Tag Archives: Australian Open

What is a tennis Grand Slam?

27 Jan

If I were commentating a game of tennis, it would go something like this. “Oh look, someone hit a ball. And oh look, someone else hit a ball. And then, wait for it, someone else hit a ball.” Rivetting stuff.

But while I probably make it sound boring – and truthfully, I don’t watch it much – I can appreciate the skill and sportsmanship involved. After all, I couldn’t handle a game that went for hours on end.

At the moment, tennis is on my mind because we’re nearly at the end of the Australian Open, noted as one of the Grand Slam tournaments.

So my question for today is, what is the Grand Slam?

In a nutshell the term refers to when a player wins the Australian, French and US Opens and Wimbledon in a single season. The term was first used in 1933 by American journalist John Kieran, who compared the feat to “a countered and vulnerable grand slam in bridge”.

The reason these tournaments were chosen is simple – at the time they were the main international championships held in the only four countries that had won the Davis Cup.

The last person to claim one was Steffi Graf in 1988, while Aussie Margaret Court achieved the feat in 1970, as did Rod Laver in 1962. However, many more players have been recognised for a Career Grand Slam, which involves victory in all four events in different years.

You can read more here or here, but in the meantime, go Nadal!