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The Only 5 Tennis Players to Win a Calendar Slam

Krish Sripada
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 13:01 IST

World No. 1 Serena Williams will look to become the 6th at the 2015 U.S. OpenSometimes greatness is exceeded by a greater talent when a new generation takes over.Sometimes greatness stands still, almost daring the next generation to go one up and yet, waves and waves of new blood hit the rock and fall flat. That is how legacies are made, legacies that become history, legacies that are remembered and talked about long after they have turned into history.Serena Williams, turning 34 in a fortnight, has the look of a person who knows what she wants and would summon every ounce of her ability and experience to get to that, like she showed in the epic clash against elder sister Venus Williams. There is a buzz at the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Rain caused the semi-finals to be pushed to Friday but Serena Williams is already an overwhelming favourite, not just against Roberta Vinci but also to win the US Open 2015. She is at the cusp of doing something terrific, something only five players, male or female, have done in singles – winning a Calendar Slam.Calendar and Non-Calendar Slam: A Calendar Slam involves a player winning all the four Grand Slams held in a calendar year, starting with the Australian Open, then French Open, Wimbledon and finally US Open. Serena Williams already has the Non-Calendar Slam, holding all the four titles at the same time, starting from US Open last year to Wimbledon of this year. As she is on the verge of scaling a new height, it is well worth it to check why the Calendar Slam is so elusive and hence, rare and celebrated.It is obviously one of the most coveted records in sport, given it involves total domination by one player over an entire year, over three different kinds of surfaces. That diversity in conditions, playing surfaces and therefore, styles and the need to maintain oneself in top gear to stave off opponents is what makes achieving a Calendar Grand Slam a remarkable and laudable achievement. A feat not achieved in 27 years: The last time a player won a Calendar Slam was way back in 1988, 27 years ago when Steffi Graf did it. Serena Williams has 21 Grand Slam Singles Titles, one short of Graf’s record of 22 in the Open Era. That adds further significance to her victory, if she does it. Serena already has three career slams, one short of Graf who has four. A career slam is when a player wins all four majors during the course of a career. Serena still has a big mark that separates her from Graf – a Calendar Super Slam that involves winning all four majors, the Olympic Gold and the WTA Tour Championships, although Serena does have a Career Super Slam winning all the six in the course of her career.Here are the only five players who have achieved a Calendar Year Grand Slam in more than century old history of the game in Singles.(Stats courtesy: Wikipedia) 

#1 Steffi Graf, 1988

Probably the most adored tennis player of all time, Steffi Graf has the most titles by a player in an Open Era – 22. She also completed her Career Slam at the young age of 19 in 1988. 1988 was also her golden year, as she completed a Super Slam, the only player to have achieved that in a period of 12 months, winning all four Grand Slam Titles, the Olympic Gold Medal and the WTA Tour Championships.

Graf won five major consecutive titles in 1988-89 and four more in 1993-94, making her the only women’s singles player to win four consecutive titles in a career – twice.

She is also the only singles player, male or female to have won at least four titles at each Grand Slam, a sign of her remarkable versatility and adaptability across all kinds of surfaces. The German is considered by many as the greatest singles player of all time although Serena does have a genuine shot at overtaking her, at least in the number of titles won. 

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Published 11 Sep 2015, 14:59 IST
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