5 men who have done French Open-Wimbledon double in tennis' Open Era ft. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
Winning a Grand Slam title remains the biggest accomplishment in a player's career. Winning multiple Major titles puts them in another league, while claiming them on different surfaces showcases their versatility.
Winning back-to-back French Open and Wimbledon titles remains a challenge that very few players have managed to overcome. The relatively short turnaround between the two tournaments, currently there's only three weeks between them, is a test of their endurance and adaptability.
Players who make a deep run in Paris might feel fatigued and often skip the warm-up events in the lead-up to Wimbledon, or compete in a solitary tournament. Showing up underprepared at the Championships has backfired on plenty of players in the past.
For men, playing the best of five set matches in Grand Slams adds another layer to the difficulty in accomplishing the "Channel Slam", which is winning the Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year.
It's not surprising to see only five men have managed to do so in the Open Era, with all of them being amongst the best to ever play the game. Let's take a look at who they are.
1) Rod Laver (1969)
Rod Laver's accomplishments from decades ago remain unmatched in some regards. He was the original record setter back in the day.
He was the first player to win the French Open and Wimbledon on the trot, en route to completing a Calendar Grand Slam in 1962. However, this achievement took place during the Amateur Era.
It wasn't a big deal for Laver, who would do the same once again after the commencement of the Open Era. In 1969, he took home all four Slam titles yet again.
2) Bjorn Borg (1978, 1979 and 1980)
Some players make accomplishing difficult challenges look like a walk in the park and Bjorn Borg is one of them. The Swede set the bar high by completing the Channel Slam thrice in a row. He claimed back-to-back Grand Slam titles in Paris and London between 1978 and 1980.
Borg came close to doing it for the fourth year in a row as well. He won the 1981 French Open and was the favorite heading into Wimbledon, where he was a five-time defending champion. However, he lost to John McEnroe in the final in four sets.
3) Rafael Nadal (2008 and 2010)
Rafael Nadal quickly established his supremacy at the French Open, but took some time to emerge victorious at other Majors. The Spaniard came close to doing the French Open-Wimbledon double in 2006 and 2007, but lost the finals in London against Federer.
Nadal won his fourth consecutive French Open title in 2008 and reached his third straight final at Wimbledon the following month. He was up against five-time defending champion and arch-rival Federer in the title clash.
The duo competed in what is considered one of the best tennis matches to ever be played. Nadal defeated Federer to win the title, which was his first Major crown outside of the French Open. This was also his first time winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon consecutively, and he would do so again in 2010 as well.
Other than Borg, Nadal is the only player to complete the Channel Slam twice in the Open Era. The Spaniard has a shot at achieving this feat once more this year. He's won the 2022 French Open, which was his 22nd Grand Slam title and 14th in Paris. If he manages to go all the way at the grass court Major in a couple of weeks, he could tie Borg's record.
4) Roger Federer (2009)
Roger Federer accomplished almost everything there was in tennis quite early in his career. However, one big title constantly eluded him - the French Open. He reached the semifinals for the first time in Paris in 2005, but lost to Rafael Nadal.
Nadal would then go on to defeat Federer in the final over the next three years. In 2009, Robin Soderling pulled off one of the biggest upsets in tennis history by defeating the Spaniard in the fourth round.
This gave Federer a golden opportunity and he capitalized on it by finally winning the French Open to complete a Career Grand Slam. The Swiss then set his sights on recapturing his Wimbledon crown. He was a five-time defending champion, but suffered a heartbreaking loss to Nadal in the 2008 final.
Federer defeated Andy Roddick in a five-set epic in the 2009 final to win his 15th Grand Slam title. In doing so, he became the fourth player to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year.
5) Novak Djokovic (2021)
Over the years, Novak Djokovic came quite close to winning the French Open title, but eventually fell short of victory. Following his historic 2015 season, the Serb continued his good run of form in 2016 as well.
Heading into the 2016 Roland Garros, Djokovic had won the previous three Majors and was the overwhelming favorite to finally win the title in Paris. After three runner-up finishes, he completed a Career Grand Slam by defeating Andy Murray in the French Open final.
Having won four Grand Slam titles in a row, Djokovic looked in impeccable form. However, he suffered a surprise defeat to Sam Querrey in the third round of Wimbledon, ending his bid to complete the Channel Slam.
Djokovic claimed his second Roland Garros title in 2021. He defeated the King of Clay, Nadal, in the semifinals and staged a comeback in the final to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Serb then went on to win the grass Slam as well. It was Djokovic's 20th Grand Slam title and he became the fifth player to accomplish the Channel Slam.
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