed the calendar Grand Slam?
American Don Budge won all four Grand Slams in a single year back in 1938. He was not given many opportunities to repeat the feat, as the French Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open were cancelled during World War II. Maureen Connolly-Brinker surged to a golden Grand Slam in 1953 by winning all four trophies. Rod Laver completed the calendar Grand Slam in 1962, aged 24. The Australian was banned from competing in Slams for much of his career due to his decision to play professional tennis, but he captured another calendar Slam in 1969 after the Open era began. Court then pulled off the feat in 1970. Since changes in 1978 that saw three fundamentally different Grand Slam surfaces introduced, only Steffi Graf in 1988 has secured a calendar Grand Slam. It came when she was just 19 and she ended up with 22 Slams, while she is the only singles player to win at least four trophies at each one.
Who is the youngest Grand Slam winner?
Swiss starlet Martina Hingis was just 16 years and 177 days old when she beat Mary Pierce in the 1997 Australian Open final. That saw her break Monica Seles’ record by 12 days, while Tracy Austin is the only other 16-year-old in history to win a Grand Slam. The youngest male Slam winner was Michael Chang at 17 years and 110 days, when he beat Stefan Edberg in the 1989 French Open final. Boris Becker, another champion at 17, recently lambasted the young male players for failing to challenge golden oldies Federer, Djokovic and Rafa Nadal.
Who is the oldest Grand Slam winner?
Ken Rosewall was 37 years and 67 days old when he won the Australian Open final in 1972. It saw him lock horns with compatriot Mal Anderson and he won it 7-6, 6-3, 7-5. Federer went agonisingly close to breaking that record when he played Djokovic in the 2019 Wimbledon final. The Swiss was 37 years and 10 months old and he had two championship points against his rival, but he could not convert them and he ultimately slumped to a heart-breaking defeat. Williams is still reaching Grand Slam finals at the age of 37 and she also has a good chance of breaking Rosewall’s long-standing record.
What is the longest Grand Slam final?
Djokovic and Nadal played out the longest final in Grand Slam history at the Australian Open in 2012. Nadal won the first set 7-5, but Djokvic took the second and third sets. The fourth went to a tiebreaker, which Nadal won, but then Djokovic ground him down and won the decider 7-5. The match went on for 5 hours and 53 minutes, eclipsing the previous record set by Mats Wilander and Ivan Lendl at the 1988 US Open final. Djokovic was involved in another epic when he played Federer at Wimbledon in the 2019 decider. He won 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12 after the final set went to a tiebreaker after both men won 12 games. New rules for 2019 prevented a fifth set going past 12-12, meaning the final ended just before the five-hour mark, but it could well have broken the record had they been left to slug it out without a tiebreaker.
Who has won the most consecutive Grand Slams?
Budge won Wimbledon and the US Open in 1937 before going on to complete the calendar Grand Slam in 1938. He did not compete at the 1939 Australian Open, meaning his winning streak ended at six, but it could well have been extended if he had been able to make the trip Down Under. Court matched this feat when she won the US Open in 1969, pulled off the calendar Slam the following year and won the 1971 Australian Open. She lost in the third round at the French Open that year, bringing her run to an end at six too. Graf managed to win five on the bounce, while Williams won four, but nobody has managed to match Budge and Court.
Who is the most successful player at a single Grand Slam?
Clay court king Nadal looms large over Roland-Garros and he has won the French Open 12 times. That is an astonishing record and no other player can come close to matching the Spaniard’s dominance within a single Grand Slam. He boasts an astonishing 93-2 record at the French Open, leaving him with a win percentage of 98%. He first won it in 2005 and secured four titles on the bounce by 2008. His fourth round defeat to Robin Soderling in 2009 stunned the world, but he resumed his dominance by rattling off five straight triumphs between 2010 and 2014. An injury-plagued couple of years followed, and he lost in the 2015 quarter-finals and he had to retire from the 2016 tournament, but he then returned to form and fitness and won three in a row from 2016 to 2019.
Has anyone ever won a Grand Slam without losing a set?
Winning a Grand Slam without dropping a single set en route to glory has to be the ultimate statement of dominance within professional tennis. It has happened an astonishing 90 times in the women’s game. Williams has managed to achieve this brilliant feat on six different occasions, which is a record in the Open era, while her sister Venus also managed it twice. Graf secured five Slams without losing a set, as did Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. Men play five set matches at Grand Slams, so it is harder for a male player to win one without dropping a single set. Yet it has happened 17 times, with Nadal and Bjorn Borg each pulling it off in three separate tournaments. Nadal won the French Open in 2008, 2010 and 2017 without losing a set, while Bjorg was utterly invincible at Wimbledon in 1976 and Roland-Garros in 1978 and 1980.